Wallingfords Nightmare on the Ridge – Full Review

Wallingfords Nightmare on the Ridge is a Haunted Attraction located in Auburn, ME.

1240 Perkins Ridge Road, Auburn, ME 04210
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 2, 2020 by Team Hallowoosh.

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Final Score: 8.23

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It was only a few days before my visit to Nightmare on the Ridge when I felt compelled to investigate what the few haunts up in the great northern state of Maine were up to.

In the decade that I have been traveling all over New England and beyond looking for haunted attractions, I can honestly say I have been to Maine a total of three times. And each one of those times I was attending haunted attractions in towns that share a border with New Hampshire. Never had I gone a full hour and a half into this majestic state thinking there might be a haunted attraction that could compete with the other New England haunts that hold a special place in my heart. And boy was I wrong!

Nightmare on the Ridge has made its home at Wallingford’s Fruit House in Auburn for the past seven years now. The haunt itself is a great twenty five minute walk through – all your worst fears brought forth by the evil and powerful Ringmaster. They say his magical top hat possesses the power to bring forth your most wanted desires and also your darkest nightmares.

Do you think you have what it takes to face your deepest fears and escape the clutches of the Ringmaster? There is only one way to find out!

Cast: 7.94

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cast of Nightmare on the Ridge was made up of both enthusiastic young haunters and passionate seasoned actors, many of whom are veterans from multiple haunts all over Maine that have come and gone.

They told me that Nightmare on the ridge typically manages about thirty to forty actors on a good night… but, due to regulations, they could only allow up to twenty-five this year. However, this did not affect the haunt in the least if you ask me.

I could tell that the younger actors were taking in some great lessons from the older crew. Not once did I ever encounter any actor treating their location like just another spot. Everyone in this attraction was obviously given a whole set to play with. Zombies never popped out from a grave and ducked back into their hole; they all followed me through the entire cemetery.

A bellhop in his hotel would pop out multiple times from behind a painting, a wall, a mirror, and finally guided me into his less-than-accommodating elevator. Even the star of the whole show, The Ringmaster, made another appearance even though he was still entertaining the crowds in the waiting area! Literally in two places at once! Excellent performances from all.

Upon entering the waiting area, it was difficult to see the first two characters I would encounter that evening. In a normal year, the waiting line borders against a fun stage area where The Ringmaster and Punx the clown entertained the guests before they begin their journey into madness! The Ringmaster stands tall and stoic and paces back and forth with authoritative energy. I didn’t want to take my eyes away from him. It felt like if I had, then the second I look back, he would be in my face and scolding me for looking away. And Punx the clown was ready to hurt anything and everything, whether I was looking or not.

As he danced around on stage to the creepy music, he would take dolls and play with them in front of nervous girls before smashing the doll into the ground with his bat right in front of them. He actually did a fantastic job getting everyone to believe he was less of a threat then they anticipated, only to rapid turn around and attack the entire group!

I recalled one young girl screaming to him from a distance ‘I like your hair!’ Without missing a beat he screamed ‘I don’t like you at all!’ before turning away from them. Almost allowing them a second to look at each other’s reactions. And once they turned around again to see where he went off too, he was already charging at them swinging his bat in the air and laughing like a psychotic clown… which would make sense! Well needless to say the girls were tripping and screaming over each other all the way back into the parking lot.

Plenty of actors inside the haunt weren’t even hidden. They didn’t need to be because their body language was just perfect to send chills down my spine.

A crazy lunatic character was chained up to the wall in one of the first rooms. I thought I would be safe since he was struggling to break free from the chain. It was only until I was in a good spot to run away he was able to break free and chase me out! And walking into the church all I could see was the black silhouette of a tortured nun standing in the pure red light that filled the room. No movement until I got close enough, and she began to scream and cry for her soul to be set free from the demon that possessed her and that poor church.

