As the fog descends upon the crowd on the darkening sky, a demonic horde comes out to play in the streets within Universal Studios Singapore, eager to bring some frights. The Chinese Ghost Month may have passed, but Halloween Horror Nights is here to deliver the scares in its place.
It has been a long two-year gap since Universal Studios Singapore’s popular Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) brought about terrors-galore in-person at Sentosa, but now it is back with a vengeance for this year.
It’s the 10th edition of the Halloween-themed event, and Universal Studios Singapore is pulling out all the stops for this special occasion, set to take place over 19 event nights — their longest HHN event yet. This year sees the Killustrator as the horror icon that looms over the park, a deranged manga artist whose obsession with Halloween Horror Nights spurs him to torment this year’s visitors with reimagined horrors from past events.
His machinations can be fully experienced at the Killustrator: The Final Chapter haunted house, one of three haunted houses found at Halloween Horror Nights 10. Located just past Mel’s Drive-In (ominously lit up as Mel’s Die-In), the Killustrator invites the brave to see his twisted creations come to life.
Entering his house starts you off at a run-down apartment block with graffiti-filled walls, trash strewn about, and loud banging from neighbours’ doors presents an uncomfortable welcome. You soon enter the home of the Killustrator, plastered to the brim with manga art, and it becomes clear that he has already begun his scheme.
Delving deeper leads you into the mind of the Killustrator, presented as chapters in this fear-filled walkthrough. Throughout the haunted house, visitors of past Halloween Horror Nights might recognise the various easter eggs and teases of previous icons, such as the Naga from HHN9 — it’s clear that Killustrator is a big fan.
But it isn’t all just past work; the Killustrator blends his own terrifying creations into this production. For example, one section showcases a warped room eerily devoid of colour, with the furnishings looking like they’ve come straight out of his panel.
HHN10’s Killustrator: The Final Chapter haunted house was conceptualised last year by the designers at Universal Studios Singapore, with work on building it starting around July 2022. While Producer Patrica and Designer Haziq were keen to pay homage to past Halloween Horror Nights, they also wanted it to be a fresh take, and no props from previous editions were reused for this. The effort can certainly be seen in the warped manga section, with much of the room painstakingly hand-painted to give off the strange 2D-3D effect.
But it isn’t the only haunted house that will scare you at night. Over at Waterworld, what awaits you isn’t jet skis and pyrotechnics but zombies. Operation: Dead Force brings you to a super secret research facility where the S.F.A.D (Special Forces Against the Dead) recruits you to fight against the zombie horde. You’ll have to go through and endure against the mutated zombies which have invaded the facility and are itching to have a piece of you.
The haunted house has been elaborately built, evoking the feel of an abandoned science-fiction base as control panels decorated with an assortment of buttons and human-sized capsule pods line the walls. Resident Evil 2 fans will definitely appreciate the similarities. As you go through the house’s winding path, the living dead will make their presence known; both in the light and from the shadows, when they come out from hiding.
Finally, the last haunted house you can experience is the Hospitality of Horror near the Ancient Egypt zone. Unlike the two previous houses, this takes place within the smaller locale, a mansion built for Southeast Asia’s then-richest tycoon repurposed into a hotel. Sounds cosy, though it is anything but.
The walls of the hotel are haunted by the previous owner’s wife, who is secretly a sorceress; anyone who checks in will be subjected to her whims. So when you enter the claustrophobic confines of the hotel, all manner of ghosts and spirits will be looking to make your stay a little more exciting than usual.
Haunted houses won’t be the only things getting your heart rate racing at Halloween Horror Nights 10. Two scare zones provide a spine-chilling experience as you walk through the Universal Studios Singapore park.
The Hunt for Pontianak is one to find whilst travelling along The Lost World zone. There, influencers have desecrated the grounds of a Malaysian jungle to hunt for the infamous Pontianak ghost. Despite live-streaming the search, their group have mysteriously become uncontactable. Finding out what happened provides the motivation to follow where they’ve gone.
