Universal Orlando's' Halloween Horror Nights 21 dialed up the volume this week in its publicity scream machine with a video that laid out what the attraction plans for its mazes and scare zones this year. The video was released — of course — in an e-mail and through social media. (And that was after weeks of hype and a series of increasingly gory playing cards that arrived in FedEx envelopes delivered to media in-boxes.) So now that the waiting is over with this elaborate announcement, what can we expect at Universal's fright fest, which cranks up Sept. 23? We won't keep you in suspense:
• NEVERMORE: The Madness of Poe: The writer's greatest works come to life. Pendulums, beating hearts, ravens … scared yet?
• THE FORSAKEN: Four ships began Columbus' fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the mutinous and cursed crew of that fourth ship has returned with a vengeance in a Spanish fort.
• H.R. BLOODENGUTZ PRESENTS: HOLIDAYS OF HORROR: Join creature feature host H.R. Bloodengutz in his final televised broadcast as he presents a marathon of slasher holiday films. Ho, ho, HACK!
• THE THING: This previously announced tie-in to the upcoming release is about the paranoia that spreads among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet.
• SAWS N' STEAM: Into the Machine: Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare.
• THE IN-BETWEEN: An ominous portal reveals a third dimension with fiendish creatures; your eyes will deceive you with every terrified step.
• WINTER'S NIGHT: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery: As snow falls on a serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines will awake with a vengeance.
• NIGHTINGALES: Blood Prey: Patrolling World War I-era trenches, you discover that you're being hunted by savage banshees that feed on the weak and dying.
In addition, there are six scare zones:
• ACID ASSAULT: Acid rain survivors won't like you trespassing through their desolate city.
• CANYON OF DARK SOULS: This canyon isn't so grand and is filled with dead creatures.
• GROWN EVIL: An overgrown garden full of death.
• NightMaze: This ever changing maze of darkness morphs and changes as you walk through it. You won't be scared the same way twice.
• 7: Temptresses by day, grotesque creatures by night.
• YOUR LUCK HAS RUN OUT: Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Lady Luck has never looked so bleak.
And there are two live shows:
• BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE: The slackers return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.
• DEATH DRUMS: An extreme drumming experience.