The biggest challenges for Murdy and his team for this year’s six Universal mazes included figuring out how to depict the freaked-out kid from “Insidious” constantly shivering in his bed while toy rocking horses galloped by themselves. Also troublesome was how hordes of guests could be vomited on all night long by an “Evil Dead” demon.
“They’re all like little science projects,” said Murdy. “No matter how successful we were the previous year, our philosophy is to always treat it like it’s the first year we’re back in business.”
Beyond the rotating attractions at Halloween Horror Nights, a few celebrities have invested in their own haunted attractions. “Hostel” filmmaker Eli Roth opened his year-round maze Goretorium in Las Vegas last year, and Neil Patrick Harris serves as one of the producers of Delusion, an annual theatrical Halloween experience taking place this year in an old Los Angeles church.
Several spooks at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights are hyping new releases from the entertainment industry. Besides Sabbath’s “13,” there’s a “scare zone” populated by actors dressed as the nasty Chucky doll from the direct-to-DVD sequel “Curse of Chucky,” and a new maze incorporating supernatural elements from the “Insidious” films.
“I think it strengthens the brand,” said Jason Blum, producer of “The Purge,” ‘‘Insidious” and “Paranormal Activity” horror flicks. “Because it’s done so well, it also gives us a little more street cred. In the case of ‘The Purge,’ there’s so much mythology that wasn’t necessarily included in the first film, it makes it well suited to a live event.”
In addition to the attractions based on both “Insidious” chapters and “The Purge” at Universal Studios, Blum and his Blumhouse production company are hosting their own Halloween event that expands on the kill-or-be-killed mythology of “The Purge” in a shuttered theater in downtown LA.