We’ve visited Nightmare Dungeon a lot in the past few years because, in addition to a great Halloween season schedule, they also have special haunt events all year long – Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, a random all clown event with the Dead City Clowns – yes, please! But this year was different… VERY DIFFERENT! Let’s start at the beginning…
At the ticket trailer, we were asked if we were okay with touching. Given the current situation with the pandemic and all, we figured this question was part of their COVID-19 protocols and covered the incidental touching that could occur in the very tight spaces of Nightmare Dungeon…. but we were wrooong… VEEERRRY WRONG!!!
Not even 10 minutes after being asked this question, we were all handcuffed, Megan was blindfolded with her own damn facemask, picked up, thrown over a clown’s shoulder – SHOUT OUT TO SAVAGE – and spun around until she was so dizzy she couldn’t walk without the help of that same clown! AND THIS IS JUST THE QUEUE LINE; we didn’t even step foot into the cabin yet!
There were a couple of other interesting characters – Duchess Noir and Demon Daddy - we had a lot of fun interacting with as well before the real show started. Though a lot less aggressive, they helped set the creepy mood and intensified our anticipation of the main event.
Our group (we brought another couple with us) was then separated, the girls went in together first, leaving the guys behind handcuffed to each other nuts to butt LOL. The contact didn’t stop in the queue either. The inside of the old cabin that is Nightmare Dungeon is dark, dingy, and full of fog creating this very surreal, other-worldly feel. The ground is uneven, keeping you just a little off-balance, and the impossibly tight corridors twist and turn unexpectedly. You have this constant feeling of confusion and disorientation. The clever use of lighting pulls you into each space leading you right into the scare that you never saw coming. Around every corner, hands were not only reaching out for us through the foggy darkness but in some cases, we were grabbed and pulled into it! We also never knew when someone was going to materialize out of the fog to grab us from behind. All of this contact was entirely new for Nightmare Dungeon and refreshingly terrifying!
One of our favorite things about the Dungeon has always been their classic haunt minimalism. They do not use any animatronics but rely heavily on their actors and the atmosphere set by the architecture of the old cabin. Their set design, characters, and costuming aren’t super elaborate, but everything is well-defined and fits in perfectly within their environment.
We absolutely LOVE full contact haunts and had an insane amount of fun at Nightmare Dungeon but were completely blown away by the fact that they decided to add this element to their attraction in the current environment… bold move, Nightmare Dungeon, bold move… and BRAVO!!! This was easily one of the best haunt experineces we've had EVERRRRR!