The exotic greenery of the jungle surrounds you when you step into the scare zone. As you traverse deeper, you’ll find remnants of the group and the horrible reality of the situation. The jungle setting provides a refreshing variation from being indoors for the haunted houses. Still, it is no less scary, with the Pontianak ready to pop out from the thick and disorientating vegetation at any time.
You’ll find the other scare zone in the streets of the New York area, where The Dark Zodiac awaits. Sinister-ly lit castle walls have been erected on the pathways, with a giant zodiac clock located right at the centre of the zone as it hauntingly counts down to something grim.
This scare zone is remarkably more open than The Hunt for Pontianak, with nearly all of Universal Studios Singapore’s New York decked out in a demonic theme. As you walk along the streets, demonic creatures arrive out of the fog to greet you — each representing a zodiac sign. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are much more docile than the other freaks in the park and will even pose with you for photos, though some might still slip in a surprise scare.
At specific times, the zodiac monsters will reassemble as a group to undergo an ancient ritual performance to resurrect the 13th zodiac. Once the performance is done, a new set of zodiac monsters replace the previous ones, giving you another chance to take more pictures.
The three haunted houses and two scare zones are what you’ll get when you buy a ticket to Halloween Horror Nights 10, but there are other experiences to be had in the park that you can add on to complete your night.
One of them is the Monsters & Manifestation Special Experience, a tour-like event hosted by the mysterious Keeper, who continuously taunts you as you go through it.
It’s a three-part experience, the first of which is an exhibition with various showcases you can interact with. There are photo opportunities with a trick eye exhibit and an aromatherapy area featuring smells from the haunted houses at HHN10, among others.
Once the Keeper is satisfied, she will bring you to the graveyard where the dead will arise from their graves, not to feast on you but to bring a feast to your eyes as they go all out to perform some sick moves with a dance performance that will have even Michael Jackson smiling.
The Keeper then will bring an end to the experience, but not before requiring you to go through the Malevolent Hallway where danger lies ahead. You’ll have to race towards the exit to avoid being captured by the hidden spirits.
For something even more interactive to try, there’s the Escape the Breakout Special Experience. Here, you will get to play a game of laser tag with the inhabitants of Heinous Harbour as you fight to escape.
You’ll be given a laser tag rifle at the start, and as you try to navigate your way through, these malevolent residents will attack you to make your stay permanent. But worry now! A shot from the rifle will stun them for a few seconds to give you time to get away.
The experience has puzzle elements, and you’ll need to work out the clues to access the next area. The denizens of Heinous Harbour will attempt to make your time harder by coming at you, so be sure to have your rifle at the ready to stun them if necessary.
The 15-minute experience certainly had thrills, so try it out if you can.
Getting all those scares will also definitely have you famished. You can partake in some of the foods available at Louis’s NY Pizza Parlor, Mel’s Drive-In, Fossil Fuels, and Goldilocks. We tried the offering at Mel’s Drive-In — the Maggoty Bolognese Stew.
What you’ll get with it is some Beef Bolognese topped on and stuffed in a bun, along with a side of fries and a dollop of red coleslaw. The fries and coleslaw were not too bad, but the bolognese packed inside the bun was lukewarm when we dug in; maybe that’s part of the terror.
For a more robust dining experience, you can opt for Die-ning with the Dead, held at KT’s Grill. You’ll feast on a four-course horror-themed dinner with performances included in the experience. You’ll need to book it separately to reserve a slot.
If you’ve been looking forward to the Halloween festivities, then Halloween Horror Nights 10 return to in-person frights is one not to be missed! It will be held till 5 November on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and specific Sundays nights, starting at 7.30pm with the ‘scaremony’ opening the event.
Tickets run at S$68 for non-peak days and S$78 for peak days. The Monsters & Manifestations and Escape the Breakout Special Experience add-ons are priced at an additional S$38, while reserving a seat for Die-ning with the Dead costs S$105.
Date: Select nights, 30 September to 5 November
Location: Universal Studios Singapore, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269
Price: S$78 per pax (peak), SS$68 per pax (non-peak)
Tickets can be purchased from the Resorts World Sentosa website, with additional information on group packages and the Halloween Horror Nights – R.I.P. Tour.
Photos by Ellysha Halil of the DANAMIC Team.