As we prepare for the spooky season, there are so many fun events to look forward to, including Halloween Horror Nights at Universal.
If you’re as excited as me to get there ASAP, check out this list of horror movies to watch to get in the mood!
What is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal?
Halloween Horror Nights, or HHN, is Universal Studios’ Halloween-themed bash that takes place for a month and a half every year at both the California and Florida locations with similar, but slightly different haunted houses and scare zones. While the haunted houses are indoors, scare zones are open areas outside that you have to walk through (they’re a lot like haunted mazes). Both types of attractions focus on theming; some are based on popular media properties and others are original ones that Universal has come up with on their own.
Since Universal is known for its focus on continuity, it takes the details in its houses that are based on scary movies or TV shows very seriously. For instance, if there was a blood splatter on a particular wall in a film, you can bet the house that’s based on it will have an identical one.
@itsjojosiwaLiterally the SCARIEST night 👻♬ Halloween – Claudio Simonetti
Jojo Siwa and her girlfriend were so scared!
Pro tip from a HHN veteran: make sure you’re buying the ticket for the right park. It’s really common for people to buy Universal Orlando tickets when they want to go to Universal Studios Hollywood and vice versa.
Of course, you can go to Halloween Horror Nights without watching the movies and TV shows that the attractions are based on. However, if you’re like me, I love to watch everything before visiting. After all, it’s more fun to take part in the festivities if you’re in on what they’re portraying.
Halloween Horror Nights: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a horror franchise consisting of 8 films and additional entertainment like video games and comics. It focuses on the cannibal serial killer, Leatherface, and his family, who live in the countryside of Texas, where they terrorize anyone who sets foot in their path.
This movie is a really fun one to watch for Halloween. It’s so scary! In the movie, after Sally (Marilyn Burns) and Franklin (Paul A. Partain) hear that their grandfather’s grave may have been vandalized, they and their friends set out to explore. After a detour to their family’s old farm, they discover a gang of murderers living next door. The group is attacked by Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) who wields a chainsaw and a mask made of human skin. The group has to fight to escape and survive.
Both Orlando and Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights feature haunted houses based on the 1974 American slasher film.
You can stream the movie on Tubi.
Halloween Horror Nights: The Bride of Frankenstein
“Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives” is a house based on Universal Pictures’ 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein (sequel to the 1931 movie Frankenstein). It’s located at both Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando.
The Bride of Frankenstein takes place after the first movie. Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is recovering from injuries from the mob attack on him and the Monster (Boris Karloff). Dr. Frankenstein goes back under the control of his mentor, Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger), who wants him to return to making a new life, specifically a mate for the Monster. The Monster is still on the run from those who don’t understand him. While Frankenstein’s Monster does have a lack of self-control, his intentions are good.
At Halloween Horror Nights, this brand new attraction is a haunted maze where visitors follow the story of the Bride doing anything she can to rescue Frankenstein’s Monster. The score is provided by legendary rock guitarist Slash.
Stream the movie on Peacock.
Halloween Horror Nights: The Exorcist
The Exorcist is a horror movie series consisting of 6 films based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty. The original is known to be one of the scariest movies of all time! Released in 1973, it follows the exorcism of Regan (Linda Blair) and is loosely based on real events. Regan has started to levitate and speak in a language no one understands. When her mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help for her daughter, it’s dead end after dead end. However, a local priest (Jason Miller) thinks Regan is possessed by the devil and seeks help from an expert (Max von Sydow) to help him exorcise the young girl.
This brand new haunted maze that centers on this spooky tale is located exclusively at Universal Studios Hollywood. Get ready to get full-body chills!
You can’t stream the movie right now, but you can rent it on Apple TV.
Halloween Horror Nights: Halloween
Halloween is a slasher franchise consisting of 11 films and many spin-offs including novels, comics, and video games. The series follows Michael Myers, who was put in a mental hospital after the murder of his sister. He escapes to stalk and kill people in a town in Illinois. All of his killings happen on Halloween, which is when all of the films take place. The next installment, Halloween Kills, is set to be released in theatres on October 15th.
This haunted maze is located at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights and is based on Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. The film is a 1988 slasher and the fourth installment in the franchise. While Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) is transferring from one hospital to another, he hears the ambulance staff talk about his surviving niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris). He slaughters the ambulance staff and goes to find his one living relative.
Stream it on Amazon Prime Video.
Halloween Horror Nights: The Purge
The Purge experience is a bit different than the other houses at Halloween Horror Nights. It’s called Terror Tram: The Ultimate Purge. Terror Tram is back this year at Universal Studios Hollywood after first appearing in 2015. This attraction is a nighttime version of the Universal Backlot Tour. While the description of the experience doesn’t list a particular movie the ride is based on, it does say that characters from all of The Purge movies, including the most recent, The Forever Purge, will show up.
The Purge is an anthology movie franchise. It follows the concept of a “purge,” an annual holiday, where all crime is legal for 12 hours in order to avoid crime the rest of the year. Each movie has a different premise and follows a different group of people who are put in these circumstances.
Stream the series on Hulu.
Halloween Horror Nights: Beetlejuice
— J. Miles Dale (@milofx1) January 21, 2020
Beetlejuice is a horror comedy film released in 1988. The film follows recently-deceased couple Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) who are stuck haunting their home while the annoying Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara and Jeffrey Jones) and their daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) move into their space. The Maitlands try to scare the family away without success. That is until they attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), an unpredictable spirit whose help quickly becomes chaotic and dangerous.
This is the inaugural year for this haunted house that’s located at Universal Studios Orlando. According to the Halloween Horror Nights website, as you travel through the attraction, “the original film comes to life, more twisted and terrifying than ever. Beetlejuice will haunt, taunt and send you screaming out of the haunted house.”
Stream the movie on Hulu.
Halloween Horror Nights 2021 takes place on select nights from September 3-October 31. Visit the Universal Studios website to buy tickets and get more information before heading to the parks for a scare.
I’m so excited for Halloween Horror Nights. While I don’t live anywhere close to Universal Studios Hollywood, I’m heading to HHN in Orlando. I’m most excited for the Beetlejuice house.
What houses and attractions interest you the most? Let us know on Twitter!
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