NIGHTMARE AT 3008
Let’s start this off with a little story about Nightmare at 3008. If you’ve been following them since their birth in 2012. You’ll remember them in a small little building off a dark road from the main highway in Fultondale. The only way to know it was a haunted house was from the big white sheet hanging on the front wall of the building with “Nightmare at 3008” spray painted on it that had 1 strobe light lighting it up while faintly hearing “Rob Zombie” blasting from within. You would walk in not really knowing if it were a haunted house or simply a trap to lure in people like me to meet their doom. Once you entered, there was a lady who would begin telling you a story of the terrible things that lie ahead, but before she did. She had to push play on a boombox to play the Michael Myers theme song.
The point of telling that little story is due to the review that they are about to get 10 years later.
I have been going to 3008 every year since they began, I have not officially reviewed it since 2018. I am thrilled to officially have them back on my tour.
The insane amount of change that Nick and Lori and their crew have gone through over the years, it’s seriously like witnessing a child grow into adulthood in a snap of a finger.
3008 offers one of the best midways in the state when it comes to creating a fun hangout. It’s a wide open area that is filled with nothing but potentially good times. There is a massive stage where bands, DJ’s could and will perform on select nights. There’s a bar where you can enjoy your adult beverages before and after your experience. They’ve begun to bring in celebrity guests, which during my visit, the amazing R.A. Mihailoff was in attendance. There is upper deck seating for those packed out nights, which will give you a nice aerial view of the midway. There is Madpies, which is a full restaurant right next door. You can order food and drinks and bring it to the midway and eat or you can eat inside. Madpies also offers music acts each weekend. But in some cases you will have to pay extra just to hangout inside Madpies due to the band's cover charge. Keep that in mind. The entertainment is endless at 3008. Oh yeah, they have actors walking around and interacting with patrons as well.
That is the cherry on top.
3008 as of late has always been considered by us as a “Dark, grungy, gritty, apocalyptic” style haunt. It’s very disorienting and they amped that up in 2021. Simply put, it’s chaotic, you never know what to expect, it’s very hard to see in some areas, it gets confusing. But that is done purposely. You don’t get that perfectly carved path that you get at most traditional haunts. In most cases, you’ll need to use your hands as a guide to get you through certain scenes.
The inside is very intense and actors will get in your personal space and will touch, this is a touch haunt. Some will get slightly grabbed, slightly shoved and yes, even picked up and separated from their group. It definitely adds to the thrills and suspense. If you don’t want that experience, make sure you grab a glow stick at the ticket booth.
On the inside you won’t find any dead spots because at every corner an actor will be waiting for you. The outside trail is different as you venture through the woods from scene to scene. There are areas where one would expect someone to jump out and they are not there. Then there are areas where you would least expect an actor to be and they jump out. The outside is definitely toned down compared to the inside and you'll run into what we call "dead spots" (lack of actor presence), I was told it's mostly because of safety for the guests and actors. But here you will find more theatrical elements such as the preacher calling out your sins or the bartender throwing bodies at you while asking you to have a drink with him.
It’s no longer separate trails as it connects to the inside but they are two totally different experiences.
The experience for us lasted around 28 total minutes. At $25 a ticket you get 3 total haunt experiences and a solid walkthrough time. That time could be longer depending how long some of the actors decide to keep you around. It is definitely worth the price of admission.
When it comes to being scary, The Underground and Nightmare House definitely will deliver the screams! The Outdoor Woods Trail has its moments throughout, but compared to the inside. It is a night and day difference.
3008 is not your traditional polished haunt with elaborate and detailed scenes. You will encounter tons of disorienting lights and strobes with an enormous amount of fog throughout. There are scenes where they did a wonderful job with decorating and distressing. But it is definitely not polished. In certain scenes it seriously feels like you’re walking through your abandoned grandmother's house that hasn’t been cleaned in 20 years. Some would feel the need to hurry home and shower afterwards. But that is the point, to make you feel uncomfortable and give you that unsettling feeling. As always mentioned in years past, where else you get to go down a slide to reach “The underground”?
As for the outside portion, I really enjoyed the clown area. It brought back memories from the old days of 3008.
