Horror Nights returns with a fright
"What fear fears most," is a rather bold tagline for anything attempting to scare the daylights out of Hollywood's innocent inhabitants. Any remotely frightening images or concepts that come bubbling up in our minds have already been done in countless horror films, after all. But powerhouse Universal Studios quickly realized this, and so what they created were attractions packed to the brim with fun, freaks, and yeah -- a little bit of fear. Every October, theme parks around southern California switch gears and dress themselves up for the Halloween festivities. Universal Studios is no different in that aspect. But what sets them apart is the fact that first and foremost, they're a movie company, and they certainly use that to their advantage. The theme park's Halloween attractions boast a number of mazes, each inspired by a different classic horror film: "Friday the 13th," and "Saw," to name a few.
Universal even followed the latest movie trend of 3D and created an interesting, if not unique, walk-through based on Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses." Like most films marketed for 3D, the supposedly mind-blowing technology falls short. But that's not to say that the maze itself isn't entertaining. The designs throughout are especially appealing to horror-loving fanatics. The hanging bodies and the re-enacted torture scenes do a great job convincing you that you're really wandering inside Captain Spaulding's museum.
If you want to be spooked, skip the mazes and their agonizing lines. Opt to aimlessly walk around the foggy scare zones instead. The large, open areas coupled with masked, chainsaw-wielding figures are enough to keep the adrenaline going, especially when the fog is so thick it's impossible to see one foot in front of you.
There are several themed areas throughout the park, each with its own spin on fear (chainsaws, workers in pig-masks, for example), and while fear is definitely in the eyes of the beholder, one zone arguably gives the others a run for their money.
Based off a popular Latin-American urban legend, Universal's "La Llorona" inspired area has a woman stalking about, crying for her lost children -- a woman with whom I actually did run into. Attendees, beware. Just because workers aren't allowed to touch you doesn't mean they won't follow you throughout their zones!
Most of the theme park is closed, with a couple of exceptions. The new King Kong ride is open for the Horror Nights, as well as Jurassic Park. It's somewhat different than riding the attractions in the day, but it's probably best to wait in long lines for the mazes themselves.
Overall, Universal's Horror Nights is a decent, solid Halloween attraction. If you've got the heart and patience for its scares and thrills, go right on ahead. Just don't say I didn't warn you.