When it comes to the annual Halloween Horror Nights celebrations at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando, you can usually expect a good mix of original ideas turned into mazes presented alongside haunted locations based on iconic horror films. In years past, the event has had mazes featuring just about every horror franchise imaginable, but one thing keeps coming back: John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Over the years, nine different mazes have focused on the Halloween movies, including a number of versions of the original story. But even in 2022, the first Halloween film is the basis for labyrinths on both coasts. Given that Horror Nights often has repeat customers year after year, we wondered why visitors to the parks never tired of hearing the story of Michael Myers told over and over again. However, as it turns out, even a 1978 film like the original Halloween can still be interpreted in entirely new ways that the creative teams at the theme parks haven’t done in the past.
“We’ve shot the movie before, but every time you experience it, it can be a completely different thing,” senior show director Matt Flood told GameSpot. “And that’s really true of every house we have. Every time you go through it, you may get a little scared from here and there. But because this is this iconic slasher movie, you have to relive it over and over again, it’s really cool too.”
And luckily, with so many previous Halloween mazes, there’s plenty of reference material for the team to look back to. According to the show’s senior manager Lora Sauls, “First we looked at our house that we made a few years ago. It was a great haunted house for us… But we’re also rewatching the movie. We really have to disassemble this film once again. We’ve all seen it hundreds of times, but we look at it with different eyes. I think we all brought something new to this year. I looked at him differently this year.
These new elements, which they’ve never accomplished before, include a specific moment from the film set at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, which takes place at the beginning of the film, as well as an iconic shot of Michael staring at the guests from atop a staircase.
“We’ve never done Smith’s Grove with the car – that whole scene,” Flood said. “It’s iconic stuff. For me, this car was almost like seeing Michael Myers in the movie.”
And he’s not wrong. GameSpot was able to walk through the maze and the moment you turn a corner and see that old station wagon staring at you, you know the slasher killer is lurking in the dark, waiting for the moment to strike – and through a punch, we mean leaping out from behind a corner to scare you to death.
Moments like this, mixed with other iconic scenes – and earlier-used maze gags like the Hall of Mirrors filled with Michaels – make for an exciting experience even all these years later. And while Michael Myers may be nearing the final chapter of his story in the upcoming movie Halloween Ends, there’s something special about reliving the first movie – and even Halloween’s II and IV turned into mazes – every two years. Now all they have to do is work to bring fans the Halloween III: Season of the Witch maze they so desperately want.
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights through October 31 at Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood. In addition to Halloween, the parks will feature mazes based on the music of The Weeknd, Blumhouse titles Black Phone and Freaky Friday, as well as one featuring a number of iconic monsters from Universal.
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