The eight haunted houses of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida open to the public on the night of September 20, but media got a sneak preview of one of those houses more than a week early. After presentations and interview opportunities with the creative team, they were taken to one of the most eagerly anticipated houses of the year: Walking Dead No Safe Haven.
If you'd like to experience this house for yourself, click the video accompanying this article for the full walkthrough.
After the success of last year's Walking Dead house and scare zone, Universal Orlando Resort has expanded on the concept. Now the entire street experience is centered on the Walkers, and the Walking Dead house is all new. Last year ir was in the Disaster queue, but this year it moves to the parade building.
The Walking Dead was my first haunted house of the season, and from stepping through the entrance and inhaling that familiar smell that's indescribable but oh-so-well-known to haunt fans to running the gauntlet of growling, groping Walkers at the end, it felt like a great start.
The aggressiveness of this house reminded me of the original Walking Dead house at the beginning of the 2012 season, which started out as my favorite, although it got tamer as the season progressed. I'm hoping that won't happen here because this house is rife with opportunities for great old-school scares.
There are going to be plenty of stunning special effects and sets this year in houses like An American Werewolf in London and La Llorona, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Universal has raised the bar yet again. But I'm also an old-school jump scare fan, and it looks like The Walking Dead will deliver very nicely in that realm.
If you'd like to see the full presentation by Mike Aiello at the media event, jump to this article.