Nightmare on 13th – Full Review
Nightmare on 13th is a Haunted Attraction located in Salt Lake City, UT.
300 W 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84115View All Details
Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction
This attraction was reviewed on October 8, 2022 by Team Salt City Slashers.
About Our Reviews and Rating System
Final Score: 9.46
Final Scores – By Category
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In 1990 when Nightmare on 13th first opened, it was known as The Insititute of Terror and, over the years, evolved into what it is today. There is a 6-man crew working together all year long to redo the haunt every season. They want people to come back year after year, and it shows.
From the moment you see the outer side of the building, you can see the hand-painted horror up and down the walls and it continues elegantly throughout the entire haunt. There are three sections within Nightmare on 13th. You first enter the Nightmare Courtyard with actors roaming about for scares and plenty of photo ops. They have built multiple scenarios you can become a part of and post on any social platform you choose. New this year in the courtyard was a HUGE skeleton torso and head that tower over the warehouse and greets you with a booming voice. Then, once inside, you can go through the entirety of the Nightmare on 13th haunt and if you are brave enough, you can add on a ticket to the brand new Insitute of Terror within the walls of the haunt. A nice homage to their former self. If animatronics are your things, Nightmare is the place for you!
Cast Score: 9.29
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Within the Institute, you will encounter crazy patient after crazy patient and scary nun after scary nun. The screams and screeches that come from these women are otherworldly. As it is a building within a building, these actors can free roam. They jump out of seemingly nowhere and slide up to you on their knees. No angle is safe from them. And these are not sisters that you want to be related to…
While in the main Nightmare, you will find it hard to pick out the breathers from the non-breathers when walking through any section. What you think is a doll or an animatronic springs to life and lunges toward you. The scarecrows in the cornfield section are a perfect example of this. As you move on through a butcher shop and swamp, you meet up with some pirates and what appears to be some sort of voodoo witch searching for her “lost heart” which is well-placed right after you exit Davey Jones Locker. She has a crazy tone to her voice that is sure to send chills down your spine. You are berated in the manor house by a woman demanding answers about your presence. She will get very up close and personal, and she spits question after question at you.
Some actors you cannot see fully as they are obstructed by fabric walls that stretch and reach out to you as you pass through narrow hallways. Some actors are so well hidden amongst the fog they are right behind you breathing a whisper before you even know it. Others will quite literally spring out of the darkness! We won’t tell you how many, but definitely more than once you will encounter actors attached to bungees and ropes, enabling them to spring out at eye level or higher and then retreat as if they were never there.
Be wary of calling out to your friends if you get separated in the clown maze. Once they know your name, they will use it again and again and again.
Costuming Score: 8.53
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Costuming on the breathers and non-breathers is above and beyond when it comes to detail. The close quarters of the corn maze almost allow you to smell the authenticity of the burlap costumes. The clowns are vibrant and black lit just as they should be. Like almost everything in this haunt, the costumes are also handcrafted.
In the Institute, the uniformity of the nun’s habits can make you very unsure as to which nun is new and which one has followed you from the previous room. Imagine them matching as perfectly as the Oompa Loompas but way more terrifying if you can believe it. The patients, both actors and prop dolls, are dressed in dirty clothes fitting the asylum that they are contained within.
Customer Service Score: 10
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Customer Service Review:
The location is easy because it is partly right there in the name. It’s located at 1300 South in downtown Salt Lake. You simply cannot miss it. It is lit up, and it looks like a giant castle. It has been the ruler of that corner for over 30 years. The parking lot has staff galore to guide and direct you to the easiest parking. The crew we encountered was extremely helpful regarding questions about the haunt or where to go next within the fenced-in property. Rules and expectations were clearly posted and explained by staff before entering each exhibit.
After exiting the Nightmare portion of the haunt and before entering the Institute, you are dropped right into the merch and photo area. They have added multiple new merch items this year, including an array of shirts and hoodies to pick from for each part of the haunt. Water and snacks to fuel you for the next part are also available here.
