Hollywood Gothique
LA Attractions GothiqueTheme Parks

Halloween Horror Nights: The Return of Universal Studios’ Hollywood Haunt

Well, here’s good news for Halloween fans: after a few years’ hiatus, Universal Studios Hollywood is reviving its Halloween attraction in 2006. Called “Halloween Horror Nights,” the event kicks off on Friday, October 13 and runs on weekends until Halloween night.

The official website for the event is here, but it does not have much information up yet. In fact, just to ascertain the dates of operation, I had to click through to the “buy tickets” window and see what nights they were selling tickets for: October 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, and of course Halloween night on the 31st.

Exactly what kind of show they will be putting on this year, I do not know, but the last couple times they did a special Halloween event, it was a major attraction on par with Knott’s Berry Farm Halloween Haunt and the Queen Mary Shipwreck.

Advance tickets are on sale now. Non-peak nights (13-14, 20, 31) cost $34. Peak nights – which are the 21st, 27th, and 28th – are $39.

The price at the door will be $49 on all nights.

You can also buy advance front-of-the-line tickets for $79.

Despite its history of movie monsters (which includes more or less launching the horror genre with DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN back int the 1930s), Universal Studios has had a spotty history with exploiting its theme park for Halloween. Their first attempt back in the 1980s was a one-time dud, followed by years of inactivity.

In the 1990s, they got their toes back in the water by having a single, stand-alone haunted maze open at the then-new Universal City Walk. After that, the event spread out to encompass the entire studio tour, featuring numerous haunted mazes bearing the brand names of Rob Zombie and Clive Barker.

Then, for some reason (corporate bottom-line cost calculations, I hear), Universal turned off their Hollywood Haunt after the new millennium rolled around (although Universal Studios in Florida did put on one last year).

Whatever the reasons for its return, I hope this years “Halloween Horror Nights” turn out to be a grand affair. Universal’s theme park is huge, with lots of room for lots of scares. It might not quite match the Knotts Halloween Haunt, but it’s nice to have a majory Halloween attraction located in the Hollywood Hills, which does not require an hour’s drive on a congested freeway to Orange County.

We’ll keep you posted as new details become available.

