Get a Sneak Preview of the Frights at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

Get a Sneak Preview of the Frights at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights

io9 has your look behind the scenes at attractions featuring The Black Phone, Freaky, and the Universal Monsters.

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The Mummy, Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Grabber on logos for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Image: Universal Parks and Resorts

Yes, it’s still August—but Halloween is already in the air at Universal Studios Hollywood. Recently io9 was invited to a “lights-on” (not operating at full spooky capacity) tour of two of the theme park’s Halloween Horror Nights attractions: “The Horrors of Blumhouse,” featuring The Black Phone and Freaky, and “The Universal Monsters: Legends Collide.” 

Led by HHN West creative director John Murdy, the tour included first looks at the set pieces (including some extremely gruesome props), and hints about where to find the Easter eggs, for those who will be looking while running from the various resident monsters. There are definitely some spoilers here if you’re planning a visit and would rather go in blind, but if you’d like a preview of where the scares may occur to brace yourself—or simply want to get a behind the scenes look at how these cinematic worlds are recreated for this Halloween event—keep reading!

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An Old Video Store Plays New Blumhouse Titles

An Old Video Store Plays New Blumhouse Titles

window facade with Freaky poster
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Inspired by Burbank, California pop-up Slashback Video, an immersive horror installation styled like a mom and pop video rental spot (headed up by Blumhouse’s own Ryan Turek), this house invites guests to a run-down video store that will transport you into the worlds of Freaky and The Black Phone.

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Freaky Knife

Freaky Knife

Freaky display with knife
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

On display: theAztec relic” that inflicts a curse on Freaky’s Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), which causes him to switch bodies with a teen girl.

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A Missing Mask and Knife

A Missing Mask and Knife

masks on wall and broken knife display
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Uh-oh! Following the plot of the film, the Butcher has made off with a mask and the knife.

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Hanging Out

Hanging Out

fake dead body
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Butcher’s victims line the walls.

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Botttom’s Up

Botttom’s Up

fake dead body with bottles
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

He made sure to share some drinks.

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Hangovers Feel Like Death

Hangovers Feel Like Death

Fake dead body on toilet bowl
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

He bashed that toilet seat on her head, many times it seems.

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Ritual Revenge

Ritual Revenge

fake body in mascot costume stabbed with knife
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Butcher makes a scary choice that swaps his body with teenager Millie (Kathryn Newton).

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Just Girl Things

Just Girl Things

a bear, basket and head covered in nails
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Millie’s room features some found art that hints she’s gone through a change.

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Body Swap

Body Swap

a girl's bed with a ripped out toilet covered in blood with head in the bowl
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Butcher likes toilets I guess. Ease of access.

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Hello There

Hello There

mannequin with blacked out eyes with tree in the background
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

This mannequin is almost as scary as a real person.

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FREAKY...

FREAKY...

Friday the 13th title card
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The film’s original title was Freaky Friday the 13th.

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Back to School

Back to School

John Murdy in front of lockers
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

John Murdy explained that there will be a lot of gross smells, including vomit and toilet... things.

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Prop Master

Prop Master

John Murdy with prop on table
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Here’s a demo of one of the scary effects, when Millie (who’s really the Butcher) kills her shop teacher.

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Gory Details

Gory Details

close up on dead body prop on table
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

There will be a saw added for the full effect.

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Slide Effects

Slide Effects

John Murdy with fake dead body prop
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The table prop slides back and forth to open up the gratuitously violent scene.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dead Men Tell No Tales

fake dead body on the ground
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Another Millie/Butcher victim.

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The Black Phone

The Black Phone

The black phone
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Black Phone opens up with the titular object. Do we dare pick up?

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Have You Seen Me?

Have You Seen Me?

child photo of John Murdy as a missing child
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

John Murdy shared that he and various members of Universal creative are featured in the houses in various ways. Here is a photo of him as a child as a victim of Ethan Hawke’s “The Grabber” from the movie.

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Movie Easter Egg

Movie Easter Egg

missing child image and magician poster
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The magic-shop logo that adorns the Grabber’s van, part of the ruse he uses to lure his young victims. 

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The Search

The Search

map with photos of children and places
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The rooms recreate key scenes, like this map of where kids have been snatched in the film’s Colorado setting.

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What’s for Dinner?

What’s for Dinner?

gross kitchen and fridge
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Another key scene—this one in the kitchenis recreated in great detail. The Grabber is asleep on a chair and you’ll have to get out before he awakes.

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That Looks Familiar...

That Looks Familiar...

line of rust on wall and fake dead body
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The rust line motif featured in Sinister and the Blumhouse logo makes an appearance.

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Answer the Phone

Answer the Phone

a boy mannequin picks up the black phone
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The spirits of the victims know what to do.

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Universal Monsters: Legends Collide

Universal Monsters: Legends Collide

brick facade of house
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The entrance of the Universal Monsters house takes us to London. The sign holds a vampire Easter egg.

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Unfortunate Soul

Unfortunate Soul

a fake dead vampire victim
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Count’s body count is already growing as soon as you enter.

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Delivery From Egypt

Delivery From Egypt

an egyptian statue
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Ancient relics arrive just as Dracula does.

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Sarcophagus Silhouette

Sarcophagus Silhouette

coffin
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Mummy just so happens to arrive at the same time, how awkward!

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Monsters Come Out to Play

Monsters Come Out to Play

hat and coat on a rack
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Invisible Man, is that you? Someone definitely wanted to be a part of this house.

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A Universal Classic

A Universal Classic

Browning tomb
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

A nod to Dracula director Tod Browning.

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Mummy Props

Mummy Props

canopic jars
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Real canopic jars used in the 1999 Mummy film. Don’t take one or you may lose some vital organs.

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What’s in the Chest?

What’s in the Chest?

a chest
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

A cursed jewel to break all curses—it’s what the monsters are fighting over.

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Dracula Has Backup

Dracula Has Backup

vampire brides
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Beware his bloodthirsty brides!

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The Ancient Wolf Man

The Ancient Wolf Man

anubis statue
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Anubis may favor the Wolf Man in the end, as Murdy let us know that the ancient diety may have not had a dog head but rather the head of the wolf. Might be some bias. See who wins the battle of the Universal Monsters when Halloween Horror Nights opens September 8 at Universal Studios Hollywood; it runs select nights through October 31.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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