From sprinting toys to Chucky galore, there is something for everyone (brave) at this year's spooky event
Spooky season is here — and it may be the scariest yet at Universal Studios Hollywood!
On Thursday night, the Southern California theme park opened its gates to thousands of Halloween enthusiasts for the debut of its annual Halloween Horror Nights event.
The celebration of all things scary, which is on for 38 select nights from now until Oct. 31, is back with eight terrifying haunted houses, the popular terror tram, three original scare zones and two new live experiences.
This year's haunted house lineup includes The Last of Us, Stranger Things 4, The Exorcist: Believer, Universal Monsters: Unmasked, Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count, Evil Dead Rise, Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America and Holidayz in Hell. The theme for this year's terror tram is The Exterminatorz.
When horror-lovers are walking through the dimly-lit park to get to their next haunted house, they will unexpectedly land in this year's scare zones which include Toyz and Ghostz and El Terror de las Momias, which is an extension of this year's Monstruos haunted house.
Additionally, this year's two live experiences include Blumhouse: Behind the Scenes, where fans will get an up-close look at film props, costume displays and terrifying character encounters from Blumhouse horror films, as well as The Purge: Dangerous Waters, an all-new live show located within the WaterWorld venue.
Whether you scare easily or not, this year's event is sure to be adrenaline-filled. While attendees will feel fully immersed from start to finish, here's what you won't want to miss when attending Halloween Horror Nights.
Spoilers ahead for Halloween Horror Nights 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood
The opening ceremony happens every hour on New York Street — and it's a wild experience.
This year, the Toyz are stealing the show. Beginning with a terrifying ballerina prancing across the floor, more Toyz begin to join in and death-stare the audience as loud music plays on the speakers.
Before you know it, fire shoots up into the air and dozens of monsters run out and break up the audience, causing everyone to scream and run in every direction. This perfectly sets the scene for the night ahead.
Top 3 haunted houses guaranteed to make you scream
With the exception of Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count (which is creative but not bone-chilling), every haunted house this year is truly terrifying and will make you scream.
Since lines for each house are known to get extremely long, it's important to plan ahead on the must-dos. Here's where you should start.
The first choice is The Exorcist: Believer. Hype around the upcoming movie aside, this is a necessary HHN experience for one reason: sensory overload.
Fans can expect temperature changes, disgusting smells, loud chants and of course, very creepy little girls. This house is a lot, so be prepared for an intense experience if you choose to enter.
The second can't-miss experience is Universal Monsters: Unmasked. This haunted house expands on the legacy of horror icons The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame with an original score by Slash blasting on the loud speaker.
Be prepared for jump-scares and characters only inches away from grabbing you. The transitions between each storyline, detailed artwork and (spoiler alert) digging your way through bloody pigs hanging from the ceiling are sure to make an impression, too.
The third surprise winner was Holidayz in Hell.
Beginning with New Year's Eve, this haunted house will manage to make you squeal as you walk through the major holidays gone wrong. Don't be surprised if an Easter bunny lunges at you or incognito pumpkin people get right in your face.
The best part of this house? On opening night at least, there was no line.
The Terror Tram
The Terror Tram is a fan favorite for which you can expect to get dropped off at the Universal backlot for a lengthy walk-through experience.
Since this year's theme is The Exterminatorz, riders were met by Larry Larva — a large, creepy character whose goal is to exterminate humans from planet Earth — and he, along with plenty of bug-like creatures, rushed the group.
While this is a cool experience, it's not exactly scary. What makes the Terror Tram ride a must-do this year is the Us-themed experience, which was inspired by Jordan Peele's award-winning film.
As riders reach the end of the walk-through, they're met with dozens of creepy figures holding scissors and wearing red jumpsuits outnumbering the riders and encouraging some to nearly try and make a run for it. But you'd be missing out not to stay until the very end!
Halloween Horror Nights can also be found (with different attractions) at Universal Orlando Resort. See our ranking of the houses there from most to least scary.
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