Halloween Horror Nights Blumhouse attractions: How scary?

Blumhouse Productions began carving out its name in the horror space with the 2009 release of Paranormal Activity — a low budget found footage film that did crazy box office numbers, thanks to its slow-burn scares. Ever since, the company founded by producer Jason Blum has become synonymous with scary, famously building horror franchises like Insidious and The Purge from the ground up.

It’s no surprise, then, that Blumhouse also has a longstanding relationship with Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios’ annual Halloween maze event, beginning with a 2013 Insidious maze at Universal Studios Hollywood.

This year, there are three Blumhouse activations between Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando. At both parks, there is a maze for the upcoming Exorcist: Believer. Universal Studios Hollywood also gets a water show based on The Purge titled The Purge: Dangerous Waters and an exhibit (plus surprise dance show) called Blumhouse: Behind the Screams, which features props from movies like M3GAN, Happy Death Day, The Invisible Man and the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy’s.

A new water stunt show comes to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights based on

A new water stunt show comes to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights based on “The Purge” franchise. (Universal Studios)

“We give [John Murdy, the creative director of Halloween Horror Nights] and his team access to all of the movies and TV shows that we’re doing very, very early,” Jason Blum tells Yahoo Entertainment over the phone. “We’ve had such a long, successful collaboration with John and his team and we have more events there this year than we’ve ever had before, which I’m happy about. When you make movies and shows, you don’t really get a chance to interact with the fans in the way that you do with live events. It’s still so fun to watch people experience our different stories in this way.”

Here’s what to know about the attractions — including how scared you should expect to be.

The Exorcist: Believer

Where to see it
Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando

What’s the deal
Fans who hit Horror Nights early won’t have seen The Exorcist: Believer in theaters yet, as the film, a sequel to the 1973 original, doesn’t drop until Oct. 6. (It was pushed up one week, apparently due to the announcement of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert film on the original release week.)

“We’ve never done a maze — and I’m not sure if Horror Nights has done a maze — on a property that hasn’t been released yet. I’ve asked John Murdy before, and he’s said no, but he agreed on The Exorcist,” Blum says. “I’m excited about it because it’s a different experience for the fans. It’s kind of like a live event version of the trailer. I think they will experience it in a much different way once people have seen the movie.”

How scary is it?
If you still can’t get Linda Blair’s Reagan out of your mind, you’re going to have a very hard time walking into The Exorcist: Believer. As the new film centers on two young girls who appear to be possessed — and, oddly, also linked — so does the maze.

The spoiler-phobic, however, shouldn’t have to worry. As Blum says, there’s not much here outside of what we’ve seen in the trailer: The maze takes you through the search for the girls, who go missing before returning home a little different, as well as their hospital stay and return home — but there’s no conclusion to be drawn from this maze as to how the film might end.

Fans face down possessed girls in

Fans face down possessed girls in The Exorcist: Believer maze at Halloween Horror Nights. (David Sprague)

In terms of monsters, this house only really has one: a gray demon who pops up around the occasional corner. It’s the audio that may really get you in this one: Just listen for the trailer’s “The body and the blood…”

Blumhouse: Behind the Screams

Where to see it
Universal Studios Hollywood

What’s the deal
Behind the Screams, located in the theater that typically houses the 4D Kung Fu Panda attraction, features props from films like The Invisible Man, The Black Phone, M3GAN, Happy Death Day, and The Exorcist: Believer. However, Blum is most excited for fans to take a peek at the props from a yet-to-be-released Blumhouse film.

“My favorites are the animatronics from Five Nights at Freddy’s which I’m so excited for fans to be able to see in person in real life,” he says of the upcoming movie, which is in theaters and on Peacock Oct. 27. The film stars Josh Hutcherson as an new employee of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza who learns that the band of animatronics come to life and wreak bloody havoc at night.

Henson-designed animatronic puppets from the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy's was a popular draw. (Yahoo)

Henson-designed animatronic puppets from the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy’s were a popular draw. (Yahoo)

The Five Nights at Freddy’s animatronics were created by the Jim Henson Company and made using the same materials as the Muppets, and while they’re certainly the most impressive of the props in the room (and the most crowd-pleasing), the show is ultimately stolen by M3GAN once you get to the short theater portion of the event — though we won’t spoil the fun here. The theater portion also features a trailer for Freddy’s and clips from other Blumhouse movies.

M3GAN has one last dance at Blumhouse: Behind the Screams. (Hamilton Pytluk/Universal Studios Hollywood)

M3GAN has one last dance at Blumhouse: Behind the Screams. (Hamilton Pytluk/Universal Studios Hollywood)

How scary is it?
While there is a little bit of bloodshed in the theater portion, it’s all very much in good fun. If you could handle the M3GAN press tour (hint, hint) you’ll have a great time.

If you’re looking to optimize your adrenaline rush this Halloween season — and your wait times in what can often be very long lines — this one may be the Blumhouse attraction to skip in favor of some of the other, bolder attractions.

The Purge: Dangerous Waters

Where to see it
Universal Studios Hollywood

What’s the deal?
“If you were to bet me $5 10 years ago when we made the first Purge film that there would be a water event at Halloween Horror Nights based on the movie, I would have lost $5,” says Blum.

It’s true that there hasn’t been a new water attraction at Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights yet, though looking back, The Purge feels like the obvious choice in terms of franchises to pick from.

In this chapter of The Purge, which isn’t from the chronology of the movies, a “New Founding Father” of America attempts to wait out the annual Purge (a 12-hour event where all crime, including murder, is legal) on a remote island location. Unfortunately, people who have lost loved ones to the brutal holiday are here to remind him that anyone can succumb to the violence of The Purge — which they do.

A new water stunt show comes to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights based on

A new water stunt show comes to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights based on The Purge franchise. (Universal Studios)

If you’ve seen the WaterWorld show at Universal Studios, you’ll pretty much know what to expect from The Purge version. Many of the stunts appear to be recycled, though that doesn’t make them any less impressive. Apparently, the universes of WaterWorld and The Purge just have a lot in common — people are set on fire, forced to jump from great heights and escape via jet ski.

While the story misses a lot of the nuances that makes The Purge such an interesting franchise for the times (turns out the annual Purge is a lot less about getting human aggression out on one day a year than it is wiping out poor people in order to avoid providing social services) it’s a spectacle that’s well worth the 15-minute runtime. Plus, after standing around in lines and walking through mazes… it’s nice to sit down, right?

How scary is it?
What makes The Purge: Dangerous Waters more fitting for Halloween Horror Nights is its ability to blend these stunts with horror. There’s cleverly-hidden violence that ends in splattering of blood — and much of it is done by the “good guys.” It’s a tad disturbing, but, hey, everyone comes out smiling at the end of the 15-minute show — and you’ll mostly leave wondering how the hell people have the confidence to do any of these stunts.

At least, I did!

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