‘The Walking Dead’ to Theme Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Annual Halloween event also planning mazes around 'The Evil Dead,' 'Cabin in the Woods'

The Walking Dead

It may be summer, but it’s never too early for Halloween for Universal Studiostheme parks.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” will serve as the overall theme of Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort’s annual Halloween Horror Nights’ event and return as a maze for a second consecutive year. Event runs Sept. 20 through Nov. 2.

The parks are also developing attractions based on horror films “The Cabin in the Woods” and the recent remake of “The Evil Dead.”

“The Walking Dead” maze will be based on the third season of the show, set inside the West Georgia Correctional Facility, overrun by hordes of flesh-eating zombies, the surrounding woods and the town of Woodbury. The fourth season premieres Oct. 13, around when Halloween Horror Nights takes place.

“Both creative teams at Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando and Hollywood will painstakingly re-create several iconic moments from ‘The Walking Dead’ to give fans a chance to participate in an actual interactive experience,” said Greg Nicotero, executive producer and special effects makeup supervisor on the show. “It was a great joy to be able to share with fans those scary moments and frightening set pieces from our show. It is something that I’m very, very excited about, collaborating with this team to help to make the experience as authentic as possible. I want it to feel like they’re on the set with us!”

“What’s great about working with a property like ‘The Walking Dead’ is that each season presents new environments and characters for us to draw inspiration,” said John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood. “With the prison as the main setting of season three, we seized this opportunity to recreate that very environment, down to the last detail, to be as genuine and authentic to the show as possible. Using movie-quality production value, our goal is to make guests feel as if they are mired in the world of blood-thirsty zombies, which is something you can only do at Halloween Horror Nights.”

In addition, all of the parks’ scare zones throughout the park will be themed around “The Walking Dead,” with guests entering the more iconic scenes from the show and sets — including Hershel’s barn and an zombie-infested Atlanta — as they make their way to mazes.

“The goal is always to surround guests with authentic and terrifying experiences,” said Michael Aiello, Creative Development Director for Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team. “The combination of ‘The Walking Dead’ themed street experiences and the haunted maze will make it difficult for our guests to escape the hordes of ravenous walkers they’ve seen on their television. The moment you pass through our gate, you become a survivor fighting for your life.”

Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” graphic novel celebrated its 10th anniversary at Comic-Con this year. The books are published by Image Comics.

SEE ALSO: Universal treats ‘Walking Dead’ fans

For “The Evil Dead” maze, also planned for both the Hollywood and Orlando parks, Universal will work with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to develop a maze based on the film that follows five 20-something friends who awaken an ancient demon in a cabin in the woods. Film, produced by Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, bowed on homevideo July 16.

The Cabin in the Woods,” based on the Lionsgate film that Joss Whedon produced, will only be developed for the Orlando park. Universal is working with Lionsgate and the film’s director and co-writer Drew Goddard to produce a haunted house based on the film.