This is the only haunt of my 2021 tour that I have previously visited before. The drive is pretty easy and familiar from my home base in Rome, Georgia. Nightmare’s Gate is located in Douglasville, Georgia and is about an hour and a half from me. They do have two haunts with different addresses, so be mindful to start at haunt one when entering the address into your GPS. Both attractions are on the same road and within walking distance from each other. The first attraction, soon to be relocated and combined with the second, currently shares a location with a bowling alley. This gives the haunt an abundance of free parking. There is not much outside to draw attention to the haunt, but I personally know outside looks can be deceiving. I was excited to see how much this haunt had grown in the last few years and what they had done with the two spaces they were using.
MIDWAY/ QUEUE EXPERIENCE
This is one of the only areas that could use more attention. There is a small ticket booth outside that is slightly decorated and a large speaker playing Halloween/Haunt appropriate tunes. There is not much else outside to keep the line entertained. There is one character at the front of the line who is taking tickets and explaining rules, but otherwise does not interact much with the queue. My wait was not long, otherwise I would have needed a charged smartphone to stay occupied before entering.
There were two attractions included in this haunt. Both attractions were visually stunning. I was very impressed with the atmosphere created inside both trails. The first was a hospital theme that was highly detailed. The makeup was on point with great detail and appropriate for each area. The actors were costumed to fit the space they each occupied. One thing that was a first for me was seeing an actor on stilts inside the haunt. Usually I have seen that only outside in the queue area. There are also some very vivid scenes like a toilet covered in feces that definitely has a gross out factor. The second attraction is a swamp infested with the undead. There were bridges high and low that created a labyrinth of terror. One really impressive feat was an open water area that had a working waterfall down the side of a rock wall facade.
Both attractions made me feel like I had been dropped into the middle of a horror film. Was it scary? This haunt will terrify the average haunt patron and there were a handful of moments that totally creeped this seasoned veteran out as well. There was such a great flow between rooms, that I felt fully involved with the story of each attraction from start to finish. The spacing of each group was immaculate. There were no crowding issues and everyone in the group was getting to see the show. I noticed very little dead space and even those areas had a creepy aura about them due to the rest of the haunt being so detailed with props, lights and sound effects. I would say that most of the jump scares were successful and trickled in the mix were a good number of other scare tactics that all did the job. There were several areas that had improv lines that really made it feel like a personalized experience. The first attraction lasted about 20 minutes and the second lasted about 10 mins. The combined time of 30 minutes was filled to the brim with entertainment, making this haunt a fantastic bang for your buck.
One of the most important components to a successful haunt, the actors. Nightmare’s Gate had many awesome actors throughout the attractions. As stated before, there were many improv moments that actors got right. One patient from the hospital themed side tried to give me a “stool sample” . She followed me around and called me her relative. It was a great performance. There was also a crazy cannibal gnawing on a believable piece of meat and saying lines that fit for each individual patron. In the swamp there was a voodoo bait shop owner that interacted with my group until we were far away. An amazing feat occurred during my visit. Not one single actor broke character the entire time. These actors also utilized a variety of scare tactics that worked well with the spaces each actor resided in. Kudos to this crew!
Both attractions for this haunt were themes that are commonly seen in the haunt community, but this haunt’s execution of such themes was “chef’s kiss.” It was easy to get a sense of story and take that journey from the beginning to the end. You have a hospital overrun with crazies and evil beings and a swamp with infected beings. Both stories were fully realized and detailed in every way.
While the outside areas could use a little sprucing, the rest of this haunt makes it a must see for me! WIth a fully developed theme and a good troupe of actors to play it all out, this haunt makes for one hell of a night of haunting!
REVIEWERS PERSONAL NOTES
On a personal note: Just adding a few outside queue actors would enhance the outside so much. The inside is already so great so any additions would be icing on the cake.