Nightmare NYC is one of the most unique haunted attractions that I know of. They do a show that is more theatrical than most. This haunted attraction is not your standard boogity boogity chainsaw chase – and that’s precisely what I like about it. When you go to Nightmare NYC the entire point is to watch, listen, and participate.
Nightmare NYC is the one place that I can count on every year to do something different in a sea of haunted attractions who are doing the same stuff. They are risk-takers. I will always be amused. It takes talent to make a haunted house. It take even more talent to do one that no one else is doing.
Literally no one else is doing this because the entire thing is custom. You will not find animatronics in here bought at the haunt show that I see in everyone’s haunt like a copy paste.
This year the show was based on NYC’s Urban Legends.
You’ll get to navigate the NYC of the 70s. You know, when stuff was batshit loco. You’ll get to meet other urban legends like Typhoid Mary but it’s all within a NYC theme. The alligators in the sewer, the rat king and mole people, a crack house, and a very intense performance on a recreation of a NYC subway. The subway car is truly one of the best pieces of acting I have ever seen in a Halloween seasonal attraction. Ever.
Also this may be the only haunted attraction that I know of with boobs in it. This is NYC in the 70s so there’s swearing, boobs, and butts and everything. It wouldn’t seem right without it.
Most importantly they fixed the sound issues that I had had problems with in past years. You can now hear everything people are saying clearly. This was such an improvement to the show that I felt that this may have been their best year yet as far as theatrical execution. I did feel that the finale lacked some punch this year, especially when compared to the finales they had in the past years where it devolved into a chaotic chase, but it was still fine.
In previous years if you opted in to being touched you could be called upon to perform a task, get put in a box, or something similar. I felt that the interaction level was a bit lower than in previous years. We only saw 1 person in our group get grabbed twice.
This year it felt like Nightmare NYC was pushing toward a more traditional haunt in certain aspects. My fear is that they are listening to their detractors who are pushing for conformity.
I actually think that, much like my own work, Nightmare is best as the odd mofo that does different stuff. I wonder if perhaps it would be creatively freeing to them to go the way of The Steampunk Haunted House (now year-’round and called Then She Fell) and break away from the haunted house concept by elevating it into its own genre. Still be a haunted house structure – even call it that – but release some marketing tag line that indicates that this is an immersive theater haunted house and not “boogity boogity chainsaw chase” Take away the pressure to conform, embrace what they do well that no one else does, still be a haunted house show, but change the conversation so that traditional haunt fans know what they are getting into and are educated on the beauty of it.
From where I am sitting it’s phenomenally refreshing to go to a haunted attraction that takes so much work and care to creating literally everything from the ground up. If you appreciate immersive theater and people who make stuff that is unique and remarkable you should definitely do this one. Every year Nightmare NYC never fails to impress me with their ingenuity and conceptual execution.
Nightmare NYC is $30 online, $35 at the door. VIP tickets are $50 online, $60 at door. Student Rush tickets are $20, valid 1 hour prior to listed start times only. Details are here.
Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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