Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Deliciously cringe-worthy: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods

InPark co-editor Judith Rubin recently enjoyed a tour of Halloween Horror Nights 23 at Universal Studios Florida. This year’s eight haunted houses were aptly tied to some truly gore-riffic media brands. All photos courtesy Universal Studios.

Judy’s comments are in italics.

See InPark’s international guide to more of this year’s outstanding Halloween events at theme parks.

The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven
“Characters from Season 3 of AMC’s horror hit relentlessly attacks you from all sides as you journey from the town of Woodbury to the claustrophobic, derelict prison.”
Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City
“Raccoon City is overrun with Umbrella Corporation’s most terrifying experiments such as Lickers, Hunters, and Nemesis himself.” Based on Capcom’s video game.
Evil Dead
“Gruesome Deadites try to possess your soul. There is nowhere to hide…”

The Cabin in the Woods
The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods
“Experience a live recreation of the film that ripped the horror genre inside out. Beneath the cabin’s rustic appearance lies a secret facility that unleashes terrifying beings…” I especially enjoyed this one because of its pacing and layout. There were passages where no one jumped out at you, simultaneously giving you a false sense of security while tripling the sense of dread. There was one room in particular taken up almost entirely by two tables, each hosting an active scene of dismemberment and you had to thread your way between them, uncomfortably close to the action. There was a nice use of AV, with hair-raising warnings broadcast from an alarmed scientist on video screens.

An American Werewolf in London

Afterlife - Death's Vengeance
Afterlife – Death’s Vengeance
An American Werewolf in London
An American Werewolf in London

“Based on the John Landis horror classic, you’ll travel to the Slaughtered Lamb, experience the gruesome wolf attack on the moors, and live the chaos of Piccadilly Circus.” Good storytelling environment.
Urban Legends: La Llorona
“She is known as the weeping woman, forced to eternally walk the earth.”
Afterlife: Death’s Vengeance
“Serial killer, Bobby ‘The Blade’ Galletta, is about to meet Ole’ Sparky. 2000 volts are going to send him into a horrific realm of pain and suffering. His victims are bound to turn Bobby’s afterlife into an unimaginable and infernal torment.” Another favorite. Fabulous, over the top 3D effects and neon colors. I really liked the corpse with the knife sticking out. And the 3D glasses conveyed a sense of unreality which allowed me to detach slightly, and my shoulders to relax slightly from being up around my ears.
Havoc2: Derailed
“Hang on tight aboard a militaristic train convoy that is secretly transporting the “Dogs of War”—a genetically engineered super soldier outfit.”
STREET EXPERIENCE: The Walking Dead: The Undead Streets

“For the first time ever, The Walking Dead has overtaken the streets of Universal Studios. From Atlanta through the forests and onto Woodbury, you’ll have to fight your way through some of the most iconic locations in the show if you want to survive the night.” They were, indeed, everywhere and they were very observant – they knew just when to pounce. I started to wonder whether, if I approached it with the right frame of mind, I could meet a nice, single zombie fella about my age. I started to imagine an offbeat kind of love story…

The Walking Dead - No Safe Haven
The Walking Dead – No Safe Haven

• Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
• Rocky Horror Picture Show – A Tribute

The park did a good job with crowd flow, and there were plenty of food and beverage options – good because it’s a lot of walking and you get thirsty. Some of the rides were open and the screams of roller coaster riders created just the right kind of live audio ambience for the occasion.


Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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