Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights at Warner Bros Studios
Last year, Warner Bros. made a huge impression on the haunt scene in Southern California with Horror Made Here. Warner Bros stepped up to the plate with extremely impressive and detailed maze experiences with elements never normally seen at events like this.
After speaking with the team at Midsummer Scream and seeing their panel, we and the entire haunt community in SoCal were pumped! After having gone last year and having gone this year, the difference is like night and day. In 2018, Warner Bros has stepped up once again by plussing their already impressive event.
Below you will find our thoughts on Horror Made Here for 2018!
ENTRANCE TO THE FESTIVAL
After a short golf cart ride to the entrance to the event, it’s clear how different it is. Instead of being dropped off inside, you are now dropped off at a step and repeat with massive amounts of decorations really embracing the festival/carnival atmosphere. Music from Warner Bros films played as you enter the even which set the mood perfectly!
Hidden around the corner is the actual entrance which made me laugh with geeky joy! A large mural of The Joker himself, smiling wide for you to enter through his mouth! SERIOUSLY AWESOME
After this, you enter a scare zone! The scare zone doesn’t have a name but it further propels the festival/circus motif. Last year, they didn’t really have anything like this, other than maybe a few armless Georgies walking around.
I love the addition of the entry scare zone and just a scare zone in general. Since WB is working with incredible horror film franchises, we would love to see them utilized as scare zones too.
Additionally, we want to see this scare zone completely encompass the entire event, not just the entrance. Since the footprint of this event is rather minimal, WB doesn’t need 1000 monsters like Scary Farm or Fright Fest. They can hire a bit more and make this event feel like there is truly nowhere to hide.
Ultimately, we love the addition of the scare zone and entrance pieces. It helps set up the concept for the night as well as bring a bit of adrenaline before some of the bigger scares!
Escape From Arkham Asylum
To say that this maze was highly anticipated would be a drastic understatement. The moment WB announced this IP at Midsummer Scream, fans of both the haunt and the Arkham video games rejoiced.
Last year, this location was home to Freddy Krueger. But now it has been decked out to look like Arkham Asylum! As you approach, Batman’s tumbler is outside; having been abandoned by the Caped Crusader.
After entering the gates, almost every square inch of this location is unrecognizable from last year. You are met by either Harley Quinn herself or Doctor Harley Quinzel and are led into a large room to meet the man of the hour…THE JOKER!
The make-up and prosthetic work on The Joker were striking and it really felt as though he stepped out of the video game and into our world. After you are told you are becoming a permanent resident of Arkham, you are sent into the facility to try and survive!
Arkham is a prime example for how Warner Bros treats Intellectual Properties and brings them to life in extreme detail. From the trash on the floors, to the character design and even windows; Arkham is equally beautiful and mind boggling.
Arkham Asylums triumphs don’t lie within it scares (because it really isn’t at all), but it’s ability to create this incredibly immersive environment. Through the experience, we felt as though we were transported to the world of Batman. Our jaws were on the floor and we smiled from ear to ear with dorky joy. This is a Arkham Batman fans dreams come true.
The sheer abundance of characters from the DC comic was astonishing. We actually went through this twice and we saw different moments occurring and saw different characters throughout. The thought that each and every walk through could inherently be slightly different than the rest because of the rotating crew within the maze is exciting. It made us want to go through it 10 more times, just so we could spot more famous Batman villians.
One major thing to keep in mind is that we are hardened haunt veterans. We don’t scare easily at all! With that being said, even if we don’t find this to be too scary; many people from the general public could find it terrifying. To be honest, The Joker is rather terrifying.
For us, this is a maze NOT TO BE MISSED!
The Conjuring Universe
Back from last year, with minor changes, the popular Conjuring Universe maze returns.This was our favorite maze of the night last year and we are happy to say it continues to be one of the events best.
This is not your typical maze you would find at any other haunt in SoCal. The Conjuring utilizes character interaction and story driven elements from room to room to help propel guests through the experience. If I went into detail anymore, it would give away really fun surprises.
Haunting (no pun intended) and truly horrific, The Conjuring house is one of the scariest at the event. Utilizing what makes these films so terrifying, WB takes the best moments and puts them into one house. A ” Best of…” if you will.
After having been through this maze multiple times, we still found ourselves entertained by watching others responses to the scares. This proved entertaining because, as stated before, this is not a normal type of maze and really makes people uncomfortable and ultimately susceptible to being scared.
If you are a fan of The Conjuring Universe, then this is the maze for you! Another perfect example of WB’s ability to bring these wonderful properties to life on a nightly basis.
IT: It Knows What Scares You
Originally transported to Horror Made Here from Hollywood and Highland last year, IT: It Knows What Scares You is completely changed and transformed from last years iteration.
While maintaining the impressive facade, which commands the entire event, the insides have changed for the better. Outside of The Conjuring, we found this house to be extremely unnerving and scary. Throughout the event, you are greeted by missing child posters all over the place. Keeping the idea of Pennywise in the back of your mind all night.
Altered from last year, instead of being a tour of the Neibolt House with Georgie, the IT maze is more like your traditional haunted house. Although last years version was haunting, it was never truly scary. This year, the scares are amped up and each corridor will have you looking around each and every corner.
Some of your favorite moments from the film have been wonderfully recreated and it seemed to be filled to the brim with talent. We went through it maybe 4 times through the night and never went more than 30 seconds without having an actor in our face. A clown even tried to separate us completely, which we always find funny.
If you liked last years maze, then you will love this years version. It continues to build upon what made it great, while seemly losing the bits that slowed it down.
Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake
Something we were personally extremely excited for, Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake takes the place of the calmer studio tour from last year. Set up as the day campers arrive to Camp Crystal Lake, you (a camper) are taken aboard a golf cart and taken to camp!
Along the way, your Camp Counselors will take you through some of the WB sets and describe them as different locations around the camp grounds. Now, you really have to suspend your sense of disbelief for this. None of the sets were decorated to look like Camp Ground so they just look like normal studio facades.
For us, it would be great to completely cut this part of the tour and take guests directly to the experience. But, don’t cut the witty dialogue each and every Camp Counselor gets while taking you on your journey.
Like the Terror Tram at Horror Nights, you are kicked off and sent on your way to fend for yourself. As you enter the Camp, it’s clear things aren’t right immediately. Bloodied Camp Counselors are running around being chased by either Freddy of Jason.
What we found confusing was how Freddy and Jason were utilized for this experience. For some reason, we thought it was Freddy vs Jason and we would see an epic show down! Instead, it seemed as though they had joined forces to kill these people. WHICH ISN’T BAD AT ALL! It was highly entertaining, we just wish the story line was a bit more clarified.
As you traverse the backlot forested area, guests are bombarded with bloodied Camp Counselors warning you of your impending doom. Something we noticed while walking through the area was the lack of thematic music. We would have loved to hear the famous KI KI KI MA MA MA sound from Friday the 13th, echoing from the forest. Or even the Nightmare on Elm Street nursery rhyme. A big missed opportunity for us.
Once at the lodging facilities, this is where Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake takes hold and doesn’t let go! Impressively large sets with some interesting scares really made this entire experience worth it!
We would like to note that when we did venture into Camp Crystal Lake, we were told that not everything was finished and things would change. SO, as of reading this, the minor problems/suggestions we had for this experience could be implemented or addressed already.
Even with the small problems aside, this is the type of experience we deserve from the properties of Jason and Freddy. And dare I say, we enjoyed it A LOT more than the Terror Tram…I digress.
EXPERIENCES AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Exorcist: Forbidden Screening
We are big fans of The Exorcist, so knowing there would be an attraction based around this property got us jazzed! Unfortunately it started off on the wrong foot and never really gained stability. The posted wait time was around 15-20 minutes, yet we waited over 45 minutes. There just seemed to be zero communication between staff and guests.
Enough with the bad and let’s talk about the attraction. When you enter the Church, the inside is decorated like…a church! We were very impressed with how detailed the interior of the building was designed and were pumped to see what was in store for us!
Forbidden Screening was pretty fun with some cool surprises that I would hate to ruin for those who are going to experience it. Let’s just say that if the film scared you, wait till you do this!
Once again, The Exorcist: Forbidden Screening is just another great example of how unique and different the offerings are at WB in comparison to the rest of the haunts in SoCal.
I will admit this now, I never watched True Blood…I KNOW I KNOW. But Nikki did and was pumped to hear that Fangtasia would be coming to life. Even though I was unaware of references to the show and it’s relevance, I know a cool bar when I see one.
Bathed in red light, the entire bar is a Halloween treat for the eyes. Gothic style furniture sits within this stylized bar that (I was told) does justice to the show. Throughout the event, you can find beer, wine and other interesting drinks at stands. But why go to those when you could come here and have a themed experience all your own.
We love seeing events take the time to tailor these types of experiences into something more than just a bar. The amount of time, detail and love that went into Fangtasia is astounding and apparent the moment you walk in. If we didn’t mind missing any of the mazes, I could find us hanging out all night in this cool bar.
On top of the well themed bar, they had themed drinks as well. One of our favorites was the Blood Bag! Although somewhat tricky to open and close, this tasty drink was a perfect option for the night.
Crave Inn Cafe
As horror nerds, we love good easter eggs and the Crave Inn Cafe was the perfect nod to a master of horror!
Although not as themed as Fangtasia, the fact that the team put some thought and care into one of their food establishments shows that they are on the right track. Any chance an event can completely immerse their guests from start to finish is incredible.
We simply giggled with delight to see these morbidly funny scenes depicted within the cafe.
Lost Boys Arcade
80’s music, 80’s video games and neon lighting; what isn’t there to like? If you need a moment away from the scares, this arcade is the perfect spot. Although not overly themed to The Lost Boys, the idea of having multiple experiences through the night to help ease the lines is always a good thing in our eyes.
Stage 48: Script to Scream
Probably the most impressive experience of the night was the Script to Scream exhibit after Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake. If you’ve ever visited Warner Bros for their Studio Tour during normal hours, you will be familiar with what they have to offer. But during Halloween, they have props, costumes and more from multiple Tim Burton films.
The amount of props and costumes was astonishing. Everywhere you look there is something new and different. A film nerds paradise.
I think what we loved most about this addition is how is focuses on the filmmaking aspect. Getting a small behind the scenes look into some of our favorite spooky films. Not everyone gets to have this type of opportunity.
Warner Bros Horror Made Here was extremely successful in creating a large cohesive event given their constricted footprint. The footprint is, in general, was the same size as last year but it feels so much larger. With the added experiences such as: The Little Shop of Horrors, Fangtasia, The Devils Drop Tower, and The Lost Boys Arcade; Horror Made Here has become a full fledged event worth every penny. Not only that, but now they have set themselves up as true contenders in the haunt world in SoCal. With names like Scary Farm, Horror Nights, Dark Harbor and Fright Fest in the game as well; it’s a daunting task to find something new and different from all the rest. But, it seems like WB has got their hands on something special here for Horror Made Here and we are truly excited to see how this event thrives, grows and becomes a force to be reckoned with in the SoCal haunt community.
If you want to buy tickets to Horror Made Here at Warner Bros, make sure to click the link below!