Well, it's that time of year again, where the fog rolls in, the monsters come out, and that one guy makes a mad face on every single one of our Halloween related posts on Facebook.
Also known as the most wonderful time of the year!!
Click any of the pictures in this update to see a larger version
As always, we made two visits to Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood during opening weekend, media night (thank you again Universal for having us out, it's never lost on us what a privilege it is) and the first Sunday of the event using our Frequent Fear Passes.
On Sunday we used Early Entry and our Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide which did receive some updates.
In this update we'll be walking you through the houses, terror tram, scare zones, one of the two shows, and our general thoughts on this years event. We've got a lot of pics and videos to get to, so we better get right into it!
Before we do, be sure to Click Here for all of the HHN Hollywood information including tickets, Express passes, RIP, Early Entry, Hours and much more.
This year there are 8 Haunted Houses, 3 Scare Zones, 2 Shows and the Terror Tram, which features one of the more creepy (but fun) themes in the history of the event.
Also, for the first time there are character photo ops from former HHN characters like The Bride from 2021's Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Pop-Culture icons like David S. Pumpkins from SNL.
Let's get into the houses, we've got pictures and videos of each.
It goes without saying that there are SPOILERS AHEAD, so if you'd like to walk into the event with no spoilers, well, you know what to do.
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
Those of us who have been going to HHN Hollywood for awhile know that Chucky has been featured at the event previously, in the old Universal Monsters permanent maze, as the host of the Terror Tram, and elsewhere at the event.
But Chucky has never had his own Haunted House at the event, he knows it, and he's not happy about it. He's also not happy that Universal Studios doesn't actually kill people in their houses. So this year he's out to fix that.
After our Tour of Chucky and Universal Monsters a couple of weeks back, Chucky quickly became my most anticipated house of 2023, and both opening night and Sunday, it exceeded those expectations. This may be the most "fun" house the event has ever done. It's not particularly scary, you aren't going to get a lot of jump scares, just like the Childs Play/Chucky Movies and Shows.
Of course, with this amazing AA technology they've now pulled off in a house, one can't help but think what other houses they could do. Gremlins? Mars Attacks? We can only hope.
Universal Monsters: Unmasked
A return of the Universal Monsters house, we personally hope they never stop doing these. This years house features The Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as well as some special guests in the house.
While this house may not feature the more popular universal monsters, it is a lot of fun, tells a fantastic self-contained story and the talent in here is amazing.
The house starts off in Catacombs, and if you've seen pictures of the Catacombs in Paris, you'll definitely see the inspiration here. Some of the biggest show scenes in this house feature The Phantom in his lair, and Quasimodo giving Frollo what he deserves.
Once again, the actors in each of these large scenes plays their role to perfection. It's hard to state how much practice and discipline it takes to play the same scene over and over, every 30 seconds, for hours every night. And the actors in this house are to be commended for telling the story of these misunderstood Universal Monsters.
Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America
Speaking of Monsters, this years event features not one, but two Monster houses, but they couldn't be more different.
Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America may be the most beautiful house HHN has ever created. The sets in here are handled with such care and detail, and just like Universal Monsters, the story is told in such a way that even if you have no knowledge of the source material, you can understand what's going on.
That being said, this is a house that almost demands multiple walkthroughs, I've been through 3 times already this year and I've seen new details every time. And I have no doubt that will continue through the rest of Halloween Horror Nights.
According to John Murdy on our tour, there will be a Latin America themed house in this location for the foreseeable future as it blends in with the nearby Día De Los Muertos area, which also means the scare zone outside of the house will continue to be amazing. But more on that later.
Evil Dead Rise
Let's close out the houses on the upper lot with Evil Dead Rise. Most of the comments I've seen online have been "that house reminds me of the Hollywood Hotel house from last year". There is actually a reason for that. It is essentially the same house.
It was supposed to be Evil Dead Rise last year, but the movie got amazing test scores so was moved to this year so it could be in theaters. And so they had to come up with a new theme for a house that was already designed, and presumably built.
