FULL REVIEW: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando

It’s that time of year where mischief and trickery are afoot and thankfully Universal Studios Orlando has welcomed back their Master of Mischief, Jack the Clown for the 25th anniversary of their Halloween Horror Nights!  We’ll be covering a variety of aspects of Halloween Horror Nights here, but of course one of the main draws are the houses and scare zones. Read on for our full review of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando with some videos courtesy of John Saccheri.

HHN 25 at Universal Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights 25, image courtesy Universal Orlando

The story here is the true key to what Universal does best, and their goal is to put visitors into those moments. John Landis, director of An American Werewolf in London, describes how the story and environment come together, calling it immersive theater.

Director John Landis at Halloween Horror Nights 23

John Landis, the critically-acclaimed writer and director of “An American Werewolf in London,” photo by Kevin Kolczynski © Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

An American Werewolf in London

In an unprecedented turn of events, Universal has brought back a previous house in nearly the same form. As you follow our lead character David from the turning point of his wolf-bite, through his transformation into a werewolf, you can feel the fear and adrenaline in your veins. The biggest change to this house has been the addition of and further development of the wolf animatronics. Surprising you around every corner, the wolves, fangs dripping with blood, seem true to life and reading to spring.

An American Werewolf in London at HHN25

An American Werewolf in London at Halloween Horror Nights 25, image courtesy Universal Orlando

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem

Here, Jack the Clown has curated a selection of his finest monsters, drawing from some of the most lived houses of Universal’s past. From classic monsters like Frankenstein, to the gargoyles and demons of Gothic, Jack has gathered them all together here. The longest of all the mazes, this one offers several different scenes, and of course Jack is there around the corner waiting to surprise you too. Click here to watch the new Jack the Clown show, but be warned, viewer discretion is advised.

Freddy vs. Jason

Almost like three houses rolled into one, here you travel through the Freddy and Jason’s respective histories, before seeing them battle it out. As you travel through the woods and cabins of Camp Crystal Lake, Jason, looming nearly seven feet tall, jumps out of you at every turn. Entering Freddy’s house at 1428 Elm Street is eerie beyond belief and I felt my knees knock together with my childhood fear of Freddie Krueger. The maze folds in several different effects – including digital footage of the battles between the two title characters. Even better, the maze changes throughout the day, so the winner is never the same.

Freddy vs. Jason at HHN 25

Freddy vs. Jason at Halloween Horror Nights 25, image courtesy Universal Orlando

Freddy vs. Jason at HHN 25

Freddy vs. Jason at Halloween Horror Nights 25, image courtesy Universal Orlando


Sparing no detail, the story of this house is to draw you into the world created in the three Insidious movies. Recreating the house down to the details of the wallpaper, you journey through the lives of the Lambert family and into “The Further” and encounter a variety of spirits, including the Woman in Black and the Red Faced Demon. Each ghostly encounter, which add to the terror as they happen in close quarters, are a fight to leave with your soul intact.

Insidious at HHN25

Insidious at Halloween Horror Nights 25, image courtesy Universal Orlando

The Purge

Drawing from the movies of the same name, you arrive at the maze just as the Purge begins. Travelling through the story of the first movie, and getting sprayed by blood from grizzly Purge murders, you find yourself on the killing floor from the second movie. You’re both a target for those wanting to kill and caught in the cross-fire of resistance fighters. Who’s to say if you’ll survive?

The Purge at HHN25The Purge at HHN25

The Walking Dead

In this house, you journey along with the survivor’s through the plot of season 5. Beginning with baseball bat-wielding cannibals at Terminus, to the zombie-filled food trucks at the end, you’re trying to outrun walkers at every turn. Back for the fourth consecutive year, the collaboration between AMC and Universal seeks to put visitors into those key moments. It was realistic enough to frighten Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on the show.

The Walking Dead at HHN25

Asylum in Wonderland – 3D

Drawing from the classic Alice in Wonderland stories, this 3D house is a twisted journey through fantasy, with a side of murder. You pass through scenes of the Mad Hatter’s insanity and the fury of the Queen of Hearts, all slightly disorienting as viewed through your 3D glasses. I must say that if you have any vision issues, this house only served to exaggerate them and make walking difficult.

Asylum in Wonderland at HHN25

Body Collectors: Recollections

The scene this house sets is almost serene – an ancient gothic home in the midst of a snowfall. However, once you set foot inside, you realize the residents of this home and being preyed upon. The body collectors are here, taking every form of body part, including a full spin, for their own devices.

Body Collectors at HHN25

RUN: Blood, Sweat and Fear

To escape from prison, contestants must participate as the hunted in a long-range game of hunting. As you attempt to escape the prison, you are attacked at ever corner and you see your fellow contestants attacked and murdered. You can only run for your life and hope you survive.

RUN at HHN 25

We’ll be updating more about Halloween Horror Nights 25 and going further in depth with our experiences. If you’re interested in attending Halloween Horror Nights, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com for additional details and pricing.

HHN 25 at Universal Orlando

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About Cristen Curley-Edwards