It took several days longer than expected after my previous discussion, but today Universal Studios creative director John Murdy and Senior VP of Entertainment Jim Timon made it official: AMC’s hit horror series THE WALKING DEAD will become a live, in-your-face haunt maze experience on both coasts’ Halloween Horror Nights events this year.
And as predicted last weekend, TWD co-exec producer and zombie effects master Greg Nicotero and his crew at KNB EFX Group are working directly with HHN creators to replicate the undead characters and iconic scenes as seen in the show. That means watch out for the Bicycle Girl zombie nipping at your heels and the bloated Well Walker seeking a fresh snack. Much like the props seen in Uni’s THE THING maze from 2011, Nicotero will provide makeup molds and designs directly from the series to recreate such infamous zombie ghouls from the series for killer authenticity.
A HuffPo interview with Murdy and Nicotero has already revealed that THE WALKING DEAD maze will begin in the abandoned hospital scene, flashing back to Rick Grimes’ awakening from a coma to find the world overrun by zombies as seen in the series’ pilot. HHN fans will also tour the campsite and swamp scenes from the show in this top-shelf maze, certainly one of the most highly anticipated themes Universal has ever attempted for Halloween Horror Nights.
Nicotero has been a lifelong horror and haunt fan before he ever got into show biz, having created characters and makeups for Bob Burns’ home haunt shows in Burbank, California years ago. As Greg puts it in his interview:
“Hey, I’m the guy who went all the way to Georgetown so that I could then see in person the set of stairs that Father Karras threw himself down in The Exorcist, ” Greg concluded. “If I went that far out of my way to experience something that was straight out of a horror film, there’s just no way that I’m missing a Halloween Horror Nights maze which was based on the show that I actually work on.”
Speaking of Greg Nicotero’s work and Bob Burns, a new documentary BEAST WISHES by Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger is now available to order after making the award-claiming rounds at film festivals through 2012. This great film belongs in the library of every haunt fan and horror lover who lives to experience Halloween live before their eyes: Bob Burns is a Halloween show innovator. Do check it out.