Posted by Devyn Angelus:
Stay away! I just got back from Halloween horror nights and it was terrible! I went to the last two before they shut it down a couple years back and they were fun, but this year there were only two haunted houses, one being the year round Van Helsing maze with other famous monsters thrown in. The other maze was only okay. Lost of set peices but hardly any actors working inside them. The much hyped backlot tram tour was a joke. They drive you for five minutes in the dark with an awful video about the evil “director” which pays off in a terribly corny end. Then the trams drop you an the psycho house but sadly you never get to in in the bates motel as the ads imply. Instead you’re shunted through rows of gates on a road between the sets and watch actors threaten at you from behind the gates. Then you continue down the road past the war of the worlds set where you get back on the tram and go through the mummy tunnel before being droped off. A huge disappointment. Also there is no stunt show. I used to really enjoy the Bill and Ted shows in the past. All they did was rename Waterworld, Slaughterworld and give you the exact same show. The audience was so annoyed by this half of the crowd got up a left during the show. THe one bright side of the park is that Chucky is back insulting people and he’s pretty crude but seemed a little reigned in this time, and he went on for long he started to repeat insults, but still he was the highlight of the evening. Considering the eveining was a flop and tensions were running high due to the hour long wait to get through the security checkpoint i’d advice haunted house fans to avoid this at all costs. Do knotts and i’f you’ve gotta do another i’d recommend queen mary or the mediocre six flags over this disaster
Saturday, October 14th 2006 @ 2:54 AM
Posted by Marc:
What total bullshit!! I have always considered Universal to be the King of the Hill when it comes to theme park horror nights, but this year they really dropped the ball. All the things that made this event such a blast in previous years are gone. It is as if someone intentionally wanted this event to fail just to prove a point. I entered the park with 4 friends on Saturday night one of which had been so tense about going into the mazes that she had been having nightmares for the past week leading up to the event. Half way through the night she was bored to tears and cracking jokes about how bad the event was. Remember the days when Universal had four or five mazes with high production values and spread out groups who entered those mazes by 20 or 30 seconds so that each group would feel virtualy alone and helpless once inside? Those days are gone. Now you are greeted with a large sign stating that:” This attraction in rated PG13″ PG13!?!??!! Bad sign #1…seconds later into my wait for their “House of Horror” maze (This is just the year round open all day maze usually known as “Van Helsing’s Castle”) a park employee spouts out a greeting over the intercom sayng the most frightening words I will hear all night ” This attraction MAY be frightening to some VERY SMALL CHILDREN”, That is ver-fucking-batem!!!!! VERY SMALL CHILDREN!! There is absolutely not 1 drop of blood in this entire maze. Not 1 horror themed room. Just a bunch of gear corners with random characters jumping around them. This was so bad that it hurt my soul. The absense of blood turned out to be a theme the entire night. One of my favorite attractions of past events was always the Bill and Ted hallowen show. This is where they would off celebrities in really grusome ways and it really seemed like they put of ton of effort into these shows to make them entertaining. With the absence of that show this year we decided to try out 2 other shows Saturdat night. The first being “Slaughterworld”. Now in order
Monday, October 16th 2006 @ 8:29 PM
Posted by MARC:
The first being “Slaughterworld”. Now in order to be a world of slaughter there surely must be at least two slaughters, no? I mean slughter must happen all the time to justify the fact that it is an entire world based on slaughter!!!!…there is no slaughter…not a 1. This is just the same old Waterworld show with a few dick jokes, a strip tease without the strip and a gay joke as the big finish. About 1/4th of the audience had left by the shows half way point. “Fear Factor: Dead Celeb edition” was meant to be the new “Bill and Ted” and it couldn’t have been worse. I will say that the two actors who play the clown hosts were great, but the shows was just horrible. The premise is that this is a death match and celebs will be killed during stunts until there is only 1 winner left standing. Sounds good and bloody so far. Sadly there isn’t even a funny death in the entire show. All deaths are the same, the 2 celebs who come in last on the stunt must take a “walk of death”. Want to know what the “walk of death” is? Well…the celebs walk into a door..and they are never seen again. Yup. They walk into a fucking door and wave goodbye. Christ!!!! The two hosts actually stop half way through the show to do a commercial for Full Throttle energy drinks. Not a quick one-liner mind you but a skit that feels like that vaginal infection medication commercial when the three women in the bar are schooled on the side effects by their best friend who happens to be a doctor and has memorized the warning label. This one had a full audience when it started and was near empty by show’s end. One of my friends actually went to sleep during this show and ecided to go home after it just to cut his loses. He was the smart one. A big booooo to Universal for this 2 mazed bastardization of the glory that it once was. This was so bad that I won’t even go back to Universal Studios again for their regular year round attractions. I think they have wasted enough of my time on Saturday night.
Monday, October 16th 2006 @ 8:30 PM
Posted by Hollywood Gothique:
I understand your disappointment with Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights this year, but despite your complaints about an “absence of blood” the entire night, I clearly saw vividly memorable arterial spout as a zombie dined on a victim in the plane crash on the back lot. Also, it might be better to put any more comments like this after my review of the haunt, which you can find here.
Tuesday, October 17th 2006 @ 1:08 AM
Posted by JasonK:
I was there with 10 other friends on the 13th.. I can’t agree more with MARC about his experience. A total waste of time and money. The backlot ‘walkthrough’ was the biggest disappointment. Failure with aplomb. I’m sure this is a result of office-chair stradling pencil-pushers demanding it not be ‘too scary’.. and pinching pennies wherever possible. For example, Jurassic Park in the dark? We waited in line for an hour to go on ‘Jurassic Park in the dark’.. and that was it – They turned off some of the lights, period. No spooky characters jumping out.. NOTHING. It sucked balls. After that we only had time for the backlot tour and The Asylum. Then time to go home. Way overcrowded. 🙁
Monday, October 30th 2006 @ 8:33 PM
Posted by Hollywood Gothique:
Definitely way overcrowded. But I found the back lot tour fascinating.