This past Friday, Daily Dead took part in all the madness and mayhem over at Universal Studios Hollywood as they kicked off the Halloween season in style with the 2014 Eyegore Awards as well as the opening night for Halloween Horror Nights, which featured more mazes and frights for attendees than ever before.

During the Eyegore ceremony, horror legends and icons John Landis, Greg Nicotero, Robert Rodriguez and Slash were all presented with awards honoring their vast contributions to the world of genre filmmaking. After the show wrapped up, we headed out into the Universal Studios theme park to see what Creative Director John Murdy had up his sleeve this year for Halloween Horror Nights.

Hands down, 2014 may be one of the finest years in the history of HHN- the mazes and scare zones this year were all incredibly ambitious across the board and there were far more hits than misses in regards to the quality of Horror Nights’ haunted attractions. I personally loved the Alien vs. Predator and An American Werewolf in London mazes and even had the opportunity to tour both of them twice, which gave me a chance to soak in all the details that Murdy and his crew peppered throughout their work in each maze. I also had a lot of fun with The Walking Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn and Clowns 3D, although all three ended up being a little more crowded, which made it harder to stop and take everything in. That being said, the mazes were all extremely effective and I dug the skin-crawling wackiness of Clowns 3D immensely.

For those of you out there thinking about checking out Halloween Horror Nights, a few recommendations that I have for making your way through the park and getting the most bang for your buck:

  • Get there early. Gates open up around 6:30 and the security line can take a while so it’s worth getting a jump start so you can get to as many of the mazes as possible.
  • Head downstairs first; most of the time people get caught up on the entry level of Universal Studios, which means the mazes downstairs fill up a little more slowly at the start of the night. Head down here first and you’ll spend less time waiting in line.
  • Consider purchasing the Front of Line Pass. I’m not someone who enjoys spending money just for the sake of spending money, but when it comes to Horror Nights, the only way to hit up all the mazes in one evening is with the Front of Line Pass. Most wait lines average at around 80 minutes (there were a few exceptions on Opening Night) and the wait for The Walking Dead was around 130 minutes at midnight. Check out the site to see which nights have discounted Front of Line passes- that’s a great way to hang onto a few extra bucks too!
  • And finally, order your tickets ahead of time because HHN often does sell out, especially on Saturday night.

Overall, the opening night celebration at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights felt like a great start to the haunt season as the park offered up tons of frights and chills, amazing production design, top-notch scare actors and numerous masterfully executed mazes that managed to provide numerous jolts and caused me to scream more times than I’d probably care to admit.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.