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Here's How to Make Your Way through Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

September 19, 2015, 7:49 PM · Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, in many ways, is a reflection of the city it was born in: the film-quality sets, the meticulous attention to detail and...the crumbling infrastructure. For now the second year in a row, the overpasses were looking creaky and the 405 was jammed with traffic — HHN is popular now. Very popular.

So it’s probably time to account for that. I had a front-of-the-line pass, so my night was relatively easy. I won’t have one the next half-dozen times I go, and I imagine that’s the case for most of you, too. If you’re not willing to spend $159-179 on a front of line pass, you’ll have to meticulously plan out your evening.

Halloween Horror Nights map

A friend commented to me that Horror Nights is as much an athletic competition as it is a night at a theme park. I’m inclined to agree. To successfully navigate the six mazes (and Terror Tram) without waiting in lines all night, you’ll want to take advantage of the early entry offered by the park.

Arriving between 5:15-6 p.m. (I would aim closer to 5:15 than 6) gets you into Insidious: Return to the Further and The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far at around 6:30. Start with TWD, then do Insidious. After that, the park should be open and you should be on your way to This is The End.

Done with that? Head to the backlot and hit Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness before checking out Alien Vs. Predator. That leaves Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home, Terror Tram: Survive the Purge and Jabbawockeez. Terror Tram will close before midnight on most nights, so hit that next. Then you’ll have to wait in a long line for Halloween (I’m sorry) and have a chance to see the show.

It’s not perfect, but it’s what will get you through the most mazes with the least amount of waiting. At least, based on one night of looking at wait times and meandering through the park. I am pleased to say that, much like last year, the quality of the mazes will (mostly) make you forget about the awful crowds. I’ll give a small summary of each maze starting with my least favorite.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far · It’s the biggest The Walking Dead maze ever! Which, I guess, is like being served the world’s largest Pizza Hut pie. While a big improvement on last year’s maze, the concept is stale and the scares aren’t there; and that’s not to mention that the environments just aren’t that compelling anymore. It’s time to break up with this property. Please.

This is the End

This is the End: 3D · I was skeptical about this maze, but it ended up being a lot of fun with plenty of good scares. It’s a lot like the 3D mazes we’ve seen in the past in that it uses disorientation and confusion to rack up the scare count. They know what they’re doing with these things.

Insidious

Insidious: Return to the Further · Despite being jam-packed with scares and great settings, I’m not quite sure it lives up the last Insidious maze we saw at Halloween Horror Nights. Still, spending the majority of your time in “The Further” was a surefire way to make this maze a success.

Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness · HHN Creative Director John Murdy talked about the challenge that came with bringing a Guillermo Del Toro film to life. I’m pleased to say the crew knocked it out of the park in what might be their most beautiful maze to date. It proved difficult to keep my eyes from wandering to the great scenery and sets...which turned out to play right into the hands of the actors looking for easy scares of clueless writers.

Halloween

Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home · Horror Nights has certainly branched out since its early years of slasher-film-only mazes, but sometimes the old ways work the best. Halloween is a perfect property for Horror Nights and you really get the sense by walking through this maze that the creators have a genuine love for the film (full disclosure: so do I). It’ll be worth the wait.

AVP: Alien Vs. Predator · The cosmic-battleground concept, while virtually unchanged from last year, remains one of the best I’ve ever experienced at Horror Nights. The scares are unavoidable, the costumes are amazing and it’s an extremely fun maze to go through over and over again.

Speaking of: At the end of the night, AVP and Crimson Peak both see their lines drop all the way down to 15 minutes...so if you wanted to do a couple of laps on those mazes at around 1 a.m., well, not a bad plan.

Terror Tram

Terror Tram · This is still a fun experience, particularly for the uninitiated, and I think this year’s edition was a step above last year’s. Thanks to its incredible capacity you don’t have to worry too much about waiting in lines for this one.

Jabbawockeez

Jabbawockeez · After going without a show in 2014, Jabbawockeez fills the void in 2015. The high-energy dance show was entertaining, energetic and seemed to capture the energy that Horror Nights is all about. For the first time since I’ve been coming to Horror Nights, I highly recommend you check out the show.

Horror Nights offers the most detailed and scariest mazes in the area, but is starting to fall victim to its own success. This year, like the year before, failing to plan is planning to fail if you’re headed out to Universal City this fall.

Replies (2)

September 21, 2015 at 2:27 PM · Jacob,

How well were crowds allocated through the mazes? Is it like it usually is (Large groups slowly making their way through)

September 25, 2015 at 2:22 PM · Honestly it really depends on when you go through. Generally speaking, I think they space the crowds out as well as you can. Some times it gets to jam packed and very occasionally you get the chance to go through the maze without seeing many other people.

The former is certainly more common than the latter, and that will likely always be true at big events like this.

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