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Penn & Teller take on ‘Horror Nights’

Duo to produce a 3D maze for Universal Studios' annual event

Comedians Penn & Teller are ready to show off their scarier side this Halloween.

The duo will produce a 3D maze for Universal Orlando Resort’s annual “Halloween Horror Nights” event under the theme “New(kd) Las Vegas” that depicts a dilapidated and radioactive version of Las Vegas, as if one of their magic tricks has gone terribly awry and the city, its showgirls, slot machines, buffets and little white wedding chapel has been covered in nuclear ooze.

It’s the first time the illusionists have paired up with Universal on an attraction. The 3D maze will only appear at the Orlando theme park, when it opens Sept. 21.

Because Universal Studios Hollywood already had a 3D maze planned around Alice Cooper, Horror Nights planners approached Penn & Teller to co-develop a new 3D concept this year, said Jim Timon, senior VP of entertainment at Universal Orlando Resort.

In developing the maze, the duo wanted to incorporate the satirical humor seen in their Las Vegas show, produced at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, for the past decade,

“We thought it would be really funny if we would do a new act that was really spectacular using nuclear warheads and blew up Vegas and made the whole thing a nightmare,” Penn Jillette told Variety, joking that “it’s not very much of a push” from what the city is like now.

Jillette will guide guests through the maze before they encounter both Penn & Teller.

“We normally do the show and the audience sits in the chair,” said Raymond Teller. “Now the audience gets up and moves through the show.”

Teller added that “For years, people have talked to us about doing a haunted house, but we could never really come up with an idea. It always seemed like an amateurish venture unless you could have the resources that Universal has. It’s an artform that they’ve perfected.”

“We’re live performers and they’re live performers. It’s not much of a stretch to understand what they’re doing,” Jillette said.

The Orlando park also will produce mazes around AMC’s  “The Walking Dead,” the “Silent Hill” videogames and Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare.”

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