Nightmare Forest – Full Review

Nightmare Forest is a Haunted Attraction located in Brandenburg, KY.

850 Otter Creek Park Road, Brandenburg, KY 40108
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple HauntsHaunted HouseHaunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Optional Games/Midway, You will NOT be touched, Movie Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on September 14, 2019 by Team Zombillies.

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Final Score: 8.23

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Our last visit to Nightmare Forest Haunt Park was in 2014, so saying that we were due for a return visit was a bit of an understatement. Nightmare Forest Haunt Park (NFHP) offers 2 haunted trails, a haunted schoolhouse, and circus entertainment all at one location for one price.

For 2019, the haunts include their flagship attraction, Nightmare Forest along with Trail of Terror and St. Lucifer’s Schoolhouse. Admission also gains you access to Hawthorne’s Circus Bizarre, which offers unique entertainment while you wait that you won’t see at many other attractions.

St. Lucifer’s Schoolhouse was our first stop. We were being sent to detention and we didn’t know why but we wouldn’t push arguing with this staff. Just make sure you’re ready to become their next ‘subjects’ in the anatomy class’ got it?

For horror movie connoisseurs, Nightmare Forest is full of them! From start to finish, we had a blast naming off the films as we approached the facades. They had quite the mixture too, including old fan-favorites and some of the newer and popular films.

Trail of Terror is host to quite a line up of scenes and characters. From blood-thirsty vampires, clowns, and a giant cemetery, we never knew what would be waiting for us next.

Cast: 7.83

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There were a lot of actors spread throughout all the haunts, but there were still areas where little was going on. Having some additional crew members here and there would have significantly helped fill some of the ‘dead spaces.’ By contrast, there were times when we encountered 2 or more characters in one smaller scene, but others had only 1 in larger scenes.

All of the cast members remained in character. Their dialogue was a mixture of generic phrases, along with screaming here and there, and a few that were verbally interactive with us. Most of the time, though, they were spatting off things that went along with their characters well.

We only came across a handful of tormentors in St. Lucifer’s Schoolhouse, but they were all yelling at and threatening at our group the whole way through.

At one point in Trail of Terror, we came up to a crazed lady that told us, ‘I’m not crazy, I promise!’ A female clown wielding a rather large mallet asked us if we wanted to, ‘See stars, spin, or shake.’ We’ll be the first to tell you, vote for the shake! The brute on the rope bridge was also quite memorable as he shook and bounced on the bride, making for a rather ‘jumpy’ jaunt across it for all of us.

In Nightmare Forest, we have to give bowing praise to Pennywise! He gave the most believable performance of the night. His voice and dialogue were spot-on with the movie, which was pretty darn unnerving! The patients were also interactive with us, as one kept telling Jimmy that he’d found his eye while staring us down.

We’d also like to mention that Evil Annie and Bobo the Clown were relentless queue line entertainers. They successfully stalked and taunted those waiting to enter.

Costuming: 8.69

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The costumes throughout the trails were put together pretty well this year. The articles chosen appeared to be of good quality, and nothing came off as especially ‘cheap’ (luckily, nothing came off of anyone at all!). All of the horror movie villains had appropriate attire and the actors chosen to portray each role had good statures to match (ie: we didn’t see any 5-foot-tall Michaels or Jasons anywhere).

Other costumes made it difficult for us to tell if the actors were real or not. One particular scene was filled with robed statues surrounding a ritual room, which immediately triggered our, ‘Oh sh!t, which one’s real?’ feels. The UV doll in the blacklight-lit multi-colored scene was a creative feat as well, and the various teachers in the schoolhouse portion were also equally as dark, grungy and tattered as their scenes.

A seemingly equal mix of masks and makeup are used throughout the trails. All appeared to be as good of quality as the rest of their matching costumes, with each look adding a well-rounded finish to each respective character. Some added the use of prosthetics and colored contact lenses to exaggerate certain facial features, even on Georgie in the ‘It’ scene.

Pennywise was debatably the stand-out look of the night. While some of the characters were a little difficult for us to tell who they were supposed to be, we had little issue identifying the zombies, the ‘Purge’ partakers, Georgie, Jason and Freddy.

Customer Service: 8.61

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We found NFHP with ease using our handy dandy GPS and by following their multiple large and well-lit signs by the entrance to Otter Creek Park. A parking attendant was using a light to guide cars into the parking lot (which is mostly grass), but there wasn’t anyone directing us exactly where to park. Keep in mind that the paved driveway is fairly narrow and it seems as though they prefer you park in the grass.

When visiting this attraction, you will be out in the middle of the woods with mother nature. We highly recommend wearing closed-toe shoes, no heels, and watch where you’re walking at all times. A good portion of the parking lot isn’t lit very well at all, and we did see a few people trip over a small concrete divider thingy. The trail itself does have some uneven ground, tree roots, and darker areas as well. In addition, we did notice a few loose boards and spongy walkways, but nothing especially ‘dangerous’ unless you snag something while running for your life.

The staff that we met were friendly, but just a bit disorganized for their opening night. They were having some wifi issues with their card reader, but after we were redirected to a few different spots to pay, they were eventually able to get service and, us, our tickets paid for. We thought it was odd that they weren’t aware of a discount that was being run on their Facebook page, but they did honor without question after we showed it to them.

Pro Tip: Always have proof of promotional posts and discounts.

We found the majority of the information we needed very easily on their website. The attraction is mostly outdoors and weaves in and out of buildings. Be mindful that there are some stairs to traverse and a rope bridge.


