Any fan of fright film -- or, strike that, any film fan in general -- knows exactly what you mean when you say "the Universal Monsters."
Because the Universal Monsters were THE monsters back in the early days of the movie industry: Frankenstein and the Wolf Man and the Mummy and the Invisible Man Dracula all hailed from a certain Cahuenga Pass-close studio and reigned in the thumping hearts and wild imaginations of movie fans. Sure, other studios were cranking out their own scarefests at the time, but for a good long while, back in the '30s, Universal Studios practically trademarked the elegant and ferocious scare.
And while Halloween Horror Nights, the Universal theme park's annual foray into frightening walk-through attractions, regularly takes on the best of recent horror, it has left its famous vault mostly unvisited. But not this year: The Universal monsters will be lurking and moaning at the annual fall frightfest.
The Halloween Horror Nights honchos just announced "Universal Monsters Remix," Visitors should expect a "gothic castle" setting where the baddies of yesteryear will await guests. There are some modern touches, such as an electronica soundtrack and strobes, so it won't all be vintage. But Frankenstein, with his head bolts? His bride, complete with her shockingly high hair? They could be around the next corner.
Other mazes this year include homages to "The Walking Dead" and the ever-popular "La Llorona," who will be back to wail for another season.
Halloween Horror Nights opens on Friday, Sept. 21. Will Dracula vant to drink your blood? Chances are extremely good.