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Halloween update: A look at Universal Studios Hollywood and Busch Gardens Williamsburg

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Published: September 9, 2010 at 9:39 PM

It's the calm before the storm in Central Florida as the last minute preparations for this year's haunting season are under way. So this week we are catching up with a couple other haunted events across the nation.

First stop: Universal Studios Hollywood is preparing to bring the legend of movie horror to live at this year's Halloween Horror Nights. For 17 nights this year with five new maze experiences, new "Scare Zones," a new "Terror Tram" backlot experience and the new King Kong 360 3D, Universal sure has one blockbuster lineup.

The all new mazes this year include:

  • A Nightmare On Elm Street: Never Sleep Again
  • Friday the 13th: Kill, Jason, Kill!
  • Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses in 3D Zombievison
  • Vampyre: Castle of the Undead
  • Saw: Game On

The six all new scare zones include:

  • La Llorona - Cross paths with La Llorona ("The Crying Woman") who, after drowning her children and herself, returns to haunt the living, wailing for her lost children ("Aaaay, mis hijos") and searching for new souls to replace them.
  • Nightmarez - Where Freddy Krueger is watching your every move.
  • Klownz - An ultra-violent gang of killer clowns take over The Big Apple.
  • Lunaticz - Freed from the cruel confines of the Asylum, these blood-crazed loonies have begun a murderous rampage through the foggy streets of London.
  • Freakz - A renegade band of out-of-work sideshow performers have set up camp on the smoke-choked streets of Paris... and developed a taste for human flesh.
  • Pigz - If you’re headed to Saw: Game On, you’ll have to pass through a gauntlet of chainsaw-wielding Pigz.

Halloween Horror Nights will run September 24, 25 and October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16,17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31. The event will begin nightly at 7 p.m.; closing hours vary by night throughout the event.

Universal has a special deal going on for all Rob Zombie music fans. If you purchase a full price Halloween Horror Nights Ticket at $59 you get a free ticket to Rob Zombie & Alice Cooper’s concert at the Gibson on September 30. The Halloween Horror Nights ticket is valid for any one of the following nights: 10/1, 10/2, 10/8, 10/17, 10/21/ 10/24. There are very limited supplies for this deal and this combo ticket (including both Halloween Horror Nights and the concert) must be purchased from Live Nation. For other tickets, visit the official website at www.halloweenhorrornights.com/hollywood.

Second Stop: Howl-O-Scream 2010 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg begins September 24 and continues every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 31.

This year guests entering the park will notice that each country has been completely transformed: Victorian-era England at its darkest hour, hundreds of tombstones in Scotland, a rat-plagued village in France. The haunted houses for 2010 include "Bitten," "Catacombs," "Cursed," "Havest Hollow," "Hunted," and "Revenge of Pompeii."

This year will also feature six spooky shows including "Frakenrock," "Jack is Back," "The Count's Halloween Spooktacular," "Monster Stomp Revamped," and "Movies of the Macabre."

Howl-O-Scream is not just for adults but also offers attractions for the little ones. The park’s youngest guests can Howl-O-Scream at Sesame Street Forest of Fun and the whole family can experience the spooky setting of an abandoned expedition camp in the ruins of Pompeii. This guided tour will take guests through the haunted house to explore a creepy atmosphere, but with no startled scares. The family-friendly version of Revenge of Pompeii runs from noon until 5:30 p.m.

Unlike the hard-ticket Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream attractions are included with park admission or an annual pass. For more information, guests may call (800) 343-7946 or visit www.howloscream.com/williamsburg.

Keep checking back here on Theme Park Insider as we continue making more stops at parks accross the nation and highlight their haunting events.

Readers' Opinions

From Rod Whitenack on September 10, 2010 at 10:20 AM
Congratulations to Universal Hollywood for including a Scare Zone involving La Llorona. She represents a great, classic ghost story passed down through Spanish tradition, and while probably very familiar to the Hispanic communiuty, registers nearly zero in recognition with general American audiences. I did quite a bit of research into the "crying woman" myth a few years ago and wached about six movies retelling some version of the story. It's a rich tradition with serious undertones and messages about the sacred responsibility of motherhood and the dire consequences of failing to live up to those responsibilites. It should make for a really creepy Scare Zone.
From Joshua Counsil on September 11, 2010 at 10:48 AM
Although I'm not a fan of Rob Zombie's music or films, Universal made a great choice in offering that deal. It fits in with the theme and offers added incentive to see the event.

I also applaud their commercial. Pretty clever.

From Shane Miller on September 11, 2010 at 8:33 PM
Howl-O-Scream sounds like a worthy competitor this year to the always-incredible Halloween Horror Nights. I live in southern Ohio where I will be checking out Cedar Point and Kings Island's Halloween events but will be traveling down to Central Florida and with money and time not on my shoulder...I'll have to choose one Park for their Halloween Event.

I've been to Universal HHN many times before and it always brings the Halloween mythology and horror refrences in a comedic or seasonal way better than anyone else. And there's so much detail and effort put into every damn thing. But Howl-O-Scream is something I've never done and seems like this year will be a great one. So, I'll be reading every week and hopefully my decision will come to a conclusion. Thanks Domenik for the updates and the best time of the year is about to start!

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