Universally Frightening

BY: MICHAEL RINCON

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Oct. 2, 2009 was a night of frightening monsters and ghouls as Universal Studios were gearing up for the opening day of the annual Halloween Horror Nights and Chiller-Eyegore Awards ceremony. The air was breezy as the sun began to set over the Hollywood hills where members of the press gathered anxiously outside the greenish grey fence, waiting to stand along the red carpet to interview various individuals who do what they do best- scare the hell out of us. I didn't know what to expect as this was not only my first on location story, but my first experience ever at an amusement park during Halloween month. As I signed in and received my press pass, my friend Jorge and I got ready for what was surely going to be a frightful night. At around 6 pm celebrity award recipients including Rob Zombie (Halloween I and II) and Tobin Bell (Saw film series) strolled down the infamously colored carpet, taking a moment to speak to the hoards of reporters. Once the clock hit 7 pm, Jorge and I were ushered inside an octagon-like building where audience members were treating themselves to views of the lavish black and red décor and an open bar. Drinks were had a plenty by many. The lights went dim and a screeching, shattered sound boomed over the loud speakers as host Corey Feldman rushed on stage to present awards to the following recipients: six-time Academy Award winning special effects makeup artist Rick Baker (Men In Black, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nutty Professor, and the 2010 release, The Wolfman), Noah Segan (Deadgirl, Chain Letter), along with Rob Zombie and Tobin Bell. Afterwards it was time for the main event and my main purpose for attending: The Halloween Horror Night.

The first maze I entered was Halloween: The Life and Crimes of Michael Meyers. Various knife wielding men dressed as Meyers came rushing out of every corner, nearly causing me to fall over due to my fear. The maze resembled the home on Haddonfield where the deranged killer grew up, and the trademark theme song from the films was continuously played.

Barbed wire and a dark and dingy room greeted me at the beginning of the Saw: Game Over maze, where concrete walls and blood-covered tile (both of which are from the film series) were seen numerous times. Ten of the deadly traps from the films were part of the maze, including the Reverse Bear trap, the Furnace Trap, the Needle Pit Trap and the Freezer Trap, among others. I couldn't help but feel scared out of my mind through the whole experience.

Overall, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights will be frightening patrons on select dates from now until Halloween. There are in total four devilishly scary mazes to temp fate in, the Micahel Meyer's and Saw mazes, as well as one dedicated to the recent hit movie "My Bloody Valentine" and one based off of the Chucky series called Chucky's Funhouse. Killer dolls? No thanks.

Universal's famous tour through the back lot has also taken on a Halloween theme, led by murderous crazy guy, Jigsaw, of "Saw" fame.

Hours and dates vary, so check out www.halloweenhorrornights.com for an accurate list of when you can get your scare on.

As I made my way back to my car my mind was unable to focus after the mentally shocked treatment my fragile feeling body went through. As the fog lingered through the park and screams continued in repetition, one thought swelled inside my head: How are they ever going to top this year? I'm sure I'll be here next year so I'll just have to wait and see.