31/03/2018 – Nightmare Asylum

So the haunt scene is slowly coming out of hibernation, and my friends and I were feeling really antsy to get our asses to a haunt ASAP and get our fix of scares! After spending a long time hunting for something, we stumbled across Nightmare Asylum in Nottingham: a haunt that’s only been open for a few days. We reserved our tickets the night before (30th) and continued on with out night.

The next day, we trek from Birmingham to Nottingham all hoping that Nightmare Asylum would be worth it whilst also thinking it was odd that we only reserved a ticket and didn’t actually pay for them, and we began to wonder if it was legit. We arrive outside a warehouse that looks like it could have been a small car repair shop at some point with a banner hanging above the shutters reading “Nightmare Asylum” – at least if this wasn’t legit, they spent a little bit on our demise…

We ring the number on the Facebook page and tell the receiver that we’re here – a few seconds later, a man steps out from the side of a building and beckons us in through the security fence and into a sizeable room with a kitchen in the corner; thinking this is part of the escape room (hold that thought…) I instantly start scanning the bare room for any signs of clues… nothing: turns out, it was just a break room.

We’re handed waivers and, in our naivety we blindly signed them (I haven’t learned from other times I’ve been handed waivers…), and we’re then given the basic run down on how the haunt works. The haunt itself is a peculiar blend of escape room, haunt, and maze all rolled into one: you’ll come across padlocks that need keys or codes to open them and you’ll have to find your way around the haunt blind, all while being tormented by invisible actors.

We’re taken back into the corridor connecting the entrance to the kitchen and our hostess pulls back an unassuming white curtain we must have ignored as we walked in, to reveal a stairwell covered in bloodstains and threats that lead up to a closed door. We’re handed a torch and we sheepishly climb up the stairs before opening the door and walking into the gloomy room in front of us; as we enter the room, the door behind us slams shut with a loud bang and we all scream. This, I’m afraid/amused to say, is very much how the rest of the experience went for us…

29790413_348537602304211_1060464961021688688_n

Without giving too much away, but Nightmare Asylum is almost what it says on the tin: yes, it was an absolute nightmare and had us saying “I don’t like this” and pushing each other to be the first through the room whereas we’d usually be fighting to be at the front; however, there wasn’t anything themed around what I’d consider an Asylum – hell, there didn’t seem to be any theme or story behind it at all: it was very disjointed and almost like a horror movie game, but this really, really worked well and actually made it feel like it lasted a lot longer than it actually did (great once we got out, but not so great when we were in there).

The haunt is so strange I’m actually struggling to write this part of the review!

The actors know the haunt like the back of their hand, and you’ll know why I put that when you go. It’s a full contact haunt and you are grabbed and pulled at mercilessly throughout which, when combined with the situation you’re in, quickly becomes stressful and spooky (in the right way).

The only criticism I have is that some of the sounds didn’t properly sync up with what we were doing – I’m not entirely sure whether the audio is triggered manually or not, but a sensor or something that monitors the object the sound is meant to sync up to would definitely be a vast improvement. Usually I like seeing the sets a little more, but for some reason the way Nightmare Asylum is done currently, you really don’t need much light at all.

I have no idea why we were so scared throughout – looking back there’s nothing groundbreaking or mindblowing, but for some reason the “less is more” mantra really worked well for Nightmare Asylum, and with the team behind it, I really hope they’ll be scaring us for many years to come!

 

29683416_347407262417245_7257009333027083415_n

31/03/2018 – Nightmare Asylum

29/08/2016 – Terror 13: Asylum

 

After seeing their panel at ScareCON in May, I made it my mission to give Terror 13 a visit; it turns out that New Brighton is only an hour away from Blackburn where we experienced Snuffhouse the night before, making it a great weekend to go and a fantastic warm up to the Halloween season!

 

On four hours sleep, we meet up with some friends in the early afternoon and hang out around the beach before heading to our time. The two weeks leading up to our tour we had been poking and prodding the monsters dwelling beneath the streets of New Brighton, agitating them for our tour. We arrived at our designated time slot to find music befitting Bioshock floating on the breeze outside their doors. We knocked and were greeted with a grotesque monster who pointed toward the front desk where we paid the very cheap admission and were led down into The Asylum.

 

We were given a guided tour of The Asylum by the monster that greeted us at the door and as we progressed, we realised that there was quite a disturbing story unravelling.

 

We met some of the disturbing “patients” that tormented us and actually got a few jumps out of us at points before they were calmed down and set away by our very unnerving guide who had no issues with invading our personal space and playing with us.

 

After a quick reminder of the rules of the haunt (no touching the actors, no running etc), we were bought into the main attraction itself where we were split up and made to take part in the show ourselves, locked away in claustrophobic spaces whilst the rest of our group were tormented, and forced to watch some really horrible experiments with some absolutely incredible props, especially with the twins (fantastic scene right there!). We were then led down a lurid corridor painted with loads of UV paint and UV streamers hanging from the ceiling, where we met Sad-o the clown (who I genuinely felt sorry for), but he got his own back!

 

We also met a pair of extremely creepy dolls that freaked me out when we saw the costumes at ScareCON; they were much creepier up close in the haunt! They were absolutely fantastic in the way they communicated with us and how they encapsulated the dolls’ personalities – the second scene with them was a fantastic twist!

 

We saw plenty of other scenes that need to be experienced to see how powerful they are before being chased through some dark, winding corridors and up a set of stairs, we found ourselves back in the brilliant sunlight a whole 45 minutes later.

 

This is a very strong boo haunt that feels like it takes inspiration from Goosebumps and Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects as well as the acid trip from the Beavis and Butthead movie, rolls all the inspiration up and throws it inside a mental asylum to bring you a spine-tingling and dark humoured journey through the tunnels beneath New Brighton. We’ll be heading back at Halloween for their Karnevil show, which we’ve been told will be absolutely terrifying!

 

 

 

29/08/2016 – Terror 13: Asylum