USS Nightmare 2018 Review

USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)
“The Year He Came Aboard”
By Noah Wullkotte:

An old steamboat calls your name and wants you to enter. It looks haunted. It looks evil. The moon shines on the Ohio River and strange sounds can be heard inside the boat known as the William S. Mitchell. During the Halloween season this rusty boat becomes the USS Nightmare, a haunted attraction that’s well known around the globe. Ghouls call this haunted vessel home and they’re waiting for you. Are you ready to become part of a ghost story that’s been brought to life?

USS Nightmare celebrates 26 years of haunting Greater Cincinnati with its blend of high startle scares and spine chilling actors. This is a one of a kind attraction and one of the few haunts that takes place on an actual boat. If you’ve never been to USS Nightmare before then you’re in for a real treat. Enter the Mitchell Museum and get ready for a scary surprise. USS Nightmare has one of the most impressive special effects we’ve seen at any haunt. It’s called the crash simulator. Learn the dark history of USS Nightmare as the room violently shakes and rocks back and forth. You might get a little sea sick as the boat feels like it’s going to fall apart. There’s one crazy and demented actor that gets up close and personal as you try to make it out alive.

USS Nightmare has actors that want to kill you and some man eating creatures as well. The 13 foot Impaler is a massive monster with a ferocious roar. He holds the remains of one of his victims as their legs kick. You’ll meet the Impaler multiple times throughout your journey. Thank God, there’s a net separating you from this dastardly beast. Other bizarre creatures include a flying grim reaper, a mutant worm and a blood thirsty werewolf. This hairy beast can be found in the haunted forest.

USS Nightmare does a great job with its set design and they use just the right amount of lighting to showcase detail. Boy is this haunt detailed. Many of the rooms revolve around the haunted history of the William S. Mitchell and the ghosts that haunt the boat. Anna is one of the most sick and sadistic characters you’ll meet along the way. There are absolutely no boys allowed in Anna’s room and she has a razor sharp murder weapon that she’s not afraid to use. You’ll eventually meet Anna’s father Captain William S. Mitchell in the disgusting dinning room. The Impaler Monster has to be fed on a nightly basis and you’re the perfect midnight snack.

You’ll explore different parts of the boat like the sleeping quarters, the body bag freezer, the bathroom, the infirmary, boiler room and more. You’ll meet some colorful characters like the mad scientist in the laboratory. She wants to add parts to her living creation and your arms and legs would be perfect. Sparks will fly. The rat lady loves her furry friends and loves to scare the living daylights out of those who cross her path. You’ll meet her early in the tour. The acting is quite good at USS Nightmare and some of the characters are pretty funny. The cook was serving up some delicious delicacies in the kitchen and he wouldn’t let me leave until I heard today’s special. The brain soup smelled out of this world.

There are clowns galore at USS Nightmare. The Ringmaster holds a large mallet while you walk underneath his legs in the dizzying vortex tunnel. USS Nightmare’s vortex tunnel has a mirror at the end which makes it quite disorienting. The killer clowns at USS Nightmare are pretty good and they don’t over do it with the one liners and insults. You’ll need to navigate through 2 mazes during your tour and they can be somewhat challenging. I’m not a huge fan of the mazes, but the actors you interact with do a great job.

USS Nightmare has one of the best swamp scenes you’ll come across and there’s a shadow figure that wants to reach out to say hello. This is a visually stunning haunt in more ways than one. There are plenty of detailed sets, but much of the boat’s interior is left untouched. You’ll see pipes, wheels, gears and more. You’ll walk across a walkway where water drips on your head and parts of the boat can be pretty dark and spooky.

Total tour time is around 24 minutes, but this depends on how lost you get in the mazes. Last year USS Nightmare introduced the Rip Experience and it’s back once again. The Rip Experience is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Just imagine if you were dropped into an interactive horror movie with elements of an Escape Room. You’ll explore different parts of the boat where you’ll need to perform certain tasks in order to escape. You’re given a light up necklace with a variety of effects. Make sure that it’s turned on because it alerts actors that you purchased a ticket for the RIP Experience. The actors are more hands on and it’s a blast. I was locked in a cage, forced to drink blood, had to search for a key and more. It took us over 40 minutes to make it out in one piece and I even won a prize. The scoring is based on the regular tour.

Tickets are $20 for General admission. A Fast Pass to skip the line is $30 and the Front of the Line Fast Pass is $50. The Captain’s Season Pass is $75 and this is great for those who want to visit USS Nightmare multiple times throughout the Halloween season. The Lights on Matinee takes place on Sunday, October 28th and tickets are just $8. The RIP Experience general admission is $30 and the Fast Pass is $40. Front of Line admission is $60. Please visit for information on the Captain’s Extreme Tour, Special Events and Group Pricing. There are concessions at the exit of USS Nightmare and you can purchase the group photo that was taken before you got in line.

Watch out for Michael Myers because he’s been known to make a few appearances this year and he wants you to be his next victim. USS Nightmare has become a frightful tradition for many including myself. It just wouldn’t be a haunt season without taking a tour of the haunted dredge boat. It’s spooky, it’s scary and it’s good Halloween fun.

Length-9  Design-9  Props/Animatronics-9  Acting-9  Scare Effect-9
Final Stab: 9.0