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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

USS Nightmare - 2022 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: USS Nightmare

Location of Attraction: Newport Kentucky

Date of Review: 9/16/2022

Total Number of Attractions Available: One

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 8/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 6/10

Atmosphere Rating: 9/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 8/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 9/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Feedback: The USS Nightmare located in Newport Kentucky, just a stone's throw away from downtown Cincinnati, was our 2nd stop on our Ohio Haunt Tour! These folks are celebrating their 30th year of providing fear in 2022. The USS Nightmare Haunted Attraction possesses by far one of the most unique locations for a haunt that we’ve ever encountered in our travels. USS Nightmare is housed on the William S. Mitchell, a dredge boat built back in 1934 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The William S. Mitchell was sadly responsible for over 110 crew member deaths, leaving it with a fitting moniker: Death Dredge!

As we arrived in the vicinity of the USS Nightmare we had some slight confusion finding parking, but eventually found free parking on Riverboat Row. As we approached closer to the attraction, off in the distance we could see the ominous William S. Mitchell docked in the Ohio River. It was truly a sight to see, as the Cincinnati skyline sits in the background of the eerie & menacing USS Nightmare. We were quickly immersed into a creepy atmosphere & feared what we’d encounter on our journey ahead.

The small midway area at USS Nightmare featured a small snack stand, USS Nightmare merch, ticket booth, & the occasional roaming scare actor. These folks feature a rather plentiful haunt schedule with numerous dates & times for patrons to attend. Tickets for general admission range from $23-$30, depending on the night you attend. If you wish to shorten your wait on busier nights you might consider purchasing the fast pass admission or front of the line admission which ranges from $36-$70, depending on the night you attend. If you want to amp things up a bit, then consider partaking in the RIP Experience ($10 additional), which is a more immersive experience not for the faint of heart, as you get a more interactive & extended tour of the ship!

For it having been their opening night for the 2022 season, the USS Nightmare had a decent sized crowd on-hand of fellow spooky lovers! As we boarded the ship we were immediately in awe over the boat's beauty. Overhead you could hear the background story of the attraction, helping to set the tone for the journey that lied ahead. Our squad was eager to partake in the RIP Experience, which guaranteed us a more interactive & immersive experience.

The opening scene helped to further immerse the audience into the terror & torment that we were sure to encounter on our journey ahead. The cast member in this opening scene was phenomenal in setting the tone for the rest of the experience. We were quickly shuttled into an elevator & were jostled around as we descended into the deep & dark depths of the William S. Mitchell. The typical USS Nightmare experience is a solid 30 minute experience, with the RIP Experience tacking on an additional ~10 minutes of spooky fun! We were pleased to see how much of the original items were kept for use within the haunt. We also very much appreciated how they highlighted the elegance of the ship & made sure it wasn’t an afterthought in the set design. Along our journey we ventured through a plethora of scenes which all featured realistic & detailed set design, helping to fully immerse us into the experience. One of our favorites was the massive animatronic creature that towered above us & surely delivered a fright. The two-part curtain maze was certainly disorienting & had us all twisted around. At one point we were traversing up & down catwalk like passageways that hovered over water from the Ohio River, how neat! The extra interactive components of the RIP Experience certainly helped to further enhance our experience, adding another level of excitement & terror!

We really must give major kudos to the cast & crew encountered throughout the USS Nightmare. These folks were incredible at bringing the scenes to life & providing a spine-chilling experience. Their costuming & makeup was rather realistic, further immersing us into the experience. Although we were a bit caught off guard by the numerous crew members possessing vampire-like fangs, a rather odd but interesting touch. Special shout-outs to the following cast members for really providing top-notch engagements: The creepy little girl in the elevator was rather intimidating as we jostled around in the elevator. The nurse got rather offended when we called her a dentist & boy did she make us pay! The Captain himself played his part terrifically, providing a memorable encounter. Across the board, we were pleased with the energy the scurvy crew possessed as they certainly provided a fair share of gut-wrenching laughs & blood-curdling startles.

As you exit the William S. Mitchell you’re conveniently funneled towards a perfect “I Survived USS Nightmare” photo-op! Once back in the midway you’re given the opportunity to purchase your group's photo for $20 & can also snag some merch and or a bite to eat while you’re at it. We had the pleasure of catching up with the owner of the USS Nightmare for a few moments. It was great to learn more about the backstory of the haunted attraction as well as the Infamous Mitchell Massacre. Before darting off for our final haunt stop of the evening we took a few more moments to take in the incredible view of the USS Nightmare docked in the Ohio River once more, truly a sight to behold.

The USS Nightmare by far is one of the more unique haunted attractions we’ve ever encountered. Certainly a memorable experience that’s sure to have us itching to return again in the future. If you’re craving an adrenaline pumping, spine-chilling, & immersive experience then USS Nightmare is the haunt for you! Grab a group of friends and pay USS Nightmare a visit, we’re certain you’ll have a spooky fun experience!

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