Named for shock rocker Alice Cooper’s ninth studio album, Universal Studios Hollywood this year will present a haunted house called “Alice Cooper Goes To Hell” when Halloween Horror Nights 2012 kicks off on September 21. But in a special sneak peak opportunity, Universal invited us to visit the maze, still under construction, to take a tour with creative director John Murdy as he explained how visiting victims will descend into the madness of Cooper’s mind and music in a sequel to last year‘s “Welcome to My Nightmare” introduction of the star to the event.
This time the maze will be presented in 3D, with walls and props decorated with bright fluorescent paint that will seem to pop out, push in, and even follow along with guests as they pass through. Though our tour was conducted during construction in the daylight, when the house is completed and ready for next month’s event debut, visitors will experience it under the darkness of night, lit by special UV and LED lights to enhance the experience.
Take a preview walk through the haunted house in the video below, offering quick glimpses at some of the terrors that lurk within.
Preview: Alice Cooper Goes To Hell 3D haunted house for Halloween Horror Nights 2012
With this sequel house, the Horror Nights team drew inspiration from both Cooper’s early career in music, combining it with classic tales of hell. Murdy explained, “We’re embracing all of Alice’s career and in this case also kind of combining it with Dante’s Inferno, because when I was talking to Alice early on in this project, he had talked about how that 15th century epic poem had inspired his album. So if you know Dante’s Inferno, it’s all about the seven deadly sins and the levels of hell, so we wanted to take that idea and contemporize it. One of the main things in Dante’s Inferno is poetic justice, the punishment suits the crime, so we took that idea and using the lyrics to Alice’s songs to inform whatever the punishment might be and then make it a contemporary kind of twist.”
The experience begins with an entrance facade reminiscent of old, turn-of-the-century Coney Island dark rides. Inside, Alice Cooper will be heard as the voice of an animated skeleton barker, beckoning all to enter.
As Horror Nights guests walk through the maze, they’ll encounter representations of each of the seven deadly sins, each with a modern twist, reaching out to include such off-the-wall visuals like the results of extreme animal hoarding. It’s not pretty.
Eventually guests will find themselves arriving at the gates of Hell itself, passing over the River Styx, which art director Chris Williams explained will use a special bright red liquid dye to glow brightly in 3D.
Throughout the maze, Alice Cooper’s music will be integrated, reaching far beyond his hits to some of his more obscure works. Tracks like the instrumental “Titanic Overture” and easy listening ballad “You and Me” will complement the variety of freaky visuals presented within.
The pair of designers also showed off concept art for some of the creepy costumes scareactors will be wearing inside:
But ultimately it’s not necessary to know Cooper’s music or Dante’s literature to be entertained by this, or any Halloween Horror Nights experience. “You’re always designing it so it appeals to the ultimate fan, but if you’re a casual fan, it has to work for you as well,” said Murdy. “Even for Silent Hill, obviously if you’re a gamer, there’s all kinds of details really, really important to a gamer, you want to hit all those details. But you still have to make it accessible to somebody who maybe has never ever played the game or never listened to the album or has a casual knowledge an artist, or a movie, or a TV, show. So that’s always the balancing act we do as designers, to make sure it works for the uber fan and also the casual fan.”
Halloween Horror Nights 2012 premiers at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 21. Universal Orlando’s same-named event will also debut that night, featuring an entirely different Alice Cooper experience dubbed “Welcome To My Nightmare.”
More photos from Alice Cooper Goes To Hell at Universal Studios Hollywood: