Get ready for terrifying thrills at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, soon to saturate both coasts with cinematic chills. The Exorcist: Believer has just been announced as rounding out the big names coming to HHN 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando.
The upcoming sequel to 1973's The Exorcist—which itself has had two of the most horrifying houses at the annual event—leads this year’s slate, along with houses based on Stranger Things season four, The Last of Us video game, and Chucky (in his first solo haunted house).
Let’s not forget the Universal Monsters: the studios’ mainstay horror legends will also be returning in a new original house for Halloween Horror Nights 2023. At both West and East Coast resorts, “Universal Monsters: Unmasked” will take guests to the haunted catacombs of Paris, where the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Jack Griffin (aka the Invisible Man) await with horrors of their own. Another returning luminary, Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash, will provide an original score for the house at HHN Hollywood.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about Halloween Horror Nights 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studio Orlando, courtesy of Universal.
• A demented, late-night circus led by an evil ringmaster and notorious icon looking for human souls to fuel his dark intentions in “Dr. Oddfellow: Twisted Origins”
• A horrific twist to a frightening, yet familiar tale and sinister battle between Fire and Ice in “Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate”
• Blood-soaked campgrounds deep in the trenches of mountains where vicious, bloodthirsty monsters have returned with a vengeance in “Yeti: Campground Kills”
• Selling one’s soul for fame in “The Darkest Deal” quickly reveals a deal can be more than what you’ve bargained for
• A colonial cult looking to slaughter those who dare refuse to worship the Bloodmoon in “Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings”
• Come face to face with the devious legend who is promising immortality for those who dare to enter “Dr. Oddfellow’s Collection of Horror”
• Cower in fear as the signs of the zodiac come to life in “Dark Zodiac,” where Dr. Oddfellow uses his power to transform the zodiac signs into horrifying horoscope creatures
• Venture into the “Jungle of Doom: Expedition Horror,” where Dr. Oddfellow’s twisted and bizarre experiments combine elements of nature and animals to create vicious jungle creatures looking to satisfy their cravings
• Attend a music festival crashed by bloodthirsty vampires let loose by Dr. Oddfellow in “Vamp ’69: Summer of Blood”
• Stumble upon Dr. Oddfellow’s crates and cages that once housed monsters of all kinds who have escaped in pursuit of chaos in “Shipyard 32: Horrors Unhinged”
• Guests can enjoy the all-new disturbingly entertaining show, “Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream,” featuring a new dreamer confronting the creature that’s been turning her dreams into nightmares.
• While shopping the latest Halloween Horror Nights merchandise and treats in an all-new Tribute Store, guests can enter a mysterious NYC Comic Book Shop and experience the “Tribute to Terror” by stepping into the pages of this original, terrifying, horror comic book.
• Guests can enjoy a drink at the Red Coconut Club as it will once again transform to the Dead Coconut Club, donning a new theme and menu.
• When guests want to take a bite out of the horror, they can enjoy a monstrous menu of all-new food and beverage items, including Bloody Campground Poutine, El Pastor Torta, and Sour Apple Pie Funnel Fries, in addition to returning fan-favorites like Pizza Fries.
• New this year, Peacock’s Halloween Horror Bar will feature themed libations within an ominous nightclub vibe, photo opportunities, and more.
• For those dying to experience this year’s “killer” food and beverage before the event even opens, Taste of Terror will offer guests an exclusive preview of select items that will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights, select nights from August 10-26.
The following houses will be featured predominately in Hollywood but will also be at Universal Orlando.
The Last of Us: For the first time ever, Naughty Dog and PlayStation’s award-winning post-pandemic video game The Last of Us comes to life in an all-new haunted house that propels guests into an obstacle course of carnage and mayhem as they join a brutal journey in a world overtaken by a fungal virus that turns humans into various forms of a new threat known as the Infected. Guests will find themselves navigating iconic locations from the video game in a desperate attempt to escape and survive.
Stranger Things 4: Season four of Netflix’s original series Stranger Things is brought to life in a terrifying all-new haunted house that transports guests to Hawkins, Indiana where they will be immersed in the eerie Upside Down for a heart-pounding experience while traveling through iconic scenes. Guests will confront their deepest fears and come face to face with otherworldly creatures like demobats, and even Vecna himself within his blood-red Mind Lair in a race against the clock to escape and save mankind from his deadly curse.
The Exorcist: Believer: Inspired by Universal Pictures’ terrifying new horror film from Blumhouse and Morgan Creek Entertainment (in theaters October 13), The Exorcist: Believer haunted house will transport guests to a bustling street market in Haiti, where an innocent purchase of a strange folk doll with three eyes leads to the opening of a demonic portal, the awakening of sinister spirits, and the subsequent disappearance of two 12-year-old girls in the U.S. The girls are found three days later with no memory of what happened to them. After the girls begin to exhibit unsettling behavior, it soon becomes clear that only an exorcism can save them—and everyone who comes in contact with them, including unwitting guests, is suddenly at risk of losing their souls.
Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count: Inspired by the hit USA and SYFY series and cult classic films, “Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count” casts this killer doll as the star of his very own haunted house for the first time. A true sadistic killer, Chucky has been mired in the agony of disrespect he feels from his peers at not being taken seriously. Thus begins his quest to turn his haunted house into a living slaughterhouse by killing every person who enters.
Universal Monsters: Unmasked: The dank Catacombs of Paris house a much darker secret 60 feet beneath the bustling streets, as the all-new haunted house “Universal Monsters: Unmasked” takes guests down into the infamous burial grounds where every corner and crevice overflows with millions of skeletal remains and even more sinister secrets. Deep within the Catacombs, Universal’s most notorious creatures—the Phantom of the Opera, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll and his deranged alternate personality Mr. Hyde, and Dr. Jack Griffin, aka the Invisible Man—lie in wait as they bide their time and seek vengeance against guests after the opening of the Catacombs to public visitation. These desperate and dangerous fiends have become filled with a rage toward guests navigating the twisted tunnels of their underground labyrinth home.
There will be more to come for Universal Studios Hollywood that will be announced at this weekend at Midsummer Scream, where HHN Hollywood’s creative director will appear for a panel.
For more information and to purchase tickets to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, visit here.
This event announcement, which includes activations for major studio projects, was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of writers and actors currently on strike, the films and TV covered here wouldn’t exist.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.