Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Walking Dead and Silent Hill Coming to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando Resort announced in a press release that one of this year's Halloween Horror Nights mazes will be based on the popular television series The Walking Dead.  For those who don't know, The Walking Dead follows the survivors of a zombie apocalypse as they try to live life among the horrors of the flesh eating undead.  The franchise started as a comic book, is now on its third season as a hit television show, and just recently released a critically acclaimed episodic video game series.

It's obvious that a haunted maze based on such a popular show will attract a lot of attention, but it remains to be seen if this really proves something unique for the event.  Zombies are an increasingly tired horror theme, and have often appeared at previous Halloween Horror Nights.  While the event creators might still come up with something truly unique, this combination seems more like a marketing move than anything.

In a separate press release,  Universal also announced that they are creating a maze based on the longstanding game and movie franchise Silent Hill.  This horror series features the titular town where fears and sins manifest themselves into reality, creating a nightmarish landscape of shifting dimensions and Freudian horrors.  In Silent Hill, a dark, empty room can suddenly turn into a blood spattered, monster infested pit in the blink of an eye as your own mind is your undoing.

Unlike The Walking Dead, Silent Hill has the potential for something truly original and disturbing.  The twisted beasts of the series are some of the video game industry's most infamous creations, and seeing them brought to life makes for some intriguing possibilities.  The press releases specifically mentions the upcoming sequel to the mediocre movie based on the series, but hopefully the maze draws more influence from the superior games.

Something interesting to note from these press releases is that both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort will be getting mazes based on these licensed properties.  In the past, both events would usually only share a single maze, at most.  This may just be the result of having two different partnerships this year, but it will be interesting to see if these Halloween events share even more themes this year.  Also, Universal Orlando typically utilizes viral marketing and alternative reality games to gradually reveal new themes, but it seems their utilizing a simpler approach this year.

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