This category is what makes Nightmare at 3008 great. They love 3008 and they are loyal to it. It shows through their performance. The actors are very energetic and for the most part, relentless when it comes to pouncing on each group. They do a wonderful job engaging each group and working each and every scene that they are in. The crew hits that trifecta throughout, whether it be scaring or startling you, entertaining or making you laugh or down right making you feel very awkward and uncomfortable. (Looking at you voodoo guy at the fireplace). He definitely earns that “WTF award”. You never know what to expect with each turn and scene. You could be squirted with blood, have 3008 written across your forehead or get an awkward finger in your belly button. A few standouts that really stuck with me in my experience is the tub scene where the actress came out and began crawling around while speaking some type of devil tongue. As short as that particular scene was, I appreciated and enjoyed her performance. I also really enjoyed the Preacher’s performance in the woods trail. I liked how energetic he was and how interactive he was with the group by singling each of us out.
All and all, 3008 has a great cast and you can tell that most of them have been haunting for years.
Another spot that 3008 shines! This haunt is ALL original and 100% creative. They have always been this way. Nick wants to do his own thing and each year he keeps coming up with different things that set his own style apart from the rest. 3008 still proves that you can do more with less, even after all their success throughout the last few seasons.
Over the years, Nightmare at 3008 continues to get better and better. This year, I must say that they did it again when it comes to that fact. They have gained new actors this season and that always helps up the quality of the experience. As mentioned numerous times throughout this review, they are not your typical “traditional” style haunt. It is gritty, it is grungy, it is just simply a different style haunt all together. If that’s not your cup of tea, you might not like the fact that this haunt is not afraid to test your limits compared to others. They are not afraid to get in your personal space. If that is something you want to experience or not afraid to experience. 3008 is your 1 stop shop!
Out of all the great things mentioned above, here is where I get to put my personal preference or opinion on things. This is how I personally feel and we don’t add personal opinions and preferences above. I felt on the inside, the emotional roller coaster the guests go through from each scene, sometimes it gets a little too much in areas. For example, you have an actor that isn’t trying to scare but be more comical and follows you all the way to the entry of the next scene and that next scene is meant to be creepy and scary. The group I was in was laughing due to the prior actor and when the creepy scene came, it was hard to to go from one extreme to the other and i felt it slightly took away from the meant to be creepy scene. I kept thinking to myself, “I hope the actress doesn’t think we’re laughing at her.” We were simply still laughing due to the prior actor and by the time we got out, we stopped laughing. Both actors did their jobs and did nothing wrong, but I feel that there needs to be that quick buffer between certain scenes. It gives the guests the opportunity to balance themselves back out and I think the next scene will have more of an impact, especially if the scene is meant to be creepy and scary. I noticed this in a few areas that were connected to each other. Sometimes I did notice a few actors trailing a group into the next scene and the actor was trying to do their job but the attention was being taken off them while the group was still focused on the other actor or actress. By the time we left the scene, we realized that we missed out on what that certain actor was attempting to do or say.
These are small things and potential fixes to help make the patrons experience better and I feel it definitely will help give some of the actors the spotlight they deserve in scenes.
Although I did brag about how disorienting the experience is, sometimes it does feel like a little too much in areas. It tends to get a little confusing at times on where to go and the actors are definitely no help in steering you in the right direction, I say that while laughing. But, sometimes a little nudge in the right direction can help deter a patron from growing frustrated while in the haunt, especially on crowded nights.
We’ve noticed this kind of experience is becoming a trend with haunts the last few years. Some use the idea to tone down the actor's scares and simply allow the darkness to do its job. Because obviously darkness and the unknown is scary on its own. 3008 does the complete opposite. All lights off, same walkthrough, one UV flashlight and a full house of actors who refuse to tone it down. Just going to splash a tiny bit of personal preference right here considering I’ve experienced MANY of both types. I prefer the more intense “lights out” experiences versus the “let the darkness do the job” type places. Walking around in the dark has its limits when it comes to being “scary”. After a point, it honestly becomes boring. Having actors bringing the same intensity that they bring during their traditional openings simply amps up the scares. If you’re looking for that different type of experience, I highly suggest you check out 3008’s blackout nights. Check their website for posted dates of the event!