Nightmares From Hell – Full Review

Nightmares From Hell is a Haunted Attraction located in Imlay City, MI.

587 N Cedar St, Imlay City, MI 48444
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted House


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Covered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction, Family Friendly

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This attraction was reviewed on October 21, 2023 by Team Michigan Macabre.

Final Score: 6.64

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In its third year and first, at its current location, Nightmares From Hell in Imlay City, Michigan, is an all-indoor haunt that will impress you with the amount of scary goodness within its walls. Be aware of its unassuming exterior because once you step inside, this 6,000 sq. ft. family-run haunt will leave you with a lasting impression.

Nightmares From Hell is an old-school haunt with updated tricks and treats waiting for you. Certain aspects were never before seen by this review team. We encourage you to make the trip out and include Nightmares From Hell in your haunt hit-list for years to come!

Cast Score: 6.01

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Cast Review:

The haunt was a little light on actors on the night we visited. There were a few noticeable dead spaces while venturing through. This haunt utilizes actors in an appreciated way by enhancing the scenes and not solely relying on props/animatronics alone. Due to this, we could see where some areas would have benefited from more actors during our exploration.

Most of the actors we did encounter were pretty into their roles, and we enjoyed the witty banter some of them added. One character, a cackling witch, kicked things off with an amusing yet confusing bang. She helped us through the maze and left us feeling like she was tormenting us simultaneously! All the actors stayed in character without a single slip, although we expected more interaction from a few, like the silent devil in the satanic room and the “sister” in the chair – we couldn’t even tell if she was alive. They switched things up with various characters throughout, which kept things interesting, and we never got bored with repetitive actors.

The Devil in the Satanic Room used props to make the surroundings feel even more dangerous. While we did hear some clichéd phrases here and there, there’s room for this cast to grow and improve. We’re looking forward to seeing how they evolve in the future.

Costuming Score: 7.25

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Costuming Review:

The costumes were well put together, and we didn’t spot any out-of-place elements. The witch’s outfit was on point, and the little girl in her bedroom gave off a genuinely eerie vibe with her pale skin and dark eyes.

Several actors opted for masks, some notably unsettling and gory. We were impressed by the overall appearance of the imposing devil and the more petite “satanic devil.” A few actors were referring to a mysterious “captain” whose costumes left us a bit puzzled – they seemed to have an undead quality but were otherwise fairly generic. A few jump scare actors were clad in dark attire, appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye, which didn’t allow much scrutiny of their costumes. All in all, a commendable effort was put into creating immersive costumes, nothing straight of a rack or copied from a horror movie.

One character would occasionally step out of the haunt, briefly visible to those waiting in the queue line. While not a typical queue line actor, he had a role within the haunt, and during those moments when a group exited, he interacted with the people in line. His costume was especially noteworthy, as he towered over everyone at more than 10 feet tall. However, it’s worth noting that the staff outside the haunt were not in costume.

Customer Service Score: 8.88

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Finding the location was easy enough; the music outside and flashing lights were a dead giveaway. Parking was ample and well-lit in the plaza’s lot. There was also a large bat prop, a space heater for colder nights, and a food truck to make the entrance known. We did observe a sign near the main road and other unlit signage near the building.

The ticket booth is across from the line of people waiting to enter. We observed some patrons enter the line without tickets as the ticket booth wasn’t well-lit, but this could be easily remedied with a light on the trailer.

The haunt was safe and easily maneuvered. There were some tight spaces, but nothing unsafe was experienced.

The Nightmares From Hell website is pretty bare-bones. The pertinent information is there, but no mention of ADA accessibility or much more than the dates/hours and minimum age. The website could definitely use some updating.

Immersion Score: 5.2

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Immersion Review:

The “pre-haunt” experience was a bit of a letdown. Other than the static prop and the one actor occasionally stepping outside, there isn’t much for the onlooker to observe that screams, “This is a haunted house!” Party music was being played, and screams from within the building could be heard, but nobody was amping up the queue line or teasing us with what was to come. Before entering, the limited outdoor engagement and entertainment leave you to scan the mostly vacant plaza and question whether you brought enough money for a taco from the food truck afterward.

