USS Nightmare 2017 Review

USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)
“A Floating Ghost Story”

By Noah Wullkotte:

A massive skull with flashing red eyes sits atop an old steamboat. Do you have the courage to investigate? Screams can be heard within the William S. Mitchell and this floating vessel feeds off your fears. USS Nightmare has been haunting the Ohio River since 1993. 2017 will be its 25th season of scares. When you think of bone chilling haunts, you can’t forget about USS Nightmare. It’s a Greater Cincinnati tradition that many look forward to all year long. This is City Blood’s 2017 review of USS Nightmare. Prepare to have the ship scared out of you.

Welcome to the Mitchell Museum where there are many items on display. A man wearing a striped shirt can been seen running towards the window trying to frantically open it. Suddenly a zombie walks behind him and crushes his head. Blood sprays everywhere. This is an impressive CGI animatronic and a great opening scene. USS Nightmare is dark and mysterious with actors running amok.

There are actors everywhere you turn. One of the boat’s crew members had a little too much to drink as he slurs his words and stumbles. The captain is a family man and he’ll do anything for his daughter Anna. You’ll meet her in the haunted playroom and she wants to make you one of her toys. Be careful because Captain Mitchell has made a delicious dinner in the dining room and you might become the main course. You’ll explore different areas of the boat like the sleeping quarters. There’s a lady of the night who offers her services. The actors wear elaborate costumes and use meaningful dialogue to enhance the experience. USS Nightmare has 2 female vampires. They want to make a blood sacrifice and you would be perfect.

USS Nightmare is a large haunt with a plethora of scenes you would expect to see in a real boat. The bathroom is quite disgusting. A man named Ralph can been seeing throwing up in the sink. One of the biggest additions to this year’s tour is the brand new Swamp. Don’t get lost in the fog as you try to escape. You never know what might be hiding.

USS Nightmare is like a living breathing ghost story with creatures you would see in your worst nightmares. The largest creature you’ll encounter is the 13 foot Impaler monster who wants to gobble you up. Other creatures include a werewolf, a ravenous demon dog, a flying grim reaper, a killer worm and more. USS Nightmare is full of impressive eye candy. Last year they introduced their crash simulator. Learn the dark and twisted history of USS Nightmare as the boat rocks back and fourth. It violently shakes as you try to hold on for dear life. Getting sea sick is the least of your worries. You’ll also see an animated electric chair, a 2 headed Frankenstein Monster, a psychopath spinning on a disk and much more.

USS Nightmare has one of the best Vortex Tunnels around. It features changing lights and a crazy clown that likes to get up close and personal. This is a classic haunt with many scenes that returning customers look forward to. The body bag freezer is one of my personal favorites and so is the laboratory where sparks will fly. There are other intense scenes including a hospital with a rising corpse and there’s a creepy forest where evil lives. USS Nightmare is unique in the way it uses the boats interior. You’ll notice boat wheels, rusty machines and the haunt has been decorated with antiques. Some areas use old music like the song Mr. Sandman which can be heard in the sleeping quarters. USS Nightmare is a haunted Dredge Boat with spirits, creatures of the night and psychotic killers. Will you survive?

We were very impressed with this year’s USS Nightmare. Total tour time is around 23 minutes, but this depends on how long you’re in the two clown mazes. This year they have a new event called the RIP Experience. Explore different parts of the boat you’ve never seen before. Many of the actors will touch you and the entire tour is much more intense. You’ll become part of the action. The Rip Experience is like a walk through horror movie with elements of an escape room. We were trapped in rooms, had to eat various things and had to perform certain tasks in order to leave. The actors know you’ve purchased a ticket for the Rip Experience because you’re given a glow necklace to wear around your neck. It has different light effects and you get to keep it. It took us 40 minutes to survive the RIP Experience.

General admission is $17 on Wednesdays and $20 for Thurs-Sun. Fast Pass admission is $30 online and $40 at the door. Go straight to the front of the line for $50. The brand new Fast Pass RIP Experience is $40 a ticket and is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s very unique. Front of the line RIP Experience is $60. Captain’s Extreme Tour takes place on October 13th, 14th and October 20th and 21st. Tickets are $30 and the event begins at 11pm. It’s not recommended for children under 17.

Lights on Matinee is on October 29th and tickets are $7. Visit USS Nightmare as many times as you want with the Captain’s Season Pass for only $50. Please visit for information on group rates and private parties. There are various concessions available as you exit. This includes food, drinks, T-Shirts and more. You can pick up your photo for $20 or $30 for two.

USS Nightmare has stood the test of time and always seems to have something new that’s sure to make you jump out of your skin. This is a scary haunt and one of the most unique around. Explore the William S. Mitchell this Halloween season and have the ship scared out of you!

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