Description And Comments

The Horror Make-up Show is a brief but humorous look at how basic monster movie special effects are done. The show includes on-stage demonstrations of effects such as blood-spurting fake knives and rubber limbs, and how mechanical effects are combined with rubber masks to transform human heads into wolf-shaped skulls. The hosts pay tribute to Universal makeup pioneers like Lon Chaney, Jack Pierce, Tom Savini, and Rick Baker, while also poking fun at some of the studio's less successful spooks. Film clips are interspersed throughout the presentation, showing how computer-generated special effects are blended into live action films. The finale involves an audience volunteer and a remote-controlled creature that isn't all he appears.

This may be Universal’s most entertaining live show. While there’s plenty of fake blood thrown around, the script is much more funny than scary funny. The hosts keep everything moving along at a fast pace (except when they start to improv and crack each other up like the old Carol Burnett show) and their running commentary about horror-film making is interspersed with plenty of pop-culture jokes for the kids, along with some surprisingly subversive stabs at the hand that feeds them; after offering a dry towel to a damp volunteer, they'll demand cash, smiling “Welcome to Orlando!”

Touring Tips

The Horror Make-Up Show is the sleeper attraction at Universal, and one of the only theme park comedy shows we can watch over and over again. Its humor and tongue-in-cheek style transcend the gruesome effects, and most folks (including preschoolers) take the blood and guts in stride. But it’s the exception that proves the rule, as this reader relates:

My 7- and 9-year-olds had no problem with Terminator but were scared by the Horror Make-Up Show (despite my telling them the guy really was not cutting anyone's arm off!). We ended up leaving before the show was over.

A good test is to take your child into the theater lobby between shows, where display cases filled with bloody props and monster masks act as a mini-museum of Universal horror history from Hunchback to Hellboy. If the static severed heads here send your kid into hysterics, the show itself may have you paying therapy bills for decades to come.

Special Comments

May frighten young children.

Blog Posts on Universal's Horror Make-Up Show:
Six Most Underrated Attractions and Shows at Universal

Special Needs

Parental discretion is advised. Check the daily entertainment schedule for performances with sign language interpreter.

Other Attractions in Hollywood

Touring Plans with Universal Orlando's Horror Make-Up Show

What is a Touring Plan?