Cirque Du Oi, Vai!
Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights III
Review by Ross Anthony

Not just a grandiose haunted house; Universal offers too many horror attractions (mazes and shows) to see during the six witching hours allotted at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

The Shows:

I made it to 4 of the 5 shows which proved to be more fun, last longer and require far less wait time than the mazes.

"The Carnival of Carnage" is not to be missed. It's easily the best of show. A group of freaks also known as Shock Value will be sure to gross you out. The master of ceremony hammers a four inch nail into his nose (MC Hammer?). A 7'3'' giant eats worms, eats a light bulb, sticks thin daggers through his cheek. But, that's nothing, his balloon through the nose trick is well worth the price of admission. A sexy skeleton slinks her bones from their sockets, and later performs the noose suicide dance to thrash metal. Then a duo of fire-eaters is both spectacular and erotic. (FYI: Shock Value ( is a subgroup of Pyrophilia (

In "Bill and Ted's Halloween Adventure III," Dr. Evil steals rock and roll. Two actors pretending to be Bill and Ted set out to repossess it. But that's just a convenient staging upon which to bash Celeb's from music to politics: Austin Powers, Clinton, Teletubbies, South Parkers, the Matrix, Madonna, etc. It's fun, with a strong Wild Wild West ending.

"Chucky's Insult Emporium" is an opera of attacks against audience members. Situated in an isolated walkway, Chucky puppets from his soap box above the crowd. If you don't get barked at enough in your daily life, just move to the front and flip Chucky the finger. That should be enough to get you embarrassed in front of your friends ... and perhaps your friends too ... certainly your mother. That's all. Just Chucky talkin' poop -- no holds barred. "I've got this hand up my ass because I'm a puppet -- what's your excuse?" (... and that's just for openers.)

"Animal House of Horrors" opens with a live Vulture walking out on stage. Three animal trainers/comedians host the show in which live animals (monkeys, rats, cats and dogs) run in and out of windows on a back street set. Their spoof of "Blair Witch," a video entitled "Scared Bitch" is the highlight. The three wander aimlessly lost in Universal Studios. One cries, "We're lost man!" The other rebuts, "No we're not. Look, there's Jurassic Park!"

"Rob Zombie presents Bomboras" is the one show I missed. I may have gleaned it while waiting in line for something else, in which case it's a bunch of skeletons playing rock and roll, but I'm not sure.

The Mazes:

I wriggled through 4 of the 5 mazes. But my press pass alleviated some substantial wait time. Unfortunately, due to lines, you may find yourself stumbling through only one or two. "Rob Zombies" is my choice pick. It sports a cool rotating tunnel and a Chinese dragon head with foam rubber lips and teeth. Also, some bungy jumping ghouls spring down from above and bounce back up. The other three mazes in order of most creepy are: "The Mummy," "Creature Features," and "Clive Barker's Hell." I didn't make it to "Cleave's Meat Locker."

(Some advice: Set your own pace. Avoid riding the heals of the group in front of you. That way, the monsters will wait ... ready to scare you at the right time. If you just shuffle through as a follower, you'll have wasted your time.)

Overall, I preferred the shows to the mazes -- in fact, here's my suggestion to you. Make sure you see "The Carnival of Carnage." See one maze (perhaps the one with the shortest line) -- "Rob Zombie" otherwise. Check out the other shows. Re-visit Terminator II (still a masterful chunk of entertainment) and enjoy meandering around the eerie fog-filled park, lit only by red lamps and blue lasers. Complete with ghouls, goblins, chain saws and witches popping out of the smoke at you, the stroll proves both romantic and scary. Remember, Back to the Future is still fun and Jurassic is in the Dark (if you don't mind getting wet).

The times and workings can be tricky:

October 15,16, 22, 23, 29, 30, 31.
From 7pm to 1am only. Cost $39*

*(Now pay attention -- pricing can be confusing if you plan to come any earlier. Universal clears out the park by 7pm. So if you were planning to play there during the day you'll be hit with an additional $19 for the "Stay and Scream" extension (that is, if tickets are available). And that's in addition to the $38 you paid to get in already. There is also a VIP ticket for $75 which takes you out of the lines and gives you a special tour. I suggest you call ahead and get it all figured out before you go: 818-622-3801 or check out

Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Monday, 23-Apr-2007 14:59:45 PDT