Panic Attack Haunted Attraction – Full Review

Panic Attack Haunted Attraction is a Haunted Attraction located in Nakina, NC.

3245 Pine Level Church Road, Nakina, NC 28455
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Paid Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You may be touched, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line

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This attraction was reviewed on October 4, 2019 by Team Jefferson Starship.

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Final Score: 8.15

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Panic Attack (PA) has a long history of bringing scares to its guests. Though the attraction has moved and has gone through a name change (long time fans may remember them as Heartstoppers), the management team behind this one-of-a-kind haunted attraction brought back the original name when they moved the production out to the swamps and fields outside of Nakina, NC.

We journeyed into their ‘Party in the Swamp’ and can certainly attest to the amazing level of detail of their sets and scenes. Panic Attack promises some Hollywood-level backdrops to their show, and they certainly deliver. We cannot wait to return to see what future years bring from this haunt team.

Cast: 7.35

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On the night of our visit, there were approximately 100 actors spread across the swamps of PA. These actors cover a variety of roles. The vast majority of these fit right in with their swamp theme ‘ fish-men, fishermen, fish factory workers ‘ there are also some slight departures like nuns and ranting ministers and locals driven mad by what they’ve witnessed. Even these slight departures fit in if you’re familiar at all with horror literature of the past ‘ think of Lovecraftian horrors and the villagers who worship them.

The greeter outside the front door of the haunt was witty and fun, giving us all a small taste of what lay behind the doors he guarded. Though he may exaggerate slightly, his witty repartee certainly had us on our toes as we entered, eyes constantly scanning in all directions as we were on high alert for the horrors he hinted at. Once we were past him and inside, however, there was far less dialogue from the cast. They did a great job of portraying their parts, but weren’t particularly talkative, relying upon guttural groans and soul-shattering screams to bemoan their cruel fates.

We especially loved seeing the Octopus-woman, talking with the door greeter, seeing a couple of skeleton-girls, the goat-headed demon, and of course all the wild fish-people. There was one pig-headed butcher that not only produced the most on-point pig noises we’ve heard this year, but also managed to grunt, squeak, and force out some words without breaking out of the character noises!

Costuming: 7.98

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The beginning of the haunt season this year has been plagued with unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, and the night we visited Panic Attack was no exception to that condition. The actors at PA dealt with the conditions like champs. There are lots of great masks that really work in their surroundings giving the feel of otherworldly creatures from the deeps, but we’re sure that the actors beneath were swimming in sweat as they lurched out at us from the shadows of their homes.

All of the costumes, masks, and make-up fit for the scenes where each actor was located. In addition to the various aquatic terrors, there were demons, clergy, madmen, and clowns. But, each of these were in their own areas, costumed and adorned to fit their surroundings.

The mingling of animalistic forms was quite amazing. From an octopus woman to a goat-headed demonic figure to grunting pig-headed butcher, Panic Attack does a great job of transforming its actors into a grotesquerie of forms.

Customer Service: 9.15

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Hidden down a series of winding roads, we had to place a deal of faith in our GPS to find Panic Attack. However, once we were close, there were friendly staff waving cars in below a towering sign. The field we parked in was well-lit and there were plenty of staff to direct vehicles entering and exiting the lot.

Security checks before the ticket booth ensure the safety of guests (and actors) inside – leave lighters, weapons, etc in your car. Ticket prices can all be found online and are clearly posted at the haunt itself.

Inside the haunt, visitors will be sent on a rambling and winding walk through all manner of scenes. Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and dress comfortably. In addition to the occasional set of stairs, ramps, or swaying bridges to navigate, there are also a few areas where we had to also crouch, duck down, or almost crawl in order to continue along the path. Appropriate clothing for getting physical is therefore a good idea; you may bring home a little dirt in addition to your exciting stories and memories from PA.

All of the staff we encountered from start to finish were friendly and engaging, ready to give us the shirts off their backs in order to ensure a positive visit. We watched a few interactions with other guests, and it seemed that this kind regard wasn’t just for us but for all of the visitors to Panic Attack. The management at PA only want to bring better and better shows; we trust that, with the hard-working and passionate crew they employ, they’re going to do so.

Atmosphere: 8.65

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Before entering the haunt itself, we were able to watch a pair of fire dancers lighting up the trail beside the entrance booth while music soared into the air. The growling roar of chainsaws and screams from deep within Panic Attack lent an air of excited anticipation. After securing our tickets, we passed by a giant video projection with videos to accompany the music ‘ provided by a live DJ within the PA waiting line area.

