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Theme Park Review: Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2010

by on Oct.29, 2010, under Halloween/Horror

This year I went to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2010 no less than five times. How, you ask? By taking advantage of their “9 Killer Night Deal Pass” back in September. The pass was for nine different nights – including the first two weekends, some Fridays, Thursdays and Sundays – except Halloween of course). For me it was the best deal ever. One would think that going to the same park over and over like that would get boring but it didn’t, not even in the slightest.

My friend and I discovered that we got burned out pretty early, so we usually never stayed past midnight, sometimes we were gone by eleven. The lines get longer and longer as the night goes on so we would usually run and do as many things as we could while they were lighter, then eat dinner, watch the Bill and Ted show (yes, every time) then maybe one more maze and we were done. So we didn’t get to every attraction until we’d been there a few times and by then we’d picked out our favorites.

The Mazes

By far our favorite was Friday the 13th maze because it’s just a good old fashioned scary maze and classic scares are the best in my opinion. Just give me a big guy in a creepy mask with a machete or a chainsaw and I’m a very happy girl.

Second up was Nightmare on Elm Street. Another classic with tons of Freddy Krueger clones running around to make you scream like a little girl….which we did gleefully.

Third favorite was definitely the Terror Tram. I love this maze because they drive you out to the Universal backlot and drop you off in the middle of a bunch of great sets like the Bates Motel, the Psycho House and the plane crash from War of the Worlds. But it’s not just the background that makes this maze work – it’s the monsters in it. All of them always seem to be having a great time and up there they found ways to not only make us scream but usually laugh, too (like the one who held up a severed foot and said “Smell my feet.”).

My next favorite was (continue reading…)

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Positively Positive Review – Universal Studios Hollywood: Halloween Horror Nights 2009

by on Nov.08, 2009, under Amusement parks, Halloween/Horror

Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas too and you can’t beat sitting down with a cup of hot cocoa to listen to some good carols. But there’s just something about Halloween. The costumes, the decorations, the scary movie marathons, the candy, even the creepy music (I have my own Halloween “soundtrack” that includes everything from music from the Haunted Mansion to Rob Zombie) – I love every single bit of it.

Part of what I love is going through a really scary maze and screaming my head off. I can’t help it, I just love the adrenaline rush. I get motion sickness really easily and discovered at an early age that roller coasters weren’t for me. I might get a rush from them but then I’d be sick for hours after, so not worth it.

A haunted maze is different. In there I can get scared, scream, run for my life and come out with my heart pounding so fast I’m ready to pass out. But there’s no bad side effects, no aftertaste that comes from roller coasters. I get all the fun and none of the bad stuff.

I didn’t discover my love of haunted mazes until about ten years ago, when I stumbled into one at my first trip to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. I always loved Halloween, but even I was too scared to go in those things. I went to the park with a friend as a lark, avoiding the actual mazes. That was until we ended up in one by accident. We got in line thinking it was for something else and there we were, walking into the maze with no way out that didn’t make us look like scaredy cats. So we went in and what followed was probably the most intense (and most fun) five minutes of my life. Since then you could say I’m an addict.

This year was my fourth time visiting Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and even with a bout of food poisoning (from the day before, it had nothing to do with the park), it was the most fun yet.

The moment we walked into the park, we were assailed by monsters of all kinds. One of my favorite areas was the “Welcome To Hell” part right near the entrance. Representing the Seven Deadly Sins, it had demons (on stilts no less, so they were HUGE), sexy/scary strippers and a “preacher” welcoming you their arms.

After that we went on the Terror Tram ride, another one of my favorite things to do. I love that they change it up a little bit every year so that you’re never quite doing the same walk. The other thing I love it about it is the realism. A maze is great but there’s something about getting dumped in the middle of the woods to go walking in the dark (and believe me, some parts of that walk are pitch black), waiting for monsters to come after you, that is not like anything else.

As for the mazes, I think my favorite was the new Halloween maze. I had finally gotten around to seeing not only the original, but also the Rob Zombie remake. So to see it in “in person” was fantastic. It was also scarier than hell, part of the point of course.

My second was the My Bloody Valentine maze. That movie marked the first time I was brave enough to see a horror film in the theater. A bad incident as a small child left me very frightened of horror movies and the months of nightmares that came from them. So as much as I loved Halloween, I was never a fan of horror. This year that all changed. As a huge fan of Jensen Ackles, I decided that I had to see his new film on the big screen when it came out. So I went with a friend and was prepared to run out screaming if the need arose.

Instead I found joy. I discovered the same rush of adrenaline and fun that I got from a good maze, except in movie form. I ended up loving the movie so much that I saw it twice.

So while the Halloween maze was a touch scarier, the My Bloody Valentine maze got my vote for the most fun for me as I got to run around being chased by men wielding axes, while pretending they all looked like Jensen. Really not such bad way to spend an evening, in my opinion.

The shows at Universal are amazing too. This year we saw a Rocky Horror send-up that was even better than all the midnight showings I’ve been to in the past. This cast, rather than simply pantomiming what was happening on screen, actually sang for real. I loved it.

Every year I look forward to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure show for its hilarious send up of all things pop culture for the year. They also do some fantastic dancing in the show and I was so happy to see that this year they had more dancing than ever. I hope they keep that up. The people in the show are so good that going to see it is like going to a concert with a real band.

Overall Halloween Horror Nights 2009 made me forget how sick I felt all day and gave me some good scares, which is my favorite thing in the world. It’s only been a week and yet I’m already looking forward to next year.

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