October 28, 2021
  • 7:00 am Outstanding Professor Award Recipient’s Mic Drop Moment at Last Month’s Virtual Ceremony
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Universal Studios Hollywood decorates their main gate with characters of the three most anticipated mazes of the event, which include “The Exorcist,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House.”

By Jasmine Contreras and Catalina Garcia, Staff Writers

This is the story of a veteran and a rookie. One has twelve years under her belt and the other zero. We came together to tell you of our game plan for the chaotic Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights. 

Universal Studios seasonally hosts their terrifying haunt event that attracts the attention of the horror community and those seeking a thrill. Their main attractions consist of mazes based on popular horror movies and their own mazes that come from the minds of the Universal directors.

We went on Friday, Sept. 24. The day started off by driving together with excitement for the terrors that waited for us behind the gate of Horror Nights. We arrived to get our tickets scanned and immediately got rejected due to us not having early access. Under the rain as hundreds of people entered the park. It was disheartening. 

We bought our general admission tickets through California State University, Dominguez Hills, which offers discounts for theme parks; and Horror Nights was included. The fine print on the ticket did not mention early access not included. The information is on the website but we did not catch it until the embarrassing rejection. 

But we were not alone. In the eternal wait, we met Jordan Michalski and his friends. He was as excited as us for the mazes. “‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ maze is the one we are looking forward to the most, we heard online that it was the scariest one this year,” Michalski said. 

With not much to do in the line we started crafting our game plan. You need one, otherwise you will not be able to complete 80% of the mazes you desire to do. With Jasmine being the veteran she had all the suggestions. With Catalina being the rookie, she followed suit. The gates opened and we were ready to tackle this. 

First part of the plan was to speed walk to the park’s lower lot and attempt to do both of the most anticipated mazes “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”  and “The Exorcist”. To speed to the lower lot, we had to face the obstacles of a scare zone and four escalators. Which are a lot slower than we thought they were, so it felt like an eternity. 

Scary characters roam the open park wielding all kinds of weapons.

As we were approaching the entrance of the maze, Rookie Catalina was measuring her heart rate. For Veteran Jasmine, she appeared calm but internally she was nervous due to her watching “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie, resulting in a nightmare. In the nightmare, the hitchhiker invited her to a dinner Leatherface and his cannibalistic family were hosting. 

Once on the lower lot, we decided to do “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” maze first, with a wait time of 40 minutes. At this point, we started to doubt our game plan. Because, for “The Exorcist”, the wait time was probably an hour. 

We were discussing whether or not to do “The Exorcist” right after due to its extensive wait time. When Wesley Chicas walked out of “The Exorcist” maze, who was wearing horror movie apparel, mentioned to us that it was his favorite because it was gory.  Listening to his input, it made us excited, so we decided to do the maze after all. 

The second part of the plan was to go to the upper lot, the place for all the other mazes. We decided to do the “Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge” first because it was a low wait time of 10 minutes and it was the closest attraction to us. Being able to walk straight onto the maze with a low wait time was relieving because we did not feel like waiting in a long line. 

The “Terror Tram” is an attraction where a tram drops you off at a filming set in the backlot of the amusement park. You then have to walk through a “scare zone” where actors chase and terrorize you all the way to the end, where a second tram takes you back to the main park.                        

After the “Terror Tram” the third step of the plan was to go to the front section of the park to do the “Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives” maze. This is the only maze in the event that is not associated with a cult classic horror movie.

While in line, we met two girls named Lyli Muñoz-Morales and Desiree Valenzuela. They were in the same situation as us; a Veteran and a Rookie. Morales mentioned that this isn’t her first time coming to Horror Nights but wanted to experience her friend’s first time at a haunt event. 

Valenzuela gave her input on her experience so far, “… It’s different than I imagined. I don’t feel as scared as I thought I would.”

We exited the maze and were dazed with joy instead of fear to be then blindsided with a scare zone called “Silver Scream Queens.” This is where different female monsters, including the Bride of Frankenstein are.

For the fifth and final step of our game plan, we made our way through the main scare zone and we walked towards the “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” maze; which was at the “Water World” show area. The approximate wait time was 40 minutes. 

This was probably the highlight of the night because of our fascination with the “Halloween” franchise. We weren’t scared walking through the maze, we were excited to see the main character Michael Myers and experience our favorite scenes of the movie. 

We missed the last two mazes, Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Curse of Pandora’s Box”. Our appetite was stronger than doing more mazes and we ended up diverting from our original game plan. 

We sat next to the “Terror Tram” entrance to eat our churros and watched as people raced against time to get to the last tram before it closed for the night. After this, we admitted defeat and sat for the rest of the night. 

As we walked to the park’s exit, we had to pass through our last scare zone. After everything we encountered, Rookie Catalina gained confidence and was playing along with the scare actors. 

After we walked through mazes and stood in lines for seven hours, our feet hurt, our stomachs growled, and our bodies were tired. We reflected on the night and concluded that it was successful. Our game plan worked and finished five out of the eight mazes before midnight.

Rookie and Vets Horror Rank (Scariest to Least Scary):

  1. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” 
  2. “Universal Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein Lives”
  3. “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”
  4. “The Exorcist” 
  5. “Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge” 

Unable to rank Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House”  and “The Curse of Pandora’s Box”

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