Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights continues to be considered a great experience and continues to outdo themselves each year. The theme park goes all out to transform its grounds into a spooky and immersive Halloween experience. They use detailed sets, props, and special effects to create a genuinely eerie atmosphere that transports visitors into the world of horror.
This year, the park offered eight new houses, including Evil Dead Rise, Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count, Holidayz In Hell, Universal Monsters Unmasked, The Exorcist: Believer, The Last of Us, Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America, and Stranger Things. The terror tram was also newly themed this year to The Exterminatorz, and I was pleased with the change. The Exterminatorz offered a fresh new take on the terror tram, no clowns and no zombies this year. Larry Larva is the host and using the bugs gimmick could be terrifying for guests who HATE bugs! Throughout the attraction an updated creepy version of the ‘Its Bitty Spider,” which I enjoyed. Be forewarned, the song will be stuck in your head.
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count and Holidayz In Hell – Tied for #1
Immediately after attending the event, I was asked what was my favorite and least favorite and how this event compares to years past (I have been attending this event since 2007). I had a tie for my favorite: Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count and Holidayz In Hell this year. This is the first year ever that Chucky has had his own house. We’ve seen him on the tram, and he even had a show where he insulted guests; now he’ll be doing the killing! No live actor portrayed Chucky; he was completely animatronic and puppeteered. The house was based on the films that Universal produced along with the television series. Next up tied as my favorite was Holidayz in Hell. Starting from the New Year’s Countdown, each room is themed with a twist for a different holiday, including an Easter Bunny who is demented and a blood-thirsty Cupid; even though this is a repeat from 2019, it is still gratifying.
What made it into last place?
One of the most difficult questions. “Well, what didn’t you like?” The attention to detail and time spent on each one of these houses is incredible and if I had to pick a maze out of the bunch that was the most forgettable it would have been Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America. This wasn’t because it was a horrible house, it was the first one I experienced and on my way out of the park, I really thought I hadn’t gone through it and after doing a double take it was realized that I had indeed already gone through it. Overall I couldn’t rank something in last place because of the power and craftsmanship that is vested in each house.
Do you need an Express Pass? (front of the line).
Another big question. This all depends on what you want out of the event. If you don’t mind waiting in some long lines and aren’t too interested in any of the rides, then you should be able to get most of it done, on a weeknight without the Express Pass. If you’re hoping to get through everything and the rides, I highly recommend the Express Pass. Just as a note, Super Nintendo World was not opened during this event.
A powerful year for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights and it was one heck of a good time! Over the years the park sure has ramped up the scares and has grown its brand. From the number of mazes, shows, and food, Halloween Horror Nights has something to offer everyone. If this is your jam, you won’t be disappointed. Some substantial houses were part of their lineup. Have we seen better? Sure. Have we seen worse? Yes. For me, this year settled right in the middle. However, everything was good on its own, and I’m sure everyone worked hard to bring this tradition to life. Universal continues to do what they have done for a hundred years now, entertaining people. The fact that people keep having fun and making a tradition out of this is ultimately why we all continue making the trip back. Horror Nights is no different than a motion picture, you just have the opportunity to LIVE IT! Until next year, Happy Halloween!
Halloween Horror Nights began on Thursday, September 7 at Universal Studios Hollywood with eight frightening haunted houses. It will run select nights through Tuesday, October 31. Pre-order your tickets as this event has a tendency to sell out most nights!
Netflix Doc ‘Devil on Trial’ Explores The Paranormal Claims of ‘Conjuring 3’ [Trailer]
What is it about Lorraine Warren and her constant row with the devil? We may find out in the new Netflix documentary called The Devil on Trial which will premiere on October 17, or at least we will see why she chose to take on this case.
Back in 2021, everyone was holed up in their homes, and anyone with an HBO Max subscription could stream “Conjuring 3” day and date. It got mixed reviews, maybe because this wasn’t an ordinary haunted house tale that the Conjuring universe is known for. It was more of a crime procedural than a paranormal investigative one.
As with all of the Warren-based Conjuring movies, The Devil Made Me Do It was based on “a true story,” and Netflix is taking that claim to task with The Devil on Trial. The Netflix e-zine Tudum explains the backstory:
“Often referred to as the ‘Devil Made Me Do It’ case, the trial of 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson quickly became the subject of lore and fascination after it made national news in 1981. Johnson claimed that he murdered his 40-year-old landlord, Alan Bono, while under the influence of demonic forces. The brutal killing in Connecticut drew the attention of self-professed demonologists and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, known for their probe into the infamous haunting in Amityville, Long Island, several years prior. The Devil on Trial recounts the troubling events leading up to Bono’s murder, the trial, and the aftermath, using firsthand accounts of the people closest to the case, including Johnson.”