Immersion Score: 9.75
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Once your group crosses the metal draw bridge that is the entrance to the courtyard, you begin your adventure. The stone courtyard is full of characters and creatures that come to life all on their own. Be sure to look up; there may just be someone lurking above you.
Once the rules are done, and you are in the haunt, you are transported from location to location. From a church with real stained glass windows to a winter scene that comes with real ice and actual falling snow, this haunt surrounds you completely. After the church is the cornfield and butcher shop, complete with hanging body parts to knock you in the face as you try and make your way through the warm red room. There are multiple swamps with water features and creatures to match. Maybe even some booby traps.
The Institute is so immersive that you may feel yourself go a little crazy by the end of it. There are lights flashing and nuns screaming everywhere as you get closer and closer to the exit. High ceilings and the incredible use of darkness in the maze section really bring this place to life, or death, rather.
Special FX Score: 10
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Special FX Review:
Holy animatronics!! The fabrication and mechanics department has truly outdone itself this year. From small to absolute giants, they have animatronics of all shapes and sizes within the Nightmare portion. There are some that chase you like the giant 8 ft (we’re guessing) alligator you will see in the swamp lands. The swamp lands come equipped with insect sounds, earthly smells, and real ponds with water features inside. The floors slant and move and may even drop out from underneath you. Walls that will push you so close to the edge may make you pee a little. The walls are soft and squishy, just like the floors can be sometimes. These terrifying robots will have you screaming the entire way through. There will be many times you encountered hanging items from the ceiling and even full-size bodies in wet bags that slide across you in the dark of the cooler. The acrobatic actors are a whole new level of scare that we loved.
The Institute is a towering two-story building that has been built from the bottom up. The bricked exterior comes complete with digital window scenes and if you pay close attention, a view into a long corridor of what’s to come if you are brave enough to go through. The makeup on the nuns was terrifyingly enhanced by their surroundings. If you went to a catholic school, this is not the exhibit for you. These Nuns will surely haunt your nightmares.
Scare Factor Score: 8.94
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Scare Factor Review:
Be sure to hydrate before attending, as you will be screaming the entire time. Even those who have been deemed hard to scare will melt in certain portions of the main Nightmare. Between leaping animatronics and leaping actors, you must always be on guard. There are a couple of fog rooms that you will have to go through that are lit so that you will not see the many creatures lurking about, and even if you think you do, that’s not the one that will get you. We promise. The screams you here from the group in front of you will not prepare you for what’s to come. Around every single corner is an actor animation just waiting for the perfect moment. The winter scene, which we will not be detailing, will scare and wow you in ways you didn’t know were possible. You have been warned.
We have spoken much of the scares within the Institute but let us just touch again on a few key points. Darkness. There are times when you are in complete and utter darkness with nothing but the smells and sounds of the people and patients around you to guide you through narrow corridors to what you hope is a way out. These corridors seem to be padded just as the rooms of the old asylums would have been. But, just as you think you are safe and make it through those final doors… there is one… final… scare.
Entertainment & Value Score: 9.88
E&V Scores – By Question
E&V Scores – By Attraction
Between the Courtyard and the 2 haunting exhibits, we spent just under an hour and a half inside the castle walls of Nightmare on 13th (46 minutes alone inside the terrifying encounters). It is well worth its ticket price.
They have a few ticket options to pick from regular admittance, which is $26.95, but you can add the Institute for only $10 more. If you are short on time or just don’t want to wait, they also have two different VIP passes. $46.95 gets you on the fast track to the entrance, but $69.95 allows you to skip the line entirely.
For those that may not be ready for all the frights, Nightmare on 13th also offers a Day Haunt option where there are no actors or scares. This really allows you to appreciate each hand-created horror. Ticket price includes a treat bag.
Do not miss out on this chance to experience a true Nightmare on 13th.