After a painful, pandemic-provoked pause in Halloween festivities, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando are once again set to terrorize horror lovers when Halloween Horror Nights returns for 2021. Opening this weekend in Orlando and next weekend in Hollywood, the event will be the first major theme park haunt event to be mounted after such a long absence and will thrust guests into the middle of their favorite horror franchises once again.

At Universal Studios Hollywood the roster of mazes includes The Exorcist, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween 4, The Walking Dead, The Curse of Pandora’s Box, The Haunting of Hill House and The Bride of Frankenstein Lives. We were fortunate enough to take a behind-the-scenes tour of two mazes as they were still being worked on and folks, we are in store for a treat.

We met Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director John Murdy just outside the façade for the new maze The Bride Of Frankenstein Lives! Braving the heat and what we can assume is a hectic schedule, Murdy approached our group with the same affable horror fan vibe that we’ve grown to love over the years. It’s been a long time though since the last time we’ve been together for one of these tours and despite what we have all been through, we were back. As Murdy quipped, “The monster always survives.”

We covered Murdy’s extensive play-by-play of this new, original maze here when he spoke at Midsummer Scream’s Awaken The Spirits. This time we were actually getting to check things out. Keep in mind as I share these images that this is still very much a work in progress with no show lighting or actors. That said, my one word so far is, “WOW!”

Spurred by the popularity of the Universal Monster Mazes of previous years, Murdy decided to explore his favorite horror film The Bride of Frankenstein. But as the creative director pointed out, the title character doesn’t show up until the end of the film and after five minutes (Spoiler alert) the bride rejects Frankenstein and, in turn, Frankie declares that the two of them “Belong Dead.” and he pulls a switch destroying the castle they are in. So where does Murdy and his partner Art Director, Chris Williams go from there? They decided to create a full-on sequel to The Bride of Frankenstein.

 

Told in chapters guests will literally enter an open book that tells what happened after the explosion.

The first scene of the maze lands us in the center of the rubble, after the destruction of the lab. The Bride, after realizing that Frankenstein was the only one that was ever kind to her she decides to save him.

 

The Bride takes the legless Frankenstein to the cottage of the blind man. Unfortunately, the three brides of Dracula are in hot pursuit.

We notice the cross on the wall of the cottage is missing. This is because The Bride of Frankenstein has realized she can use it to fend off Dracula’s bloodthirsty brides. Heading to the nearist church for safety our bad-ass bride realizes that if she infused Frankenstein with Vampire Blood it would save his life. So she sets out to drain the first bride of her lifeforce.

An actor portraying one of Dracula’s Brides will be in the cage behind the red jars.

Poor Frankie and his useless legs.

 

We  leave the church laboratory and discover where Frankenstein’s Bride is keeping the vampires but, of course, they escape and we are right in the middle of it.

 

The final scene will reveal the Bride’s handy work as Frankenstein will have much taller legs. The actor in this scene will be a stiltwalker, menacing passerby.

Personally, I cannot wait to see this maze in all of its gory glory when actors are in place and lighting is set on opening night, Thursday, September 9th at Universal Studios Hollywood. Murdy continues his successful homage to the classic Universal Monsters breathing new life into them with a grittier edge, new storylines, and savage storylines. The Bride of Frankenstein lives! will also mark the fourth collaboration between Halloween Horror Nights and legendary guitarist SLASH of Guns and Roses.

We have one more maze to share with you and it will leave you haunted. Stay tuned.


Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood is back with a vengeance as tickets are now on sale with menacing fan favorite mazes.

Guests can click here to purchase tickets, and due to popular demand, the event is expected to sell out.  Event dates are: September 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30 and October 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31.

About the Author: Norman Gidney

Norm(an) Gidney is a nearly lifelong horror fan. Beginning his love for the scare at the age of 5 by watching John Carpenter's Halloween, he set out on a quest to share his passion for all things spooky with the rest of the world.