That being said, you shouldn't sleep on this house, or on Evil Dead Rise the film, both are fantastic and well worth your time. I'm a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise and all of the houses they've done at HHN, and this one is no different.
Like with Hollywood Hotel last year, I do think this house is almost "too big" which makes it hard for the talent to reset, but the set pieces are fantastic and we loved this house the two times we've been through so far.
Let's move down to the lower lot and start off with the house from a film that's not even out yet, Exorcist Believer. I will say, this house definitely makes me want to see the film even more now. I will also say that this house definitely marks the return of the "HHN Smells". You may want to become a mouth breather for this one.
I definitely found the second half of this house to be far stronger than the first, which now that I think of it is pretty on-par with Exorcist houses and movies. You've got your set up, and then your payoff.
This house is far worth your time, and it will be interesting to come back into this one after the movie is out.
Holidayz in Hell
Let's move right next door to The Exorcist and take a trip back to Holidayz in Hell. Back after a couple of years off, the house is just as fun and creepy as it was in 2019.
Hard to believe this started off as "Dark Christmas" all the way back in 2014 and then a scare zone in 2018, before becoming a full-fledged house in 2019.
There are definitely a few additions to the house this year, at least there seemed to be. This was my favorite house in 2019 and it is definitely one of my favorites from this year so far. It's such a fun and inventive theme.
Wondering if this will make it's way to Orlando at some point, I know the fans out there have been asking for it.
Stranger Things 4
Alright, you've waited long enough, let's conclude our walkthrough of HHN Houses with what could possibly be the two most popular houses in the history of the event. Stranger Things 4 continues the story of our favorite kids from Hawkins as they journey into the Upside Down once again.
This is the third Stranger Things house at HHN and it may be my favorite one so far. The sets in this one are absolutely spectacular. On Thursday it felt as if the ending was a bit abrupt, but I didn't feel that way on Sunday.
The Last of Us
The last house of HHN 2023 is The Last of Us, based on the popular Playstation video game. And we do mean VERY popular. This might be the most popular house at this years event so if you don't have express or get there for early entry, you are going to wait.
I have yet to finish the game, but they've really brought it to life here.
The actors in this house are to be commended for bringing the characters of Joel and Ellie to life and really telling the story of The Last of Us.
These two houses are VERY popular, so be sure you're using Early Entry and our Survival Guide
Back this year is the Terror Tram, with maybe the most ridiculous theme they've ever had, Exterminatorz. In this Universal Studios Hollywood exclusive, Larry Larva invites you to the Universal Backlot where his billions of bugs are waiting to exterminate all the humans.
If you've done the Terror Tram before, you pretty much know what to expect, but this years theme is very fun, has some great acting, and Larry Larva is just a hoot.
Also back this year is the Nope and Us set, so the Terror Tram is a bit longer again.
This had very low waits opening weekend, but it's definitely worth your time even if you've done the Terror Tram before.
There are three scare zones at HHN Hollywood 2023, Terror De Las Mommias (French Street), Toyz (NY Street) and Ghostz (Front Gate).
All are super fun and definitely creepy. If you've done HHN Hollywood in the past you pretty much know what to expect from the two scare zones at the front of the park. But there is a show in the Toyz scare zone (under the fire) that they do a few times a night.
Terror De Las Mommias is a continuation of the Monstruos house, and features some of the most amazing lighting and artwork we've ever seen at Halloween Horror Nights.
While not technically a scare zone, the Death Eaters are back in Wizarding World. Filled with fire and excellent lighting, this is definitely worth a walk-through or two during your visit.
HHN 2023 Features two shows, The Purge: Dangerous Waters and Blumhouse Behind The Screams.
We did not get a chance to visit Blumhouse Behind The Screams opening weekend but will make it a point to this upcoming weekend.
