Keep your eyes open for Prince — and Chucky!

By Michelle Tauber
September 28, 2018 06:44 PM
Halloween Horror NightsCredit: Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Banana clips and acid-washed jeans are making a seriously scary comeback this fall — along with some ’80s horror icons to terrorize your dreams.

This year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort, the biggest Halloween-themed event in the country, throws it back to the ’80s with dozens of pop culture references designed to invoke Gen-X nostalgia. (Thank you, Stranger Things!)

The annual event, which boasts 10 haunted houses this year and runs through November 3, also features more tongue-in-cheek humor than in years past — perfect for those who like their screams mixed with a few laughs. (Pro tip: Just don’t let them see you flinch.)

Check out these five totally tubular ’80s references:

1. Chucky’s Back!

Halloween Horror NightsCredit: Michelle Tauber
Chucky at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.
| Credit: Michelle Tauber

What ’80s kid was not haunted by this terrifying toy? The Child’s Play star gets his own stage at Horror Nights, and he interacts with the audience in chilling style. (Warning: Yes, he can see you. And hear you.)

2. (Too) close encounters with ’80s vampires.

Halloween Horror NightsCredit: Michelle Tauber
The ’80s scare zone.
| Credit: Michelle Tauber

This year’s event features five “scare zones,” or open-air haunted houses. The good news: no lines. The bad news: You can be terrorized at any moment by “scareactors” — the roaming band of ghoulish creepers who are always looking to elicit a scream. In this year’s “Vamp ’85” scare zone, leather-clad blood-suckers roam Times Square on New Year’s Eve, leaving the evening’s heavy-metal entertainment a little worse for the wear. Keep your eyes open (seriously, it’s risky to blink) for guest cameos by Prince and Michael Jackson.

3. Poltergeist — and ’80s B-Movies.

The ultimate ’80s horror movie, 1982’s Poltergeist, is heeeeeeere — and coming straight through the static-filled TV screen into your face. (Rule of thumb: Where your breath goes, they go.) As with many of the houses, the biggest scares aren’t necessarily executed by the biggest monsters — in this case, it’s a jarring appearance by the film’s iconic, sweet-voiced medium (“Come into the light”) that brings the boos. And over in the Slaughter Simema house, guests encounter cheesy B-movie horrors like alien cannibals and werewolf bikers. Radical.

4. All Things Stranger Things.

18-34771 HHN18 First Look Stranger Things/Slaughter Sinema Stranger ThingsHHN18
The Stranger Things haunted house at Universal Orlando Resort.
| Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

The marquee draw at this year’s event is the Stranger Things house, which allows fans to step into the series and experience the Upside Down first-hand. There are many, many Demigorgon pop-outs, but again, it’s the non-monster scares that bring the deepest chills. (Two words: Bloody. Eyes.) Bonus: In a nod to Eleven, the park features a smorgasbord of waffle-themed treats around every corner. No tricks, just treats.

Halloween Horror NightsCredit: Universal Orlando Resort
One of the waffle-themed foods at Universal Orlando.
| Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

5. An awesome dance-off.

Technically the new Academy of Villains show is set in a dystopian future, but the punk vibe is distinctly 1985. (Think neon lights, heavy on the synthesizer.) It’s also a killer show.

Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights through November 3 at Universal Orlando Resort. More information, including how to skip the lines on the terrifyingly memorable R.I.P. tour, is here.