If you ever wanted to feel what it’s like to live – even for a snapshot of time – inside a Hollywood horror film, then your thrill-seeking aspirations have become reality with Warner Bros. Studio Tours. They have pulled out all the stops and screams for their “Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights” installation through October 28th, which has cordoned off a substantial portion of the Warner Bros. lot to fully immerse attendees inside a fearsome fun-zone.
With some of the most adept actors on hand for the job, not to mention the utilization of sets that are packed with enough verisimilitude to suspend disbelief, Warner Bros. Studio Tours has curated a collection of the magnificent and the macabre. There are spine-tingling sights, ominous sounds, and enough supernatural experiences to create a fantastically lucid nightmare that begins at 7 pm and can last until 1 am.
Interspersed throughout the property are food (e.g., burgers, fries, pizza, chicken tenders, pretzels) and wine options to infuse you with the energy you’ll need to cry out and run from the night’s blood-curdling entertainment. To replenish when necessary, the crimson-gothic “Fangtasia Bar” (from HBO’s “True Blood”) is highly recommended for its blood bag cocktail (vodka, lemonade, grenadine, and cranberry) that will have your Instagram followers swooning.
Three mazes await you, as well, each of which is not only bewitchingly unique, but stays true to its mythology. The first one is the “Escape from Arkham Asylum” – based on the popular Batman video games. From the outside, it appears as an unnerving institution for the criminally insane. The Batmobile is parked at the entrance, and upon traipsing in, guests are greeted by a humorously cynical Joker before being led inside a nerve-wracking elevator. Then, a realm of wondrous wailing terror is revealed, accented by a neon nightclub ambiance, with cameo appearances by a few of Batman’s other equally colorful archenemies. Needless to say, the experience is more of a sensory treat than a trick.
The “IT Knows What Scares You” labyrinth is appropriately the grimmest and goriest, but not prior to beckoning its on-foot occupants with a seemingly innocuous 1980’s-esque living room right out of the Neibolt House. However, with every subsequent turn of the corner, the blood-soaked display becomes ever more grisly, inclusive of shocks, wild creatures, and yellow-poncho-wearing children who are creepily confused. Pennywise, of course, makes an appearance in all his foreboding glory, clowning around with and threatening his pale-faced visitors, who will have witnessed images they won’t ever be able to forget.
Like its cinematic counterparts, “The Conjuring Universe” maze is superb at building up the psychologically torturous suspense that is to manifest later on in morbid fashion. Two hosts attempt to calm the guests at this haunted farmhouse before all hell breaks loose in the form of demonic spirits that grow to a twisted crescendo. Trying to avoid eye contact with Annabelle, or attempting to elude the uncomfortable disturbance, thankfully doesn’t work out very well for anyone. Violent shaking and quickly glimpsed horror add up to a phantasmagoria of events that culminate in a chillingly breathtaking conclusion, striking awe in the eyes of its beholders.
In addition to the mazes, “The Exorcist Forbidden Screening” involves sitting among a horde of others in pews inside a disquieting church, where you’ll be surrounded by possessed nuns and priests before being presented a screening of the 1973 classic. The most sinister scenes of the film are played, as 4D effects supplement the deranged depiction, whereby the intersection between reality and fantasy becomes mystifyingly indistinguishable. A warning to the wise: If you’re sitting with a partner, make sure to clutch their hand, lest you, too, get lured into the diabolical madness!
For those looking for an unforgettable nighttime stroll in the woods, the “Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake” tour (last one departs at 10:15 pm) will provide just the blustery brush with death that was on your bucket list. Upon embarking a Warner Bros. Studio Tours golf cart, your driver will crack a few gut-busting jokes, point out a few filming locations along the backlot — à la “House of Wax” — and then drop you off at Camp Crystal Lake (it’s actually filled to the brim!) where the hulking Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” series will aggressively accost you with his trusty machete. Additionally, Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street” will lash out at you with his claws, and you will scurry away to discover and tip-toe through a sketchy cabin in the middle of nowhere. The whole sequence feels unknown, foreign, and reminiscent of being in an entirely different locale; suffice it to say, it’s absolutely exhilarating.
The next stop is “Stage 48: Script to Scream,” highlighting the real costumes and props from Tim Burton’s spookily fun films. You will see and appreciate the miniature, spindly figurines of Victor Van Dort as well as Victoria & Finis Everglot of the “Corpse Bride,” Alec Baldwin’s flannel shirt and khaki pants from “Beetlejuice,” Sacha Baron Cohen’s dazzling blue one-piece in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and an alien model and ray gun from “Mars Attacks!” By being up close and personal with film history, as imagined by the darkly inventive directorial mind of Burton, you’ll be insidiously inspired.
Ancillary, bonus attractions flesh out the haunted grounds, one of which is the Devil’s Drop, a coaster that excruciatingly inches up to 90 feet before plummeting from the sky in a hurtling flash of heart-pounding panic. Moreover, re-live the cult-followed teen vampire flick, “The Lost Boys,” with an arcade in its honor featuring burly consoles from the 80s, like “Tetris,” “Space Invaders,” and “Mario Bros.” Finally, you should witness the magic of horror makeup with an impressive demo, allow yourself to get into a ghastly dancing groove at the foot of the DJ-helmed festival stage, and on your way out of the eerie extravaganza, peruse a potential memento to take home with you at the “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Undoubtedly, after your scary sojourn at Warner Bros. Studio Tours’ “Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights” comes to a crackling close, you’ll count yourself lucky for having crossed and survived the surreal intersection of where Halloween meets Hollywood.
The 13 select dates to experience Warner Bros. Studio Tours’ “Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights” include October 5th-6th, 12th-14th, 18th-21st, and 25th-28th.
For more information about the event, please visit horrormadehere.com