(all ratings scored out of 5)
Curb Appeal – 4.7/5
Scare Factor – 3.7/5
Actor Enthusiasm – 4/5
Creativity – 4.3/5
Overall – 4.2/5
Donna - The USS Nightmare is a one of a kind haunt that’s located on an iconic boat moored at Newport on the Levy. Since the theme stays the same every year it is a challenge to change the haunt and keep it scary and yet stay with the haunted boat theme. Every year the creative geniuses in this place knock it out of the park this year was no exception. When you enter the haunt a creepy looking man tells you about what is in store for you and a little bit about the history of the haunted bone. You then enter a huge elevator and listen to the sounds from the Ship’s radio talking about the boat breaking loose and running into the bridges on the Ohio River as the elevator shakes violently and lights flash off and on. This was a new addition to the boat this year and it really set the mood. The characters in the boat are creepy and in your face and always appear from the most unexpected places. The haunt is very long and well worth the price of admission. This is a really fun haunt to go to and it just keeps getting better every year.
Gus - U.S.S. Nightmare is a staple of the Cincinnati haunt scene, the anchor if you will. It continues to be a high quality scare experience. This year the story is the spotlight with an extended introduction with a few surprises in store. Don’t let the outside fool you, this haunt is a long one. You will wind through what seems like every inch of the the space. Our trip took nearly 30 minutes. I highly recommend making sure you include this in your schedule for haunt season.
Todd - The USS Nightmare is a haunt that always stands out because if its inherent uniqueness. The boat itself just looks disturbing – it’s dirty, dark and wrecked. If it weren’t an obvious attraction, it’s the kind of vessel no one in their right mind would voluntarily scope out, based on appearances.
This haunt’s theme takes full advantage of its home, sticking to a story about a shipwreck and the aftermath. This year, more than ever, visitors are exposed to the history and in some ways get to re-live the moment of the tragedy.
The most stand-out addition this year is the very first room you’ll enter, which is fairly spacious, lined with wood paneling and historical photos. The captain, your narrator speaks to you via speakers and walks you through the events of the shipwreck. As the story turns chaotic, so does the room. Lights will flash and the room itself violently shakes and jumps. Many haunts have elevator props of a similar nature, however this one is much larger and shakes you around a lot more.
There were a number of other changes in certain areas, but nothing that stood out completely in my mind. All of the same highlighted areas remain – the captains quarters, the clown area, the experimental sciences, etc.
Regardless, the props and the environment are all top-notch, primarily because the haunt takes full use of the boat’s real inner-workings. The actors are energetic and while not always, scary, they’re always entertaining.
This is a good haunt. In recent years I feel it’s become slightly predictable but the fact that it has such a strong atmosphere and identity that you can’t find many other places, it’s always worth going to.