fbpx

Zombie Captain America isn’t Marvel’s first theme park horror mash-up – A look at Halloween Horror Nights on Super Hero Island

by Seth Kubersky

Recently, Disneyland Resort made a big splash by introducing Zombie Captain America (as featured in the recent What If…? Disney+ series) to Disney California Adventure’s Oogie Boogie Bash parties. But believe it or not, this isn’t the first time a theme park has incorporated the Avengers into a Halloween event. Let’s take a look back at the little-remembered takeover of Marvel Super Hero Island for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Marvel Super Hero Island Halloween Horror Nights 13 2003 Toxic City scarezone
Long before Disney’s Zombie Captain America, Universal Orlando murdered the Marvel Super Heroes for their Halloween Horror Nights events.
Photos by Seth Kubersky

Most guests who began attending Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights within the last decade probably think of it as an event that happens exclusively at Universal Studios Florida. But for a few short years in the early part of this century, Halloween Horror Nights invaded Islands of Adventure, including Marvel Super Hero Island.

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Marvel Super Hero Island Halloween Horror Nights 13 2003 Toxic City scarezone

During 2002, Halloween Horror Nights XII: Islands of Fear took place across all of Islands of Adventure, including Marvel Super Hero Island, which featured both a scare zone and a haunted maze. The event returned to Islands of Adventure the following year for Halloween Horror Nights 13, but only a Marvel scarezone appeared. And when Halloween Horror Nights spread across both parks in 2004 and 2005, haunted houses were located in Super Hero Island, but they didn’t have Marvel themes.

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Marvel Super Hero Island Halloween Horror Nights 13 2003 Toxic City scarezone

For 2002’s Island Under Siege scare zone and 2003’s Toxic City (as seen in these photos), Marvel Super Hero Island was given a menacing make-over that implied the super villains had finally triumphed and turned the pristine four-color city into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Universal’s first and only Marvel-themed haunted house was called Maximum Carnage, and the building that was built behind Storm Force Accelatron to hold the maze, is still referred to by team members as the “carnage warehouse” to this day.

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Marvel Super Hero Island Halloween Horror Nights 13 2003 Toxic City scarezone

We unofficially heard that, unfortunately, the executives at Marvel Comics at the time (before they were bought by Disney), weren’t too happy about a theme park attraction depicting their heroes having been murdered – such as an impaled figure of Wolverine. So Maximum Carnage faded into Marvel, and it would be another 19 years before theme park guests could enjoy an encounter with their favorite superhero’s corpse.

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Marvel Super Hero Island Halloween Horror Nights 13 2003 Toxic City scarezone

Good photos and videos of Maximum Carnage and the other Marvel-themed Halloween Horror Nights attractions are hard to find online, but you can learn more by visiting the Halloween Horror Nights Fandom Wiki, and watching this clip from the 2002 documentary The Art of the Scare:

Maximum Carnage - Universal Halloween Horror Nights

Here’s a look at Zombie Captain America, as he is currently appearing at Disney California Adventure’s Oogie Boogie Bash:

Zombie Captain America from Marvel’s ‘What If…?’ Debuts at Disney California Adventure #Shorts

Did you visit Halloween Horror Nights any of these years? What are your memories of the event? Let us know below.

Related Articles

1 comment

Vinnie October 28, 2021 - 9:32 pm

Great article Seth
Thanks for clarifying my foggy memories of the 2005 event that was the first Horror Nights I ever attended
If I remember correctly there was a biker gang that rode through the streets of Super Hero Island at a pretty good speed for being inside a theme park
They were loud and menacing and nearly forced people off the streets and onto the sidewalk

Reply

Leave a Comment

Email Newsletter Signup

Get the latest news direct to your inbox.
Simply submit your email address below.