News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

The four Los Al students pose under a tree before heading off to NYC.
Los Al drama students perform at Lincoln Center this week
Sydney Forsyte, Section Editor • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- Four students from the Los Alamitos High School - Leo Athy, Eva Parhami, Brooke Singleton, and Ali Valenzuela - left today,...

Los Als frosh softball team in the middle of playing their game.
Girls Frosh softball team dominates their first game
Reese Neiger, Staff Writer • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Los Al's Girls Frosh softball team played their first game of the season. The team played on the Los...

Los Al sophomore Stewart McCaleb will be in Miami Feb. 17-24 competing in the Olympic Team Trials for sailing. It’s more about the experience than actually trying to win,” McCaleb said.
Los Al sophomore to compete in Olympic Trials for sailing
Bella Kim, Editor-in-Chief • February 16, 2024

LOS ALAMITOS, CA -- Under a clear, blue sky on open, choppy water, Stewart McCaleb picks up speed, expertly handling the lines on his Laser with...

Universal Studios Hollywood: Halloween Horror Nights review

Halloween Horror Nights assures a night you will never forget
Cora Miller
Scare actor on stilts standing behind and scaring the workers.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is an absolute must for those craving an adrenaline rush experience like no other. As the sun sets and darkness descends, the park transforms into a hauntingly immersive world of terror and fright, summoning screams on select nights Sept. 7 – Oct. 31. Prepare to be terrified, entertained, and thoroughly captivated diving into the twisted realm of horrifying mazes, chilling scare zones, and much more. Halloween Horror Nights delivers an unparalleled blend of fear, excitement, and pure Halloween magic. 

There are eight mazes in total, most with themes from iconic horror movies or TV shows. At Universal Hollywood Park, they have mazes for “Stranger Things” season four, “The Exorcist: Believer,” “The Last of Us,” “Chucky,” “Unmasked,” and “Evil Dead Rise.” The two mazes without a specific movie or show themes are “Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America” and “Holidayz In Hell.”

“‘Stranger Things’ 4” 

If you don’t know the iconic Netflix show “Stranger Things,” you might be living under a rock. This maze was based on the show’s latest season, and it was deranged. The time and effort put into making all of the props, and the actors’ dedication to their roles, really made a difference in the quality of it. It felt like I was in a fever dream; it was truly astonishing. It wasn’t short either – it lasted about three minutes and 30 seconds, which feels long when you are stuck in there. 

“The Exorcist: Believer”

“The Exorcist: Believer” is a movie currently in the movie theaters. I have not watched it, but I still understood the maze. It was definitely one of the scariest, with creatures popping out from every corner and the loudest noises blaring from the speakers. It was also one of the longest, lasting four minutes and 30 seconds. It wasn’t my favorite, but it was still worth my while. 

“The Last of Us”

This maze didn’t really make sense to me. I know it is based on the show “The Last of Us,” which streams on HBO Max, but I’ve never watched it, and therefore I didn’t understand the storyline. It wasn’t scary either; it was just loud, and dark, and the flashing lights aroused a headache. It lasted four minutes but ultimately ranked last place. 

“‘Chucky’: Ultimate Kill Count”

This maze was based on the movie everyone should know, “Chucky.” I expected it to be the scariest due to the fact I am terrified of dolls, but it was more upbeat. I really enjoyed the props in this one, and it seemed too real at some points. It took three minutes to reach the exit, which I dreaded. I wanted to stay in there for the rest of my night.

“Universal Monsters: ‘Unmasked'”

This maze was based on the movie “Unmasked.” I haven’t seen the movie, but I understood the theme. It was the goriest of the mazes, with “dead people” and blood everywhere. The soundtrack running through the speakers in this maze was very interesting – it was almost like a satanic summoning. It also made a reference to the book “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which most of us have read in middle school. It lasted about three minutes, and overall, I thought it was mid. 

“Evil Dead Rise”

This maze was based on the movie “Evil Dead Rise,” which came out in theaters a few months ago. It had many full rooms unlike the others,  and everything was very intricate. Also, it was the darkest, which made it more scary because you didn’t know what was going to jump out at you or when. My favorite part of this maze was the elevator, which had blood pouring out of it. It reminded me of the movie “The Shining.” It lasted about three minutes and ranked in my top three.

“Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America”

This maze did not have a theme from a TV show or movie; it had a more cultural meaning behind it. It made no sense, though. The scare actors didn’t relate to Latin America, they just looked freaky. It lasted about four minutes, but I thought it was one of the worst. 

“Holidayz In Hell”

This maze did not have a theme from a TV show or movie either. It explored different holidays and their mascots. For example, regarding Saint Patrick’s Day, a possessed, bloody leprechaun appeared out of the blue and scared the soul out of my body. The maze lasted about three minutes and 30 seconds.

The great finale of the “Chucky’: Ultimate Kill Count” Maze (Cora Miller)

Maze-goer Adam Spizer said “Universal Monsters: ‘Unmasked'” was his favorite.

“The ‘Unmasked’ maze has to be my favorite because of the atmosphere and how on point[ed] the vibes were,” Spizer said. “ I loved the history behind it, but my only gripe was the smell, due to its lingering properties.”

I agree with Spizer that the worst part about the mazes was the smell. I remember first walking into the “Holidayz In Hell” maze, and suddenly, a terrible whiff of burlap mixed with heavy scents of strong chemicals made its way up my nose. That’s how the majority of the mazes smelled.

Overall, the best maze in my opinion was “‘Chucky’: Ultimate Kill Count,” strictly because the graphics and designs were phenomenal. It was not as scary as the others, but it was a change of mood that I preferred.

 If you are TikTok cultured, you might have seen or heard of the scare actor from the movie called “The Black Phone.” He is currently going viral for his breathtaking looks… Let me just say, when I walked past him my knees were weak, and not because I was scared.

Compared to Knott’s Scary Farm, the scare zones at Universal are dull. They need to hire way more scare actors because frankly, there were not enough. However, it was still exciting when they did appear, especially because fire shot up into the sky, which made me feel like I was a part of a rave. But I wish they had as many actors as Scary Farm does. Also unlike Knott’s, Universal closes most of its rides when Horror Nights opens, which is upsetting because I couldn’t go on some of the attractions I was hoping to ride.

Although Horror Nights was a worthy experience, the best part of my whole night was drinking a Frozen Butterbeer, which can only be bought in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I can’t put into words how good this drink actually is, so you just have to try it for yourself.

Tickets can be bought on the Universal Studios Hollywood website for a general admission of $87. I recommend purchasing an early access ticket so that you can go into the park during the day when all of the rides are open, as well as stay during the actual Horror Nights event and get access to the mazes before everyone else.

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