Announced as the successor to the wildly popular maze La Llorona, El Cucuy follows in the footsteps of recreating a Spanish/Latin American legend. Similar to the European-based legend of the bogeyman, El Cucuy claims the lives of children who misbehave. Even more, El Cucuy is said to hide in closets, under beds, in shadows or any place that’s dark.
Having said that, let’s dig in…
El Cucuy begins in a cramped, dark movie theater (similar to the church scene from La Llorona) with patrons watching a lowbrow camp film. The scent of popcorn stains the air as guests wander through El Cucuy’s lair. Through children’s rooms, meat lockers and abandoned houses, Danny Trejo narrates the scene.
Overall, El Cucuy is probably one of the highlights of this year’s event, and a very close contender for second place overall (with The Walking Dead: No Save Haven taking first place honors). El Cucuy’s different forms are also very elaborate, and the entire maze ran surprisingly long given its location in the rather small Parisian Courtyard. And while the maze does have a tendency to rehash the same gags used repeatedly throughout Halloween Horror Nights (random person running through a door – I’m looking at you), there are a few innovative tricks hidden here and there. Of course, Horror Nights’ renowned attention to detail follows through in El Cucuy, and there are plenty of visual gags tucked behind some of the finer details within the maze.
Is El Cucuy a worthy successor to La Llorona? Sure, but like Halloween Horror Nights as a whole, it really isn’t a monumental leap in terms of surprises or innovations from last year’s event. There are definitely a few clever ideas practiced here, but nothing particularly earth shattering like La Llorona’s first year. Perhaps over time, this will change, but for now, El Cucuy remains a strong effort from the Horror Nights crew.
Just one word of caution: avoid this maze early into the night. While the majority of scenes have some sort of ceiling, a significant amount of rooms do not – giving away many of the visual cues used by the scare actors. The pitch-dark night is really El Cucuy’s greatest asset when it comes enhancing the eeriness of the entire maze.
Jon Fu is the editor-in-chief of Inside Universal.
Jon originally founded InsideUniversal.net in 2006 as a summer hobby aimed at providing families and fans a resource for all things “Universal Studios Hollywood.” Since then, the website has taken him throughout the United States and around the world – including to places like Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore.
Jon currently resides in Santa Cruz, California with his bamboo plant. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.