THE EXORCIST is the blue print for all demonic possession films and has held on to that achievement for over four decades. Released in 1973, it quickly became one of the most iconic and recognizable horror movies ever made. But how could it ever be made into a haunted house or maze?
Most horror heavy hitters don’t have a lot of trouble making the transition into the haunters’ realm, but most of these films have the benefit of multiple locations and higher body counts. So how do you transition a film that, for the most part, took place in only one room and did not really stack up a heavy death toll? Well 2016’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood found a way to make it happen, and it is gloriously terrifying.
The first thing you notice upon entering Regan’s home is the attention to detail. The living room is straight out of Georgetown complete with a staircase (which yes you will eventually get to see Regan spider crawl backwards down) and architecture. The rest of the house is made up of dark hallways leading to recreations of Regan’s room. You feel like you’re standing on the set of the movie. There are also assorted strange odors to amp up your senses, some very unpleasant.
I was glad to see that they went with a good balance between live actors and animatronic puppets. A sudden drop of temperature in a few rooms was also a nice touch. Another well-thought-out aspect was the the audio which was never overbearing nor was it repetitive, but often utilized lines or scenes from the film as you journey through. Although the instinct to relax and just have fun is natural, as you take travel through the EXORCIST maze, you’ll notice the sharp attention to detail will keep you on your guard as you move to the next room. Demons lurk in every corner, and Captain Howdy is never more than a step or two away.
Despite the limited locales used in the original movie, horror fans and haunted house connoisseurs will be extremely satisfied as they travel through this long-overdue, totally immersive EXORCIST maze.
Halloween Horror Nights runs from 7pm to 2 am at Universal Studios Hollywood. Go to www.halloweenhorrornights.com to find out more.
This story is part of a series done in partnership between Blumhouse.com and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights .
Listen to our interview with John Murdy, the creative director of Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Hollywood for a behind-the-scenes chat explaining how the event comes together every year. Exclusively on Shock Waves, embedded below!