Today it's time to take a look at the goings on at Universal Studios Hollywood as they prepare for Halloween Horror Nights which begins in just, wait, 9 days? Wow.
It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in Southern California (VERY fall-like, well for us) so we'll also share some pictures of the park courtesy of Matt.
Pictures by Matthew Nelson
Written by Gregg Condon
What better way to start off a Universal Studios Hollywood update than in Hogsmeade?
I'm not an Owl ...
No sign of Yakko, Wakko and Dot ...
Let's take the Starway down for a look at the lower lot ... raise your hand if you have kind of forgotten there is a Lower Lot at Universal Studios Hollywood since about April. =)
From up here the Exorcist doesn't look very scary.
Not sure I've ever been so excited for a maze ... ever.
Even though it was very cool for Labor Day Weekend, it was still warm enough for a trip through Jurassic Park
This one is happy to see you
The Studio Tour is a must do of course ...
Construction on the all new Halloween Maze is going along quite nicely.
Due to filming on the backlot we weren't able to get any shots of the mazes that will be down here, but still plenty of activity going on.
Look for this in a Movie/TV Show/Commercial/Music Video (those are apparently still a thing) near you ...
These are how they keep you locked up for HHN ...
Just time for a quick bite ...
More HHN Prep ...
It's too bad they couldn't somehow incorporate this in to HHN
What's up Orlando ...
Doesn't look too Psycho to me
Lots of work going on for the Terror Tram. Some kind of facade here and lots of stuff to walk through. Yay!!
Just wish we could have the fire back
Work on the humongous new soundstages is progressing quite nicely. Or just chilling on break.
It's just too bad John and crew couldn't have gotten one year of HHN use out of these soundstages before they are put to use. Could you imagine the amazing pair of mazes they could have had here?
Speaking of amazing mazes ...
Thankfully since the attraction has opened there's been no toning down of the scares ... in fact, we've heard it's gotten even scarier, which is awesome.
And we'll leave you with one of the amazing performers at the park. They truly are the best.
Since Halloween Horror Nights starts next week that means we'll have our world famous HHN Strategy Guide up early next week. Well, maybe not World Famous ... LA famous? ... Internet Famous? ... well, it's famous somewhere if only in our own mind.
So be sure to check back for that next week.
After The Walking Dead premiere yesterday we decided to spend some time at the park because we could, and we had taken the day off. (if you missed our coverage of The Walking Dead check it out here)
Written by Gregg Condon
Below is a quick update from the park including some HHN preparation pics as well as some work going on near Transformers for a new attraction that everybody knows about but isn't announced yet so we'll call it "The Public Death of Wild Animals" (that's opposite of what it is right? ;) )
A busy park without AP's ... imagine that. =)
Down on the lower lot work is already going on for HHN
The spot for "The Public Death of Wild Animals" ...
The new soundstages near the Metro Sets are HUGE and coming along quite nicely.
Maze at the Metro sets ... from looking at this facade we are about 95% we have this one figured out.
Since Universal Florida decided to send out their humidity since they are mad that Universal Hollywood got The Walking Dead, we needed some yummy refreshments in the afternoon at one of our favorite spots in the park.
We hadn't seen Waterworld in about 10 years, so we were overdue
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for this update. We're probably about another month or so away from getting our Annual Passes again and resuming regular park updates but we hope this one is enough to hold you over in the meantime.
Yesterday we were invited out to Universal Studios Hollywood to check out the all new Walking Dead attraction.
The first half of this update contains ZERO spoilers, and is just about the opening ceremony and outside queue. There are warnings before we get into spoiler territory, so feel free to read on.
Written by Gregg Condon
Pictures by Gregg Condon and Kristi Condon
We arrived early in the morning to take on The Walking Dead (and a whole bunch of media people, some who were nicer than others)
After being bumped for being "too tall" we settled in for the opening ceremonies.
Greg Nicotero was on hand to talk about all the great work that went into the attraction.
Some of the cast, past and present (well, mostly past as is the nature of the show)
Suddenly a horde of walkers invades (it was actually pretty awesome, be sure to check it out in our video below)
Didn't see a whole lot of warning signs out, but these guys should give an indication of what's coming
If you thought Walkers were the biggest problem you'd have, you were wrong
Caution: Spoilers Below!!!
We were able to get two videos yesterday (even though we only got to go through the attraction once).
First up is our 360° video ... it's kind of dark but it gives a great idea of the maze. If you have a VR set up be sure to watch it with that, or if not be sure to watch it with headphones as it's also got 360° audio.
Next up is our video of the opening ceremony (complete with walkers and big explosions), some of the queue and of course an HD Walk-Through of the attraction.
Ok, this is your last chance to avoid spoilers, our review starts NOW!!!
Walk-Through attractions have a mixed history at Universal Studios Hollywood. Many of you may remember that the former location of House of Horrors wasn't always a walk-through attraction. It was actually a restaurant called Marvel Mania.
In 1999 this location became a walk-through for the movie Chicken Run. In 2002 this would be replaced by The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom which would turn into Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula in 2004. And then finally in 2006 this former restaurant would become House of Horrors.
Along with House of Horrors came many (MANY) different theme overlays for Halloween Horror Nights to make it different than the daytime attraction. Both good, and well, not so good.
All of this history is to kind of lay out what they had to work with in the past when it came to daytime walk-through attractions. Now they have none of those restrictions as The Walking Dead has been built in a building that is brand new and actually built for a Walk-Through attraction. And it really shows.
You start off inside the queue and you are in the hospital from the pilot episode. They don't wait to start freaking you out and the entire inside queue is the hospital. No different themes in each room which is nice.
This of course includes the iconic "Don't Open Dead Inside" door which is amazing.
The large queue area (switchbacks) are also themed to the hospital but it gets you in the mood for "The Walking Dead" with incredible lighting and sound effects.
As you enter the maze you are instantly transported into the world of The Walking Dead. yes, it's similar to an HHN maze, but as good as those are from a technological and themeing standpoint, this attraction raises that bar, and raises it significantly.
Because it's permanent there are no plywood walls, the effects are amazing and the lighting and sound quality are as good if not better than most other permanent attractions.
As you walk through the attraction you are of course greeted by walkers, but due to the size and scope of the attraction you are treated to acted out scenes between walkers and the survivors in locations such as the burning cabin, the prison and more.
And even though it's permanent, you can easily see how they can change things out in subsequent years to add new things from the show.
If you have grown tired of The Walking Dead mazes at HHN we get it, but this is on a completely other level and that we can experience it 365 days a year and get our "Scare Fix" anytime we want is amazing.
One other tidbit I'll add, I'm so glad they decided to skip over the Terminus theme, that was terribly tired and played out from the HHN mazes.
So be sure to check out the attraction after it opens next week, we can't wait to get back and do the walk-through more without having to film it.
Thanks again to Universal Studios Hollywood for having us out, we had an amazing time. You've once again raised the bar and we can't wait to see what you come up with next.
We will have a "general" park update later today or tomorrow.