‘Horror Nights’ brings Halloween early to Universal

Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights opened Friday night to hordes of horror fans and their blood curdling screams, wanting to live their fears in Universal’s six all new mazes for 2012.

Once in the park the guests can expect non-stop horror, with no safe haven to escape the chainsaw wielding clowns, the demonic toys, or pyramid head from Silent Hill.

While these “scare zones” offer something for everyone, getting around the park can be a challenge for a group of friends.  Being over-crowded is something that Universal seems to have suffered from greatly over the years.

Being a smaller park compared to Six Flags or Knott’s, fitting even the six mazes into the park with the crowds seems something of a strategy game.  Many times throughout the night you may find yourself separated from your party due to the crowds, staring at the face of Bobo the clown, instead of a friend.

Never using the same maze twice, yes La Llorona was used last year, a new twist on the story gave Universal the opportunity to bring it back, guests experience something for all the senses.

A revolution of zombie culture made it the centerpiece of Horror Nights this year, based on AMC’s The Walking Dead, including a maze and the terror tram.

    Being a fan of the show, I was excited to see all the main scenes used in the maze, but this was by far the scariest maze of the night.  The details made you actually feel as if you were setting foot in Atlanta watching the zombie invasion begin.

   The Terror Tram was the biggest letdown of the year though.  Having attended for multiple years, Chuckie is a main highlight of the terror tram, and something many fans look forward to with his crude humor.  Too many zombies and not enough scare factor really bring what could have been a great maze down to something just average and not worth waiting for.

    Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D is a sequel to his maze last year, and this one blew that out of the water.  Equipped with our 3D glasses and video camera, we all braved the maze and our trip to hell through the seven deadly sins.  Universal outdid themselves with the details and the actors without the use of darkness, to scare even the manliest of men in your group.

    La Llorona Mexican folklore story scared in a new and twisted way.  While the sets were something to behold in the maze, the maze was nothing to be scared of and seemed to try a more grotesque approach that failed.

    Steer clear of Monster Remix, unless you can stand pulsating Dubstep music throughout the entire maze, with rehashing of Universal monsters throughout the years.  A 10 minute wait at most times throughout the night make this maze a tempting one, but the curious may find it worth a wait.

   Silent Hill and Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the bottom of the hill were both a crowded journey to reach, but definitely worth the wait.  Seeing pyramid head come to life and the workshop in Texas Chainsaw, were some things that may leave you haunted for the rest of your night.

   A perfect time for friends or even a date, Universal’s Horror Nights outshined itself again, and because of that be prepared to wait a lot each night.  With some waits on mazes at over 90 minutes, the $79 front of the line pass may be the best bet in order to finish the park on time.

Halloween Horror Nights is running on 19 select nights from Sept. 19 through Oct. 31.