There was no overarching storyline to this haunt. Once inside, you become quite immersed in the scenes ahead of you. There were zero instances of bottle-necks or conga lines. Occasionally, you could hear other victims’ screams within the walls, but other than that, we felt like we were the only people inside moving about. This was an impressive aspect, controlled mainly by a few actors who knew when to hold on to those passing through and when to let them flee.

The flow of the rooms had no rhyme or reason. You would leave a swampish area with larger-than-life crocodiles to enter an alien hangout, a little child’s bedroom, and so on. You could say you never knew what was awaiting you around the next corner!

An occasional non-black plywood wall or speaker unobstructed would stand out to the over-observable eye. The inside atmosphere ended abruptly, with the devil-type monstrosity opening the door for us to exit at the same point we entered. The lack of logical flow to the haunt allowed them to confront you with one fear to the next without apology, packing as much into those walls as they could without hesitation.

Special FX Score: 6.62

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Special FX Review:

Nightmares From Hell provided a mixed bag of special effects. While the animatronic noises, occasional thumping, and banging in the darkness contributed to the eerie ambiance, the absence of an ambient soundtrack left some areas unauthentically quiet. The reliance on animatronics in some areas created a feeling a bit too mechanical. The decision to forgo an ambient soundscape in favor of silence in certain sections created over-extended moments that could have been better served by more immersive sound design. However, these areas may have been where a missing actor could fill that gap. Moreover, in areas like where the “captain” was situated, the lack of water-rushing sounds or other environmental effects left much to be desired regarding the atmosphere.

Nightmares From Hell has custom scene designs and prop placements, some suspended above, which would add another level of interaction for visitors. However, there were instances of rather uninspired black walls, though some areas were textured and creatively lit. Most rooms were easily deciphered, and there were unique props to be found. Larger-than-life features are well used to intimidate the passers-by; these left a true impression! To enhance the experience, more encompassing sounds, and intricate room details would be beneficial. The lighting, on the whole, effectively set the tone. There were numerous lasers, black lights, and neon lights. Fog was used occasionally and helped with the atmosphere. Water was used several times, and we enjoyed that added effect. As far as we could tell, nothing assaulted the nasal passages in this haunt.

Scare Factor Score: 6.77

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Scare Factor Review:

Regarding the “Scare Factor,” Nightmares From Hell haunted house primarily relied on jump scares and pop-out moments. While these provided some thrills, we didn’t encounter any truly hair-raising or skin-crawling moments during our visit. However, the strategic placement of animatronics and actors throughout the attraction was well-executed.

Most scares were directed at the entire group or those leading the way, with fewer coming from behind, except for the memorable character “Witchy.” The scares were not entirely predictable but often felt anticipated, and occasional slow build-up scares kept us on edge. Unfortunately, the finale lacked the grandeur and intensity one might expect from a haunted house, leaving us without a compelling incentive to run for our lives. Nonetheless, the final actor added a memorable touch to the experience, making it a worthy visit for those seeking a fun, albeit not overly terrifying, haunted house adventure.

Entertainment & Value Score: 6.4

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E&V Review:

In terms of overall entertainment and value, Nightmares From Hell Haunted Attraction provided a fun and entertaining experience for the time spent inside. Although our visit lasted around 16 minutes, it certainly felt longer, which can be attributed to the effective use of actors to control the flow of guests. The absence of queue line entertainment was a downside, but it’s an area that could be improved for the future. Unfortunately, there were no additional “bonuses” of entertainment beyond the main event. However, considering the $20 ticket cost, it’s safe to say that we received a solid show for the price. While the minutes per dollar score fell slightly below ideal, the fact that the average customer spends about 20 minutes inside makes this a good value for the entertainment received. Compared to other haunted attractions, Nightmares From Hell offers a good bang for your buck, making it a worthwhile choice for those looking for a reasonably priced and enjoyable haunting experience.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.88 out of 10

Heather – 10/10October 21, 2023
Best haunt I’ve ever attended

Dawn – 10/10October 20, 2023
Short wait, awesome characters. Great rooms , twists and turns. Definitely jump spots! Great Haunted …show more House

Lynn R. – 10/10October 15, 2022
Short wait time. Actors are very good. The scenes set up are unique. Lots of scares, it’s a great …show more time!

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