Halloween Horror Nights has returned to Universal Studios Hollywood, and while the event certainly has a lot in common with its Universal Studios Florida counterpart, there is enough that's unique and different about the California event that it serves its own consideration.
Several of the Halloween Horror Nights houses at Universal Studios Hollywood are the same as the ones you'll find in Florida, but a few are entirely original and new. We've already ranked the Halloween Horror Nights Houses at Universal Orlando, so let's take a look at how the houses at the Hollywood Park stack up.
9. Terror Tram: The Exterminatorz
Universal Studios Hollywood is the smaller of the two Halloween Horror Nights theme parks, so it has fewer houses and simply isn't able to do a lot of the things that Universal Orlando can. Having said that, there is one thing that is unique to USH that is always worth celebrating. The iconic Universal Studios Backlot Tour isn't left out of Halloween Horror Nights, as it becomes the Terror Tram.
The Terror Tram is your only way to reach other attractions at the park, so it seems to be more of a necessity than a fully thought-out attraction. It’s really just a video that you watch while on the tram, and the video itself is incredibly goofy, gross, campy, ridiculous and not scary. I found the whole thing to be kind of annoying, honestly. Apparently some riders were attacked by giant bug creatures, but that did not happen to us. I don’t know why... maybe that would have taken it up a notch.
8. Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
Last year, just a day after the 2022 Horror Nights ended, Halloween Horror Nights did something unprecedented when it announced that a house dedicated to the Chucky series would be part of this year's event. Unfortunately, we didn't find this one was quite worth the wait.
How many times can you see a bloodied human being pretend to be attacked by a doll? Since the various Chucky dolls have no weight to them it’s kind of silly looking and repetitive. However, the house is still fun and worth doing.
7. Holidayz In Hell
While the houses based on popular movies or TV shows are the ones that usually get the most hype, there's a lot to be said for the completely original ideas, which don't have a lot of expectation, and thus have more freedom to try new things.
Holidayz In Hell was certainly a unique idea. It came across more silly than scary, which isn't in itself a bad thing, but it ultimately just felt more strange than anything else. It may be original, but it's hard to see how such a concept got greenlit. What’s next, spooky seasons? Scary lunch? Evil days of the week?
6. The Exorcist: Believer
It's not uncommon for Halloween Horror Nights to build houses based on a popular horror movie that just came out earlier that same year. This year's event has a house just like that, but it also did something even more interesting, as it built a house based on a movie that isn't out yet. If the house is any indication of the film's quality, The Exorcist: Believer is going to be great.
This was one of the more solid houses! It was pretty scary and filled lots of actors, which is almost always better (gory dolls and wax figures just aren't as frightening). Since it's sort of an ad for a film that hasn’t been released yet, there’s not really a lot of fun nostalgia or references one can recognize, but it has some good scares! Isn't that what really counts?
5. The Last of Us
From a hype standpoint, an HHN house based on The Last of Us is certainly the big event of the year. The original video game became so big that it spawned a TV series that has brought in even more fans to the franchise.
As fans of The Last of Us TV show, we thought this could be the best house. Instead, we were left slightly disappointed. Most rooms were driven by actors playing Ellie and Joel (who all clearly look like different people, but that’s ok). The infected attack, Joel saves Ellie, and then you walk into the next room where new actors are doing nearly the same scenario. Eh, it gets old.
4. Universal Monsters: Unmasked
Universal really pioneered the "cinematic universe" concept with its classic monster movies decades ago. Any fan of horror, or classic Hollywood, is sure to appreciate that those creatures have never been entirely forgotten. There's almost always a Universal Monsters house at HHN, and this year's featured some that rarely get the spotlight.
It’s fun to see classic monsters reimagined, and they're in a position to actually scare the crap out of you. By that, I mean characters like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man, and the Phantom of the Opera aren’t necessarily scary. In this environment, however, they were, and there were some pretty cool effects. I was surprised by this one.
3. Stranger Things 4
Stranger Things has made semi-regular appearances at Halloween Horror Nights over the years, and it returned once again with a house dedicated to Season 4. Fans waiting for the big finale will likely really appreciate seeing their favorite characters again. Over in Florida, Stranger Things wasn't just scary, but it was also sort of emotional.
The best part about the Stranger Things 4 house is that it’s very much packed with references to the show. You feel like you’re on set, which is a fun way to do a Haunted House. It’s not the scariest house, but the effects are cool, and making the house specific to Season 4 was a smart move. We even get a flashback to Eleven and Vecna at Hawkins Laboratory.
2. Evil Dead Rise
Evil Dead Rise was a pretty warmly embraced new entry in the franchise for horror fans. Halloween Horror Nights must have had a good feeling considering that the film is already part of the event despite the fact that the movie is only five months old.
Evil Dead Rise is probably the closest thing the park has to your traditional haunted house that you might find in a small town or on a farm in the middle of nowhere (yes, those exist, and they’re the best). There are tons of actors providing jump scares and tons of gore, all with the added benefit of being in the world of Evil Dead Rise.
1. Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America
There is rarely anything scarier than the unknown, and that's what the original houses at HHN always have working in their favor. We have something of an idea of what to expect when it comes to The Last of Us and Chucky, but you have no idea what you're getting into with something like Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America.
We had no expectations for this house. It’s not tied to any show or movie, and it’s primarily driven by animatronics. However, these figures are so epic, detailed, huge and impressive they're quite a visual spectacle. This in itself makes the house scary, and you get a unique look at some really creative creatures with whom most of us aren’t familiar. This house was our biggest and happiest surprise.
Not every house at Halloween Horror Nights is a total winner, but they all have something special that's worth experiencing. Not only that, but Universal Studios Hollywood has a big winner since its best house at the event this year is one you won't find in Orlando.
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights through Halloween, so there's still plenty of fun to catch the terrifying fun.