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 16, 2023 by Team Salt City Slashers.
About Our Reviews and Rating System
Final Score: 8.85
Final Scores – By Category
Final Scores – By Attraction
Thirty-three years and one name change later, Nightmare on 13th still ranks high on our list of one of Utah’s best haunted houses. Between rearranging the old and building the new, this haunt works tirelessly in the off-season to bring new ways to amaze and scare us year after year. And this year is no exception.
With two separate haunts in one location, Nightmare on 13th has got it all. There are thirteen different themes throughout the main haunt and a completely immersive solo-themed second haunt. Prepare yourselves for a full night of screams and shrieks with people of all ages. These two haunts also share one large outdoor haunted courtyard with all sorts of characters, living and not living, always mucking about for photos and scares from the moment you cross the stone-clad draw bridge that leads you in from the parking lot. A top of this castle’s exterior sits a large skeletal mascot reaching over two stories high and bellowing down to thrill-seekers below.
Cast Score: 7.7
Cast Scores – By Question
Cast Scores – By Attraction
Nightmare: Within each differently-themed section of Nightmare, you will encounter a diverse cast of creatures and characters. Though few and far between, these actors are committed to their roles and play it well. Jump scare after jump scare takes place when they are around. Some are even attached to the environment around them, giving them ample chance to spring to life and then return to complete stillness as they wait for their next victims to come through. One such actor that was not attached but probably should have been was a sinister young character who was possessed by the demons painted on the walls around her. Thrashing and screaming with an ever-changing voice, this demonic display was both scary and impressive. Some appear out of the darkness and are at your side before you know it, while others are almost too bright to look at when entering the black-lit clown realm, where you may get more than just an ice cream out of that truck.
Institute: Whether it was a Nun or a patient, the cast in this haunt were deceptively polite until you got too close. From above and below, this confined group of actors really gets the blood pumping as you make your way through the darkness.
Costuming Score: 8.76
Costuming Scores – By Question
Costuming Scores – By Attraction
It’s all about quality, not quantity, when it comes to the costumes in both Nightmare and Institute of Terror. The time and detail applied to each character is apparent from the very beginning of the photo-op. There, you meet a voodoo priest wearing his OWN lower jawbone as a necklace. This continues all the way through the haunt, with each costume matching each section seamlessly. See what I did there?
The nuns within the institute are held to the same high standards when it comes to costuming, not only scary but accurate down to the last detail. Whereas there seems to be no standard for patient costumes, also perfectly accurate for how they would have been treated in a real asylum of that day
Customer Service Score: 10
Customer Service Scores – By Question
Customer Service Scores – By Attraction
Customer Service Review:
Like everything else you encounter at Nightmare, their customer service is top-notch! With an easy-to-find location as it is literally included in their name, Nightmare on 13th. The first thing you notice among the castle’s towers is large, beautiful murals that are hand-painted with scenes that appear as if you are looking inside the castle itself. Many times throughout the courtyard, the rules are clearly posted, and where to purchase tickets is clearly marked. But if you still can’t find your way, there are plenty of staff from the entrance on the street all the way up to the gates of the haunt, where you are split into general admission and VIP based on what tickets you purchased.
Also in the courtyard is their outdoor gift shop with all sorts of branded items, from hats and shirts to mugs and water bottles. If you, like us, already have a Nightmare on 13th item in your collection, do not worry because they also have local artists with their own little creatures and features to adorn any shelf or Christmas tree.
Immersion Score: 8.98
Immersion Scores – By Question
Immersion Scores – By Attraction
The immersion begins as soon as you cross the threshold. Beautifully landscaped courtyard, mind-blowing graffiti covering the walls; from the first steps you take, you’re instantly swept away into the stuff of nightmares. Following the jack o’ lantern ringed ledges of the intro room, from floor to ceiling, you’re engulfed. Every square inch is crafted into a horror wonderland. Spiking fears and phobias that we’ve never even imagined, they have honed their craft. While the theme of an area can be linked to some of the other rooms, it’s generally presented on a room-by-room basis in Nightmare on 13th. Their entire theme is scream. And screaming is exactly what we did.
Institute of Terror had one presiding theme in this short jaunt, but it was extremely effective on all senses except sight. Are you afraid of the dark? You will be.
Special FX Score: 9.78
Special FX Scores – By Question
Special FX Scores – By Attraction
Special FX Review:
All we can really say is WOWZERS. The amount of creativity displayed is truly a work of art. Somehow, topping last year, they brought their A-game to the table in 2023. I can only describe our experience as something you’d see in a high-grossing movie set. Between the scratching on the walls, the creaks in the floorboards, and the placement of every light illuminating the terror in front of you, we 100% felt like we were living nightmare after nightmare. Each room rolled into the next like butter; every scene was related to the next in one way or another. Starting underwater with sea monsters, moving up above ground to the swamp and shore pirates and hoo-doo cabins, you’re slapped in the face with nautical terrors spotted in scenes previously, almost as if they’ll never stop haunting you. There are some of the most beautiful water features we’ve ever witnessed indoors, and smells secluded and particular to the set you’re in; each room has its own unique setup of lights and sounds.
Institute of Terror –
Rather than using your typical strobes and lasers, this haunt is almost entirely a pitch-black maze. When we say pitch black, we mean it. Because of this, every other sense is overloaded. Instead of watching the movie, you’re projected into living it in every other possible way. There are brief moments when you will see the nun that you’ve heard lurking behind you or the doctor with the maniacal laugh in the distance, but the true horror is only being able to feel the wet body parts they’ve hung on the ceiling or trying to find the exit in between padded walls. Jump scares were only provided by the others trying to navigate the forever darkness; I’ve never felt so alone inside of a haunted house. Don’t worry; it’s a short walk to the light at the end of the tunnel, but the darkness will feel like an eternity.
Scare Factor Score: 8.51
Scare Factor Scores – By Question
Scare Factor Scores – By Attraction
Scare Factor Review:
Nightmare—holy jump scares, Batman! Between actors and animatronics, you are constantly up and down in this haunt. But you are not alone in that. From the beginning morgue to the ending maze, things jump out, and you left and right. Being attached to the walls and other items in their rooms gives the actors ample opportunity to lunge at you for the perfectly timed scream we all love. That is the reason we are there, after all, isn’t it?
In contrast, the silence and darkness contained inside the Institute provided an entirely different scare altogether. With sight being taken out of the equation, the fear is increased tenfold. You weren’t sure what was around the next corner because you couldn’t even see the corner. You had no choice but to, as we say, right-hand right-wall it. Which in Nightmare would have been fine as the walls were dry and solid…. Not in the Institute. In the Institute, you had NO idea what you would feel on the walls next carpet? fur? Wet carpet fur? The floor is solid, and then it’s squishy cloth-covered, who knows what exactly. And that’s just it; you don’t know because you can’t see, but you can hear—screams and cries and even a sing-song voice of a little child. So, try not to close your eyes too much in the first haunt because you won’t have a choice in the second one.
Entertainment & Value Score: 9.13
E&V Scores – By Question
E&V Scores – By Attraction
There are a variety of ticket options offered and a change in amount depending on what day it is you plan to attend. You have your general admission and your VIP fast pass that can be upgraded to not much more, and in our opinion, it is totally worth it. But then, on top of that, they have a Red Carpet VIP pass. This pass, while including all the perks of GA and regular VIP, also has multiple other perks, including your very own personal escort to the front of the line at BOTH attractions (fancy lanyards included). With almost 40 full minutes spent inside this multi-attraction haunt, you will not leave disappointed; we assure you of that.
Pics We Took From Our Visit:
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