Flashing lights and an abyss of darkness guide visitors down narrow passageways leading them towards Leatherface-like mad men wielding chainsaws. These scenes of madness accompanied by screams, howls and cries for help announce the arrival of the Halloween season, as the fear-makers at The Nightmare Realm return to give brave patrons what they want — a good jolt. With this year’s theme, The Witches Children, sounds of anguish interspersed with laughter ripple throughout the grounds of this terrifying walk-through attraction. There is great attention to detail in the costumes, make-up, and performances of the characters.
Best enjoyed with a few good mates who don’t mind being clung to for dear life. This year there are three new twisted corridors to venture through — The Witches Hovel, Molly’s Murder House and Smilers Abattoir — each offering their own blend of mayhem and merriment. In Molly’s Murder House, dismembered dolls cradled by creepy figures forever trapped in childhood implore unsuspecting guests to “stay with them”. As one room leads to another in an endless stream of darkness and sensory overload, a character by the name of Smiler welcomes terrified visitors into a long hall filled with the hanging bloody carcasses of various unfortunate beasts. The actors are great in their roles, and although they come close and get your face, they never touch or grab you.
Groping your way through the dark — at times pitch black— you encounter frights at each turn. Watch your step as a contorting creature on all four’s scurries from one room to the other; a disfigured woman sits strapped to an electric chair whilst intermittently twitching; a figure lays in a four-post bed encased in a cocoon of cobwebs; a mysterious fellow behind a desk lures daring chancers into an electrifying game of tic-tac-toe. Screeches of anguish make for lurid lullabies, but it’s all in good fun at this enjoyable nightmare.
The Nightmare Realm is at the RDS until November 4th. For more info and opening times visit their website: www.
Words: Rose Ugoalah