My opinion on Netherworld has changed a little from last year when I sang their praises from here to hell and back. (Read that review here.)
Last year they were very good such that I did not think it could get any better. This year they took what I thought was the best anyone could achieve and blasted that expectation through the ceiling. JUST LOOK AT THIS:
They have created an entirely new definition of visual fear that succeeds on every level. BELIEVE IT. This is only my second time going to Netherworld. If this is any indication of what I can expect year to year I am going to have to start taking up drinking or something. OMG.
I enjoyed looking at and walking through all of the creepy custom designed sets and seeing the amazing makeup on their actors. The craftsmanship, lighting, staging, and positioning of each actor in each room is over the top. Forget what you know. These guys don’t just have the game on lock – these guys have THEIR OWN GAME. Very few of their animatronics inside the haunt appear to be off the rack. It’s all altered/custom. The only noticeable off the rack animatronics are the ones outside for photo ops but the actors out front still all have amazing custom costumes.
“NEW horrors and scares abound at NETHERWORLD Haunted House in 2016! The massive Soul Eater swoops over your heads in MONSTERS our upstairs haunt at NETHERWORLD! Get Your Tickets Now at http://bit.ly/NWHH2016 and join us as we celebrate our 20th Season of Screams!.”
They made that, you guys. This will not be anywhere else. Here’s some more:
Most haunts have similar props and animatronics throughout. If you don’t go to as many haunts as I do you will not notice this. But I do. This place is the only place that I have seen so far that seems to be operating on another level far higher than everyone else I have ever encountered. This is why I don’t compare all haunts to each other for my awards. It’s just not fair to compare various scales of haunted attraction together. If I did, these guys would always win every single year.
I know of 3 places worthy of a plane trip for haunt fans. Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights / Howl O Scream / Disney, Eastern PA for Hotel of Horror, Halls of Horror, Reaper’s Revenge, and the Freak and Funhouse, and Atlanta for Netherworld. (Read my reviews to get reviews of all of these places. If there’s no review for this year, use last year’s. Use CTRL or CMD+F to search the page. If i have skipped a haunt this year it usually means that it has not changed enough to warrant a re-visit.)
Notice how all of my other recommendations are clusters? You don’t even need any other haunts to make this one worth the plane trip. BOOM.
The sheer scale, organization, and custom nature of Netherworld’s rooms are off the charts. They have rooms in here staged and positioned such that you get a peek of a later room. It’s like a jenga accordion puzzle from hell that never falls over. They do work to make the walls and floor do things while you go through and you can tell the amount of love put into this haunt – they dig deep into the Lovecraft universe and other places and have handcrafted several monsters from his works.
FINALLY!!!! Someone got Lovecraft right in a haunted house! If you are a fan of ORIGINAL CREATIVE WORK go here. This is the place.
This year they ABSOLUTELY BLEW US AWAY. Last year we enjoyed it but they didn’t scare us that hard. That’s normal – we are very hard to scare. This year they scared us several times. This year they went from very good to VERY GREAT. (Is that even a phrase? It is now because I say so.)
So what is happening for Netherworld’s 20th Anniversary year?
“Horrors released from the unknown threaten our world and only the return of ancient MONSTERS can defeat them! Celebrate 20 years of NETHERWORLD Haunted House with a nightmarish adventure you will never forget!
This Year Featuring: The Flying Angel! The Lair of The Sea Witch! The Feasting Vampires! The Goloth Invasion! The Attacking Harpy! The Transformation Chamber! The Cavern of The Werewolves! The Blood Beast of the Arena! The Boogeyman’s Return! The Chapel Of The Gargoyles! The Cyclopean Soul Eater and The Doom Stone Unearthed! Experience an incredible avalanche of never ending horrors sure to shock during NETHERWORLD’S 20th year celebration! “
Can You Escape a Nuclear Meltdown?
The crazed artificial intelligence PROTEUS demands that the Mangler create him a “bride” or he will destroy the world with the massive arsenal of VAULT 13! Can the chaos be stopped or will mutations, aliens, robots and nuclear destruction be unleashed on an unsuspecting planet?
This year featuring: The Xenomorphic Terror! The Collapsing Missile! The Blast Off Inferno! The Bride of Proteus! The Melting Core! The Radioactive Roach Infestation! The Mega Slammer! The One Million Volt Tesla Coil! The Spinning Kill Floor! Machine Gun Zombies! Crazed Automatons and the return of the Toxic Foam Room! Total Terror and SCI-FI Thrills Reign during NETHERWORLD Haunted House’s 20 Year Celebration!
They also had a fun escape room–that was actually designed for you to do things within the room, not just solve some random number or word puzzles. They had a great set up that prompted you through it if you got lost–or you could just go crazy and jump in and mess with everything (you’ll need some purell afterward though….you do touch some squicky stuff).
Netherworld made significant changes this year which took their always great haunt to a level way above that. They achieved beyond what Harknell and I could have ever expected. We particularly liked how deeply they delved into the Lovecraft world and the Sea Witch with her pet hell fish. They took great care to construct and manipulate the world around us which created a sense of dread that no one else has ever achieved in this unique way. The walls move. The floors move. They use fog and lasers STRATEGICALLY and PRECISELY which greatly add to the narrative flow of the scares in each room.
Guys, they have me so hyped up I am making words in all caps in this post. That rarely happens anymore.
These things I am listing are not gimmicks as they so often can be in the haunt industry if not used well – these are tools used in the right place at the right time. The concepts executed with such precision in each room are nothing short of revolutionary, astounding, and totally immersive.
That’s what these guys excel in – doing LEGIT horror with a true creative vision. You never feel like you are being pandered to by a stupid boogity boogity chainsaw chase that someone bought 2 for a dollar at the trade show because starting a Quik-E-Mart was too inconvenient for them.
Netherworld. Is. Art.
Netherworld is where you go when you want to see TRUE ART. They don’t just create a haunted attraction – they redefine and lead the entire industry every year that I’ve had the pleasure of attending. They will be one of my first primary targets next year. I don’t care how brutal the drive is for us.
DO THIS ONE. OH MY GOD. Call out of work or something. Get in the car now.
Click here for details and ticket info.
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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