“NOOO- come on, I can’t, I can’tttt.” Mock bravery long gone, my dignity and my resolve were now piles of dust on the floor. Despite having waited 2 hours in line, the frigid air of midnight suddenly seemed a lot more inviting than the dark entrance ahead of me. But as I turned to my friends with another string of nonsensical excuses already forming, I was met with devilish smiles — “oh no, you’re coming with us” — and I knew my doom was inevitable. Collecting my nerves, I closed my eyes to try to will away my nightmarish reality until a crude shove to my back sent me spluttering into the dark. As roars of laughter rose from my “friends,” I started to swing at them, and then — AHHHHHHH!
One of the most anticipated events of the year, Halloween Horror Nights is hosted by Universal Studios in celebration of Halloween. With a collection of mazes and rides based on popular TV shows and movies, Horror Nights is open for a month leading up to Halloween. It offers ten mazes, including Stranger Things, Jordan Peele’s Us, Ghostbusters, Creepshow, and House of 1000 Corpses, and also a couple rides on the side, like The Revenge of the Mummy and Jurassic World, as its main attractions. As an event exclusively in the evening, it offers a wide range of horrifying experiences that any horror-lover can enjoy.
Horror Nights is probably most well-known for its mazes. Though I wasn’t able to put myself in the torture of all ten of them, I got around to six in total. The mazes are exactly what you’d expect: a mob of actors jumping out at you as you shuffle forward in a line, with music loud enough to bust your skull. But honestly, besides the varying themes of each maze, I’m not sure if there were really many differences between them — all six were around 2-3 minutes with freakish pop-outs, decorations, and displays that were tailored to match the different themes. While I am guilty of closing my eyes and plugging my ears the majority of the time, I can still distinctly remember a couple cool features from the mazes, like the uncanny character look-alikes in the Us maze, the remake of the Hall of Mirrors, and the most unexpected jumpscare at the end, as well as the water squirting clown in Killer Klowns From Outer Space. I would definitely recommend going in these two mazes, and I heard that The Curse of Pandora’s Box was also pretty amazing. Surprisingly, despite the hype around the show, the Stranger Things maze verged on being boring, and I didn’t think Creepshow was worth the hour-and-a-half wait.
The mazes were a memorable experience; yet nothing compares to the memory of screeching my head off while full sprinting from a masked dude with a chainsaw. You probably already know what it is: the beloved scare zones and Tunnel of Terror where paid actors dressed up as demons and run at victims with a chainsaw. My friends and I were followed and chased by them multiple times, and at one point, one of them even kneeled in front of us. A lot of people aren’t fazed by it, but if you loathe it with all your heart like me, the best tip I have is to feign confidence — walk with your head held high, converse with friends, and nonchalantly stare down any actors monkeying at you. The Tunnel of Terror is the only way to get to the Lower Lot, so it’s kind of inevitable, but by the end of the night, my energy was too drained and my voice was too hoarse to even properly react.
Whether you enjoy horror or not, I think Horror Nights is worth attending at least once. The lines would sometimes extend for hours, but the mazes were pretty scary and the rides were pretty fun, too. I would recommend going for the mazes with the shortest waiting times first because if you’re willing to stay a little later, the wait times for the popular mazes eventually thin out. I stayed at the event until 2 am and managed to get to all the events I wanted to. Personally, I’m not sure if I’d go again, simply because it was exhausting to be so active, but that’s probably a sign that it was an engaging and worthwhile experience. Overall, I’d recommend anyone to go, and I’m looking forward to what will be featured next year as well.
Joyce Kim, Grade 10
La Canada High School