California Coaster Kings was at the Opening Night of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights 2015, and with Front of the Line passes visited every maze, every scare zone, and of course… the Terror Tram and the brand new JABBAWOCKEEZ show. In this particular review article, we’re looking at the 6 mazes the event had this year. Each is rated in 4 categories: Length, Scare, Set, and Experience. Each will also have a quick review!
The four ratings exist of a Length Rating, which relates to the length of a maze, the longer the better. This doesn’t necessarily mean physical length of walking through the maze, but may also indicate there are plenty of different scenes and the maze felt long. The Scare Rating is exactly what you think it is, how ‘scary’ does a maze get, is it gruesome, does it create a bunch of jump scares, etc. The Set Rating looks specifically at the job done regarding the theming of the maze, how immersive were the sets, how many different scenes, etc. And then last, but definitely not least… the Experience Rating. Which is mainly based off of the overall feel of the maze, was it a extreme, did it leave you breathless, etc. The overall experience, combined with the other three factors creates a Final Score for the maze.
The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far – Length Rating: 9 Scare Rating: 8 Set Rating: 8 Experience Rating: 8 FINAL SCORE: 8.25
The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far seemed to be the most popular maze of all, BY FAR. Lines were incredibly long, around 2 hours, and it was only opening night of Halloween Horror Nights. There was a good reason for it to be this popular, because this was one of the best mazes at this year’s event. It was long, incredibly detailed, and featured plenty of gruesome horrors, as well as jump-scares. Be aware that this maze, though clearly related to the popular TV series, is very understandable and enjoyable even if you’re not familiar with the TV series. There were plenty of actors, a lot of scenes… and doors… we all know what doors mean… 😀 Overall, it’s definitely a maze not to be missed, but if you don’t have Front of the Line passes, you better haul over to it as soon as Halloween Horror Nights open, or you’ll be waiting all night. (This maze is located on the Lower Lot, to the left of Transformers!).
Insidious: Return To The Further – Length Rating: 8 Scare Rating: 8 Set Rating: 8 Experience Rating: 8 FINAL SCORE: 8
I was pleasantly surprised with Insidious: Return To The Further, as you may indicate from the straight-8 ratings above, it was a solid maze. One thing I very much liked about it was the large amount of scenes in tight spaces, little hallways, etc. They do establish the theme of the maze (for those not familiar with the Insidious Saga) in the first few scenes, and then it becomes clear what’s going on all around the maze. There were some good jump scares, I personally felt that this was one of the least ‘gruesome’ mazes. In this maze, more than any other, due to the narrow scenes, actors get very close to you, just be aware of that. I personally think that’s great. The sets were very detailed and diverse. Overall it was a good maze, it wasn’t the best, and for me personally it didn’t stand out too much, but it’s a great maze to visit when you’ve done the best ones. (Located next to Jurassic Park the Ride, line starts with the stairs above the Jurassic Park gift store next to the Splashdown Lagoon – FOTL line is located near the restrooms on the opposite side if the Jurassic Park entrance).
Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home – Length Rating: 9 Scare Rating: 8 Set Rating: 9 Experience Rating: 10 FINAL SCORE: 9
It was highly anticipated, and the talk of Horror Nights for quite some weeks… and let me tell you: it definitely lived up to the expectation. As the only maze located on the Upper Lot, the lines for it can differ immensely throughout the night. But make sure to watch the park’s wait-time directories because you’re not going to want to miss out on Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home. The maze seemed endless to me, I walked at a very steady pace, and the different scenes just kept coming. There were plenty of movie references that scared me in multiple ways. In addition, there was an incredible amount of detail. The maze was filled with actors and creative ways of disorienting guests as well as having scare actors jump out at unexpected moments. The theme is well established, though there are a lot of movie references, the fact that a large part is going through a house primarily, means that audiences of all sorts can still enjoy the maze without understanding what’s supposedly going on. Overall, and this was the last maze I visited, I was overwhelmingly surprised with the maze and totally loved it. I would make the statement that this is the best maze at Halloween Horror Nights (Hollywood) 2015! (Located in the Universal Plaza on the Upper Lot).
