The Halloween season is officially upon us, which means that Halloween Horror Nights shenanigans are back at Universal Studios Hollywood. On select nights from September 13th through November 3rd, guests will be able to check out mazes for Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Us, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Creepshow, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses, Holidayz in Hell and The Curse of Pandora’s Box, along with having access to the permanent walk-through attraction for The Walking Dead, five scare zones (Fallen Angelz, Spirits & Demons of the East, Christmas in Hell, Toxxxic Tunnel and All Hallow’s Evil), an all-new Jabbawockeez show, and access to Jurassic World: The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D and The Simpsons Ride.
Collider, along with a handful of other press outlets, was recently invited to preview the Ghostbusters maze to find out what went into bringing all of the little details of the franchise to life. After taking a tour with HHN creative director/executive producer John Murdy, we’ve compiled a list of 12 things to know about the maze and have included some preview photos.
Based mainly on the 1984 Ghostbusters film, the maze also has elements from Ghostbusters 2 in 1989 (i.e. the Scoleri brothers) and Ghostbusters Even though Ghostbusters is hugely popular and a big fan favorite, it’s the first time that Horror Nights has considered doing the property, and they were in contact with Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman and Sony, on putting the concept and story together to bring the maze to life.
- Because the property is a comedy with horror elements, they wanted to pay off both the comedic side and the scary side of the movies. Characters like Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts’ character) and Louis Tully (Rick Moranis’ character) are there to pay off the comedic elements, which is there to balance out the pitch dark environment and the ghost effects.
- When it comes to casting the performers, sometimes they’re allowed to recreate the likeness of the specific actors, and sometimes they’re not. In the case of Ghostbusters, they were not able to do an exact recreation, so they just tried to get it as close as they could.
- With 32 nights of the event, and all dialogue having to be repeated 90,000 to 100,000 times over the course of the run of the event, they’ve started doing pre-recorded audio that the actors can sync to, so that they don’t have to lose their voice. The actors are in control of the classic soundbites, and they can choose when to trigger each one, throughout the night.
The facade of the maze is Ghostbusters HQ, or the fire station. There will be an illusion with the doors, as if the car is inside, and you’ll hear the siren going off, and see the lights turning on and off. There will also be the New York cab with the Taxi Cab Ghost from the first film, who’s an animated figure. You’ll hear the station switching and hear reports of all the paranormal disturbances going on in NYC. Also in the queue, you’ll encounter Louis Tully, in his possessed state, and he’ll be a part of the Twitter password game. If you give the password announced on Twitter to a specific character, then you’ll get a little keepsake in return.
- Once you enter the maze, things are already starting to go bad in New York, and Janine Melnitz is manning the phones that are ringing off the hook. The performer has the option to trigger multiple different channels of audio, with the buttons on her desk, which she can do, at any given time. While Janine is doing all of that, sometimes Winston (Ernie Hudson’s character) and sometimes Egon (Harold Ramis’ character) will bust through the door, depending on when you come through the maze. They’re carrying a ghost trap with a mini-fogger inside, so that it smokes with the ghost in containment.
- Making a diversion from the scripts with a scene that was cut from the film, there’s an effect in the maze where the containment chamber is about to blow, the sirens are flashing, and it looks like the bricks are splitting, as you see light through the walls. When it looks like the chamber is going to blow, all of the lights go out and the walls disappear, and you see the spirits on the other side of the wall.
- Once you go inside of the containment chamber, black light is used for various illusions. There will be ghosts playing cards while two live performers bring characters from Ghostbusters 2016 to life. Sparky, the subway ghost, has his head float off of his body and around the room, and Gertrude Aldridge, the ghost in the picture frame, has her upper torso lift off of the lower part of her body and float around the room.
The idea of the portals that allow you to go back and forth between the spirit world and the living comes from the canon of the video games.
- After you exit the spirit realm, you’ll find yourself in the Sedgwick Hotel, where you’ll run into Peter Venkman (Bill Murray’s character) and Slimer. While there is opportunity to get slimed, it’s actually just compressed air and a water blast, and not real slime.
- From there, you’ll come across Dana (Sigourney Weaver’s character), seated in a chair and surrounded by monster arms, with the Ghostbusters commercial playing on the TV. And then, you’ll face off with the Terror Dogs, which are huge puppets.
- Before making your way out of the maze, you will meet up with all four of the Ghostbusters shooting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with their proton packs. To bring the iconic character to life, they got a 3D model from Sony and will be projection mapping his face for the facial experiences. And as has become custom with the mazes, you’ll find one last scare, this time involving Slimer.
Halloween Horror Nights is at Universal Studios Hollywood on select nights from September 13th through November 3rd, and tickets and special offers are available at https://hollywood.halloweenhorrornights.com/. Check out even more images from the Ghostbusters maze below.