Universal Studios has unveiled its complete fright-filled lineup for this year's Halloween Horror Nights with three more haunted houses and a radical change to its scare-zone concept. The scare zones will have no boundaries, Universal says. Characters will roam through the theme park.
"Scare zones in the past have been defined places and spaces. Now we want to play with that a little bit," said Jim Timon, Universal's senior vice president for entertainment.
“The characters and scare actors will ebb and flow and move and change, so you won’t always see the same scare actors in the same places as you may have seen them earlier in the night," Timon said.
Guests will see vampires, ghosts, goblins, beasts and a pack of female, chainsaw-carrying prisoners on the move.
Ongoing major construction within the park has altered the space available for Halloween activities.
"There are some physical realities out there that we have to adjust and accommodate,” Timon said. “It encouraged us to do stuff with the scare actors that we haven’t done in our program before.”
The mobile nature of the scare zones will translate into less seasonal decor in the park during regular hours.
"The technical team will scramble like mad between the time we close day park and go to Halloween Horror Nights and get décor in place," Timon said.
The three latest haunted houses are named "Gothic" (stone gargoyles come to life), "Dead End" (rumors come true in a cursed house) and "House of Horrors," featuring "Universal's classic monsters of fear."
Universal already had announced four houses this summer, including mazes based on the television series "The Walking Dead" and the "Silent Hill" videogames and films. Two celebrity-driven houses will be "Penn & Teller New(kd) Las Vegas" and "Alice Cooper -- Welcome to My Nightmare." These houses will be the headliners of the event, which this year will not feature an "icon," such as Jack the Clown, Bloody Mary or the Director, as the centerpiece, Timon said.
"We’re letting that speak for itself rather than an icon speaking for it,” he said.
The comedic "Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure" show returns, plus a show from 20 Penny Circus with "magic for people with questionable taste" will be introduced.
The latter is "a combination of really edgy, quirky, kind of carny magic and comedy," Timon said. Expect audience interaction, mentalism, mind-reading, walking on broken glass, pounding nails into heads and so forth.
"It’s not dark and sinister. It’s light-hearted and edgy and very entertaining," Timon said.
Halloween Horror Nights kicks off Sept. 21 for 25 select dates. It's an intense, after-hours experience that requires a separate ticket from the everyday theme-park admission. For a wide variety of ticket options, go to www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/orlando.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times