I took a tour of the Alice Cooper maze this week in the Jurassic Park ride queue at Universal Studios Hollywood with Horror Nights creative director John Murdy.
“Alice has been through the maze a couple of times already," said Murdy, during the tour of the nightmare labyrinth with the sound off, the lights on and the monsters away. "Alice was overjoyed. He was thrilled.”
> Photos and concept art of the Alice Cooper maze at Halloween Horror Nights
The maze takes visitors through the abandoned home and recurring nightmares of Steven, a semi-autobiographical character in Alice Cooper songs.
A horror movie-style soundtrack will feature a mash-up of tunes from the Alice Cooper songbook, including the 1975 concept album "Welcome to My Nightmare."
Hard-core Alice Cooper fans are traveling from as far away as Norway, Germany and Australia just to see the maze, said Murdy, who has been in touch with fans via Twitter.
> Halloween Horror Nights 2011: Preview | Photos
Spoiler alert: What follows is a sometimes graphic scene-by-scene preview of the Alice Cooper maze. For those who want to be surprised (or are a bit squeamish), turn away now.
The facade of Steven's decrepit and foreclosed home transforms under lighting effects to reveal windows trimmed in Alice Cooper's iconic eye makeup. The voice of Alice serves as the visitor's guide to the maze's backstory.
Out front, a gag real estate sign makes reference to the singer's real name (Vince Furnier) and uses a photo from his high school yearbook.
* Steven's Bedroom
After entering the house to the opening piano from the song, “Steven,” visitors hear Alice say, “I must be dreaming.”
Inside Steven's childhood bedroom, it's clear the man-child is still living in the abandoned house.
A mirror on the wall transforms to reveal Steven dressed in Alice Cooper's trademark makeup. Childhood photos of Steven as well as various toys throughout the room are defaced with the same iconic makeup. From here on, Steven is Alice.
Alice leaps from a closet door with a chainsaw. The character will reappear throughout the maze as a crazed serial killer.
Soundtrack music: "Years Ago"
* Bedroom Closet
Maze visitors leave the real world and head into Steven's nightmare via his bedroom closet, navigating through disemboweled bodies hanging from the ceiling amid children's clothes and a musty, moldy smell.
Skeletons pop out of the closet walls at four locations as a mother's voice whispers: "Steven, come home."
* Toy Room
Emerging from the closet into Steven's nightmare world, visitors step into a toy room filled with the playthings of a troubled child: clowns, skeletons,spiders and puppets.
Oversized babies with pacifiers and bibs -- some of them stuffed dolls, others with actors inside – fill the toy room in a nod to Cooper's 1973 release "Billion Dollar Babies."
Around the corner, visitors pass through a series of babies with glowing eyes hanging from ceiling.
Soundtrack: "Dead Babies"
* Guillotine Execution
In a surreal scene created in the style of the French Reign of Terror era, visitors pass a series of rotting severed heads impaled on spikes on the way to a guillotine execution.
A stilt-walking Executioner Alice character wearing French revolution garb and a Napoleon-style hat stalks visitors, setting up another scare by a headless character.
* Insane Asylum
Amid spinning red beacon lights and the smell of antiseptic cleanser, stilt-walker inmates roam the halls of Gordon’s Asylum for the Criminally Insane where visitors encounter a Mad Doctor Alice character.
Soundtrack: "Inmates (We're All Crazy)"
* Electric Chair
A flirty and sexy nurse shocks an inmate in an electric chair. Graffiti scrawled on the walls references Alice Cooper songs and lyrics.
Soundtrack: "Nurse Rosetta"
The Sick Thing zombie characters pop out of a dozen coffin drawers in the confining morgue scene. At the end of the hall, a Sick Thing who appears to be kissing the sexy nurse from the previous scene reveals he is actually gnawing on her face just as "blood" sprays visitors in the face.
Soundtrack: "I Love the Dead"
* Embalming Room
An obese corpse pumped full of embalming fluid oozes bubbling green liquid on a table in the embalming room. Over in the corner, Doctor Alice cuts up a cadaver on an examination table before turning the bone saw on passing visitors.
Soundtrack: "Halo of Flies"
* Science Classroom
A stilt-walking headmaster wearing a Medusa-like powdered wig with white albino corn snakes chases visitors out of a classroom set up with exhibits on snakes and spiders.
Around the corner, a giant snake puppet with 10-inch fangs pops out of the wall spitting "venom" at visitors.
Soundtrack: "School's Out"
* Basement Lair
Leaving the nightmare world behind and returning to Steven's house, visitors enter a basement filled with spiders, including a giant spider hiding in the corner that looks like a human woman with eight female legs.
Around the corner, cocooned human bodies hang from the ceiling in a cobweb-strewn hallway.
Soundtrack: "I am the Spider"
* Black Widow
In the final scene, a 4-foot-tall Black Widow puppet reaches out at visitors with its articulated legs. But don't let down your guard just yet.
“There’s never just a final scare," Murdy said. "There’s always a final final scare and then a final, final final scare.”
Soundtrack: "Black Widow"
Halloween Horror Nights 2011 will include five other haunted mazes based on "The Thing," "The Wolfman," "Hostel" and "House of 1,000 Corpses" films as well as the La Llorona folk legend.
Halloween Horror Nights will run at Universal Studios Hollywood on Sept. 23, 24, 30 and Oct. 1, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.