Then there’s the logline: The Devil on Trial explores the first — and only — time “demonic possession” has officially been used as a defense in a US murder trial. Including firsthand accounts of alleged devil possession and shocking murder, this extraordinary story forces reflection on our fear of the unknown.
If anything, this companion to the original film might shed some light on just how accurate these “true story” Conjuring films are and how much is just a writer’s imagination.
[First Photos] ‘The Strangers’ Reboot is Already Made; It Consists of Three Movies
Director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea, Exorcist: The Beginning, Cliffhanger) has been a busy man. He is rebooting The Strangers franchise with a trilogy that he has already completed according to Entertainment Weekly.
Harlin says he shot all of the films in Slovakia at the same time, and production was, “the challenge of a lifetime, but I also really embraced it. On a Monday morning, I could be shooting the second chapter, and Monday afternoon I could be shooting the first chapter, and Tuesday morning I could be shooting the third chapter. it was incredibly demanding for the actors, for the continuity in terms of the make-up and wardrobe, and for my director of photography, because we wanted to create a visual language that develops so that the movies get bigger, more epic, as we go [on]. It just kept all of our juices pumping all the time.”
He remembers the Bryan Bertino-directed 2008 original Strangers which he says impressed him so much that he never forgot it.
“I remember the experience of seeing it,” says Harlin, “I didn’t really know anything about it when I saw it and I just loved it. I thought it was fantastic and it’s stuck in my mind as one of my favorite horror films.”
He adds: “When this opportunity came to me, the idea of not doing a remake or a reboot but doing a trilogy based on the original film, I thought it was an incredible opportunity.”
As for what Harlin’s version is about he says the first movie The Strangers: Chapter 1 pretty much follows the set-up of the original: a couple is terrorized by sociopathic home invaders, and Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 will “explore what happens to the victims of this kind of violence and who the perpetrators are of this kind of violence. Where are they coming from and why?”
The targets in Chapter 1 are played by Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez (Teen Wolf, Cruel Summer).
The Strangers Trilogy is set for release in theaters next year. Harlin and producer Courtney Solomon will be participating in a panel about the three films at New York Comic Con on Oct. 12.
Original 2008 Trailer:
‘Terrifier 3’ Teaser To Play Ahead of ‘Terrifier 2’ Theatrical Re-Release
Terrifier 2 is returning to theaters nationwide beginning November 1.
Director Damien Leone will give a small on-screen introduction that will include the first public showing of the teaser from Terrifier 3. In addition, the first 100 audience members will receive a Terrifier 3 poster.
Terrifier 2 was the little indie(gogo) movie that could. It turned its shoestring budget of $250k into an $11 million windfall.
“This year has been unlike anything we could have imagined,” says Leone. “To see all the love Terrifier 2 has received and the excitement this release has inspired from fans new and old, is truly beyond words. As a thank you to our fans and the many people who worked tirelessly on this release, we want to bring it back to the big screen where it belongs. And more than that, while fans eagerly await the release of Terrifier 3 next year, we want the chance to share what we’ve been working on for the third installment because a year is just too long to wait.”
As for why the film is getting a re-release after Halloween, Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse, says it’s a fitting adieu to the holiday.
“Terrifier 2’s return to theaters is the perfect farewell to the Halloween season, an event that will have audiences clinging onto their barf bags once again, “said Brad Miska, Managing Director of Bloody Disgusting/Cineverse. “This exemplifies the pinnacle of horror cinema, an experience that etches itself into memory. Between the exclusive Terrifier 3 scene that will only be shown in theaters to the exclusive poster, this is a night you won’t want to miss out on.”
For those who haven’t seen Terrifier 2, here is a brief description:
“Set one year after its predecessor, Terrifier 2 continued the gruesome story of Art the Clown and his insatiable thirst for murder. When a sinister force resurrects Art, he is once again upon the unsuspecting residents of Miles County. Back for another Halloween, Art sets his sights on a teenage girl and her little brother, portrayed by LaVera and Elliott Fullam, respectively, delivering a chilling and relentless tale of horror.”