When you already have such heavy-hitters as Stranger Things, Trick ‘r Treat, and Poltergeist coming to Halloween Horror Nights, how do you top yourself? The answer, it turns out, is easy – invite all of the classic properties that helped to make horror cinema what it is today.
Universal has announced today that its lineup of various classic monsters will be getting their very own maze, called Universal Monsters. This marks the first time that Frankenstein’s Monster, his Bride, and the Invisible Man will be headlining their own haunted house in some six years – making this a (potential) return to form in more ways than one.
The Universal Monsters need no introduction, given their 95-year presence in popular culture, but we’re going to sketch out a very brief recap, anyway. In 1923, just 11 years after Universal Pictures was founded, the studio released The Hunchback of Notre Dame, setting the stage for a long and successful range of various horror and suspense movies – though this sub-market wouldn’t reach the filmic stratosphere until 1931, when Frankenstein (the 10th overarching installment!) hit theaters. The very first occurrence of what is today called a shared cinematic universe, the various characters and monsters, from the Mummy to Abbott and Costello, would take turns starring in their own releases and making guest appearances in each other’s, providing the formula for a meta-successful run at the box office that wouldn’t come to a complete end until 1960 (with The Leech Woman).
It should come as no surprise, then, that the classic figures would be present at Halloween Horror Nights from the event’s very earliest days in the late ‘80s and ‘90s (when Universal made a few different attempts at jumpstarting the fall celebration), all the way to today, appearing in countless haunts, scare zones, shows, and the signature Terror Tram. What’s that? You want some highlights over this three-decade tenure? No problem – we would have to point to the Classic Monster Maze (from ’97), Universal Monsters Remix (’12 and ‘13), and, of course, House of Horrors, the year-round maze that debuted for HHN 2006 and ran all the way through to 2014.
For 2018, though, the company that horror built is getting a little on the experimental side. As Universal itself puts it:
After decades of rot and decay as they lay moldering in their graves, the Universal Monsters’ disdain for the living has risen to a bloodthirsty, all-consuming level.
Guests will enter the classic figures’ “eternal resting place” and get to witness their resurrections – and the start of their quest for revenge against a world that has, apparently, forgotten them. In addition to getting brand-new, modern-day iterations of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, the Invisible Man, and the Wolf Man (Universal promises these new designs will “underscore each of their unique attributes”), attendees will also experience an original, exclusive musical soundtrack, composed by the Grammy Award-winning Slash.
(What’s even more exciting is that we’ll be getting a double-dose of the famous cinematic figures for this year’s HHN, as Universal has already announced that one of 2018’s five scare zones is The Danse of the Dead, a “macabre monster masquerade ball inspired by the original Universal Classic Monster movies The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Score!)
Universal Monsters will join Stranger Things, Trick ‘r Treat, The First Purge, Poltergeist, and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, which starts on Friday, September 14 and runs for select nights throughout the rest of that month and on into October and November.
Find out everything you ever wanted to know about HHN – plus more! – in our insider’s guide.