The Purge Dangerous Waters is a return of an HHN show in the Waterworld theater. If you were lucky enough to have seen the former Slaughterworld, or have seen videos, you'll know that show was very tongue-in-cheek. The Purge is not.
That said, the show is a lot of fun and definitely worth your time.
Lastly, let's take a look at some food, well, one food. We admittedly did not eat much opening weekend, but here are some pics of a few menus and food places/bars around the park. We will definitely get into the food part of HHN, but that may need to be it's own update.
That's going to wrap it up for our opening weekend coverage of Halloween Horror Nights. We hope you enjoyed!
This is definitely a strong year for this event, there is not one weak spot of the entire event other than some operational changes that I'm sure they'll make prior to the second weekend. We can't wait to get back and visit more with our Frequent Fear Pass!
Every year Halloween Horror Nights seems to get bigger and bigger, and so do the crowds. 2022 was one of the busiest years for Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood and given the line-up of attractions for 2023, we expect pretty much the same thing this year.
Below you will find some of our tips for making the most out of your Halloween Horror Nights experience. Some do's and don'ts and most importantly, what should be your "plan of attack" for the night.
You can also check out the HHN site for more information on tickets, hours, etc.
Updated September 10, 2023!
September: 7-10, 14-17, 21-23, 27-30
October: 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, Halloween Night
Recommended house order with early entry
This rundown of recommended houses is if you are using early entry. If you aren't doing Early Entry, we have a recommended house order list below.
Front of the Line tip: If lines are short when you get to the a particular attraction DO NOT use your Front of the Line Pass. Go through once in the stand-by line and then use your Front of the Line later in the evening. This way you get two trips through each House. With no backlot this year, getting back to a favorite house will be rather easy.
Updated September 10, 2023
Stranger Things OR Last of Us
During Early Entry (without Express), our recommendation is to do EITHER Stranger Things or Last of Us. NOT BOTH!
These two houses are among the most popular houses in the history of HHN so far. If you try to do both during early entry, one is going to be a very quick wait, and the other is going to be long, and you won't be able to do any other houses during early entry.
Do one of these houses first, then Exorcist and Holidayz in Hell (in that order) and then move up to the Upper Lot houses. Come back to do the house you didn't experience at the end of the night. Better to wait then, than at the beginning of the night.
Express Tip: If you have Express, this year it is recommended that you just go ahead and use it for all of the lower lot houses during early entry. You should be able to get through all 4 houses before the upper lot houses open.
Exorcist and Holidays in Hell
After completing either Last of Us or Stranger Things, you will be right at the entrance for both Exorcist and Holidayz in Hell. We recommend doing Exorcist first because as you exit The Exorcist, there is a path directly to Holidayz in Hell making it very easy to do both.
Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America
This house opens at 6:30, and if you've utilized the strategy above, you should be up here right at 6:30 and have a walk-on for Monstruos. Fair warning however, this is a tent house and has some bright spots right at 6:30. At least for the next couple of weeks.
So if that is an issue for you, it is recommended that you head straight for the Curious George houses and come back to do Monstruos when you do Evil Dead.
Express Tip: You will not need to use your Express if you are here at 6:30. Go through once, and then come back and enjoy the house later in the evening.
Curious George Houses:
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count and Universal Monsters: Unmasked
After exiting Monstruos, head straight through Hogsmeade and directly to Universal Monsters: Unmasked and Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count.
Our first recommendation was to do Universal Monsters and then Chucky. We are definitely flipping that. Definitely hit Chucky first and then Universal Monsters. The word of mouth for Chucky is VERY strong.
That being said, these are two VERY solid houses and are very much worth your time.
Express Tip: If you happen to get here and the lines or short (30 minutes or less), go through the Stand-By line and then use your Front of the Line so you get to experience each house twice.
Evil Dead Rise
After getting through the Curious George houses, head back through Hogsmeade and visit Evil Dead Rise. If you didn't do Monstruos at 6:30 do so now as everybody who came into the park at 7:00 is definitely heading to the lower lot or Curious George houses.
