Universal Studios Hollywood has announced plans for haunted attractions based on “The Walking Dead” TV show, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” flim and “Silent Hill” video game as well as shock rocker Alice Cooper and the La Llorona folk legend, while continuing to drop hints about more scare zones and shows for Halloween Horror Nights 2012.
The Walking Dead maze will take visitors into a post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun by hordes of zombies. Based on the AMC television show, the maze will send survivors in search of a safe and secure home through an onslaught of vicious, hungry and growling “walkers.”
The Silent Hill maze will be based on the survival horror video game and film franchise set in the fog-shrouded and ash-covered eponymous fictional American town. Treading between reality and the Otherworld, the psychologically terrifying maze will feature characters from the games and movies, including Pyramid Head and the faceless nurses.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law maze marks the return of Leatherface to Horror Nights after a three-year hiatus. Based on the 1974 horror film, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre maze will take visitors through a blood-soaked slaughterhouse filled with mutilated bodies, decomposing corpses and human bones.
The Alice Cooper maze will draw on elements from the shock rocker’s theatrical concerts and feature music from his 1976 concept album, “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell.” Returning from last year with an updated storyline, the 3-D maze will feature themes of unending darkness, eternal torment and unimaginable horrors inspired by the album.
Based on the Mexican legend of a distraught mother who drowned her children and then herself, the updated La Llorona: The Child Hunter maze will be haunted by the ghost of the drenched, weeping woman and the wandering children she snatches at night.
The returning La Llorona maze was the best themed attraction of HHN 2011. Among my favorite scenes: walking through the sticky pig carcasses hanging in the carniceria amid the smell of rotting meat, the child being eaten alive by La Llorona entering through a bedroom window and the horrifying moonlit lake full of drowned children floating facedown in the water.
The Universal Monster Remix maze re-imagines horror icons such as Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolf Man as modern monsters with a pounding soundtrack of electronica, industrial and dub-step music. The maze will utilize the catacombs, crypts and burial chambers of the park’s year-round House of Horrors walk-through attraction. HoH traditionally houses the least imaginative HHN maze and 2012 looks to remain true to form - at least on paper.
The backlot tour will be transformed into the Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead, with flesh-eating zombies terrorizing visitors walking through the studio’s "War of the Worlds" plane wreckage set.
With only two truly new maze themes for 2012 (Walking Dead and Silent Hill), Horror Nights appears to be increasingly relying on past hits (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alice Cooper and La Llorona) to fill out its annual lineup, a strategy that requires less invention and more reinvention.
Halloween Horror Nights creative director John Murdy has been sprinkling clues on Twitter about the upcoming Universal Studios Hollywood event, going so far as to create code names for all the mazes.
Murdy’s Twitter followers unraveled the clues for the mazes code named Carpenter (Silent Hill), Classic Cowboy (Walking Dead), Quigley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Dante (Alice Cooper) and La Llorona (The Smiths).
Halloween Horror Nights 2012 at Universal Studios Hollywood will run on September 21-22 and 28-29 and October 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, 25, 26-28 and 31.