Universal's Horror Make-Up Show

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Universal's Horror Make-Up Show
Universal Studios Florida
Area Hollywood
Soft opening date May 1990
Opening date June 7, 1990
General statistics
Attraction type Live show
Designer Universal Creative
Theme Universal Horror
Duration 25 minutes
Hosts Alex Ross
Mark James

Universal's Horror Make-Up Show (previously titled The Phantom of the Opera Horror Make-Up Show and The Gory, Gruesome and Grotesque Horror Make-Up Show) is an attraction located at Universal Studios Florida. It opened with the theme park on June 7, 1990, and is a live show featuring at least three on-stage actors who comically instruct guests on Universal Pictures' legacy of horror movies. It was inspired by the former The Land of a Thousand Faces show at Universal Studios Hollywood.

It is notable for being one of the two original attractions still in operation at Universal Studios Florida, the other being E.T. Adventure.

Attraction summary[edit]


The queue/pre-show area takes place inside a lobby within a recreation of the Pantages Theater. The lobby area includes multiple displays on Universal Horror films including Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Psycho, Jaws, The Thing, Van Helsing, Bride of Chucky, and An American Werewolf in London. The lobby also includes displays on the Universal Monsters, The Munsters and Universal Orlando Resort's Halloween Horror Nights. Multiple HD TV monitors display behind-the-scenes information of recent Universal Horror films including Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Van Helsing, King Kong and The Wolfman. After viewing the displays, guests line up and then enter the main theater.

Main show[edit]

Set for the show at Universal Studios Florida

The show starts once everyone is seated. Then, one of the hosts, Alex Ross, (who can be either male or female) enters the stage and then tries to find his/her co-host, Mark James (or in the case of a female actor, Marty James). While Ross is looking around the stage for James, James appears entering the theater with a large knife dug into his heart. He mingles with audience members to "pull it out!" before "dying", and revealing to the audience that it is a fake. Sometimes, the actor/actress will ask for CPR instead. If they do not help, they suffer consequences later on. A montage of clips from the most gory scenes of Universal Horror films is then shown on screens hanging on the left and right sides of the theater. When the montage has ended, Ross and James explain that they need a volunteer. Ross picks the volunteer, who is always a foreign or older woman. Ross and James show her a pile of fake severed limbs which she piles up, discovering that one of them begins to move. Ross and James then use a fake knife which has a hook and a vat of fake blood which gives the appearance that it is cutting into one's skin on the woman. Before cutting the woman, Alex Ross will tell Mark James to talk to the kids. Depending on the actor/actress, they will either say "Don't drink beer for breakfast. Just because Mommy does it, doesn't mean it's okay. She only does that because she's stuck home alone with you all day. Well, till the cable guy comes by, then who knows." and Alex Ross will interject and say a safety tip about the knives. If the actor/actress didn't say the previous line, they will immediately jump into saying "Also all the blades you see today are dull of course. Either that or they're made out of plastic, like Paris Hilton. We never use sharp blades when doing special effects. Also, the people who set up the effects, when they aren't drinking, are very professional. So don't try this at home." Alex will say to do it at your friend's house and then they will cut away at the woman. After the audience finds out it is fake, the woman returns to her seat. Some of the actors will walk around with one of the knives dug into their forehead and will usually crack on Walmart "Welcome to Walmart! Here's your cart!" in a funny voice. James then takes a fake heart out of a bucket and squirts fake blood (in this case, water – which is usually cold) out at the audience. A short clip montage about Lon Chaney is then shown on the screens, with James describing his career, adding that "he didn't even reveal his secrets to his grandson, Dick". The montage goes on to describe Universal's make-up artist Jack Pierce, with Mark explaining how he created the designs for Universal's classic monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Wolfman, The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, and he usually adds to the list either Lady Gaga and Barack Obama. After this, Alex Ross peeks behind the curtain and a car alarm goes off. Mark turns it off and asks what's going on. Alex picks on a kid in the front row and says that they threw a rock at the curtain. Mark messes with the kid and eventually tells the kid that "This ain't Disney World or the Magic Kingdom, I don't have to be nice to you here!" Afterwards, Mark asks what he was last talking about. Alex Ross mentions playtex. Depending on the actor, this next bit could go two ways. If you have one guy, he will show you what latex is and will also show you what playtex is. Others will just skip showing playtex, or may show playtex if it's in the drawer. A clip of creation of the make-up design for the title character in Universal's The Wolfman is then shown on the two screens in the theater. After that, Alex Ross says, "That's cool, tell us how you got to where you are." Mark James explains how he got to where he is today and then mentions Rick Baker. They then list some of his movies he won an Oscar for and then another horror movie clip is shown from An American Werewolf in London. They ask the kids what movie it is (right at the beginning, before you see the 'wolf') and many will say E.T.. Mark James will say, "Right, there's E.T.! He's back and he's pissed!" After that, Alex will ask how the werewolf changing scene was done and they'll go over and show the change-o-heads and explain them. They'll usually crack on an audience member or talk about something related to them regarding the hair on the change-o-heads. Afterwards, a final clip is shown regarding how the transformation scenes in The Wolfman took place. For the finale, James reveals his secret horror movie effect; a motion capture vest which will control the movements of an animatronic named Eddie (who resembles "Scooby-Doo on steroids" as Mark James says). Mark James also mentions that he created Eddie to be the star of a children's show, the final episode of Dora the Explorer. He says that the motion capture vest is the same technology used to keep Ozzy Osbourne alive. When Ross refuses to wear the vest, the foreign/elderly woman volunteer from earlier in the show is chosen. After she controls the movements of Eddie with the vest, James takes a picture of her with Ross and the Eddie. However, right after James takes the picture, Eddie comes alive and chases James backstage. They are shown chasing each other with James ending it by sliding his bloody hand across the door window. When James recovers and comes back on-stage, he is bloody and bruised. He then hands the woman her picture, saying, "here's your freakin' picture". The show then concludes, and guests are required to exit from the right side of the theater.


