Halloween Horror Nights is one of the best events of the year at the best time of year for horror fanatics, and this year is no exception. The event occurs at Universal Studios theme parks in Florida, California, Singapore, and Japan, with each park throwing their own spin on some of the same mazes and attractions. Halloween Horror Nights started as Fright Nights back in 1991 for the Florida location and then in 1997 for California. Singapore and Japan started hosting the annual event in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Halloween Horror Nights kicked off the festivities this year on September 14th (except for Singapore, who had to wait until the 28th), and the party runs until November 3rd. As with most years before, it gets super crowded, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly. For some, it makes sense to spring for the R.I.P. VIP passes or the two-night passes to be able to get into all of the mazes and attractions. On a regular night with normal tickets, it would be pretty tough to get to everything, so prepare for the impending madness before you make the trek.

Once inside the park, visitors are treated to all-new immersive worlds of living, breathing icons from the most twisted imaginations in movies and television. However, Halloween Horror Nights is not for the faint of heart. Horror fans should mentally prepare for 8 spine-chilling mazes designed to provide some lingering nightmares that seem all too real. In addition to the 8 mazes, there's the terror tram, which brings visitors to a high-energy live show that features five scare zones as well as the world-famous Bates Motel.

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Over the years, Halloween Horror Nights has brought some of the horror genre's most iconic characters to the park. The Crypt Keeper, from the TV series Tales from the Crypt, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Chucky, and Leatherface are just a handful of the horror greats that have taken part in Halloween Horror Nights over the years, adding a unique spin to every year. However, this year was definitely one of the best in recent memory, mainly because everything keeps getting taken to brand-new terrifying heights.

This year's Halloween Horror Nights features mazes for Poltergeist, Stranger Things, Trick 'R Treat, The First Purge, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter 2, Universal Monsters, The Walking Dead Attraction, and the Terror Tram: Hollywood Harry's Dreadtime Storiez. So, which one of these mazes and attractions should you check out upon entering the annual event? We have them all rated, along with the Terror Tram below, so check it out before heading out to Halloween Horror Nights this year. You can purchase tickets over at the Universal Studios website.

1 Poltergeist Maze

Poltergeist Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Based on the classic 1982 film by director Tobe Hooper and producer Steven Spielberg, the Poltergeist maze takes visitors inside the iconic ghost story that changed the face of horror for decades afterwards. This is without a doubt the most frightening maze at this year's Halloween Horror Nights. There are some legitimate heart pounding moments with iconic imagery from the film, leaving one on edge for the rest of the night. The house looks amazing, and without spoiling anything, try and keep an eye out for the television sets and the kitchen.

2 Stranger Things Maze

Stranger Things Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

The Stranger Things maze brings visitors into the world of Netflix's hit series and into the Upside Down. This one is incredibly well done and is a must for anyone who is even the smallest fan of the series. There are multiple Demogorgons, so keep an eye out for them, because they certainly have their eyes on you. Adding to the experience is the awesome theme music throughout the whole maze, adding another layer of dread. This maze scared the hell out of the cast of the show, so that should tell you all you need to know about this one. Bonus points if you grab some of the delicious Stranger Things-themed food at various place around the park.

3 The First Purge Maze

The First Purge Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

The First Purge is a pretty terrifying new maze that tells the story of how the blockbuster franchise all began. The New Founding Fathers of America have instituted the inaugural Purge, which is a 12-hour period on Staten Island, where all crimes, including murder, are legal. Visitors of the park have to figure out how to stay alive with all of the carnage happening around them. Much like the Poltergeist maze, make sure to be prepared for the kitchen. Fans of the film will also want to beware of the mannequins. Overall, a great maze with plenty of heart pounding action around every corner that stays true to the film.

4 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Maze

Halloween 4 Michael Myers Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers maze is based on the cult-classic horror film franchise, Halloween, and much like The Shape, this maze is relentless. The theme of the fourth film really lends itself to the Halloween Horror Nights maze, which also saw a huge bump in popularity, thanks to David Gordon Green's upcoming Halloween film. Out of all of the mazes, this one contains the most screaming, so maybe pack some earplugs, and plan on a longer than normal wait due to the new curiosity surrounding Michael Myers.

5 Universal Monsters Maze

Universal Monsters Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Inspired by Universal's legendary horror films, the Universal Monsters maze features an original score produced and composed by Guns N' Roses guitarist, Slash, which adds to this modern take on some horror classics. You can't go wrong with Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Phantom of the Opera. The maze has been raised from the dead to show the new mazes where it all started. And while this maze isn't as scary as some of the others, it's just awesome to get immersed into the world of classic horror films.

6 The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter 2 Maze

Blumhouse Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Blumhouse Productions is back again with new suspense-filled moments from Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, Unfriended and a nightmarish surprise ending. This maze is big on the jump scares and rivals the Halloween 4 maze in terms of screaming. Cyber bullying, bodies torn apart, creepy religious imagery, and self-mutilation, The Blumhouse Maze has brought the goods again, making this year even better than last year. A worthy addition that shouldn't be missed and is worth the wait.

7 The Walking Dead Attraction

The Walking Dead Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Okay, technically The Walking Dead is an attraction that's up all year long and not a maze. However, it's a worthy addition to any Halloween Horror Nights visitors. Plus, it moves pretty quickly, ensuring that the line is constantly moving. Fans of AMC's hit series have to fight for survival in a fully immersive journey, navigating through a world overrun by hungry walkers. This attraction is scary, but it's more disturbing than anything, with some of the walkers and suicides looking almost too real. This is a new classic for Halloween Horror Nights, but not entirely essential since it's open all year long.

8 Trick 'R Treat Maze

Trick 'R Treat Maze Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

The Trick 'R Treat maze is based off of the anthology horror film from writer/director Michael Dougherty and brings visitors in for a surprise party. However, the surprises aren't really what you were expecting at all. While there are certainly some scares in this maze, it's not the scariest maze at this year's Halloween Horror Nights. Instead, Sam, the mysterious child trick-or-treater comes off as cute more than frightening. There will be some screams and some jumps, but you'll probably only want to take pictures with Sam as opposed to running away, scared out of your mind.

9 Terror Tram: Hollywood Harry's Dreadtime Storiez

Hollywood Harry's Dreadtime Tram Universal Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Hollywood Harry, the phantom clown known for terrorizing the Universal Studios backlot, has returned this year to Terror Tram. Unspeakable horrors are supposedly depicted in this demented rendition of Harry's 1950s television show. However, this year wasn't as good as it has been in the years before. Then again, it's really hard to compete with Chucky and Freddy Krueger, who took over the Terror Tram last year. While the experience was still fun, we'd recommend this one for last, but just make sure you get to the tram before they close it down for the night.

Kevin Burwick at Movieweb
Kevin Burwick