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Halloween Horror Nights 2012

The Annual Halloween Event at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Halloween Horror Nights 2012

A little dental work might be in order for one of the zombies from "The Walking Dead" that guests might encounter aboard the Terror Tram at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights 2012.

Universal Studios Hollywood. Used with permission.
A few years ago, the Hollywood studio ceded the Halloween spotlight to its sister park in Orlando and remained dark for the fall holiday. But for the past few years, it has jumped back in with both feet (cloven-hoofed, presumably) and embraced its dark side with a haunt that is at least equal to -- and some fright freaks have contended is better than -- its highly regarded Florida counterpart. There will be some similarities to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, as well as some entirely unique features. Befitting its legacy (this is the studio that created such classics as Frankenstein and Dracula after all), Universal typically pulls out the stops, capitalizes on its talent, allocates a monster-sized budget, and presents a scream-worthy event that is among the best of its kind in the world. This year's mazes, claustrophobic walk-through experiences loaded with special effects and things that go bump in the night, will include:
  • The Walking Dead: Dead Inside and Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead
    AMC's popular television show gets the HHN haunted house treatment as visitors are cast in the roles of the living trying to escape undead zombies. But wait there's more (apocalyptic zombie gore)!

    If guests somehow outrun the flesh-eating creatures in the maze, they'll also have the chance to contend with the hungry hordes who have infiltrated Universal Studios' renowned backlot. Instead of the tight quarters of a haunted house, the Terror Tram will give intrepid visitors the opportunity to see -- and become part of the action with -- zombies in a cityscape much like the ones depicted on the show. If you think you'll be able to shy away from the marauding mobs from the safety of the tour tram, think again. Guests will be booted off of the bus to walk among the restless zombies and fend for themselves on the dangerous streets. Good luck!

  • Alice Cooper – Goes to Hell
    2012 will be the second year that the classic rocker, who has built a distinctive career out of merging horror with hard rock, will be featured at HHN. His Welcome to My Nightmare maze, which debuted last year in Hollywood, will be crossing the country to give Florida HHN visitors bad dreams this year. An all new 3-D haunted house, Goes to Hell (whose title seems redundant; we all know Alice's fate), will take its place. Expect plenty of loud music and mascara-streaked characters freaking everybody out.
  • Welcome to Silent Hill
    Based on the video games and horror films (a sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D will debut just before Halloween) this haunted house will pit guests against knife-bearing wackos, hideously gnarled nurses, and other lovely characters from the series. Despite the name, I'm expecting plenty of piercing shrieks emanating from Silent Hill.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law
    Nearly every Halloween haunt has at least one crazed lunatic running around in attack mode with a revved-up chainsaw. The inspiration for all of this lunacy comes from 1974 horror classic, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Instead of referencing the classic, Universal will go straight to the source and retell the lovely tale of Leatherface and and his cadre of cannibals. Visitors to the maze won't be passively watching the film however; they will become potential victims of the hungry, saw-wielding nut jobs. Sounds like fun!
  • La Llorona: La Cazadora de Ninos
    This is a returning theme from a maze that debuted last year, although the house itself will be updated. It will take its cue from the Latin American legend of the Weeping Woman (or La Llorona), a tragic figure who kills her own children (ninos en Espanol), takes her own life in remorse, and wanders the earth in spirit form weeping for her lost offspring. Sounds like creepy fun in any language.
  • Universal Monsters Remix
    Earlier, I wrote about Universal Studios' unique movie monster legacy. The classic monsters, including Phantom of the Opera, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster and Dracula get their own haunted maze this year. The "remix" part refers to the throughly modern dance and industrial music that will be playing throughout the monsters' lair. Given his fondness for arias and librettos, I'm not sure how well the Phantom will like the choice of music.

In addition to the haunted mazes, there will be themed scare zones filled with inspired props, loads of theatrical fog, and tons of -- GOTCHA! -- monsters hidden in every direction. While nothing had been confirmed at the time this was written it's likely that Bill and Ted will return for another excellent adventure. It has become an HHN tradition for the slacker time travelers to skewer events and people who have been in the news complete with big song-and-dance production numbers. Many of Universal's regular rides, like the cool Revenge of the Mummy (which, naturally, fits snugly into the Halloween proceedings), will be open during HHN.

Quick Facts

  • Location: Universal Studios Hollywood.
  • 2012 dates: Sept. 21, 22, 28, 29. Oct. 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31
  • Take heed: There are no age restrictions, but Universal doesn't hold back on the scream-provoking thrills or the gross-out gore and considers it to be rated "PG-13." Do yourself (and your kids) a favor and leave small children at home -- although you may want to think twice if the babysitter you plan to leave them with is named La Llorona.

Admission Info

The popular event frequently sells out, particularly on weekends, so you should purchase tickets in advance.
  • The nighttime event require separate admission from daytime theme park tickets. There are no discounts for children (Hey! Didn't I already implore you to leave them at home?) or seniors.
  • Halloween Horror Nights 2012 Official Site

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