The crown jewel of Universal Studio’s Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23 seems to be their haunted maze based on “An American Werewolf in London.” The horror classic is a movie the creative team has been trying to base a maze on for years, and now that’s it’s happened it’s with the input of director John Landis.
To celebrate the event’s opening, Landis spoke with a few members of the media to discuss the maze and what makes it so special. “I’ve watched people go through and it’s very fun to watch them scream,” he says. After months of plotting out the attraction, and working with the creators behind it, the scares have almost become a science.
Unfortunately, most who go through are so scared, they miss out on things because they’re to busy running away, screaming. “What I find frustrating is they speed up,” he jokes. “I mean, they went to so much trouble. Look at it.”
They did indeed go through quite a bit to get the maze in its final state, which includes a few very large werewolf puppets, all hand-controlled. “The wolf is very much like what Rick Baker did [in the movie],” Landis says. There’s also a number of lighting effects an architectural touched that immerse you into the world of the movie, from starting things out in The Slaughtered Lamb pub, right though the subway system.
Chances are without the influence of Landis, the maze would be a very different beast, as he admits to making them change a lot. However, Creative Director Michael Aiello says that Landis challenging them on the design is a big part of what makes it so effective. “He’s been really great,” Aiello says before turning to Landis, “and I know you think you’ve been a pain, but you really haven’t.”
The experience has been something memorable for Landis, as it shows him storytelling from a new angle. “The interesting thing about walking through here is it’s not like a theater where you look wherever the director wants you to look,” he explains. Instead, you are surrounded by the movie and part of it.
He still laments the speed some people experience it in though., adding, “For it to be working completely, you should be walking through it. Nobody walks through it.” So if you find yourself lined up to experience “An American Werewolf in London,” take your time and enjoy the terrifying sights.
Halloween Horror Nights runs through November 2 at Universal Studios Orlando.