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The perfectly creepy ‘M3GAN’ dance is the secret gem of Halloween Horror Nights

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At Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights, you can’t run from M3GAN. | Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

STEVEN VARGAS | STAFF WRITER

You can’t outrun M3GAN.

Universal and Blumhouse’s “M3GAN” (which stands for Model 3 Generative Android) quickly became a cult classic as the killer AI doll twirled and kicked her way into our hearts after the film’s run earlier this year. Now, M3GAN appearances are resurging just in time for Halloween. At Universal Studios in Orlando, she roams the grounds, popping up for surprise performances of her murderous dance. People have flooded the comments of TikTok videos of her surprise appearance saying, “Sitting there for 1 hour paid off!!” and “They ate down.” The hashtag “M3gandance” has more than 637 million views.

We may not have the same M3GAN flash mob at Universal Studios Hollywood, but a crew of dancing M3GANs makes a surprise appearance at the “Blumhouse: Behind the Screams” attraction. At the core of social media’s fascination with M3GAN is the infectious dance she performs in a red hallway in pursuit of murder.

“M3GAN” director Gerard Johnstone wanted to make the doll creepier than what’s seen in other horror films, like “Child’s Play.” His solution was to make M3GAN as realistic as possible and the spookiness translates to the live performances of her uncanny dance to the Skatt Bros’ pulsing “Walk the night.”

You’ll encounter the M3GAN dance crew after making your way through the exhibition of animatronic animals and various movie props from Blumhouse films like “Black Phone” and the upcoming “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

As the M3GAN performers tilted their heads and body rolled with a weapon in hand at recent viewings, audiences screamed. Their shrieks weren’t out of fear, but excitement.

The moves by New Zealand-based choreographer Kylie Norris were developed in collaboration with 13-year-old actor Amie Donald, who played M3GAN, Norris told Them. Norris worked with Donald, her longtime student, at Norris Studio (a dance studio owned by Norris’ mother) and started to craft what would be the dance craze we see today.

“We had a lot of fun playing with ideas in the studio that day,” Norris wrote in an Instagram post featuring rehearsal footage for the film.

“Gerard wanted it to be creepy but also kind of distracting,” Donald previously told The Times in January. The scene showed the killer doll perform a no-hands aerial cartwheel, lean against a wall with a backward leg kick and return to robotic movement in a matter of seconds. It was Donald’s favorite scene just as much as it was for moviegoers.

The dance became central to the “M3GAN” franchise. M3GAN started her own X (formerly Twitter) account that has since gained more than 61,000 followers. The killer doll formed a dance group of look-a-likes who traveled from L.A. to New York, performing at the Empire State Building, appearing on “Today” and gathering in front of the American Girl store.

If you don’t see M3GAN dancing at Halloween Horror Nights, you may see her among your peers as people don the tan dress and blue-striped bow for the spooky holiday season.

For those at Halloween Horror Nights who dress up as M3GAN, the attraction turns into a loving photo op. But even then, M3GAN reminds fans that she’s still a killer.

“This is the part where you run,” M3GAN warns after her final dance move.

Halloween Horror Nights tickets are still available during its run until Oct. 31. Tickets start at $87 and all the details are on the Universal Studios Hollywood website.

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