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Actress Elissa Wagner gets made up by artist Gage Hubbard.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

A costumed actor greets visitors to Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Many masks are used for Halloween Horror Nights.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

"Scaractors" primp for the evening.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Fake blood is applied to the hands and costume of an actor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Visitors have a frightful time in the 3-D maze.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

A costumed actor greets visitors to Universal Studios.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Visitors make their way through the 3-D maze.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

John Murdy, right, and a "scaractor" in the 3-D maze.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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Halloween horror at Universal Studios

Each year Universal Studios creates elaborate mazes based on its best horror-film staples: “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “House of 1,000 Corpses” and the like. The mazes require hundreds of actors, gallons of fake blood and loads of elaborate and detailed construction. Each night throughout October these mazes open like live theater, each on its own stage, but not before the massive cast reports to “Scare base” to get dressed and made up. Horror master John Murdy helms the production each year and gave The Times a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make the mazes function. Think Emmy Awards Governors Ball but with lots more blood and gore.

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