Friday the 13th: Kill Jason Kill Maze Preview

ON

Featured at the 2010 Halloween Horror Nights

Even after all of his years working at the park and in the face of a serious time crunch, Universal Studios Hollywood’s creative director John Murdy still knows how to have a bit of devious fun while at work on the 2010 Halloween Horror Nights in Los Angeles. Murdy will admit to creeping around the event’s various mazes under construction under the cover of night to scare an employee or two. Namely, with a giant Jason Voorhees in hand in the halls of one of this year’s attractions, Friday the 13th: Kill Jason Kill.

Jason is back for another go at scaring the pants off of Horror Nights guests. But this time, Murdy and company are basing their maze on the 2009 Friday the 13th with the blessing of the film’s producers. The last time Jason surfaced on the Universal grounds, it was for a maze that culled its inspiration from all of the films in the franchise. “What’s different about [the 2009] film and why we were excited about doing this is they changed up Jason,” says Murdy. So expect to see some of the kills featured in the remake as well as some new gags. “We’re going to do all of the different looks, like Sack Head. We also have freak Jason or unmasked Jason then the traditional hockey mask Jason.”

“We look for villains that are achievable with live action, movies that have a proven track record and environments,” Murdy explains while guiding Shock on an advance tour of Kill Jason Kill that took place this week. These elements are just some of the reasons Jason has been resurrected at Universal. Also chalk it up to Jason’s popularity. The guests love him as much as they do Freddy Krueger and Jigsaw, both returning to Horror Nights this year. (Sorry, Harry Warden, no My Bloody Valentine maze for you this year.)

We stand at the start of the maze where a wooden Camp Crystal Lake sign hangs, surrounded by foliage (“Real plants this year, we’ve never done that before,” Murdy beams.) and tools for construction. The crew is racing to meet an early start – Horror Nights opens on September 24, a debut change from previous years.

“Mother Voorhees is the thematic thread here,” says Murdy. “Outside you’ll hear her telling Jason to kill for mommy, the main message. The Camp Crystal Lake façade is straight out of the new film. Our actors can’t physically touch or kill the guests. So we prey on them psychologically. We’ll do that with smell. In the forest, you’ll get the scent of pine. In the body room at the end of the maze where Jason stores his bodies, well, you’ll smell a dead body. We also like to physically get stuff on people in the form of blood. It’s distilled water, but you’ll think it’s blood.”

The maze is a demonstration of, as Murdy calls it, the “set them up and knock them down” scare technique. Murdy smiles, “That’s what the makers of Friday the 13th refer to it as.” Why not stick with what works, right? As we inspect the maze, Murdy says an area will be allotted to the bear trap and sleeping bag gags. An actor will appear as if his leg was chopped off, meanwhile, an animatronic body will be rocking back and forth in a sleeping bag suspended over a faux fire. The maze is going to be faithful to the 2009 film in environments, too. Guests will be taken into the barn where Jason finds his mask and they’ll dive deep beneath Camp Crystal Lake into the tunnels where the killer gets around.

There are plenty of grotesqueries on display, such as the end result of a wood chipper kill, a poor sucker cleaved in two with a machete and a bed that’s literally a canvas for body parts. Murdy is particularly proud of one effect that will feature a young woman whose face will be forced against the whirling grindstone that Jason sharpens his machete on. “In one cut of Friday the 13th, you’ll see Jason in his lair sharpening his machete with the grindstone. Working with this film, we took a lot of the kills from the film and we went to the producers and said, well, you have this grindstone, couldn’t we do something with that? So we came up with our own kill.”

Scroll down for some photos from the maze.

Another maze we did not get a look at but Murdy is also jazzed about is the House of 1000 Corpses attraction. Rob Zombie, writer-director of the film upon which the maze is based, played an integral part in its design.

For more details on Halloween Horror Nights follow this link for the full schedule and ticket information!

Source: Shock Till You Drop