If you do need to do both, our recommendation is Evil Dead Rise first, and then Monstruos. It just makes the most sense due to where the entrance/exit of each house is.
Express Tip: Just like before, if the stand-by lines are relatively short (30 minutes or less) go through the stand-by line and then you can experience both of these houses one last time on your way out.
Death Eaters in Wizarding World and Terror Tram: The Exterminatorz
This is usually the part of the yearly guide where we tell you to take a break, grab a snack, etc. And this year the Death Eaters will once again be out in Wizarding World, so this is probably a great place to take that break.
Express Tip: If the line for the Terror Tram is relatively short, 30 minutes or less, you CAN go through the stand-by line and use your Front of the Line later. But remember, this experience generally takes 30-45 minutes from beginning to end and closes early, so you may not have time to do it twice. Plus, there's a LOT of walking on this one. =)
If you didn't take a break before now, it's a good time to do it. You can grab a snack in Springfield, at Dia De Los Muertos or Hogsmeade. In addition, single rider for Forbidden Journey was open during the event last year, so it's an easy trek from the Terror Tram over there.
Back to the Lower Lot:
Stranger Things OR Last of Us
It's now time to head back to the Lower Lot and visit the house you didn't visit earlier. Your wait WILL be long, 2 hours at least. So it's recommended that you grab a snack or two to enjoy in line.
RECOMMENDED HOUSE ORDER WITH NO EARLY ENTRY
Here is our recommended house order if you are getting to the event at 7:00PM.
And we do mean AT 7:00PM!
We saw people entering the event after 9:00pm last year, unless you have Express or a Frequent Fear Pass, don't be this person. You're not going to see much.
Check the wait times for the Lower Lot Houses. If they are 45 minutes or more, head to the Curious George Houses first. The lines will be there all night. Better to wait in some shorter lines and come back and wait for Stranger Things, Last of Us, Holidayz in Hell and The Exorcist.
Curious George Houses:
Lower Lot Houses:
Upper Lot Houses:
Remember, you can always get the After 11pm Express pass to make sure you can see everything without early entry.
There are also various food booths around the park.
After, let's face it, suffering through Jabbawockeez for the past few years, we are FINALLY getting not one, but two Halloween related shows. One is a "kind of" return of the fan favorite Slaughterworld, Purge: Dangerous Waters located in Waterworld. In addition, there will be a Blumhouse "Behind The Screams" show in the Dreamworks Theater.
In years past our guide has pretty much advised you to skip the live show during the event unless you really needed to see a dance show. Not this year! It's nice to have two shows back at the event to take a break and disperse crowds a bit more.
There are showtimes throughout the night, and since both shows are near the front of the park, we recommend doing these towards the end of the night. On opening night, there was no need to arrive for the Purge more than 15 minutes before show time. It's a HUGE theater.
Once you have completed all the houses you can hang around the scare zones and watch the talent, check the wait board to see if there are any short house or ride lines or if you have a Front of the Line Pass use up any trips you haven't already.
If you are brave enough, not tired enough, or want to experience a true Horror Nights Hollywood original, stay until the very end of the night and experience Chainsaw Chaseout. This is absolutely one of our favorite things every year, and we always make at least one late night trip to HHN to experience it (the benefits of having Frequent Fear).
Even if you're not staying for Chainsaw Chaseout, make sure you do some shopping, grab a t-shirt and hang out in the scare zones before heading out.
Drive home safely!
Universal Studios Hollywood Update: Halloween Horror Nights is SO CLOSE, Fast and Furious Progress - August 28, 2023
Time for an all new update from Universal Studios Hollywood! We've got a lot of prep for Halloween Horror Nights going on, the event begins in just about 10 days. Preparation for the Fast and Furious coaster is progressing, well, fast and furiously, get used to that joke.
We've got a lot to get into, so let's just get right to it!
Speaking of fantastic art work, absolutely LOVE these "movie" posters in the scare zone.
Fast and Furious Construction