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Behind the screams of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

The scariest place on Earth around Halloween is at Universal Studios where the visitors get chased and scared and spooked by walking zombies, murderous stalkers and other various monsters.

This year promises to be scarier than ever!
This year promises to be scarier than ever!
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Some scary renderings of the future haunted house.
Universal Studios

This year's worlds of horrors promises to be the spookiest ever. The Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood is expanding through 22 nights. The tickets will be on sale when the screams start beginning Sept. 19 and the mazes will go on through Nov. 2.

One of the highlights this year includes Grammy-winning guitarist Slash who is composing the score for the night's theme. The Clowns 3D music was written by the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame musician. It's a busy time for Slash while he's finishing the Aerosmith world tour and soon debuting a new album.

At a press conference, Slash said, "I’m a huge fan of Halloween Horror Nights and I was inspired to partner with Universal Studios Hollywood because they are the founders of creating extreme horror and so I’ve been composing music for as long as I can remember and jumped at the chance to be an integral part of this year’s event and create the original score for this creepy clown maze. I can’t wait to see the fans’ reactions and will be first in line to experience the maze myself."

The idea behind the story of the Clowns 3D section is that the residents are stricken with a disease known as Coulrophobia, which is an irrational fear of clowns. Then, visitors are taken on a walk through a run-down warehouse known as Sweet Licks Frozen Clown Pops Family Amusement Center. The past visitors who come in for ice cream soon find out they are on the menu.

John Murdy, the Creative Director of Halloween Horror Nights, said, "It’s an honor to collaborate with one of the most iconic rock legends around and from the moment I heard Slash's original composition for the maze, I immediately knew he got it, as the vibe and feel of his score are so right on. He captured the exact tone we were looking to convey. It’s great having Slash be a part of this incredible event."

In another part of the park, the Terror Tram that snakes through the Universal backlot will be invaded by the Walking Dead. This apocalyptic maze starts at a Georgia Correctional Facility with prisoners who have survived the zombies, but are just as scary. The tram then heads to the woods for a sanctuary called Terminus.

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The Horror Nights events are a separate admission to the studio tours, but they have special Day/Night combo tickets available.

The theme this year is "More Dead Than Ever" and it also includes inspirations in movies like Robert Rodriguez's cult vampire film “From Dusk Till Dawn,” the TV show “Face Off: In the Flesh,” and movies such as “Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood,” “AVP: Alien vs. Predator,” “An American Werewolf in London,” and the recent horror film “The Purge: Anarchy.”

The whole thing takes place in the backdrop of where the original Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf movies were filmed, and Murdy is well aware of that. "This is the movie studio that invented the horror film genre, we hold ourselves to a very high standard in producing the best and most terrifying Halloween experience. Our ongoing collaboration with today’s most influential filmmakers and musicians, and movie and television horror properties, contributes to the authenticity of the event and delivers one of the scariest, most compelling experiences anywhere."

Other promised monsters include a serpent-like vampire, blood-thirsty cannibals who look like rich French royalty, a demonic Santa who drags bad kids to hell and a Native American half-beast monster called Wendigo that preys on human flesh.

Guests will also be able to tour an old English pub called The Slaughtered Lamb set in the Yorkshire Moors and occupied by demon soldiers with guns.

Director and producer John Landis seemed very excited at a press conference, saying, "They've gone to great lengths to recreate the mood and details of the movie. The true test for guests will be to see if they are able to endure the scares lurking throughout the maze – rather than screaming from room to room. I want them to really absorb the elaborate sets, make-up and special effects custom designed for this experience."

Find out what the fans are saying about the new scenes when they write about it on the "Halloween Horror Nights" Facebook page, and on Twitter @HorrorNights as well as the studio's website: Watching the videos that fans post are as much fun as being there!

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