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What We Know So Far About Halloween Horror Nights’ New ‘Holidayz In Hell’ Maze

Halloween Horror Nights - Holidayz In Hell key art

Last week Universal Studios Hollywood announced an all-new maze coming to Halloween Horror Nights 2019, “Holidayz In Hell.” Prior to the public announcement, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director and Executive Producer John Murdy and Director of Production and Design Chris Williams gave a more in-depth look at the maze during a panel at Monsterpalooza, and here’s what we learned.

Many of the Characters You Met in the 2018 Scare Zone Will Return for the 2019 Maze

Iconic holiday monsters that made their debut in the 2018 “Holidayz In Hell” scare zone will return as characters in the new for 2019 maze including Father Time, Cupid, Leprechaun, The Easter Bunny, Uncle Sam, and, Turkey Lurkey.

The Maze Inspiration Comes From Victorian Era Holiday Cards

Though built upon the idea of the 2018 scare zone of the same name, the new “Holidayz In Hell” maze takes its core inspiration from the disturbing aesthetic found in vintage holiday cards. “They’re just messed up,” said Murdy during the panel. “I don’t know what people were doing in Victorian times…they were traumatizing their children.”

Each scene in the maze used a vintage holiday card as a starting off point and it will be a reoccurring theme throughout the maze, in fact the maze’s facade will actually be a New Year’s postcard inspired by the card below.

Vintage New Year's Postcard

Unlike in years’ past, the maze facade will be a graphic. There will be a countdown like on New Year’s Eve and when it hits “Happy New Year” everything in the image goes bad and takes on a more creepy aesthetic.

The New Year’s Scenes Will Transport You Back to the ’20s and to a Nightmarish Nursery

For the New Year’s portion of the maze, the aesthetics have been inspired by 1920’s New Year’s celebrations like that in The Golden Room of The Shining, complete with flappers and party revelers.

Concept designs for the Party Reveler characters in the New Year's section of the "Holidayz In Hell" maze.

Baby New Year will also be a prominent theme in the New Year’s section of the maze and will take you into the heart of a nightmarish nursery, inspired by images of a dilapidated nursery from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Here you’ll come face-to-face with the Nightmare Nurse and a terrifying new year’s baby looking to break free of his crib.

Character concept of the Nightmare Nurse

The Valentine’s Day Scenes Will Transport You Into a Tunnel of Love

If you’re headed to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights with a date, don’t get too excited about the mention of a tunnel of love. This twisted take on a tunnel of love will feature a number of disturbing scenes including a creepy cupid cutting a woman’s heart out and ripping it from her chest.

Concept design for a Valentine's Day scenic elevation in "Holidayz In Hell" where cupid would tear out the heart of a woman.

St. Patrick’s Day Meets “Game of Thrones”

While the aesthetic of the St. Patrick’s Day section of the maze will be inspired by the beautiful real-life cottages and fairy caves John Murdy sees in his home country of Ireland, they house something much darker. Guests will make their way through the fairy caves and come upon the home of a Leprechaun who is taking some inspiration from “Game of Thrones” when it comes to dealing with those who try and steal his gold. Just as Viserys got the crown he deserved from Khal Drogo in “Game of Thrones,” would be thieves will get the gold they deserve as the Leprechauns kills them by pouring molten gold over them.

Easter Mixes Murdy’s Hatred for Peeps and Terrifying Easter Photos

When it came to Easter, John Murdy didn’t have to do too much digging when it came to visual research as two themes that are easy to find around the holiday are messed up Easter Bunny photos and Peeps, a candy which Murdy shared his distaste for during the panel. “I hate Peeps,” said Murdy during the panel. “Peeps are my most hated thing in the universe. I hate ’em. Can’t stand them. Can’t touch ’em. Can’t look at ’em. Just one of my weird phobias that I have, so I wanted to work Peeps into it.”

For the Easter portion of the maze you’ll be transported into a world inspired by 70’s era mall Easter Bunny photos and be met with a terrifying mashup of scenes like the one below featuring a terrifying Easter Bunny, a human entombed in an egg and a “melted jacked up Peep monster.”

Design concept for Easter scenic elevation in "Holidayz In Hell"

The 4th of July Section Takes Inspiration from Seedy Firework Stands and Victorian Imagery of Kids Playing with Way Too Many Fireworks

When you mix a smoke shop with a fireworks stand, what could possibly go wrong? You’ll find out this Halloween as you enter the 4th of July section of the “Holidayz In Hell” maze where poor fireworks management has set the place ablaze and at the heart of it you’ll find the fireworks kid, a character who probably shouldn’t have been allowed to play with so many fireworks.

Fourth of July kid character concept art

The Turkey’s Get Their Revenge in This Thanksgiving

The inspiration for the aesthetic of the Thanksgiving portion of “Holidayz in Hell” was taken from the classic Normal Rockwell painting “Freedom from Want” and classic 50’s Americana, but the wholesomeness of the maze ends there as the Thanksgiving turkeys seek their revenge and make humans the meal. In this portion of the maze you’ll find humans turned into a feast and you’ll find them in everything from the JELLO mold to the main course.

Christmas Returns as a Scare Zone

Though the maze will end on a Christmas section ruled by a satanic Santa complete with gory Christmas trees trimmed with intestinal garland and finger ornaments, the theme of Christmas is also returning as a scare zone that connects to the maze. The “Christmas In Hell” scare zone will be in the Parisian courtyard and bring back characters from the 2014-2015 scare zone “Dark Christmas” including the evil elves and Jack Frost, but will add new characters like Mrs. Claus, the Winter Witch, a Nutcracker stilt walker, and a variation of Baby New Year.

Winter Witch character concept art

More details on this maze and others yet to be announced are sure to come as we get closer to scare season. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood begins Friday, September 13.

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