USS Nightmare 2013 Review

USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)

“Toilet Terrors”

By Noah Wullkotte:

USS Nightmare has become a fall tradition for haunt goers all over Greater Cincinnati. The first time I discovered USS Nightmare was back in 1991. I was taking a BB Riverboat Cruise when suddenly a small boat floated by. It was old, rusted and the paint was pealing. The side of the boat said USS Nightmare and I was intrigued.

Years later, I would gather up enough courage to experience the attraction for myself on Halloween night. I was blown away and I nearly crapped my pants when I toured the haunted steamboat. You have to remember that I was a young child and this was one of the few haunts I’ve ever been to.

Yeah, I had been to a few charity haunts and a yard haunt or two. But USS Nightmare was on a whole new level in terms of scare factor. It’s amazing that USS Nightmare has been around for 22 years. This will be my 16h year touring the old steamboat and it still gives me chills.

USS Nightmare has one of the best settings for a haunted attraction. An old steamboat on the Ohio River is downright creepy. A large inflatable skull sits atop a rusted steamboat. Do spirits and ungodly creatures call this haunt their home? We’ll soon find out.

Enter USS Nightmare where someone or something is watching you. You never know what lurks in the shadows. The Mitchell Museum is all too quiet and you better watch your back. Museum items are on display and an old portrait has a special surprise. The Rat Lady loves to show off her furry friends. The rotten smell of rat feces and urine will make anyone feel a little nateous.

Meet The Impaler. He’s a larger than life monster who wants to chomp on your bones bit by bit. You’ll meet him several times throughout your tour. Undead ship mates emerge when you least expect it. One has a drinking problem and wants to find Mr. Bottle.

You’ll enter different parts of the boat and will meet the captain himself. He’s not too kind of men looking at his daughter Anna and He’s ready to feed you to the Impaler. It’s a long fall into the belly of the beast. You’re the next meal that will be served in Mitchell’s Dinning Room or will you be thrown into the new body freezer?

The sleeping quarters are full of strange creatures. One is struggling to breathe as its chest moves up and down. Killer clowns are waiting as you try to make it out of their maze of madness. A vortex tunnel transports you to another world as it spins around and around.

USS Nightmare has a great cast. Jason Ervin plays the infirmary’s insane doctor. He loves to stab his patients as they beg for mercy. The vampire inside the crypt wants to taste your blood while a corpse rises from its casket. The new bathroom scene is disgusting and stinks of urine. You will get wet as a toilet explodes and a woman hits you with water from a plunger.

Scenes are filled with disgusting scents. You’ll smell urine, burning flesh, cotton candy and more. USS Nightmare is a haunt that attacks all your senses. The course has been changed and many areas are darker than ever. The Laboratory is more intense and features a crazy doctor who wants to harvest your parts. The Captain needs more crew members and it doesn’t matter if they’re dead or alive.

Last year, Distortions Unlimited helped build custom props for USS Nightmare’s final scene. USS Nightmare was filmed for Travel Channel’s Making Monsters. You’ll see the head of a victim drowning in a shipping crate full of water, an octopus tentacle sticking out of another crate and more. This is one of our favorite scenes and a great finale.

We were in and out of the boat in 24 minutes and we were walking pretty slowly. After you exit the haunt, you’ll be able to pick up your group photo.You’ll also enter The Nightmare Landing Fun Center where you can play Laser Rage, arcade games, get a bite to eat and more.

We highly recommend that you purchase tickets on Wednesday since they are only $13 a piece and you won’t have to deal with long lines. Admission for Thursday-Sunday is $18 a ticket. Rip Express is $22 online ($25 at the haunt) and you can bypass the regular line. Matinee Tickets are $7 ($6 with advance online purchase). Experience USS Nightmare taken to the extreme on October 26th from 11pm-2am. It’s called the Unrated Captain’s Tour and it’s no holds bared. It’s not recommended for children under 17. Please visit for more details on pricing.

USS Nightmare is one of our favorite haunts and seems to bring something new to the table every season. It’s truly a classic.

Length-9  Design-9  Props/Animatronics-9  Acting-10  Scare Effect-9
Final Stab: 9.2