September 24, 2011 7:24pm PT by Borys Kit
Eyegore Awards Kick Off Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights
For horror fans, the place to be Friday night was Universal Studios Hollywood, which kicked off its perennial Halloween Horror Nights with its Eyegore Awards.
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The awards honor those that have made an impact in horror, though the biggest underlying goal seemed to be noting folks that were involved with the creation of the park’s Horror Nights mazes.
The Eyegores were handed out in a beer hall atmosphere, amid a Children of the Corn décor where a bloody, monsterous scarecrow hanging in the middle of a cornfield played second banana to host Corey Feldman, wearing a black furry cape (he was described as “actor, musician and philanthropist”).
The evening was about fun and bad jokes, and seemed to mostly celebrate horror fans, among the most passionate in the fanboy community.
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“You guys even know who Katherine Heigl is? You guys psyched for Dolphin Tale this weekend?” actor Rainn Wilson asked the crowd as he accepted his award. (As example of how the awards work, Wilson was being honored for his work in 2003's House of a 1,000 Corpses, directed by horror favorite Rob Zombie, who presented and was debuting that night his horror maze “Rob Zombie¹s House of a 1,000 Corpses: In 3D ZombieVision.")
“I love horror fans. They have a great sense of humor and they are a bunch of oddballs, just like me," said David Arquette, there for his work in the Scream movies (Scream 4 hits DVD and Blu-ray next week and there's also a new maze based on the Scream franchise).
Playing up to the horror fans, Scream actor Jamie Kennedy took the opportunity to skewer the modern state of vampires, ie, the Twilight neckbiters, finding humor in women fighting over androgynous model-types who sparkle.
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“The guy with those traits isn’t looking for you, ladies,” Kennedy remarked. “He is looking for your brother. And he doesn’t want to suck his blood.”
In another nod to the fanboy and Comic-Con culture, Kennedy said “I know if I ever have nothing else in my life, I can go to San Diego and sell 8x10s.”
Don¹t Be Afraid of the Dark actress Bailee Madison, Emma Bell and Alice Cooper were also honored with Eyegores, but all that was prelude to the opening of the Horror Nights mazes.
One of the best of the six mazes is "The Thing: Assimilation," which, aside from providing some good scares, allows Universal to hype its upcoming prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter horror classic. The movie opens October 14 and the maze, with its elaborate sets detailing an Antarctic research station under attack from an alien parasite, cannily lets the studio sneak preview storylines and thrills to those unfamiliar with the 1982 movie.
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Eli Roth created a maze version of his Hostel movies, "Eli Roth¹s Hostel: Hunting Season," perhaps the most gruesome of mazes, which begins with fetching actresses doing their best Slovakian accent flirting with the male parkgoers ("travelers" in this maze¹s parlance) before they descend into the torture factory seen in Roth¹s movies.
"1,000 Corpses" is another of the strong mazes, serving up scares for parkgoers who don 3D glasses. The 3D aspect serves to heighten an already tense atmosphere and also helps obscure the scare-minded actors hiding behind doorways or in corners of rooms.
Another attraction, “Terror Tram: Scream 4 Your Life,” takes Universal’s famous studio tour and uniquely melds it with the maze concept. The conceit is the movie-within-a-movie (like in the Scream films) and involves being stalked by Scream¹s Ghostface Killer, among others. Riders can walk the hillside past the Psycho house (watch out for Norman!), the Bates motel (see bloodied guests beg to be saved) and through the airplane crash set from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (now populated with roaming zombies).
How many times can you say you get to walk through a studio lot like this?