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Arthur Levine

Universal Plays It Close to the Chest

By September 18, 2012

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In many ways, the Universal parks are a lot like the Disney parks. They both present beloved characters in blockbuster attractions that incorporate cutting-edge technology, for example. But in some ways, Universal has strayed from the squeaky-clean path that Disney has carved. It might be a bit of a stretch to call anything at a major theme park "edgy," but Universal can sure raise eyebrows. Case in point: the Penn & Teller New(kd) Las Vegas maze at Florida's Halloween Horror Nights.

Really, the whole concept of Halloween Horror Nights, with its PG-13-bordering-on-R-rated gore, its free-flowing alcohol (you can't go more than a few feet at the event without happening upon a vendor hawking hooch), its culture-skewering Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, and other banned-in-Fantasyland elements, is decidedly un-Disney. But get a load of the Penn & Teller maze. Having laid Las Vegas to ruin when one of the duo's magic illusions accidentally unleashes nuclear radiation, guests get to enter the city and witness the fallout. Like a showgirl with three breasts. You read that right. When the Halloween event opens this Friday at Universal Studios Florida, there will be showgirls sporting an extra breast. That's surely enough to make Minnie Mouse blush.

I got to take a preview tour of Universal's event, including a walk through two of this year's haunted houses, Silent Hill and Dead End. Check out my mini review and scenes from the event (including, yes, the three-breasted showgirl) in the Halloween Horror Nights 2012 photo gallery.

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Photo: Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.

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