Today please welcome back frequent guest blogger on the site, Kristin! During a recent trip to Universal Studios Orlando, Kristin spent a lot of time investigating Universal Studios’ classic monsters and all that the theme park has to offer if you love campy horror movies – read on for some great recommendations!
A bolt of lightning. A crash of thunder. A madman’s cackle. And the cadaver’s fingers start to twitch….
If you know this scene, you’re probably familiar with at least one of the Universal Classic Monster Movies. If you’re like me, this scene (and others like it) doesn’t terrify you at all – far from it, I get the warm fuzzies.
I love silly, campy, monster movies, so when Becky and I went to Universal this December I knew I’d spend at least part of my time indulging in the darker (but still fun!) aspect of those parks. Here’s my review, for my fellow monster-lovers.
First and foremost, I have to mention the Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters Café. This is a counter-service restaurant, but I consider it an attraction on its own. Walking in is like entering Frankenstein’s lab (including occasional sounds of thunder). There are busts of the monsters to admire as you wait to order; however, I would actually recommend you skip doing so. The last time I ate here, the food was terrible. They’ve updated their menu since, but it still didn’t look particularly appetizing.
Instead, I’d recommend stopping by after the lunch rush for a soda or some fries and taking some time to wander around and enjoy the details of the café.
There are several different rooms themed to the different monsters – Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy (Boris Karloff version), Gillman, and even space monsters have their own dedicated areas. There are tv’s playing clips of the movies; framed script pages; areas decorated to look like sets from the movies – depending on how much you love the classics, you can spend a lot of time poking around and seeing everything!
It’s not just the older movies I love; one of my all-time favorites is the 1999 version of “The Mummy”, starring Brendan Fraser. Luckily for me, Universal has a major attraction themed to this ride (Revenge of the Mummy). I told Becky I planned to ride this 85 times. Unfortunately I only made it six times, so I guess I’ll just have to go back….
Outside, they often have mummy stilt-walkers scowling at approaching guests. The façade looks like the Museum of Antiquities, which you’ll recognize if you’ve seen the movie.
The premise of the ride is that we’re visiting the set of a new mummy movie which is currently in production. For added authenticity, they’re using actual artifacts from ancient Egypt. But of course, some of the cast and crew are concerned that doing so has caused the set to be cursed. Meanwhile, Brendan Fraser has sent an assistant to get a cup of coffee….and the assistant has disappeared….
It’s a really fun ride, with a combination of “dark ride” style scenes and a roller coaster through the dark, with black-lit mummies shining over the track. There’s a great combination of screens, physical sets and animatronics, and even some pyrotechnics. They also managed to incorporate some of the trademark humor from the movie at the beginning and end.
Speaking of which, if you like some humor with your horror (and I do!), definitely check out the Horror Makeup Show. The hosts explain how some common makeup tricks are done in horror films, joking with each other (and the audience) the whole time. It’s not really scary, but there is some fake blood, so be aware if that’s something that could bother you. While the show itself is only about half an hour, budget some extra time for before or after to explore the waiting area. There are exhibits about the history of horror makeup and some of the pioneers of the craft, including the creators of the classic monsters you’ll remember from the café above.
Overall, I had an amazing time geeking out at all the monster stuff at Universal, and I can’t wait to go back (and ride Revenge of the Mummy another 79 times). And if you visit during the Christmas season like I did – Merry Creepmas and Happy Howlidays!
Do you like the Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters? What’s your favorite in Universal Orlando?