M3gan, Chucky, new 'Exorcist' give fresh jolt to Halloween Horror Nights

Chucky welcomes you to Halloween Horror Nights. Photo by Fred Topel/UPI
1 of 11 | Chucky welcomes you to Halloween Horror Nights. Photo by Fred Topel/UPI

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A creepy dancing M3gan and new Exorcist frights join Halloween Horror Night staples Chucky, Evil Dead and Stranger Things in a macabre, yet fun, immersive experience at this year's seasonal event at Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando theme parks.

Film-worthy details bring memorable horrors to life throughout.


Most of the new attractions are walk-through, but one of the most interactive is the sit-down Blumhouse: Behind the Screams. In the waiting room, you can see the Jim Henson animatronics from the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy's up close, and props from the upcoming The Exorcist: Believer.

The most notable Exorcist prop is the autobiography of Chis MacNeil, Regan's mother, with a headshot of Ellen Burstyn as the author photo. That presumably explains what Chris did following her daughter's exorcism. Guests can also take photos picking up The Black Phone.


In the Dreamworks Theater that's usually for family-friendly short films, Blumhouse shows a trailer for Exorcist: Believer. It "breaks," but the technical issues are actually part of the show because it's M3gan from January's hit killer doll movie wreaking havoc.

The screen gives way to live actors in M3gan costumes performing a choreographed dance. M3gan's dance is the best scene in the movie, so now viewers get to be literally surrounded by her. Watch out for the center M3gan cartwheeling into the front row.

Walking through a haunted house creates the sense of walking through classic horror movies and hit TV shows. Even though the guest is on a guided path and can't touch anything, they are immersive 360-degree experiences.

Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count recreates Chucky's exploits from the seven movies and first two seasons of the TV show. There are moving Chuckies in every room wielding turkey carvers or chainsaws, cackling in Brad Dourif's voice right in your face.

One of the most memorable kills from the TV series involved a victim falling on a dishwasher with the knives pointing up. There is a model of that, as well as the electrocution from the series premiere.

Tiffany's bathtub death from Bride of Chucky is there, with Bride of Frankenstein playing on the TV that electrocutes her, as is burned Tiffany and their nonbinary child, Glen/Glenda. The giant Chucky hallucination from Cult of Chucky towers over guests.


Die-hard Chucky fans will be sticklers. There's a body whose face is impaled with nails who is clearly not John Ritter, the actor from the movies. But the late Ritter's likeness would be hard to recreate and it still counts as one of Chucky's kills. There's also a model of the Christmas victim sliced in half with Chucky in the fireplace.

The blend of animatronic models and human actors really completes the illusion. There is a person whose job it is to lie in a hospital bed all night screaming as Chucky murders her for the pleasure of guests. Other victims jump out at random guests.

Classic Universal monsters Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame get their own haunted house. With masks like Hyde and Hunchback, they can employ several performers to don the costume and jump out of dark corners throughout the haunted house.

When Hyde is disemboweling his final victim, watch out for the spray. It's only water, but still unexpected.

Halloween Horror Nights has had Stranger Things attractions before but the Season 4 edition walks guests through Chrissy's possession, Eleven's flashback to her time in the laboratory, Max and Lucas's battle with Vecna and the winter dance.


Lots of Vecnas jump out of the dark, and the house concludes with a human performer as Eleven battling Vecna.

The Last of Us probably has the most human performers as different incarnations of Joel and Ellie recreate scenes from the show. Guests will hear Ellie read from the jokebook, fire a machine gun at infected, and scream from the cell where she was captured.

It's odd walking through The Exorcist: Believer before the movie comes out. It will surely resonate more after Oct. 6, but some Exorcist imagery is timeless. Possessed people sitting in bed or throwing up are evergreen.

To accommodate traffic flow, the Evil Dead Rise house turns the film's apartment into a series of winding hallways through the rooms, elevator and parking garage. It still captures the feel of the movie and possessed neighbors could be lurking behind every door.

Guests can see the open Necronomicon as the vinyl incantation plays, unleashing the demons. Walk through the kitchen and see the possessed daughter chewing on a wine glass like in the movie.

Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America features monsters that aren't necessarily from movies, but were distinct enough to inspire further research into their mythology. Walking through a butcher shop with split pig carcasses was unsettling, and guests need not speak Spanish to understand the grim reaper presenting a tombstone that reads "Tu."


Another sitdown show is The Purge: Dangerous Waters, which turns the Waterworld stunt show into a Purge-themed event. The story involves a gang of Purgers going after a senator.

What's impressive is that the usual jetski and high-dive stunts from Waterworld are now performed wearing Purge masks and full business suits rather than post-apocalyptic rags. It's also clearer than most of the Purge sequels because it's live.

Throughout the park, a horror music playlist immerses guests in the spirit. Pushing through crowds as Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" plays can make guests feel like Max from Stranger Things running from Vecna.

The playlist also includes "You Spin Me Round" both because it's of the Stranger Things '80s era and the band is named Dead or Alive.

Regular Universal rides like The Simpsons, Transformers, Jurassic World and Revenge of the Mummy remain open. Walking through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, performers get into the spirit as Death Eaters waving wands and staring guests down.

Additional attractions include an insect uprising during the tram tour through Nope and Us sets, and Holidayz in Hell, which puts a macabre twist on a holiday from each month of the year. Holidayz has appeared at Halloween Horror Nights before.


Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood is open Sept. 8-10, 14-17, 21-24, 27-30 and October 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29 and 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Orlando attraction is open Sept. 8-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, Oct. 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, 31 and Nov. 1-4.

Tickets start at $74 for Hollywood and $79.99 for Orlando.

Latest Headlines