Universal Studios Hollywood unveils mazes for Halloween Horror Nights 2011

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Universal Studios Hollywood has announced plans for haunted attractions based on “The Thing," "The Wolfman,” “Scream,” “Hostel” and “House of 1000 Corpses” films as well as shock rocker Alice Cooper and the La Llorona folk legend while continuing to drop online hints about more scare zones and shows for Halloween Horror Nights 2011.

> Photos: Halloween Horror Nights 2011 at Universal Studios Hollywood

The Thing: Assimilation, a creature-based maze, will be based on the film remake about a scientific research facility overrun by an epidemic. Maze visitors will walk through a frozen and abandoned station where shape-shifting aliens can transform into replicas of any living being. Universal Studios Orlando will also feature a maze based on “The Thing,” which opens in theaters on Oct. 14.

Eli Roth’s Hostel: Hunting Season, an extreme gore maze, will be based on the horror film franchise about a European youth hostel with a terrible and dark secret. Maze visitors will walk through a series of torture chambers where a secret society hunts American youths for sport. Film director Eli Roth has indicated he will work in the maze as a torturer on select nights.


The Alice Cooper: Welcome to my Nightmare haunted maze will draw on elements from the shock rocker’s theatrical concerts and feature music from his 1975 concept album, “Welcome to my Nightmare.” Visitors to the Alice Cooper maze will encounter boa constrictor snakes, black widow spiders, guillotine decapitations and electrocutions inside a sadistic insane asylum.

Based on the 2003 horror movie by filmmaker and rock star Rob Zombie, the returning House of 1000 Corpses maze featured a walk through the Firefly family residence, Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen and Dr. Satan’s lair in 2010. Presented in 3-D ZombieVision, “scareactors” in the 2010 maze included Captain Spaulding, Baby, Otis, Mother Firefly, Killer Karl and Dr. Satan.

The Wolfman: Curse of Talbot Hall maze will be based on the 2010 remake of the classic 1941 werewolf horror film. The critically panned 2010 film disappointed at the box office but won an Academy Award for best makeup. 

Universal Studios Hollywood announced a Wolfman maze for Horror Nights 2009, but then quietly dropped the maze when the movie remake was pushed back to 2010. Universal Studios Florida went ahead with a Wolfman maze for HHN 2009.


Based on the Mexican legend of a distraught mother who drowned her children and then herself, the La Llorona: Village of Lost Souls maze will be haunted by the ghost of the drenched, weeping woman and the wandering children she snatches at night. La Llorona was the theme of an underwhelming scare zone at HHN 2010. 

After stepping off the Terror Tram in Universal’s studio backlot, visitors will be chased by the Ghostface Killer through a “Stab 8" location shoot from the movie-within-a-movie “Scream” slasher film series.

Halloween Horror Nights creative director John Murdy has been sprinkling clues on Twitter about the Universal Studios Hollywood 2011 event, going so far as to create code names for six potential mazes.

The Thing maze, code named GV Black, will be located in the Wild West area of the park. The Hostel maze, code named 3 Dog Night, will be located in the Revenge of the Mummy ride queue on the theme park’s lower lot. The Alice Cooper maze, code named Steven, a fictional character that appears on several of the singer’s albums, will be located in the Jurassic Park ride queue.
The House of 1000 Corpses maze, code named Bunny Gibbons, will be located in the Terminator ride queue. The Wolfman maze, code named Trivia, will be located in the House of Horrors attraction. The La Llorona maze, code named Soap Opera, will be located in the Shrek queue.

Universal Studios Hollywood sent out a survey asking fans for feedback on potential themes for Halloween Horror Night 2011 mazes. The survey included 34 horror movies, two television shows (“Dexter” and “True Blood”) and two video games (Left 4 Dead and Biohazard).

The survey included several past mazes (Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Saw and My Bloody Valentine) as well as a few maze contenders that Murdy has now declared “unlikely” (Dawn of the Dead, The Exorcist, The Shining and Zombieland).

Murdy singled out two of the horror films on the survey – “Trick ‘r Treat” and “Evil Dead” -- for his short list.
Halloween Horror Nights will run at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 23, 24, 30 and October 1, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.

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