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Special Effects: 8.06

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Nightmare Forest Haunt Park features some pretty impressive set design and effects for an outdoor trail. Elaborate decor, large structures and creepy facades are just some of what’s waiting for you out there. Most of these creations appeared to be built in-house, so it’s unlikely you’ll find any of these things anywhere else.

In the Schoolhouse, we didn’t hear any sounds except for those from the actors and a loud school bell. The scenes we walked through were very large and featured a lot of distressing and detail, which brought the dilapidated school to life. They even had a lot of real metal lockers in there!

As we journeyed down the Trail of Terror, we heard a multitude of sound effects inside the buildings from familiar hard rock and circus music to more unique and unnerving sounds, a crow cawing, and a tune that reminded us of something you’d hear in a music box.

Additional effects include a large cemetery, a large but right-sized dollhouse that we even had to duck to get through the door, a military tank, a tanked alien, zombies, a rope bridge, a giant UV clown facade, a shaking floor, and they even shot at us (with a fake but very real-sounding gun, of course)!

In Nightmare Forest we didn’t always hear sounds in all scenes, but what we did hear matched their respective areas appropriately. The tune playing in the Krampus area was awesome! There was a little bit of sound bleed, but overall, we were impressed by how little of this we encountered on both trails.

Some of the most memorable effects from the horror movies include a sewer, a laser swamp, a unique fire effect (yes, it’s real), a towering Krampus and a unique snowman. The animations were placed so appropriately at times we were scared by them alone! We would also like to mention the giant pumpkin that we had to pass through at one point; It had been carved out by Freddy’s glove!

Theatrical lighting was also more evident in this attraction before we entered some of the scenes, and it really helped set the mood of the forest and those areas.

Theme: N/A

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Scare Factor: 8.11

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For the most part, the scare timing was executed well, making the frights harder to predict. We didn’t catch up to any groups and none caught up to us, so that helped a lot and was very welcomed after the conga-line we experienced during our last review. There were a few scares that we prematurely spotted, but those that waited for the perfect moment to reveal themselves helped make up for that.

The scares themselves didn’t vary a whole lot between attractions, so we’re going to talk about this category all together.

Some of the characters had good hiding spots and – as a whole – they did a great job at focusing on everyone in the group by attacking from all directions. During our visit, the most effective hiding spots were from within Nightmare Forest. They also utilized some fearsome cast members so that, when we saw them, we wanted to go back the opposite way.

It would be pretty difficult to walk through here and not at least get startled a few times. Multiple props quickly sprung at us, causing several group members to jump backward and, at one point, the same one nailed all 4 of us! There were also a few deceiving rooms complete with decoys. A few actors provided clever distractions for one another, so this chalked up a win on the fright board for the NFHP crew as well. There were a lot of areas for the actors to bang weapons around to make sudden loud noises and we just never knew when we’d turn around to be facing a monster. They were very good at sneaking up on us, that’s for sure!

The finale included a multiple-chainsaw chase out of the woods mixed with a pyro scare, so good luck to ya! Although, they did let up on us fairly easily. We’re not sure if there was another group behind us that we didn’t see, but they didn’t seem interested in trying to chase any of us after initially starting the saws.

Do be sure to watch out for Leatherface, he has a great hiding spot (and it was hard to pick off his ‘weapon’ by smell, too).

Entertainment & Value: 8.08

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General admission to enter Nightmare Forest SP was priced at $25.00 per person and Speed Passes to skip the GA line were priced at $35.00. We found a 10% off discount on their Facebook page on the night of our visit, so we ended up paying $45.00 total for 2 people.

NFHP is advertised on their site as 4 differently-themed attractions, but at the time of this writing, their Facebook page says they have 5. We’re pretty sure we only saw a total of 4. Regardless, after we were given the rules, it took us about 22.5 minutes to complete all haunts, which comes out to 0.9 MPD (minutes of entertainment received per dollar) and is just a smidge below the average we’ve seen most often.

Now, that’s just for the haunts. After factoring in the included entertainment we received while waiting to enter from Hawthorne Circus Bizarre, as well as some of his oddities proudly displayed for anyone to look at, that makes this ticket price a good deal!

The placement of Hawthorne’s Circus Bizarre is perfect and really helps to pass the time in line. We were in line for over an hour but it felt a little less than that. We’re not sure how often he performs, but we watched him on stage 3 different times and each time he did something different (and more awesome than the last). Remember, this is included with admission to the Haunt Park, but he does accept tips.

Aside from Hawthorne’s acting on stage, there were two actively persistent queue line entertainers roaming the crowd (as mentioned above). We watched them nail numerous people including one of our own group members! You can also hang in on some good food before your wait, as they had a full concession area set up on the way to the queue line. Their deep-fried Oreos are a MUST! They also have a variety of other items such as chips, Monsters, sodas, pickles, fresh-squeezed lemonade and t-shirts. There’s no need to wait to eat on the way, just eat at the haunt, and they even had a few picnic tables where guests could relax to eat their food… because it’s not like Bobo frequents that area or anything…

Overall, we were very satisfied with our decision to visit Nightmare Forest Haunt Park again for 2019. There were so many changes since the last time we visited. As a matter of fact, nearly the entire place had changed!

If you’re a horror movie nut, love getting scared in the woods or a night out with your friends getting scared and holding on to one another sounds like a good time to you, give Nightmare Forest Haunt Park a visit this year.

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Past Awards

2019 Awards

Best Pyro Scare (Given by: Team Zombillies)

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