It was a warm and restless night down on the Ohio River. The wind was calm and something was in the air that night. We decided to head down to USS Nightmare that night and were pleasantly surprised by all the improvements that have been made to the old rustic steam boat.
Length-10: Your journey through the old rustic steam boat will take around 25 minutes. If you get lost within some of the menacing corridors it may take a bit longer.
Design-9: USS Nightmare has some of the best lighting of any haunt you’ll come across. The many detailed scenes make you feel like you’re part of the action instead of just an onlooker of a frightening skit or scene. This year USS Nightmare has once again used the help of Hollywood professionals to tweak their lighting and bring life to seamlessly ordinary scenes. All of your favorite classic rooms return such as the haunted gallery, chainsaw forest, experimental laboratory, Egyptian Crypt and many more. One room you will surely notice missing this year is the famous clown ball pit. While this room has become a staple of the USS Nightmare experience it has become a bit stale over the years. This year the scene is still inhabited by clowns, but with the addition of a bubble machine simulating snow when the strobe light is flashing and with various props along the way.
Props/Animatronics-9: USS Nightmare has some classic props you won’t see anywhere else. While many are impressive and go well with the various themed rooms, I would like to see some more impressive props next year that will make your mouth drop. While many haunts use the 13 foot Impaler by Scare Factory, the majority don’t showcase him well. But this isn’t the case with the old steam boat. Great lighting illuminate this monstrous beast and you will get up close and personal with the Impaler this year. Some new props this year include a claustrophobia tunnel which almost feels like it’s sucking you in. If you are claustrophobic you may have problems with this intense prop. Flying ghouls, bloody body parts, a spinning psycho path, vortex tunnel, and a vicious werewolf names only a few of the sights you’ll come across at USS Nightmare. There are a few shocking surprises I won’t give away though.
Acting-10: USS Nightmare is well known for its acting and use of heavy makeup on the majority of its characters. But while in previous years most of the characters were theatrical, they are now relentless and pop out from every dark corner you can think of. The actors have really stepped up their game and have made the frightening rooms they inhabit, their own. Classic characters return like the rat lady who plays with her little furry friends while you walk past her. Other favorites like the rotting captain, vicious vampires, hysterical clowns and many characters you’ve come to expect from USS Nightmare are better than ever. Even Michael Myers makes an appearance in a wooden flash maze. With the dedicated staff of makeup artists and workers helping actors get into their roles it’s no wonder there are actors who’ve been at USS Nightmare for more than 5 years.
Scare Effect-9: One thing USS Nightmare has over its competitors is its unique setting. While it looks like an old steam boat during the day, it will strike fear in the most timid at night. There is something about hearing the waves crash up against the boat while seeing a cloud of fog in the distance that puts a chill down your back. This year the team at USS Nightmare has redesigned the scenes to where you feel like you’re part of the horror and in the end you’re gasping for air. The actors are more intense then ever before and overall it’s a more frightening USS Nightmare then ever before.
Fright Value: $15 is a steep price for admission to haunt, but with USS Nightmare it’s all about the overall experience. You’re not just touring a haunted steam boat. You are stepping back in time in a real old fashioned steam boat. It’s a unique frightening experience.
Final Stab-9.4: USS Nightmare has really brought its A game this year and has become better than ever. The actors are more intense, there are some surprise scenes you have to see to believe and overall it’s just a more terrifying experience. If you think you know the USS Nightmare, think again.
Pickled Brothers Sideshow-“Freaks Come Out At Night”
This year the freaks at Pickled Brothers Sideshow return with a few new tricks up their sleeves. You’ll see some amazing performances from Travis Fessler, Eric Kloeker and Hannah Belle while taking a look at some oddities from around the world. Your night at the sideshow will feature sword swallowing, the bed of nails, daring escapes, a nail through the nose, mouse trap tongue snap, dangerous juggling, mental floss, walking on glass and a surprise fire eating from USS Nightmare’s own Allen Rizo. Make sure to visit Pickled Brothers Sideshow for a night of shock and excitement.