After The Last Of Us came to life through the HBO series on the 2023 TV schedule, fans of the beloved Naughty Dog game can now immerse themselves even further into Joel and Ellie's universe in the real world. The Last Of Us haunted house is here at 2023’s Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights through the end of spooky season, and much like the critically acclaimed show starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, there’s a tremendous amount of care and attention to detail within the walls of Universal’s Orlando and Hollywood attraction. I can particularly attest to that too given I had the opportunity to walk through it with The Last Of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann.
Universal Orlando was kind enough to invite CinemaBlend to see the brand new Halloween Horror Nights attraction for The Last Of Us with Druckmann and Universal Orlando’s Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development, Mike Aiello guiding the way. While touring it without an infected in sight, I learned a lot about the various easter eggs the creators implemented into the experience that will have fans of the game geeking out about all the details while clickers and such jump out at guests. Let me break some of them down:
The Setting Of The Last Of Us Horror Nights House
First off, The Last Of Us haunted house is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during a very specific moment in the first game. As fans may remember, Joel and Ellie are traveling in the truck that Bill repaired for them when they crash into a small grocery store in the city. In the instance of the attraction, the entire house takes place in Pittsburgh, with one of its first rooms taking guests through that very grocery store alongside Joel and Ellie’s truck, which is an actual repurposed car by the way.
The Last Of Us Workbench
Another notable detail Druckmann pointed out as we walked through the Horror Nights house is a recreation of a workbench station. Here is a photo:
Players of The Last Of Us know this setting well because workbenches in locations that can be found throughout the game do things like upgrade tools and reload firearms. The workbench can be seen a few rooms into the house in the space right beside an injured person lying on a table.
Ellie’s Alternate Routes
Another nice touch of the attraction is the presence of both Joel and Ellie throughout the experience serving as protectors to the guests. The actors immerse visitors in the experience by speaking to them and leading them through it. As Druckmann shared with me when I spoke with him after the tour:
I wanted to make sure you feel like you're a participant. And I wanted people to leave this experience, be like, ‘Oh my God, I survived Pittsburgh with Joel and Ellie’.
In addition to that, the design of the house itself is even modeled after another mainstay in the game fans will appreciate. During The Last Of Us, Ellie often has “alternate routes” as Aiello shared, that she can take and Joel cannot. To tribute that, they created one into a sewer halfway through the house. So, when you start to feel like you’re being taken through a smaller space into a sewer, that’s an homage to the game!
Finally, it should be noted that The Last Of Us attraction brings to life all sorts of versions of the infected throughout the experience. Perhaps most impressively, guests can look forward to one of the rarest and most dangerous infected in the game, Bloaters. The finale of the attraction itself actually involves Bloaters, and yes they are absolutely disgusting to witness in a haunted house, but equally awesome.
While speaking to the haunted house creators, they shared that while putting together the attraction they were “literally pulling viewpoints from the game” to recreate them, Aiello explained. So while you are immersed (and being scared by all around you), don’t forget to look at all the amazing detail the creators put into this attraction.
Along with the attraction itself, The Last Of Us is taking over parts of Universal Orlando along with inspired food like Left Behind Ravioli, which is a cheesy ravioli served with marinara sauce, truffle cream, and tempura-fried mushrooms. Mushrooms… get it?
You can learn more about The Last Of Us Universal HHN house’s disturbing smell and what’s going on with The Last Of Us Season 2 here on CinemaBlend. Happy spooky season!