American Horror Story is coming to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights! Scenes and storylines from select seasons of the hit FX series will be incorporated into the the theme park’s annual special-event fright fest at parks in both California and Orlando.
Scenes, settings and characters from Season 1’s “Murder House,” from Season 4’s “Freak Show,” and from Season 5’s “Hotel” will all combine into one long experience with a coherent narrative, according to an official press release via The L.A. Times.
“Twisted scenes from ‘Murder House’ will unleash the evil spirits that possess the Harmon estate, spiraling guests through decades of the tortured dead who previously resided there. In ‘Freak Show,’ guests will join a troupe of biological misfits in a sinister sideshow where they’ll be stalked by the murderous and deformed Twisty the Clown. Finally, guests will succumb to the warped desires of The Countess after checking in to the haunted Hotel Cortez, conceived from the beginning as a torture chamber for its customers.”
— iHorror.com (@iHorrorNews) August 16, 2016
American Horror Story, for those readers not familiar, is an anthology horror series that has aired on the FX cable network since 2011. Each season is essentially its own mini-series, with a new plot, new characters, and new settings, although each series does retain much of the same core cast. That cast includes Sarah Paulson, Jessica Lange, and Kathy Bates, among others. The most recent series, Hotel, also included Lady Gaga in a Golden Globe-winning turn as a 111-year-old vampire.
The American Horror Story experience will be just one part of a larger network of “Scare Zones” and haunted mazes that are the mainstay of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. According to Zap2It, other horror franchises that fans can expect to see this year include scare zones based on the Halloween film franchise, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Walking Dead, and The Exorcist.
— annedecker (@annedecker) August 6, 2016
As the Orlando Sentinel explains, for thematic elements in Halloween Horror Nights, the Universal parks’ creative teams rely on existing horror franchises as well as dreaming up their own concepts.
Halloween Horror Nights began as a one-night only, special-ticket event at Universal Studios in Orlando in 1991 and, compared to the extravaganza it has since become, was relatively low-key. The event followed the traditional model of so-called “haunted attractions” — popular across the U.S. — where guests walk through a building designed to resemble a haunted house or similar place while costumed characters try to scare them.
Since that time, Halloween Horror Nights has exploded in popularity. It has moved beyond just the Orlando park, to Universal parks in Hollywood and Japan, and has gone from a one-night-only event to a six-week extravaganza. And this year’s event in Orlando may be the biggest of them all, according to the park’s website.
“This fall, the streets of Universal Studios Florida™ come alive with hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs. Explore nine all-new terrifying haunted houses, brave multiple creature-filled scare zones, enjoy outrageous live shows and experience many of the park’s most exciting rides and attractions.”
Tickets to the event in Orlando will run $104.99, up from last year’s $101.99, but discounts are available for Florida residents, annual passholders, and guests who buy certain packages.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal parks are scheduled to begin September 16 and run through October 31. Perhaps not coincidentally, the sixth season of American Horror Story is set to begin on September 14, two days before Halloween Horror Nights begins.
[Photo by Roberto Gonzalez/Universal Orlando Resort/Getty Images]