So, it’s that time of year again when we can look forward to cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and lots of seasonal treats! The nights begin to set in earlier and I feel happiness and calmness when I walk outdoors; spooky season is upon us, which means Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood is right around the corner.
We had the privilege of taking a behind-the-scenes look at two of this year’s mazes that were still under construction for the event – Universal Monsters Legends Collide and The Horrors of Blumhouse. We caught up with creative director John Murdy, who spoke humbly and excitedly about this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.
The first was “The Horrors of Blumhouse”, which I was very excited about after watching it The Black Phone (from which part of this maze is inspired). Murdy explains how this maze came about:
“Working with Blumhouse dates back to 2013; with Insidious, we have had a long working relationship with them. In the past, there have been a few things different with these Horrors of Blumhouse than the two previous mashups we’ve done. One, they were in a different location; we always used the front of the cinema to set it up as if you were going to a Blumhouse horror movie. Two, I always used three properties. We changed things up twice this year; one, when I saw StrangeI thought I could have done the whole house Strange, actually. The first time I sat down to design this, I got to the end of my conceptual design and realized I had exhausted the entire house. It was always understood that we would use Strange and The Black Phone. There was so much content in mind that I didn’t need three films; we felt it would be better to expand on the two we had. Second, we are in The water world tail, and there’s this big overhead shading structure that’s not so easy to take down; it’s incredibly difficult to dismantle and so we’re limited by the height we can go with this location, so it required a different concept for the facade.”
-John Murdy, creative director. universal studios hollywood – halloween horror nights.
We made our way through the theme park to check out the second maze on the agenda, “Universal Monsters Legends Collide”. If you’re a Universal Monsters fanatic, you’ll think this house is off the chain. I can already tell this original house is going to be a fan favorite! Murdy goes on to explain how the concept of this house was brought to reality:
“This is the fourth in a series of houses we’ve done to reinvent the Universal Monster brand for Halloween Horror Nights. This goes back to the house we did in 2018, Universal Monsters and 2019 Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, and last year we did Bride of Frankenstein Lives, and now we’re doing Legends Collide. Similar to Bride of Frankenstein Lives, this is an original story that we created and brings together three monster characters that all the classic monsters from the universal horror films of the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s never shared time with. screen, and it’s The Mummy, The Werewolf and Dracula, which is amazing that never happened.”
“We developed this with our sister park in Orlando and the creative team there, Charles Gray, who is the creative director of that house, and Michael Aiello, who has been associated with Horror Nights for a very long time; he’s in a different role right now, he’s focused on front-end development with me, setting the list and conceptualizing things, with my art director Chris Williams and me. Exit from the Bride [of Frankenstein] last year, when we started talking about what we wanted to do last March, I had an idea of what I wanted to do while building Bride. Dracula, The Mummy and the Wolfman is an original story that I wanted to create. Orlando had a different idea, they tried to be there in Egypt and we went back and forth. I said, “Why don’t you do part one, and we do part two, and we’ll just make it a big thing.” Let’s say you took the time to go to Orlando and Hollywood. In that case, you would see two different experiences that were part of a bigger story.”
-John Murdy, Creative Director. universal studios hollywood – halloween horror nights.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios begins Thursday, September 8. Buy tickets by clicking Here. Be sure to come back to read our 2022 review!
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