Arts & Life, Events, Film & Television

Take a trip to the Upside Down with Universal Studios

Plop down on the couch and prepare to binge watch  Netflix original series, “Stranger Things” before heading over to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights’ newest themed maze.

Fans have been asking for a maze based on the popular show since the debut according to John Murdy, creative director and producer of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Upon entering the maze, everything looks as if the set of “Stranger Things” has come to life thanks to Netflix and Universal working together to ensure everything mirrors the show. Murdy mentioned the Duffer Brothers, creators of “Stranger Things,” have been long time fans of Halloween Horror Nights.

Maze-goers begin the trail with a walk through the woods and encounter a Demogorgon, the season one monster.

“Creating the Demogorgon was one of the challenges we faced,” Murdy said. “Netflix uses digital technology to manipulate the eye, we cannot do that. We took our time in creating each costume, the Demogorgon we wanted to get every detail correct.”

In the process of making the Upside Down, had a similar challenge that was seen in the fiber-optics for the Demogorgon costume.

The entrance to the Upside Down used a material similar to fake spider web decorations often used during Halloween. Murdy also used fiber-optic lights individually wrapped into cotton balls to create the illusion of dust floating around in the Upside Down, replicating the scene in the show.

Walking through the eery surroundings, you reach the Byers home which is filled with ’70s furniture, making the house quite distinct compared to everything else on set.

Universal Studios’ prop crews went to swap meets, vintage stores, yard sales and thrift shops to find the perfect components to match each scene from the series.

In Will’s room, there is an array of detail that went into creating the character’s room, down to the drawings of knights and dragons, as seen in multiple episodes of season two. Each drawing on the wall is exactly like his in the TV show. Similar to the Byers’ home, the same amount of work went into making sure everything match the era.

In the living room on set of the Byer household, the couch and the wallpaper are the same, including the Christmas lights on the wall spelling “run.” One of the best parts of the maze is Castle Byers, the signs outside Will’s fort are exactly the same. Having the signs in the right position, each with a different saying such as “Home of Will the Wise.”

“There are some companies still that have wallpapers that are ’70s or ’80s themed,” Murdy said. “I began to plan the maze in November of last year, by January we had a drawing package. These packages typically have what we need and how the maze should look.”

The Duffer Brothers, who created the series, used a sequence of animation to produce the gloomy look of the parallel world.

Murdy mentioned the importance of having a level of interactions with fans and shows like “Stranger Things.”

“With all the fame and acclamation that comes with being in the film and TV industry, it’s important to have something like this,” Murdy said. “I think it is because you are isolated on a set for a certain amount of months, no one really knows how big any project will be. Once they come here, they are able to see first-hand the impact their creation has made in society today.”

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios will begin Sept. 14 and run through Nov. 3. Students can buy tickets online using their .edu email the university has provided.

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