Tag Archives: Chris Williams

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 Review

Horror_Nights_2015_4957It’s always a weird thing when the opening of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights comes and goes. There’s so much hype leading up to the event – from Creative Director/Executive Producer John Murdy’s cryptic messages and hints on social media, to the major announcement he and Art Director Chris Williams make each summer at ScareLA in Los Angeles, and the sneak preview of some of the mazes that Theme Park Adventure has been privileged to attend for the past several years. It’s strange, because before we know it, we’re there, walking through the mazes, shooting video in the scare zones, taking it all in, and then – just like that, we find ourselves driving home at 3 a.m. discussing what we liked and didn’t like about the event – and how crazy it is that HHN has already come and gone for us.

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Sneak Peek of Insidious: Return to The Further at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights 2015

Halloween Horror Nights Insidious MazeOne of the hottest mazes at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights in 2013 was Insidious: Into The Further, based on the popular Insidious film franchise. While I am personally not a huge fan of the movies, I felt the 2013 maze was really well done; it certainly was a fan favorite. When this year’s Insidious: Return to The Further was announced for Halloween Horror Nights, fans reacted very positively to the news.

Recently, Theme Park Adventure was invited along with a handful of other media outlets to get a sneak preview tour of Insidious: Return to The Further by John Murdy, Creative Director and Executive Producer of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Total transparency here – on that same day, we toured Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home. Being a huge fan of Halloween, that was the one maze I was absolutely interested in checking out; Return to The Further was a “whatever” for me, since I am not really into the film franchise itself.

That said, after walking through Insidious: Return to The Further, I have to say that I was beyond impressed – and if the maze looks half as creepy and incredibly well-designed in the dark as it does in the daylight, this could very well be the maze of the season at Halloween Horror Nights. Without doubt, if you are a fan of the films, Return to The Further is going to make your mind melt.

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Sneak Peek of Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights 2015

Halloween Michael Myers Comes Home HHNOne of the most highly-anticipated maze of 2015 at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights is Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home. Announced to cheering fans during ScareLA this summer, this marks the second time Myers has been featured as part of the HHN lineup here in Southern California, the first being in 2009.

Creative Director/Executive Producer of Halloween Horror Nights and Art Director of HHN here in California, John Murdy and Chris Williams, both have a long-standing love of John Carpenter’s Halloween, and have been waiting for the perfect time to bring The Shape back to terrorize the inhabitants of Haddonfield, and the thousands of guests who flock to Universal Studios Hollywood each night during the world-famous Halloween event.

After 6 years, Michael Myers has come home.

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Making Monsters: The Art of Terror Coming to ScareLA 2015

Art of Terror Logo

Following last year’s very successful Making Monsters panel presentation, ScareLA is excited to announce this summer’s second iteration – Making Monsters: The Art of Terror. Hosted by Rick West, Programming Producer for ScareLA and Founder and Editor of Theme Park Adventure, Making Monsters 2015 will bring together art directors from Southern California’s largest Halloween attractions to discuss the creative process that goes into designing each haunt and the roles they play individually within their teams.

Art directors help create and approve the overall look of a haunted attraction – from facades to individual scenes, monsters, and scare zones. Through concept sketches and highly-detailed renderings, art directors guide teams through production, construction, and installation to ensure the final product turns out just as the team originally envisioned.

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Toon TERRORtory at Knott’s Scary Farm 1996 – Throwback Thursday

Toon-Terrortory-Knotts-Haunt-1996 (3)This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to 1996, to a new maze at Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt called Toon TERRORtory!

Toon TERRORtory was a short-lived attraction, lasting only two years at Halloween Haunt – 1996 and 1997. Guests would enter the maze from Ghost Town; the footprint was in the California Marketplace, roughly where the gate/secondary entrance is today near the base of GhostRider’s lift hill.

In a departure from typical Halloween Haunt mazes, Toon TERRORtory was one of very few “humorous” mazes in the history of the event. Maze designer Todd Faux, along with creative direction and input from Chris Williams (yes, kids, that Chris Williams) created an alternate reality cartoon world for the strange attraction, using well-known characters such as Speed Racer, and Beavis and Butthead, along with pre-war era-inspired monsters/characters as well!

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