Halloween Horror Nights 20 is my seventh year attending the event. I’ve seen it from quite a few sides, such as from a guests standpoint as well as from the media standpoint. I’ve never seen it from the standpoint of the scareactors. It’s something that I’ve always toyed with but seeing that I live a few hours away from Orlando, and that I actually have a day job (yes, writing hasn’t paid off just yet) it’s something that has always been just a tad out of reach. Knowing a few of the actors at the event personally, and hearing their stories plus seeing them at the end of the haunt season as they’re exhausted and a little saddened has already given me massive amounts of respect for what they do. So when Universal invited me the chance to attend “Boo Camp” I jumped at the chance.
As we drove to Orlando we pondered what the scare zone might be. After all, it had to be a make up based scare zone given what I’ve seen in years past. Plus it was doubtful that normal everyday folks would be given a chainsaw, after all running a chainsaw can be a dangerous thing, and the majority of a lot of folks have never really touched a chainsaw (I’m in the minority as that is a huge part of my day job) let alone come in contact with park guests while trying to scare them. The combination could be disastrous! There was really only one logical conclusion…Zombie Gras.
As we were lead into Lombard’s Landing to have our make up done and to get tips on how to scare and what to expect, we could see the preparations for Zombie Gras being made. We were greeted by Mike Aiello, Director of Shows for Universal Orlando and part of the team that makes HHN possible.
“Literally thousands of people make up this event, and tonight you’re going to be one of them.”
So much goes into the event, from hiring the actors, to creating the houses and zones and even costuming the actors and make up. A lot of attention is paid to detail, and every single actor is very enthusiastic about the role. Of course, when you’re a zombie, it’s hard not to be.