HHN 27: Dead Waters | Inside Universal Forums
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HHN 27: Dead Waters


Staff member
May 23, 2013
The first thing I noticed when I ducked into the Universal Studios soundstage that houses Dead Waters was a musty, mildew smell. It wasn't an implication of the resort's housekeeping crew. It was an indication of the doting, lavish attention that the HHN team bestows on every sensory detail. The pungent odor helps establish the tone of the maze, which takes guests through a decaying, partly sunken paddlewheeler, a murky swamp, and the Voodoo Queen's funky village.

The boat lists to one side in a riverbed. A challenge to navigate, its tilted corridors will surely help make visitors more vulnerable when the maze's "scare-actors" lunge at them. (There were no live actors lurking in the shadows during my tour.) Likewise, the squishy material embedded in the floor of the swamp scene, which simulates a muddy bog, will keep guests off balance and more susceptible to scares.

Expect more information soon.
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Staff member
May 23, 2013
Agreed, I'm looking forward to this one the most. The picture in the article looks stunning.


May 15, 2016
Orlando, FL
This looks like the Ghost Town of the year. Will have massive, immersive, and beautiful sets. But will probably on the slower side with scares. Still looks like HOTY potential tho.
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Reactions: Ryan
Aug 13, 2016
We have had houses that later became scare zones in the streets of Universal Studios Florida. This is one of the first times, in recent memory, that a scare zone has influenced a house. For Halloween Horror Nights 24, we had the Bayou of Blood scare zone. It was so strong in character and story that we had to revisit its story again.

We’re excited to have you explore the Dead Waters of the Voodoo Queen and her hellish realm. Trust me…you’ll freak out when you see the half sunken riverboat and the skeletal remains of her victims close in.

Aug 13, 2016
Another description:

Enter The Realm Of The Voodoo Queen

Enter a pestilent swamp that oozes evil, the hellish realm of the Voodoo Queen. The skeletal remains of her previous victims rise from the dead and start to close in. Venture inside the Voodoo Shack, where zombies and other creatures of the deep attack. You try to flee to the village, only to be ensnared by the Voodoo Queen’s minions. If you fail to escape, you’re in for a gut-wrenching sacrifice.


Aug 31, 2016
Thoughts on if there will be more than one "slanted hallway"? Since they always need an alternate path for wheelchairs a la the boat scene in Jack's 25 house and obviously the original scene in Forsaken. Just seems like having multiple spots like this with an alternate would be a logistical nightmare. Regardless throwing my hat in the ring for HOTY potential. Looks freaking amazing. So pumped for this house!


Oct 1, 2015
This was a fantastic house. I really liked the riverboat and the room with the guy hanging upside down was awesome.
Aug 13, 2016
This is a bit of a weird house for me. In a lot of ways, I can see why the seeming majority absolutely love this house. But I personally come away feeling just a little disappointed with Dead Waters.

The Pros
  • The facade - Wow! This is one of, if not the best haunted house facade that Universal has ever built. Super impressive.
  • The overall scenic design + lighting - This is without a doubt the best looking house this year.
  • The actress on the right just before you get to the large room where you enter the shack - She's very creepy, in the best way!
  • The large u-turn area before entering the shack - As you enter the 'room', the actress that is on a platform as soon as you enter this scene on your right does a good job of catching guests by surprise as they are distracted by everything going on in this large room.
The Cons
  • The facade - I dislike when they create facades with such 'shallow' design. Guests aren't able to see this jewel with any distance and perspective. I would prefer to be able to see it from afar and then walk straight up to the boat to see it in all its' glory for more than just the fleeting 15 seconds or so as you walk parallel to its' front.
  • Length - This house needs 2 or 3 more scenes to put it over the top. And for a house that's on the shorter side, there also seems to be a few too many dead spots of missing scareactors. Not the best combo, imo.
  • Finale - As is true with a few of this year's houses, the finale in Dead Waters is really lacking. Or better yet, should I say that this house lacks a finale?
  • Scares - Lack thereof. I'm not sure if there aren't enough good boo holes in this house, or if the casts aren't aggressive enough for my liking - but I do have a crazy theory that may explain my issues with the scariness with this house. Is it possible that the design of this house is so good that it takes away from the actors' ability to scare? Is it almost too 'beautiful?' Yes, it's usually good to distract guests with immersive sets, but I think I might actually be more interested in the set design/lighting/audio while walking through this house than I am in looking at the actors and their masks/costumes. I'm not really sure, but I'd be interested in seeing them try to up the scare-factor somehow.


Veteran Member
Aug 18, 2017
So why exactly is this house so short? The exit area doesn’t really seem any bigger than normal. Are the sets just really that big? They truly are magnificent in scope and detail, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

On the plus side I don’t think I’ve ever seen them block the exit of a house so you could experience a scare (the voodoo doll).