This Is The End – 3D – Length Rating: 7 Scare Rating: 5 Set Rating: 7 Experience Rating: 7 FINAL SCORE: 6.5
This Is The End – 3D was a bit of a let-down for me. The maze is in 3D, 3D glasses will be provided. The maze is ‘trippy’ with the 3D effects, very similar to last year’s Clowns 3D maze. When you arrive you’ll see Michael Cera hanging off the light post, like in the movie, and with the audio it’s very comedic. I was thus expecting this maze to be very funny, once inside… not so much. The maze was very repetitive, though it was of descent length, there are some scenes, in the same sequence, that literally reappear later on in the maze. The 3D effects didn’t stand out to me much, and since the main point of this maze was to be a comical one, it wasn’t scary. I had maybe one jump-scare. Sadly, it wasn’t very funny either. It’s a fun maze, pretty simplistic, but not too exciting. It does offer a completely different experience than the other mazes, and is a good break (breather) in between some other more intense mazes, but do not make this maze your priority. I enjoyed this maze the least. (Located on the Lower lot behind the Revenge of the Mummy, entrance is next to Transformers on the right-hand side).
Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness – Length Rating: 8 Scare Rating: 7 Set Rating: 9 Experience Rating: 9 FINAL SCORE: 8.25
The movie has yet to debut, but the maze already looks exactly like the trailer of the movie. And that dear readers, is quite impressive. The amount of detail in Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness is to literally go mad about, every window is a screen, every mirror is a scare actor, and boy every single room is a detailed masterpiece. Of all mazes, the sets in Crimson Peak blew me away most. The Gothic style of the maze alone is quite creepy, but overall the scenes all seemed to fit together perfectly, the transitions were great, and the detail was never ending. Sometimes you have mazes where the next room will be totally different, but everything flowed very well. Though I didn’t really get scared at any moment in this maze, the maze is just a visual masterpiece. Make sure to check this maze out, it’s one of the prettiest mazes I’ve ever seen. (Located on the Backlot, take the shuttle to the maze, which departs next to the This Is The End maze entrance!).
AVP: Alien vs. Predator – Length Rating: 7.5 Scare Rating: 8 Set Rating: 8.5 Experience Rating: 9 FINAL SCORE: 8.25
There’s always that one maze that I end up LOVING, while noone else really mentions it. AVP is one of those mazes. I thought it was a truly brilliant one. Doing sci-fi right, not everyone is able to. This maze though, was almost perfect to me. Though it seemed a tad short to me, it had a great story-line, as you enter the forest, see a crashed space-ship-thing, and then the story goes from there. There are plenty of sci-fi space-ship sort of scenes that are wonderfully turned into something you want to be afraid of. In addition, the aliens used in the maze, blew me away, they were everywhere, they were large, and they jumped out at guests plenty of times. There were plenty of narrow spaces where they were on both sides of the hallway or room, and it was almost overwhelming. The finale of the maze is by far the best finale of any maze there. A lot of mazes just suddenly ended, I felt. AVP scared the living crap out of me in the grand finale. Overall, though the maze seemed a bit short, and the sets seemed a tad simplistic, I truly fell in love with this maze. I highly recommend everyone to check it out. (Located on the Backlot, take the shuttle to the maze, which departs next to the This Is The End maze entrance!).
As a quick final note: Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Homes was my favorite maze, and since it’s the only maze on the Upper Lot, watch the wait-times, as there may just be sudden short waits. AVP was the maze I love most, it’s not as ‘good’ as Halloween, or perhaps the Walking Dead for some, but I believe it’s a true must-experience. This Is The End – 3D is, very clearly, the worst maze this year. It’s a different, softer, experience, so definitely check it out if you have time, but it shouldn’t be a priority.
Thank you for checking out the Maze Ratings and Reviews of Halloween Horror Nights 2015, we will have the JABBAWOCKEEZ, Terror Tram, and Scare Zones Ratings and Reviews LIVE soon, so check back! In addition, share your thoughts of the mazes with us below! What’s your favorite?
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