While exiting the theater, guests can view multiple pictures of Universal Horror movies hanging on the walls such as The Birds, Jurassic Park, and Psycho. They then exit into the Cyber Gear gift shop for the attraction Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time.

Previous versions[edit]

Exterior of the show building

The show and lobby featured numerous other reincarnations in the past. From 1990 until 1997, the lobby featured posters from old Universal Horror films and also had a live introduction from The Phantom of the Opera. The lobby was changed in 1997 to hold a video and various displays and props from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In 2001, it was again re-vamped to hold displays and a video from The Mummy Returns. In 2004, the same refurbishment was done to add displays from Van Helsing. It was mostly recently re-vamped in 2008.

The main show itself had some minor refurbishments in the past to fit the re-theming of the lobby. From 1990 until 2004, the main show would instead feature clips from Universal Horror films such as The Thing and An American Werewolf in London, and the woman would have her picture taken with The Phantom of the Opera. For the finale, James would step into a transportation device based on The Fly and would turn into the title character and then back into himself. He would then walk backstage with Ross, still having fly wings on his back. This version of the show was also introduced with a gunshot by James. It was slightly re-vamped in 1997 to instead have the woman get her picture taken with a dinosaur. In 2001, she and a person from her party would have their picture taken with The Mummy, and a clip about creation of the make-up effects from The Mummy Returns was also added. In 2004, the show was given a large re-vamping and was changed from this previous version. The lobby was again revamped in 2008, to include displays on various Universal Horror films up to Hellboy II: The Golden Army. In 2010, the show itself was again revamped to remove the Van Helsing clips which were replaced with clips from Universal's The Wolfman remake. In 2017, it was revamped to show clips from the recent "The Mummy" remake, replacing those from "The Wolfman".


The show itself was inspired by The Land of a Thousand Faces, a make-up show at Universal Studios Hollywood, which was opened in the park's Castle Theater in 1975 and was removed in 1980 and replaced by the Castle Dracula Live Show. It is possible that the Horror Make-Up Show may have been the inspiration for Halloween Horror Nights at the theme park, a Halloween event which has been run since 1991. During Halloween Horror Nights XI in 2001, the Horror Make-Up Show theater was used to house the show "Boogeymen", while in prior years, Horror Make-Up Show was run during the HHN event.

2002 incident[edit]

In August 2002, a woman was pulled from the audience to participate in the show. After being frightened by one of the on-stage monsters, the woman fell off the stage in fear; she landed on the steps of the theater, breaking her leg. She was rushed to the hospital, and was released shortly afterwards without any further injuries.[1]

Films Shown During The Attraction[edit]


External links[edit]