If you’re a Walking Dead fan like I am, get ready, ’cause shit’s about to get awesome. The AMC team behind the hit series is working together with Universal Studios on a Walking Dead live-action experience, where fans get a chance to relive the story of survival for themselves in the (decaying) flesh.
It will appear as part of October’s Halloween Horror Night and will turn the show’s premise into a physical space ripe for exploration. This is probably the closest most of us will ever get to testing our zed-mettle before the end of days hits. Crowbars at the ready!
The event, which has been in production for most of the past year, will lead fans through a Walking Dead maze comprised of key locations from seasons 1 and 2.. True to the series, you’ll start right alongside Rick as he wakes up in the hospital. “We put you right in Rick’s shoes. Imagine being in a coma and then waking up and realizing there are all these walking dead. And they’re now trying to get you,” said John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood in an interview this week.
What makes this collaboration especially exciting is the mutual respect between the two companies. The co-executive producer for The Walking Dead has been a long-time Halloween Horror Night enthusiast and the Universal team are big fans of the show. Put the two together and you’ve got a bunch of zombie geeks striving for absolute grey-skinned oozing perfection. Hellz to the yeah.
Character and series licensing can be a bit scary for fans, but both sides seem dedicated to the highest caliber of authenticity rather than making it some schlocky merchandizing afterthought– KNOCK ON WOOD. Round of applause, because that’s commendable and I’m a zombie enthusiast, but they also know how much money they stand to make on devoted zombie fans seeking out a true quality thrill. Let’s be honest, with the popularity of The Walking Dead it’s in the best interest of their bottom line to make this kick ass.
“We’re providing Universal with the exact same molds and make-up pieces that we used on the show. So when you encounter Bicycle Girl and the Well Walker as you go through The Walking Dead maze, they’re going to look exactly as they did on the television show. Our goal here is to give fans of the show as authentic an experience as we possibly can.” said Greg Nicotero, Walking Dead co-executive producer. If it’s as authentic as they claim, look out for Carl walking around by himself in the parking lot.
Of course we can probably assume that things won’t be too realistic. In my best fantasies, you could get bitten by a walker, pop in the makeup department for a switcharoo, and head back out into the maze to torture your friends as a newly minted member of the undead hordes.
I’d imagine that this will be about as close to running around with zombies as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is to Hogwarts, which is to say just enough of a taste to please the casual viewer but not enough to really satisfy the megafans who wouldn’t be happy with anything less than “real life” zombies anyway. At the very least, maybe they can hand out a few of these meat-coats along the way for effect.
Halloween Horror Nights will take place all October long at both Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood in California. They’ll have a Walking Dead maze at each location. Since I live nowhere near either of those places, if you go be sure to let me know how it is so I can very jealously decapitate you with my katana*.
*Oh come on, the katana is NOT an ideal weapon for someone as short as I am with minimal upper body strength. I’m all about the mini-chainsaws. And I really hate clowns.