The level of commitment and quality of work from the actors to the masterful artists, designers, and originators behind the scenes, is evident from the moment you enter Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.
It continues at every corner where something—or someone—awaits to grab your attention and get your heart racing. The intensity and high energy is, without a doubt, unrivaled and incomparable.
I may not be the only one who concurs, because on my visit alone, I encountered guests from San Diego and San Francisco to Salt Lake City, China, Dubai, and Argentina, all there for the sole purpose of being stunned, shaken, and shocked.
Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to hold on tight to your date, sweetheart, intended, hopeful, bff, sibling, relative, co-worker, or neighbor, for a spooky, scary saunter throughout Universal Studios Theme Park.
The six mazes include: “The Walking Dead: Dead Inside,” based on AMC’s Golden Globe-nominated and Emmy Award-winning TV series; “Welcome to Silent Hill,” based on the popular video games and film franchise; An encore performance by shock rocker Alice Cooper in the new, “Alice Cooper Goes to Hell 3D”; “La Llorona: Cazadora de Niños,” based on the chilling Mexican and Latin American legend that has terrified children for centuries; “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Saw is the Law,” based on filmmaker Tobe Hooper’s notoriously unsettling 1974 horror film classic; and "Universal Monsters Remix," featuring re-imagined classic horror icons and fused with electronica-inspired music.
Additional attractions for your pleasure are the new-fangled “Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead,” also based on the hit AMC TV series, during which hordes of flesh-eating “walkers” on Universal’s world-famous backlot are unleashed; the Transformers – 3D, Simpsons, Jurassic Park in the Dark, and Revenge of the Mummy Rides; plus the live show, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.”
There are four scare zones where wonderfully gruesome, ghastly characters emerge under thick fog and smoke. Beware as you tread slowly and cautiously by the Klownz, Toyz, Witches, and Silent Hill areas, as creepy creatures will terrify, but not touch you.
If you can’t catch it this time around, make certain Universal Horror Nights is a priority next season. Every year is better and more ingenious than the last. I’m always impressed by how they’re constantly raising the bar. They’ve repeatedly lived up to my greatest expectations and I’m not easily frightened by monsters, ghosts, witches, goblins, or dead people strolling.
I can’t wait to see what 2013 will bring. As of Nov. 1, the brilliant minds under exceptionally gifted and adept creative director, John Murdy, will once again convene to come up with astonishingly innovative and unique ideas, sure to surpass those of 2012.
I thought I had seen everything, but as I was about to exit, I noticed a young man, whose hair was cut in a big blue Mohawk with artwork painted on it, having photos taken by his mother and father, while he posed with patrons. I was so impressed that I had to find out more about this wonderfully warm, welcoming family from Sherman Oaks.
It turns out the Hakiks frequently attend Halloween Horror Nights with their son Ryan’s hair done up to one of the themes from the mazes. This particular night it was Alice Cooper. At first, I thought they were employed by the park. If you’re listening Universal, please hire this lovely, hospitable, affable, talented trio!
The Hakiks hang out for the pure enjoyment of watching the resulting glowing grins on visitor’s faces when observing the “Scare” themed artistry painted on Ryan’s mohawk. They have hundreds of photos, many of which are on posted along with this article.
According to Ryan's dad, Joe, it’s a group effort.
“Mom, Juanita, provides the much needed support; Son, Ryan, is the canvas and personality; and I’m the work horse who puts the hair up, adapts the artwork, and applies the paint,” Joe said.
Even though it takes endless hours to complete each magnum opus, Joe revealed that, “to see a small child tug on their parent's sleeve and point with a smile... makes it all worthwhile.” He’s appreciative of the countless comments of absolute amazement, sincere encouragement, and earnest recognition for their endeavors.
Joe is grateful to have found a way to contribute during this hard economic period, i.e. by eliciting joy in others. As he put it, “Bring together a starving actor/video game QA management professional, an unemployed office manager/administrator, and a budding film maker/musician/video game specialist and we still manage to figure out how to put a smile on people's faces...including our own.”
I know that I left the park feeling uplifted, invigorated, moved, and inspired by the exuberant spirit and kind, clever, congenial souls of the Hakiks. For questions or further info, contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org; Joe at email@example.com.
Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com/hhn.