Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights proves to be Southern California’s self-proclaimed “most extreme Halloween event” this season. Two of the newest action-packed and jump-scare ridden mazes are inspired by the legendary “The Shining” and upcoming horror film “Insidious: Chapter 4,” beginning Sept. 15.
After a special behind-the-scenes tour given by creative director and producer of Halloween Horror Nights John Murdy, these two mazes are sure to impress and incite fear among those brave enough to venture inside.
The meticulous attention to detail inside the mazes is astounding and should be satisfying for both horror-film enthusiasts and thrill seekers.
“Insidious: Beyond the Further”
This brand-new frightening maze is based on the fourth film of the “Insidious” series set to hit theatres Jan. 5. The maze brings to life the exhilarating setting of parapsychologist, Elise Rainer’s childhood house in New Mexico.
Rainer’s childhood house plays an instrumental role in the maze because it is where she experienced ongoing paranormal events. Her history of ghost sightings along with continuous abuse from her father pushed her to run away.
“She leaves home at one point in the (fourth) movie,” Murdy said. “Now she has to come back to deal with this haunting that is taking place at the house she grew up in.”
Those brave enough to set foot into this walk-through attraction will be exposed immediately to an old, creepy staircase inclining toward its dimly lit top. Barely visible is a figure known as the ghost boy wearing a ragged duck mask, who appears and disappears to frighten those who take notice. The entrance alone is enough to make the hairs on the back of attendees’ necks stand.
If this isn’t enough, distant shouts of “Duck-roll-and-cover” complement sights of antique rusted tools and eerie paintings, dusty books, corroded sinks, aroma of laundry detergent and periodic ghost boy encounters, adding to the aesthetic of the Cold War-era.
The maze includes hints of inspiration from its predecessors, such as the “red door.”
“In the world of ‘Insidious,’ (the red door) always signifies that we are going into the Further, which is the spirit realm,” Murdy said.
Inside the spirit realm, the darkness is accompanied by the thick, hazy clouds of fog.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of confrontations and jump scares with demonic entities sprinkled throughout the maze. It will surely leave those who braved the maze breathless and tired of screaming.
Guests are now able to relive the exhilarating Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film “The Shining.”
When given the approval to create a maze inspired by the classic film, Murdy found it quite challenging.
“What makes it challenging is there were two different things going on with the movie. On one level, you have a story of Jack Torrance, which is a story Jack Nicholson plays,” Murdy said. “A lot of what goes on in the movie is in his head. It is his descent into madness, so we had to figure out how to theatricalize that.”
Despite the challenge, there is a lot more than what meets the eye when a guest first enters. The entrance is a hedge maze similar to the scene before the storm hits.
When entering from the hedge maze, guests will be enshrouded by pitch blackness with only a sight of a door with “REDRUM” written across it, while hearing Jack Torrance’s son Danny repeating the word in the background.
The Overlook Hotel is not being built due to the facade. The aerial shots in the film contributed to the look that Murdy said would be impossible to replicate because it would be too tall for the attraction.
Jack Torrance’s descent into his madness is expressed in a surreal and theatrical manner with a mix of video, props as well as well as Jack Torrance chasing visitors.
Multiple actors playing Jack Torrance provide plenty of jump scares on their own. Not only that, but every iconic scene in “The Shining” is in this maze, becoming a dream paradise for followers of the cult classic.
Everything from the typos in the phrasing, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” on the walls to Jack Torrance chopping through the door with his axe screaming, “Here’s Johnny!” while his wife Wendy holds her knife on the other side in fear provides a sense of the classic film.
Fans of “The Shining” and horror-film enthusiasts will surely enjoy this maze. Rigged with enough jump scares and beautiful theatrical storytelling, this is set to be one of the greatest experiences one can enjoy for Halloween.