WB’s Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights 2018 review
A Hollywood experience that immerses audiences in the horror universes of The Conjuring, The Neibolt House from IT, Arkham Asylum and more!
The event which started as a Night tour of the lot, Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour has taken a bold new approach that continues to reinvent itself in its third year. With Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights, they take a wise game-changing step deeper into the Halloween haunt world. Los Angeles is the West Coast hub of Horror entertainment events and haunts. Theme parks, most notably including Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, have been in the haunt business for decades. And in the past Warner Bros. has loaned out IP’s to that event. Freddy and Jason have been featured on Universal’s Titans of Terror as well as stand-alone mazes.
It’s about time the studio branches out into its own Halloween Haunt experience. If there’s any studio right now that’s killing it in the horror genre–it’s Warner Bros. They have both James Wan’s Conjuring Universe and IT. And by dipping into the realm of DC comics video games with an Arkham Asylum maze–you’ve got a great set of attractions to get the attention of haunt goers. Sure got mine!
Here’s a rundown of what you can expect at Horror Made Here, what excited us and our hopes for the evolution of the event.
It Knows What Scares You Maze
The Neibolt house gets plussed! Originally, created last year as a marketing installation for the film, the walk-through has undergone some retooling and incorporated some great key scenes as well as live Pennywise actors. The house last year had an animatronic Pennywise that you could hear be activated when you’d get to the last room. This year we got more of the story to see and a recreation of some of the best scenes from the film as well as an exploration through the neighborhood of Derry and the tunnels. My fave set pieces here were Beverly’s bathroom scene, with a performer who looked scarily like Sophia Lillis and the final set piece in the tunnel. I felt that it could use some more Pennywise performers throughout the maze. Felt that it missed recreating the photo slideshow scene like it did in its original incarnation but loved the creepy painting scene come to life
The Conjuring Universe
The best scare is in this and yes it has to do with The Nun. This maze chronicles the Warren investigations from the Conjuring films and you’re immediately dropped into their occult museum. Inside, you encounter not only Valak but the delightful Annabelle, who broke out of her case. Like the IT house, this maze also felt like a gorgeous walk-through that is finding its footing as a haunt. The scares are there but there’s so much potential for more.
Freddy vs. Jason’s Camp Crystal Lake
Starting off as the night tour gone wrong, you’re on a tram going through the backlot as your guide shows you buildings that were used in iconic WB horror properties. You drive by the shop where Gizmo was purchased, the streets where vampires from the Lost Boys roamed and end up in the woods where you’re invited to join Camp Crystal Lake. There seems to be a turf dispute as Freddy Krueger also wants to wreak havoc on the campers. And the walkthrough is filled with the horror icons trying to one-up one another in death counts. The cabin scene was my favorite. The only downside was that it was a bit too dark on the trails and was sorely missing a looping “Ch-ch-ch, ah-ah-ah.” audio track.
The Exorcist: Forbidden Screening
This one seemed to cause a lot of confusion. Many attendees thought it was a screening of the entire classic but it’s actually more of a sizzle reel of the film’s most iconic scenes. If you’re a Disney park fan, think Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, where you watch a cool supercut to effects in the theater. Except here it’s demonic forces come to life in a church (Yay, smell-o-vision!) where the screen melts away and you find yourself coming face to face with Regan. Good times. And for a bonus treat, they sell split-pea soup right outside the church. We had some before we went in. Tasty.
Escape from Arkham Asylum
We were so excited to be locked up with the Joker and the inmates inside Arkham Asylum. Starting off like a show where you’re admitted by Dr. Harley Quinzel, you meet the Joker who’s running the place and who sentences you to be one of them. Inside you come across various faces of Batman’s Rogues Gallery including Two-Face, Poison Ivy, The Riddler and of course the demented pair of Joker and Harley. The character acting in this is superb and this maze gets the atmosphere of the game. The only gripe is that it has a weird dubstep soundtrack that doesn’t quite fit and could have used the excellent score from the video game series. Even Heathens from the Suicide Squad soundtrack would have been slightly more relevant.
Aside from the mazes we really dug the vibe of the shops and theming throughout. For vampire fans, there’s a cool pop-up Fangtasia bar from True Blood as well as a Little Shop of Horrors souvenir store. One of the unique, more traditional to the tour offerings is the Tim Burton exhibit. For the first time ever some key props from Beetlejuice were put on display like the model in the Maitland’s attic as well as the costumes worn by Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton. There were also pieces from Sweeney Todd, Mars Attacks, and stop-motion maquettes from Corpse Bride.
This is an event that we can’t wait to see more from. There are so many properties that could be mazes. Imagine walking through Beetlejuice setpieces, an expanding Conjuring universe maze or even an investigation with the Warrens in the church. Also, more DC universe stuff from the comics, shows, games, and movies should definitely be included. I really hope they go all in. If you’re in the LA area this Halloween season definitely
Horror Made Here tickets are on sale now, starting from $59 per person at: horrormadehere.com. For a premium experience, join “The Losers’ Club” for the night to enjoy front-of-line access to each maze, two complimentary beverages, one free IT photo-op, and free priority parking.