nytheatre.com review by E. Michael Lockley
October 1, 2010
As I wait in line to enter Nightmare: Superstitions I hear screams traveling from inside "the experience." Screams followed by embarrassed laughter. I'm so excited to be scared! A black curtain (and a line of people in front of me) hang between me and—But wait! There's a crazy man who has just walked into the line. He's talking to himself. No, no, he's talking to me. Why is he talking to me? Now he runs away screaming and I'm assured that he's a part of the performance. Oh, the craziness has just begun.
From the moment you enter (even the line) be prepared for surprises and one-on-one interaction. Nightmare: Superstitions is a unique journey that is filled with thrills and chills, but be careful to avoid bad luck or else. To tell you all of what happened once I ventured past that black curtain would defeat the purpose of you actually experiencing it yourself, but I'll let you know a few things:
Prior to entering the "Superstitions" portion of the experience, you go through a creepy Funhouse. This funhouse is weird, not very scary but certainly weird and includes some sexually graphic content that involves gooey projectiles (it's probably not what you think). You might see a praying mantis or an alien or a praying manalien in the Funhouse and it may try to touch you. Anyhow, this section prior to entering Superstitions primarily left me befuddled, but that stood out for me.
Since this year's experience is Superstitions, the story that has been constructed around the theme is that the audience is coming in to visit an insane asylum where all of these people have gone crazy over superstitions. But before we get into the asylum, we meet the nurse. The nurse takes your names and gives you an explanation of how the patients got there and then she explains the rules. Our approximately 3-5 minute interaction with her was one of the most memorable of Nightmare: Superstitions. Not only because I was wondering if something would jump out at me or if the lights would turn off, but because the nurse is so eerily friendly. She is natural, convincing, creepy, blunt, and looks tired as hell (nice makeup).
From there the Superstition creepiness begins. Without giving too much away, I will say that what really excited me about the experience was the targeting tactic that was so prevalent throughout. They take your name for a reason. They'll point to you and accuse you of something and then you have to suffer the consequences. They'll curse you. They'll ask you to do things that you wouldn't normally do and you'll do them because that's why you go to a Haunted House: to experience the unknown. So while you may be walking in with a group of people, you can expect the "targeting" to be spread around. No one is safe.
The technical aspects of Superstitions are showcased really well. From makeup to double-sided mirrors to lights, costumes, and overwhelming sounds and sets that immerse you in a superstition, the technical elements are strong. Go to Superstitions to have a fun scare! It's creepy, it's startling, it's a little wild at moments, it's gross and if you're superstitious, be prepared to have a lot of bad luck, but a really good time by the end of the night.