NIGHTMARE: Celebrating its 20th season,
America’s premier Haunted Steamboat formerly known as the William S.
Mitchell makes its annual return to Nightmare
Landing in Newport,
KY! Disastrous news footage of the old ship's actual destruction
entertains the queue line while visitors wait their turn to step inside.
The adventure begins in the Mitchell Museum, where customers are
greeted by a goofy-acting seaman introducing a display of aged photographs
enclosed within a glass case that induces the appearance of a haunting,
ghost-like apparition of The Captain that's new for 2012!
As a seasonal photo opportunity takes an unexpected turn for the worse,
the actual exploration of the ancient, decrepit steamer gets underway.
Sandwiched in between a pair of close encounters with a giant Impaler
monster) is one of the attraction's trademark characters, Rat Girl,
who once again cheerfully caresses and fondles her furry critters as if
they were "pets!" Flickering strobes light the way through a bit
of wreckage and air cannon surprises, to a tortured crewman laughing
hysterically while strapped down to a life-size, wildly spinning wheel.
Focus then switches back to the
Captain's hideous looking monster
that seemed perfectly content on the first go-round, but he's not so at
ease this next time by, as he's awakened from his slumber, snarling ferociously,
and waving about a deadly spear! What's left of his most recent victim
dangles from his deadly clutch while the bones and remains of his previous
"meals" are strewn about the area below! Corpses roast over open
flames, while others spring forth out of upright coffins! Spewing
steam engulfs the old wrecked ship as the course progresses through the
bowels of the wounded vessel, across vibrating floors, wooden plank-like
bridges, and past chained lockers that shake, rattle, and vibrate on their
own as radioactive toxins fill the air and incinerate the flesh of undead
crewmen lurking in every nook and cranny of the surrounding darkness ahead
ready to pounce upon timid looking stowaways! Treasures and piercing
alarms highlight the journey from an ancient sarcophagus to intricate caskets
housing remnants of the undead that yields to a "Dreamalator," where
one barely escapes a fog-filled room with swaying chains hanging down from
overhead! Brief exposure to outdoor elements adds another degree
of uncertainty to the experience as see-through iron gratings are utilized
to navigate between levels of the battered old paddlewheeler, and are all
that protect you from the muddy waters of the mighty Ohio River down below!
Climbing onto the second deck exposes a deceased sailor that failed
to escape the ongoing madness, and brings about a visit to the infirmary
where bodies are bound to gurneys, a psychotic nurse attempts to subdue
a distraught patient, and a deranged doctor encourages a tasty injection.
Then it's onto the kitchen area that's occupied by a bloody, pig-faced
butcher snorting madly and eating the intestines of her "best friend,"
and threatening to turn blondes into redheads with blood! A demented
chef cooks up some body part treats as the cockroach-filled hallway leads
into a freezer stocked with body-bags! Continuance into a catacomb-like
tomb area and crypt soon brings about a nocturnal confrontation with a
bloodthirsty Vampire! The Captain's quarters including his
private wine collection and elaborate dinner table are next to be inspected,
followed by a final and near fatal encounter with the deadly, man-eating
that finds the dejected behemoth angrier than ever before, and climaxes
with a startling, surprise! It’s certainly not smooth sailing ahead,
as The Captain's engaged in some sort of disagreement that
quickly escalates into him violently murdering an innocent stooge!
His playful daughter Anna begs to be "friends forever" before turning
you over to the antics and mercy of several misdirecting clowns that thoroughly
enjoy sending you around in circles, through a short mirror maze and spinning
vortex, and forcing you to retrace your footsteps! Still to come
are a darkened hallway equipped with a claustrophobic passage, followed
by a wretched laundry room inhabited by an offensive minion disgustingly
demanding visitors hand over their "pooey panties." Back outdoors
for the decent to the main level witnesses an outpouring of more leaking
steam that sets the stage for an obscure chainsaw assault that coincides
with a variety of atrocities such as hangings, electrocutions, and spark
cages! A wicked lab is on the horizon, as is a run-in with a restrained
guard dog, and a foggy chain-link fence maze that incorporates a second
chainsaw pursuit while ushering in a jungle-like surprise. An all-new
conclusion is on tap featuring an enlarged octopus tentacle escaping its
tank, a severed head floating in a bubbling adjacent vat, and "Humanoid
of the Deep" type sea monster surprise that's accompanied by a final
chainsaw chase-out of the dilapidated old ship renownedly know as TheUSS
LENGTH - 9+, Stopped the clock at the 22½ min.
