Universal Studios’s Halloween Horror Nights is one of the premiere Halloween events in the country - and with good reason. Utilizing Universal’s own movie magic, as well as hundreds of the most talented people in the entertainment industry, Halloween Horror Nights goes beyond a typical haunt - it is like stepping into your favorite gore movie. This year’s HHN will feature six mazes, themed around The Walking Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silent Hill, the tale of La Llorna, and Universal monsters, plus a Walking Dead terror tram tour, four scare zones, and the Bill & Ted Excellent’s Halloween Adventure show.
At the recent HHN makeup preview event, we got a chance to scope out what is coming up this year, and spoke to the head of the makeup department for HHN, Larry Bones of Boneyard FX.
How many years have you been doing Universal Studios’s Halloween Horror Nights?
Seven years. Since they brought it back in 2006.
Every year it gets bigger. What is bigger about it this year?
This year it is bigger because of how many prosthetics we have. Normally we do about 80 prosthetics per night, but this year, because of The Walking Dead, we are doing over 200 per night.
How many artists do you have on the team this year?
I have 40 makeup artists this year.
How long does each makeup take?
On average, about 20 minutes. Some of the characters can go up to 45 minutes.
Do you ever have “makeup malfunctions” during the night?
Absolutely! Every night, after all the makeup is applied, my crew goes out to satellite stations all over the park so they can maintain the makeup. So if something starts getting loose, they can get it back down.
Do you have any favorites this year?
I think, probably The Walking Dead will be really exciting for me. I love the show.
It is the maze and the tram?
And how many zombies do you have?
We have 120 walkers this year.
Are they largely based off of walkers we’ve seen in the TV show?
They all are. All of them.
Do you have to go through the show frame-by-frame to get them all?
Actually, AMC has worked really well with Universal, and has provided all the references we need.
What are some of the most complicated makeups?
Probably “The Deer Eater” [from The Walking Dead]. It’s such a large prosthetics: a face and a neck, hair and hands. We also have a couple walkers that are going to be shirtless, like in the show, so they need a whole airbrush makeup, from the waist up.
Will they get any chest prosthetics?
We’re going to have smaller stuff - bites and such.