Please note: this review is for the 2010 season rather than the current season.
Submitted: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
13th Nightmare, a fundraiser for Dare to Dream Children’s Theatre, is a brand new haunted house located in an old church in downtown Manitowoc. While the haunt is brand new, the people in charge of art direction are anything but. They have experience with other haunts and it shows through from the minute you descend into the catacombs.
13th Nightmare has a double edged sword when it comes to their location. They are in a mostly residential neighborhood loud music and noise outside are pretty much out, as is the heavy drive by visibility some haunts get. What they do have is a kick ass building. What’s better than a haunted house being in an old building? When that building is an old church building (steeple and all!). Maybe it’s just me, but hearing someone freak out about the devil coming while you’re standing on the altar is almost mind blowing.
Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for them) there was no line when we got there. We chatted with the people running the ticket booth while the actor’s got reset and then we made our way in. The wait is outside, but they do have a small canopy for shelter from rain if needed.
The actor’s were really good. I’m not sure if any of them were a part of the theater itself or not, but they seemed like they have had training. I prefer psychological scares over the standard make you scream type scares that are typical, so this was one of my favorites on that regard. I’d rather have actors following me around or acting behind bars freaking me out than people jumping in my face and screaming. They had one of the best Asylum scenes I’ve seen, and with the high ceilings the church provides, the swamp actually felt and looked like you were outside.
The only problem I had with this haunt was the length. Coming in at around 10 minutes it definitely could have been longer. With such great actors it would be easy to add some more stories/skits to the rooms to make it last longer. We had the opportunity to talk with the directors after the haunt and they mentioned they had more plans that they just ran out of time to do, which in a first year is understandable. They definitely need to work those ideas in for next year.
Overall this haunt is definitely above average. In some aspects they don’t look even close to a first year haunt, but in others that is evident. You can tell the people in charge really care about this and want to succeed. They really seemed to take to heart our thoughts and ideas. They have a great start already, and I expect even bigger things from this crew next year. I can’t wait to see how they progress!