The final maze for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights lineup at Universal Studios Hollywood has been revealed: “Universal Monsters”!
By Matt Roseboom
Have you ever wondered how Dracula became a vampire? Have you ever imagined what the man was like before he became a vampire? Wonder no more. “Dracula Untold” isn’t just a vampire movie, it’s the origin story of the world’s most famous vampire. This movie doesn’t portray him as the villain you may know him as. Yes, he does evils things, but for good reasons.
“Sometimes the world no longer needs a hero. Sometimes what it needs … is a monster.”
— Prince Vlad III, “Dracula Untold”
This movie is a bit of an unusual Dracula story, not just because it tells his origin, but because it portrays a real historical person, Vlad the Impaler, as Dracula. History says Vlad was actually known by the name Dracula and was born in Transylvania. The original Dracula author borrowed Vlad’s Dracula name for the vampire story. It’s an interesting idea, and if you believe vampires are real, this could be a true story.
As the movie starts, and it’s been 10 years since Vlad (Luke Evans) has left his old life of killing and war. He’s now the prince of a peaceful kingdom and has a wife (Sarah Gadon) and a son (Art Parkinson). While searching the mountains near their town for signs of the Turks, who are looking to conquer Europe, Prince Vlad and his men come across a powerful vampire (Charles Dance) living in a cave. Vlad thinks this is his new worry over the Turks, until the Turks leader (Dominic Cooper) says he wants to take 1,000 of the boys living in Prince Vlad’s village and train them as soldiers, including Vlad’s son.
Will Prince Vlad give up the boys? Of course not, but how will he fight the Turk soldirs off? That’s when he seeks the vampire’s help and he becomes one himself to fight them off. But there’s a catch: if he can resist the lure of human blood long enough, he can become human again.
Everyone in our group enjoyed the movie. It’s a simple story, but it has enough twists and details to keep it interesting. Most of the things you know about Dracula are there, with new aspects too. It’s a great movie, worth seeing.
It’s rated PG 13 and that warning should be heeded. As you would expect in a Dracula movie, there’s lots of violence and are a couple of very scary, gross scenes. But I would categorize this more as an action adventure movie than horror. It’s available on IMAX but not in 3D. There’s no extra scene at the end of the credits.
Universal is planning on launching a series of classic monster movies that will be a part of one universe, sort of like the Disney Marvel movies. Dracula Untold started production before this decision was made, but they added an extra scene to the film to help tie it into the series. Our guess is that it’s the final scene of the movie. The official launch of the series will start with “The Mummy” in 2016.
It’s very rare for an attraction to open before the movie it’s designed after, but that’s the case with this movie at Universal Orlando and Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights. The Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood haunted house has been giving guests a preview of the film since the event began in September.
Here’s a look inside the maze thanks to our friends at Theme Park Review:
Here’s the official trailer for Dracula Untold:
Halloween Horror Nights will bring to life a classic Universal monster in a modern way with the maze “Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood.” [Read more…]
Amidst being in Orlando for the Spooky Empire “Ultimate Horror Weekend,” Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” is seen here visiting Dracula and his brides at the entrance to one of the haunted houses in this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event at Universal Studios.
This photo makes me wish the old Alfred Hitchcock attraction at Universal Studios was still around. The 3-D scene from “The Birds” was always entertaining.
Universal Orlando has released an official video giving you a look inside a few of their haunted houses from Halloween Horror Nights 19 including Saw, Chucky, the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein.
Since our cameras are only allowed to shoot outside the houses, not inside, this video is the closest you’ll get to being there:
To see all of our Halloween Horror Nights videos, visit this playlist on YouTube.
And to read more about what went into making Halloween Horror Nights 2009, pick up a copy of the Fall 2009 issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine.