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John Murdy talks about reinventing Universal Parks & Resorts' hugely popular Halloween Horror Nights.
On a New Challenge
It was in 2004 that I got called to revitalize Halloween Horror Nights. People said it wouldn’t work, that it would never happen, and that’s when I decided I was going to do it. I love a challenge. My vision was to create attractions that incorporated horror movies that everyone knew and loved. It’s been a huge success and now I work on Horror Nights all year round.
I spend a lot of time reinventing and retooling, producing, writing and shooting. My work is about wearing a lot of hats. I do tons and tons of research before I create anything and it takes immense dedication to do what I do. It’s a very dynamic, fast paced environment.
A maze might be about 7 minutes but it’s a new scene every ten seconds. That’s why the cast is so important to the success of every single show. I’m there with them every single step of the way, infusing in them the passion I have for this project.
“I work with the actors from the get go, personally putting on the suits, walking through the mazes. I would never ask them to do something I haven’t already done.”
I work with the actors from the get go, personally putting on the suits, walking through the mazes. I would never ask them to do something I haven’t already done. That’s because I believe in people and investing in people. I started at Universal as a tour guide and that’s why I understand what it’s like to be at the forefront. It’s a great growth opportunity and many of our employees go on to do great things. At the end, I’m always proud of the work we do and the team we build.