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Horror Made Here – Trip Report and Photos

Jason McDonald

I was surprised to learn just a few weeks ago that Warner Bros. Studio here in Southern California had been hosting an annual Halloween event for a couple of years now.  The event, dubbed “Horror Made Here”, started off as a simple studio tour where guests could see props and sets from famous Warner Bros. horror movies.  However, it has become a more elaborate affair complete with attractions, vendors, and horror movie experiences.

Warner Bros. was kind enough to invite us down to check out the event this year, so I got to attend on their special media day.  Meaning that I got to run around snapping photos with legitimate photographers and camera crews.  These kind of events always make me feel sensitive about my camera size.  That also means my experience was probably the ideal experience as the crowds probably weren’t as big as they would be on a normal day, so keep that in mind.

For this years event they brought out their horror big guns in the form of: “The Conjuring”, “The Exorcist”, “It”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Friday the 13th”, and even Batman. Yes, Batman.  Since this was my first time attending the event I was surprised to learn that some of these attractions aren’t the typical experience you would get at Knott’s Scary Farm or even Halloween Horror Nights.  While some would definitely qualify as a traditional maze, others would be better described as experiences.  I’ll get into that further in.

The event kicked off with a little introduction ceremony where various characters and creatures made their presence known and it culminated with a giant monster chase.   A pretty satisfying way to kick off the experience.

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As a huge fan of Batman I was dying to know what sort of horror maze they could cook up for the Caped Crusader.  I’ve always believed that the Batman villains would make for excellent characters in a horror maze as many of them tend to have very disturbing natures.  So a whole maze set in Arkham Asylum seemed absolutely perfect.  Personally, I really enjoyed the end result, but I wish it had been longer. This would be a sentiment I would experience multiple times throughout.

We weren’t allowed to record footage in most mazes, but this was one of the rare ones where we could so check out my walkthrough of it down below.

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Next up we got to experience “You’ll Float Too” the maze dedicated to the recent “It” film.  This one was a more traditional maze experience where you got to walk through the various nightmarish experiences of the Loser’s Club.  There was Bev’s bloody bathroom, the charred corpses that tormented Mike, and even the deformed woman that terrorized Stan.  My favorite part was getting to walk through Ben’s room though and being able to see all the details including his New Kids on the Block poster.

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The above photo of Pennywise in the sewer drain was a photo op experience. It was hilarious seeing people shove themselves into a sewer drain so they could get professional photos taken.

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After escaping from Pennywise we made our to the next maze simply titled “The Conjuring Universe.”  This one was more of an “experience” than a maze, so let me explain what that actually means.  Rather than walking through a maze of rooms where actors would be lying in wait we would walk into staged scenes and experience the scares that room would have to offer.

So, for example, the first one you walk into is the room where the Warrens are keeping Annabelle and the other cursed artifacts.  Of course Annabelle isn’t in her glass case so you start to hear something moving through the room and objects all around you are being knocked over as if she were running around.  But the scenes got more elaborate as we went on.  There was a moment where an actor was inserted into our group without us knowing and then something horrible happened to them.  And the whole thing ends on a very strong note with a scene that recreates the moment where the Nun comes through the painting in “The Conjuring 2.”

Personally, I prefer a traditional maze over this kind of setup, but I was still really impressed by the work that went into it and I definitely see the value of focusing on recreating moments from a movie that you can have up close experiences with.  It’s a wholly unique experience for Warner Bros. that doesn’t just mean they’re copying the Universal Studios formula.

Next up we attended a special screening of the “The Exorcist” inside of a church.

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Titled “The Exorcist: The Forbidden Screening” I thought this was going to be a full screening of “The Exorcist” inside of a church. Which sounds crazy and probably is, which is why it wasn’t a full screening after all.  Instead this is a series of clips played inside of this church while crazy things happen around you.  By the way, do you recognize the building?  It’s the church from “Monster Squad” where the final battle happens in front of.

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This was another one of those “experiences” that I mentioned before where you get to sit in the pews and watch clips from the “Exorcist.”  As the clips get more intense things begin to happen inside the room.  Crosses fall off of the wall, the eyes on the statues around you begin to glow, and the whole thing culminates with the reveal that someone else is in the room with you.  It’s an awesome set-up, but ultimately it left me wanting more.

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 The final event of the night was an old favorite when it comes to Halloween haunts.  Titled “Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake” this was a mash-up featuring Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

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This one was interesting as it most reminded me of Universal Studios.  For this one they load you onto a tram and take you on a quick tour of the studio lot where they give you some fun tidbits about the studio. Then they drop you off at Camp Crystal Lake which has been attacked by both Jason and Freddy.

For part of the maze you walk through some insanely dark woods so there were more than a few times where Freddy or Jason managed to get right on top of me before I even saw them.  It was awesome.  Even the security guards were terrifying because you could hear them snapping twigs with their footsteps off in the distance.  There were at least two times someone in our group lost their shit because a security guard suddenly appeared out of the bushes.

After the woods you got to walk through some cabins and then make your way back onto the tram which dropped you off at a gift shop and a museum that features props from various Warner Bros. movies and a whole Tim Burton display.  Sadly, this was another experience that I wished  had been longer.

There was some other good theming found around the event including a “Lost Boys” arcade, a bar done in the style of “True Blood”, and a cafe dedicated to Wes Craven.  I’ve got more photos you can check out down below.

Overall I think this event is still trying to find its footing.  There are some fantastic ideas at play here and I think they’re laying the groundwork for some amazing content, but I have a hard time telling people that they definitely need to experience this.  I think if you’re a horror fan and movie nerd this is an excellent alternative to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.  Just go in knowing that this isn’t on the level of that event quit yet. It has a lot of potential though and I’m eager to see what they do with Horror Made Here in the future.

For ticket and date information be sure to visit their site.

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