Universal Studios Hollywood is gearing up for its annual Halloween Horror Nights event with a brand new maze built around the horror films of Blumhouse Productions' roster of recent films.
Dubbed "The Horrors of Blumhouse," the new maze features aspects from all three Purge films, both Sinister movies, and a lengthy, Groundhog Day-esque Happy Death Day section, focusing on the upcoming film that centers on a college student who relives the day of her death over and over. In addition to the Blumhouse attraction, there will also be a separate Insidious maze focused on the forthcoming fourth installment in the horror franchise.
The new maze has the largest layout and biggest cast of actors in Horror Nights history, and the team behind it allowed The Hollywood Reporter access Monday ahead of Friday's public opening.
"In order to fit it all, we took over a full section of the queue line," said John Murdy, creative director at Universal Studios Hollywood and executive producer of Halloween Horror Nights.
The Blumhouse maze takes place in two separate parts — an outdoor area which acts as a "best-of" runthrough of the first three Purge films, and then an extended indoor maze that runs through aspects of the plot from Happy Death Day and the two Insidious films. Meanwhile, the Insidious maze takes guests through the events of the upcoming Insidious: The Last Key as they follow the directions of the unnerving "Duck Boy" as they progress through a haunted, 1950s New Mexican house.
"I really thought it would be fun to do a handful of our movies and do a maze. I talked to John about it and it really came alive," said Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions. "We tried to pick movies that would really lend themselves to live scares."
Murdy was given full creative reign over Blum's roster of films for the two mazes, which he likens to "living trailers" for the upcoming Insidious: The Last Key (out Jan. 5, 2018) and Happy Death Day (Oct. 13). "We worked off of shooting scripts," Murdy explained. "Inevitably, there'll be things we end up with that may not even be in the final film, but that's part of the fun. This is like the ultimate trailer for the movie."
"If it was anyone else, we probably wouldn't do it," Blum said of working with Murdy. "I really feel like he gets our movies."
Blum, whose production company has had two major hits this year in M. Night Shyamalan's Split and Jordan Peele's Get Out, noted that this year has been a particular good year for horror (as further evidenced by the massive success of It this past weekend). "The world is a scary place right now," Blum said with a chuckle.
As for future installments in the Blumhouse lineup, the producer is keeping busy.
"The goal is to make a great movie. If its successful, we make a sequel, but that's not always the case," he said. "We currently have no plans to make a sequel to Get Out, for instance. But we do have Purge 4 and Insidious 4 and The Purge is also getting a television series. There's currently no plans for a Purge 5, but I'm hoping!"
For over 20 years, the annual Halloween Horror Nights event has spooked Universal Studios guests with mazes influenced by classic horror films and movie monsters. This year's event kicks off on Friday and runs through Nov. 4. Other mazes include The Shining, American Horror Story, Saw and Ash vs. Evil Dead.