Fears over the zombie apocalypse just got much worse. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort are bringing back The Walking Dead to Halloween Horror Nights for an unprecedented third year in a row.
Hundreds of zombies will be featured in elaborate horror mazes and throughout the theme parks for the popular Halloween-season attraction in Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida.
“The Walking Dead is a once in a lifetime property,” says John Murdy, creative director of Universal Studios Hollywood. “It transcends the typical boundaries of traditional movies or television shows. It appeals to everyone. The show keeps zombies in the zeitgeist of American pop culture.”
Michael Aiello, the creative development director for Universal Orlando Resort, said the decision to bring the AMC program back for a third year was not taken lightly.
“I’ll put it into context — we have never brought back any property for Horror Nights. But this is the third year for Walking Dead,” says Aiello. “It’s huge.”
The 2014 Halloween Horror Night activities will be based on the completed fourth season of The Walking Dead, which follows a band of survivors who must contend with predatory zombies. Both parks have worked closely with representatives of the show, including the show’s executive producer and special effects supervisor Greg Nicotero.
In a release about the new horror season, Nicotero called it an “incredible collaboration.” Murdy says that last year, Nicotero personally looked over 2,500 prosthetic special effects used by zombies in the parks.
In Hollywood this year, the zombies will be in a horror maze set in the prison featured in season four. There will be more zombies overflowing through a “scare zone” throughout the park. And predatory zombies will also be wandering in the Universal backlot where the studio tram tour will be renamed “Terror Tram: Invaded by The Walking Dead.”
“What’s different about about horror nights is that you’re no longer safe watching the show on your couch,” says Murdy. “You’re in the world.”
Universal Orlando Resort will feature the largest maze built in the park’s Halloween history, twice the size of any done in the past. The horror scenes will include the prison and also a dilapidated country club which will be overrun by zombie walkers.
“We have an uber maze and more,” says Aiello. “We really had to examine — How are going this like we have never done it before? And we have.”