The waiting line to reach the front of the haunt winds through some examples of the amazing sets and custom d������cor that also fill the haunt. After we paused to get a green-screen picture (sent to us digitally before the night was out), we made our way along the line through some towering set pieces that seemed to have all been washed ashore by some primordial storm ‘ wrecked boats, snarling sharks, and partially ruined fishermen’s shacks all gave us a tiny glimpse at what might lay beyond the doors of Panic Attack. It was a definite eye-opener for the quality and high-standards the haunt is reaching for, but it is only the smallest example of what was waiting for us inside.

Special Effects: 8.27

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While there was a cacophonous amount of banging and screaming and banging and pounding and banging on everything from wood to metal to plastic, none of that took away from the detailed sets that surrounded us every step of the way through PA. Surrounding the numerous props and actors are towering scenes that transported us to a Lovecraftian fishing town haunted by madness and monsters. If any of our readers are fans of amazing d������cor and scenery, then a visit to Panic Attack is simply a must.

Some of the prop scares we encountered were queued to hit the front of the group, but there were plenty of them to go around as we marveled at everything surrounding us.

Theme: 8.72

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As mentioned before, the theme at Panic Attack this year is ‘Party in the Swamp,’ and the attraction definitely delivers. Not only is PA located at the edge of an actual swamp, but their sets and scenes all play into the theme. Coulrophobics will even be pleased (or not so pleased!) to find that the theme is not just ‘swamp’ but also that the ‘party’ part of the theme also extends to a circus carnival portion of the haunt. Though there are a wide variety of different areas along the journey through PA ‘ from a canning factory to fishermen’s huts to a haunted house to a carnival and an asylum ‘ the crew has worked hard to push things towards the ‘Party in the Swamp’ theme.

Scare Factor: 7.92

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While we like to pride ourselves on being veterans in the industry ‘ having done everything from working and building haunts to, of course, visiting dozens of haunts each year ‘ each member of our team present on our visit to PA was caught at least once by the various jump scares spread throughout. In addition to the amazing sets, the haunt crew populating the swamps are skilled at using their surroundings, props and fellow actors to set up distractions for perfectly-timed scares.

The sheer volume of the early part of the haunt gives way to lots of distractions just as the front loaded prop scares gave way to more actor driven scares that hit different parts of our group. The finale of Panic Attack is a great build-up to a Southern haunt standard. The final actor working during our visit was a beast filled with stamina and commitment to his role. We were able to witness his pursuit of terrified guests from the final walkway all the way out into the parking lot multiple times. Our screamer even went back to get a second sprint from the exit just for the fun of it.

Entertainment & Value: 8.11

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Our trip through Panic Attack took about 20 minutes, a spot-on industry standard for the price of a general admission ticket of $20. As we keep mentioning, the sets and d������cor of PA are worth that price alone. Too, while we often recommend fast passes to avoid crowds, we almost don’t want to mention that here ‘ the waiting area between the ticket booth and the front door is so well decorated and the DJ seems to play such a great variety of songs that we could easily recommend spending a bit of time in line just to take it all in. Of course, if you’re super eager to get inside and see the facades, sets, and scenes (as well as the shockingly detailed masks the actors are wearing), you should consider the fast pass option ($35) depending on the crowds outside.

Panic Attack made good use of their space within the haunt itself. Though we hit a few spots where we were confused about which way to turn ‘ actor passages looked similar to our own path ‘ the haunt was a glorious trip that ended with us wanting to see more. We are certain that we will be returning to Panic Attack again.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 8.09 out of 10

Thomas Bethune – 10/10October 23, 2021
The best haunted house I’ve ever been to that was nice characters did a good job the little girl …show more pirate was excellent and mermaid was excellent at the captain was excellent the witches hut was excellent the Clown’s drove me crazy with the chainsaws overall loved it

Tim dockery – 10/10November 1, 2019
I found it to bee very good somethings need to be changed like the people acting need to have a …show more practice or two but over all very good was very happy with it and very scary and very good hospitality very kind people

Leangela adams – 10/10October 26, 2019
Was so much fun. All the monsters all did a great job. Was entertaining even in the line b4 we …show more entered. Would definitely come back. Best haunt I’ve been to in s long time

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Past Awards

2019 Awards

Most Enthusiastic Chainsaw Attacker (Given by: Team Jefferson Starship)

Best Delivery of Theme (Given by: Team Jefferson Starship)

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