ACTORS - 9+, Excellent costuming and make-up is exhibited
throughout. Plenty of interaction and some good dialogue from the
crew, but there's too many failed attempts at comedy to score higher. Ernest
T. Bass sounding greeter, crewman complaining The
Captain stole his booze, and especially laundry room nut requesting
"pooey panties" simply don't belong in this attraction. Nurse,
gave inspired performances, as did characters hanging
from "rafters" and crawling along from behind when exiting fence maze.
Need to see a darker, more sinister demeanor to further elevate the score.
Total Characters = 32.
SCARINESS - 9½, Soundtrack is loud and complimentary.
"Jungle" music has rightfully been eliminated, and is long overdue.
The condemned craft provides nearly an unsurpassed, legitimate atmosphere
that capitalizes on common phobias with its cramped passageways, catwalks,
balcony, authentic steamboat equipment (valves, pipes, boilers, etc.),
and ghastly crew. A more threatening crew would elevate the scare
DESIGN - 10, Theme holds for most of the journey with
the exception of clowns. Illusion of The Captain is an appreciated
supplement, and the previously weak jungle segment has been revitalized.
Actually witnessing The Captain committing an act of violence legitimizes
his reputation, and strengthens the shows performance! Finish has
been strengthened with a couple of specially designed props, the addition
of a few more chainsaws, and the sea monster. The lengthy exploration
encompasses 3-levels and 40 scenes including the engine room, pump well,
cargo hold, boiler room, mortuary, galley, crypt, torture chamber, Captain's
quarters, infirmary, etc. All are perfectly illuminated with professional
lighting and effects. Path cleverly delivers three separate encounters
with the massive Impaler, and exits into the Fun Center discussed
PROPS - 9½, Unsurpassed legitimate décor.
Numerous, well-timed animatronics provide unexpected startles that are
always accompanied with just the right sound or alarm. Impaler and
balcony surprise remain the most notable. Captain illusion,
octopus tentacle, and floating head are noticeable additions. A few
more high-impact scares and a new major surprise or two along the lines
of the balcony debut 5 years ago could perfect the score.
VALUE - 10, While the competition continues to raise
prices, admission to USS Nightmare remains unchanged for the
fifth consecutive year! Cost is $16 ($13 Weds., Thurs., Sun. with
website coupon) for one of the most prolific attractions in the business.
If lines are long, front of the line RIP admission is only $4 more!
You can also take advantage of the Family 4-pack ($48 = $12 per ticket),
or Wednesday's Super Saver 6-pack ($60 = only $10 per ticket) available
online ONLY.! And don't forget about their $5 re-entry option when
visiting. It's an unheard of bargain and there’s simply too much
to see the first time through!
RATING: 9½ (9.5), Annually ranked
among the best haunted attractions in the country, this season's performance
is their strongest yet, and is not to be missed! We visited USS
Nightmare on a Sunday night, and their show was every bit as good as
it would be on a Friday or Saturday! Many attractions tend to keep
their customers waiting in line at show time, and make excuses as to why
they're opening late, but that's NEVER the case at USS Nightmare!
This is a first class operation that deserves to be recognized for their
integrity, and loyalty to their patrons, in addition to quality entertainment
they provide each and every year! Join Captain Mitchell aboard
Nightmare and be prepared to have the ship scared out
SPECIAL STATEMENT : Looking for the ultimate
scare? Visit USS Nightmare 11 PM to 2 AM on Saturday, October
27th for their annual un-rated and eXtreme Captain's Tour featuring explicit
language and intensified scares! Ohio Valley Haunts attended this
event last season, and it's one you don't want to miss!