By: Andrew Torres
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood has officially kicked off, offering thrills select nights through October 31st. This year’s event features eight mazes, one show, six rides, and three scare zones.
Here’s your maze guide to the scariest mazes at Halloween Horror Nights.
8. The Walking Dead Attraction (Least Scary)
The Walking Dead Attraction had one of the shortest wait times of the night, and it wasn’t for no reason. Unless you’re afraid of zombies, this maze offers minimal scares. The theming was incredible and immersive, but it was quiet and had few scare actors. If you’ve been through The Walking Dead when it was year-round, nothing has changed.
7. The Haunting of Hill House
The scariest part of this maze is the massive line to get in. The Haunting of Hill House was a big letdown even for a fan of the series. The show is full of great scares and fantastic storytelling, but the maze is lacking. Although it didn’t live up to its full potential, the set and costume designs were impressive and looked like they were cut right out of the show. This maze is still scary, just not as frightening as its neighbors.
6. The Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge
The Terror Tram doesn’t have many jump-scares, but it’s a very interactive experience you won’t want to miss. The tram takes you along the Universal Studios backlot and drops you off at the Bates Motel, where the purge participants will greet you. This experience has the most scare actors who aren’t afraid to get in your face. The costume designs are great, and the scare actors create a fun yet frightening experience. Many scare actors wield real chainsaws (without the chain) and are eager to show you how they work. The Terror Tram also includes a photo-op with Norman Bates in front of the famous house from Psycho, so don’t miss it!
5. The Bride of Frankenstein Lives!
The Bride of Frankenstein Lives had some of the best storytelling out of all the mazes. It was visually stunning and felt like you’re walking through a book as the bride of Frankenstein tries to bring her husband back from the dead. The few jump-scares were intense but, the actors’ costumes weren’t frightening due to their nostalgic nature.
4. The Curse of Pandora’s Box
The Curse of Pandora’s Box is full of glow-in-the-dark thrills. The scare actors in this maze are stationary and look like dummies, but you’ll learn quickly that that’s not the case. Trying to differentiate between who’s real and who’s not leaves you tense during most of the maze. They also use animatronic creatures that are very successful at scaring guests.
3. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Halloween 4 was my favorite maze of the night, but it didn’t quite make the number one spot. The set looked great and was translated well off-screen, but it didn’t do the best job showing what happened in the movie. However, the scares in this maze will get you. Many mazes use transparent walls, but Halloween does it the best because you’ll never see it coming. Other mazes’ transparent walls were noticeable, but Halloween’s were discreet and executed to perfection. There’s a pleasant surprise at the end that’s worth noting, so don’t close your eyes!
2. Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes the second spot because it’s chaotic from beginning to end. Right when you walk in, you’re greeted by Leatherface as he takes you on a five-star tour through his demented family’s house. The loud sound bites enhance the experience by a mile and add to the stress of walking through the house. The worst part of the maze is the rotting porky smell. Spoiler alert: there are chainsaws in there.
1. The Exorcist
Although it wasn’t my favorite, The Exorcist was by far the scariest maze of the night. The Exorcist was the loudest and had the most jump-scares. If you’re afraid of the dark, this maze will be a nightmare. The Exorcist uses more black walls than any other maze. They’re sometimes considered cheap scares, but they’re guaranteed to get you. However, I won’t knock them for using the black walls because most of the scares in the movie take place in one room. The Exorcist left me hoping that I wouldn’t have time to go through it again at the end of the night.
Universal Studios did a fantastic job with Halloween Horror Nights this year and satisfied my needs for a spooky event. The thing that took away most from the experience was the long lines. The lines will be insane if you don’t have express.
My suggestion for guests without express is to arrive at the gates by 6 p.m. for early entry. At 6 p.m., you’ll have access to The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the Terror Tram. You’ll be able to knock three mazes out before the park opens, giving you a big chance to go through all the mazes. Don’t forget to plan and have a good time!