Fans of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will tell you, John Murdy (Creative Director, HHN Hollywood) and Chris Williams (Art Director, HHN Hollywood) have wanted to land The Exorcist for a long time as an HHN maze property. At the same time, whenever the subject has been brought up in public, fans return the desire with enthusiastic cheers and applause. This week, that unholy wish has been granted, as Universal announced The Exorcist for both its California and Florida events.
In an interview I did with Chris Williams, he noted that the one IP he’s always wanted to have as a maze at Horror Nights is The Exorcist.
“I began entertaining that thought five or six years ago. I’m a very spiritual person,” explained Williams. “The more I thought about it, I would love to make it so scary on Saturday night, that you might find yourself sitting in church on Sunday morning!”
Williams and Murdy, as well as Michael Aiello (Orlando HHN Creative Director) finally get their shot this Halloween. One can only imagine the iconic moments from the classic horror film that fans will literally become part of. My guess is that the maze experience will begin in the MacNeil home, the facade being the famous frontage illuminated by the street lamp below as mist rolls through the street. There will be frightening imagery – and no doubt, unsettling sound cues – at every turn, culminating in the heart-pounding confrontation with Regan in her room. I can imagine the room being cold enough for HHN guests to almost see their breath.
The big question is, how many bedroom moments will we get as Regan begins her horrifying transformation? A huge chunk of The Exorcist takes place in her bedroom, so I’d imagine we’ll see her two or three times as the bed bucks and bounces, she sprays vomit on passersby (water gag, without a doubt), and perhaps that one shot from the film where she is beautifully silhouetted in front of an apparition of the Pazuzu statuette. Naturally, it’s going to be very interesting to see how Universal pulls off the infamous “Spider Walk” scene where a contorted Regan comes quickly down a flight of stairs, blood pouring from her open mouth; people will freak if that descends toward them in the darkness!
Of course, we won’t know until September – but it’s sure fun to speculate what perhaps the most-anticipated maze ever in the history of Halloween Horror Nights will bring. By announcing The Exorcist maze so early, one has to wonder if Universal has possibly already revealed the biggest maze in its 2016 arsenal. John Murdy has noted publicly that he feels this is possibly the strongest HHN Hollywood lineup ever – so, we will simply have to wait to find out what else is in store!
- Rick West
Here’s the release from Universal:
For the first time ever, supernatural thriller, The Exorcist will take possession of Halloween Horror Nights in all-new horrifying mazes opening at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort beginning this September.
The twisted minds behind the nation’s best, most intense Halloween events will bring to life one of the scariest and most nightmare-inducing horror films in history.
At Universal Orlando Resort, guests will see, hear, feel – and even smell – every iconic levitating, head-spinning, vomit-wrenching, skin-crawling moment from the film. They’ll be paralyzed with fear as they witness the power of the supernatural, scream uncontrollably as they become part of Regan MacNeil’s possession and run in terror as they try to escape the horrific battle between innocence and evil.
Universal Studios Hollywood’s The Exorcist maze will resonate as a real life interpretation of the demonic film, daring Halloween Horror Nights guests to live the nightmare experienced by a tortured Regan and her determined mother. The maze will recreate some of the film’s most haunting scenes, ushering guests into its unparalleled terror as if their very souls were possessed by the devil.
Revered as one of the scariest movies of all-time, The Exorcist earned its place in history as the first horror film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. Directed by William Friedkin, the film also established itself as leading influence in pop culture horror, affecting a multitude of subsequent films since its terrifying debut in 1973.
Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando and Hollywood to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on anything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.
Additional details about Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Hollywood, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.