This year’s Terror Tram at Universal Studios Hollywood for Halloween Horror Nights features Jordan Peele’s “Nope” and “Us.” Let’s take a walk through the house first to see all there is, and then find our review below the photos.
Terror Tram ft. Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’ and ‘Us’
The crux of the house is built around Hollywood Harry, a.k.a. Harold Kappowitz , a.k.a. Koodles the Clown. He has previously been the star of the Terror Tram in 2016 and 2018.
Kappowitz is a former children’s TV star who fell out of the spotlight.
His story is told on the monitors of the tram as it makes its way to the house entrance location on the backlot between the Bates Motel and Colonial Street.
Koodles was once a media darling, making regular appearances at Universal Studios on the tour.
But over time, the star darkened and he was cut from the roster of characters. Kappowitz, unable to shed the identity of Koodles, has taken to living on the backlot and abducting people to play. Most recently, he abducted two Studio Tour guides and held them hostage in the last iteration of his Terror Tram house.
We now see those two guides have died and are moldering in Koodles’ hideout, still tied to their chairs as we saw them in the last introduction video in 2018.
Koodles is now throwing a Halloween party for all of us girls and boys, and we are going to provide the gore.
When guests get off the tram near the vehicle display area (formerly Whoville) they are met by Koodles himself, as well as the Chainsaw Brigade. When Koodles cues them, the chainsaw-wielding scaractors ignite their chainsaws and rush into the crowd, chasing everyone down the path to the Bates Motel.
The Chainsaw Brigade performers are all wearing pumpkin-themed attire and masks.
The Bates Motel is all decked out in classic Halloween party decorations from sheet ghosts to spooky skeletons and even a party DJ.
Guests run through the motel and up past the Psycho house where they can meet Norman Bates for a photo before moving into Black Cat Alley.
This area, as everywhere along the house walkthrough route, is covered in classic paper decorations, with Black Cat Alley featuring black cats. The scaractors dressed as ferocious black cats jump out at guests from above the walls as they walk past.
Koodles is waiting for us at the exit of Black Cat Alley.
This leads into the crashed airplane area full of vampire batters — vampires dressed in baseball uniforms carrying bats.
Then after that are some skeleton bikers, presumably they are “bad to the bone.”
Koodles is here once again to recieve us as we enter the final section, Koodles’ Pumpkins.
And he is also inside to carve up guests as we would carve up jack-o-lanterns.
Koodles wishes us a Happy Halloween as we escape his party and this ends the Terror Tram area. Guests walk across the street and up the hill to where Jupiter’s Claim has been set up for the Studio Tour.
Inside Jupiter’s Claim, The Tethered from ‘Us’ are roaming around inside antagonizing guests. Not so much scaring them, just kind of milling about. A few cowboys and other campers are there to be the foil and be chased by The Tethered as there is really nowhere for them to hide and do jump scares, and no business for them in the empty town beside smiling creepily.
Every so often, the town creaks and groans as it does for the Studio Tour, and like it does in ‘Nope.’ The Tethered wait, with eyes and smiles turned skyward, before jumping back into action after about 10 seconds.
In front of the Star Lasso Experience, we see some more (fake) Tethered people holding hands as is the final goal in the film.
When guests reach the end of town, they board the trams to return to the park.
The Terror Tram feels exactly as it’s presented: a standalone house of the Terror Tram, that features something shoehorned in because they have to. The set for Jupiter’s Claim on the backlot is really cool, a great addition to the Studio Tour, and this a nice opportunity to walk around on the ground level there. But it doesn’t really fit with the Terror Tram house as it’s set up, and the “Us” scareactors are just a nuisance rather than being a part of anything in the set.
The Terror Tram house itself is well done and a lot of fun – Hollywood Harry is hosting a Halloween party for all the kiddies, in classic style. This is a fun take on a classic Halloween party theme and it fits within Hollywood Harry’s persona and character. Taking place on the backlot where Harry is known to haunt, this is a great use of the area that leads past Bates Motel and the Psycho house before heading through the crash site and leading guests back out to the road. This is where, in years past, the tram pick-up would be. But this year, guests walk across the street and up the hill to the nearby town of Jupiter’s Claim where the doppelgangers from “Us” are standing around to creepily smile at passers-by. The town itself doesn’t lend for much in the way of hides and jump scares because it’s one wide thoroughfare, big enough to drive a tram through, which guests meander as the doppelgangers stare on and occasionally run around as they would in a scare zone. It’s a lackluster end to an enjoyable house that feels shoehorned in, rather than included through any merit of using the set for its purpose. Overall, we enjoyed the house but not because of the Jordan Peele influence, rather for Hollywood Harry.