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Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights Opens

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It's Friday the 13th. For the first time this year in California, it rains. And, of course, it decides to rain, literally, ten minutes before Universal's Halloween Horror Nights opens. Dripping wet, my father and I check into the press check-in for a night of horror and close encounters with the Director.

Since August, Blogcritics has been covering Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. We covered the auditions for the scariest creatures around. We also showed you how to find out about the evil director's plans, which were available on YouTube. Naturally, we couldn't wait until Friday the 13th when it began.

zombiesUniversal Halloween Horror Nights is open for seven nights. Since two of the nights have passed, you only have five more chances to check it out — October 20, 21, 27, 28, and 31. Tickets are $34-39 per person. The event is in both Hollywood and Orlando.

Universal Halloween Horror Nights begins at seven and keeps some of the best rides open late. The fairly new inside roller coaster, The Mummy, is running. Jurassic Park is open if you want to freeze in the cold (of course, freezing to us California Girls is 60 degrees), but you'll have to ride it in the dark. Terminator 2: 3D is waiting for you. A special maze opens called the Asylum, rumored to have over 20 dead ends. It was supposedly good, but it was an 80-minute wait, so I passed.

zombieWater World AKA "Slaughter World" is playing. Other awesome shows were running — "Chucky's Insult Emporium," "Carnival of Carnage," and "Fear Factor: Dead Celebrity Edition."

Perhaps the biggest thing is that, for the first time, in ninety years, tourists could get off the "Terror Tram" and walk around Universal's backlot.

Overall, I was impressed by Halloween Horror Nights, but the Terror Tram needed work. I like the idea of people being able to get off the tram, but it wasn't worth it. You wait in line for an hour. Finally, you get to the front of the line, and are shoved onto a tram. You aren't even on it long enough to watch a five minute video on the Director.

batesYou're pushed off the tram where you get to walk the Psycho House and the War of the Worlds set. I had a pedometer on and it proved that the area you walk is about a quarter of a mile. Then you get back on the tram and go on a route that "hasn't been used in years," even though you can see it's the tunnel used during the day for the Mummy part of the tour. You can even see pictures of the mummy on the side of the wall. You come in a close encounter with the Director and, shockingly, you get away.

The Terror Tram was disappointing. The encounter with the Director was not at all scary. They make it seem like you get to explore the whole entire lot when you barely get to do anything. I liked the idea of being able to get off and explore, but Universal needs to seriously redo it, because I know I was not the only one who did not enjoy it.

I saw a lot of people getting out of the line because they heard terrible reviews of it when others got off. It is important that the terror tram stays open because you get to get off the tram and be close to famous sets. That's very cool and it offers something that competitors like Knott's can't offer.

On the other hand, I hope Universal realizes the ride deserves to be improved. The terror tram is new to Halloween Horror Nights, so I cut it some slack. I hope Universal will keep it around. Perhaps letting tourists explore more or at least make it a bit longer would suffice.

I really didn't like the terror tram, but the rest of the park was pretty good. I saw the show "Carnival of Carnage." Frankly, it was the best thing there. It features these two guys who do really crazy stuff like eat worms, eat fire, and sit on a bed of nails. I saw one of the guys in the auditions, so I was really looking forward to seeing the show.

Carnival of CarnageThe show was really good and made up for the tram ride. I would actually consider paying forty bucks just to see the show again. If you do go to Halloween Horror Nights, don't miss out on this. One of the guys swallows a sword. He explains how dangerous it is and that, two years ago, he hurt his lung. He also said less than 59 daredevils swallow swords. The guy on the left is the one who swallows the sword.

Overall, Universal does a pretty good job with its Halloween Horror Nights. I do think it's worth going to. Don't miss the Carnival of Carnage. I wouldn't completely agree with skipping the terror tram. The fact that you get to go see the Psycho House and War of the Worlds set is pretty cool. Just don't keep your expectations t0o high.

Universal is about the same, if not better than Knott's Scary Farm. It is way better than the Queen Mary's Halloween transformation. Rachel Mills, a fellow journalist, describes Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, as "One of the best experiences of my Life" and said it's "truly unique." I urge you to go to the Halloween Horror Nights this year because, in my opinion, it's worth the money.


Each night at Halloween Horror Nights, the Director is scouting for fresh talent – "new blood," as it were. What does he value most in his stars? The ability to scream like their lives depend on it.

Video clips of the two best screamers the Director finds each night at Halloween Horror Nights will be showcased online. The voting for each night’s top screamer will be open for seven days after each night of the event. The screamer with the most votes will win an all new 1GB Apple iPod shuffle.
Who will make the cut?

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