The entire cast has earned my praise for such an outstanding job, but the one actor that struck me the most came in the form of a psychotic cannibalistic butcher! It is not often I encounter a character who leaves me honestly concerned for both of our well beings.

As I entered a bloody room full of arms and legs and heads and bits of rotten flesh strewn about, a long-haired, cleaver-wielding, bloody-aproned man emerged from a black curtain. Instead of quickly making his way in my direction, as haunt actors are usually prone to do, he marched to the opposite sides of the room screaming and crying about how terrible his addiction to killing and eating has become.

He screamed ‘All I do is kill! And Eat! And Kill! And Eat! It Never Ends!’ As my eyes widened I realized this man hadn’t acknowledged the fact that I was in the room with him. And it was only a matter of time before his uncontrollable urge to kill and eat consumed him; I needed to get out quickly. ‘All I hear is Screaming! All I see is Red! Get Them Out Of My Head!’ as he bashes the butcher’s block with demented rage.

There is something much more frightening about knowing I still have a chance to not be seen and escape with my life than thinking I have no chance at all. I snuck past him as easily and as quietly as I could and quickly made my way to whatever was next. Certainly, it couldn’t be more disturbing than the butcher’s room!

Even the few actors who didn’t seem to have any dialogue to speak of performed to the best of their abilities. Along the way, in between the apple trees, a lone werewolf jumped out of the thick foliage and gave me a scare. I was even told beforehand that they would be waiting for me in that same spot; but regardless of being forewarned, they still were able to surprise me.

Another actor played the role of an armless Frankenstein and, yet again, I was forewarned. Even more so this time around because this is not the first time I have seen this particular scare. And, yet, these actors were still able to breathe new life into these roles.

Costuming: 7.41

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I was told that, due to the pandemic, all the actors were required to bring their own costumes and apply their own makeup at home. It was actually kind of fun to watch some of the actors show up before opening while I scoped out the farm. Evil clowns and zombies and maniacs parking and getting out of their car like it’s just another eight-hour shift for the psychos!

A lot of haunts I visit have a dedicated makeup team that more or less stick to a certain style of airbrushing or facepaint. Usually, the majority of the cast ends up looking like they’re all from the same pack after a quick face job. Up at Nightmare on the Ridge, it was fun to see that most of the cast was allowed to go their own direction when it came to their makeup and no two people were the same, even if they shared a scene together. I enjoyed seeing actors young and old interpreting what their characters should look like instead of being forced to look a particular way or wear a particular costume.

The majority of the cast was wearing masks over their mouths as per regulations to battle the pandemic. Each group was made aware before entering the attraction that there were two actors working that night who were not wearing masks due to health-related reasons. Also that these actors are stationed behind sets that guarantee they will stay far away from us and also that they arrive and leave the premises separate from the rest of the cast and crew.

The masks that the rest of the cast were wearing all fit perfectly with their characters. Only a few of the cast wore obvious standard face masks. They had a mine shaft worker wearing a gas mask, a dentist wearing a surgical mask over his mangled silicone mask, a hazmat suit with a giant face shield, even some of the actors were able to find some face masks that looked like bloody rotten mouths and they worked really well with their characters.

Customer Service: 9.6

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Wallingford fruit house offers an amazing amount of autumn goodies! They make their very own apple cider and offer it cold or hot. A full-time bakery cooking up a storm of pies and cider doughnuts and a wide selection of treats. A gelato counter with a wide variety of flavors, cheeses, meats, jellies, pumpkins, flowers, everything you might need to make a great festive autumn display. In the back, they have a large area for kids to play on wooden pirate ships and castles, a little petting zoo with goats and bunnies, a giant corn maze across the street, and obviously acres upon acres of apple orchards for a great New England family weekend.

I almost forgot to mention the hard cider tasting room providing Maine’s own Ricker Hill Orchards Mainiac hard cider. With crazy flavors like blueberry, gingerbread, tropical vacation, and everyone’s favorite Horseradish!

Online ticket purchases are available and a preferred method of transaction for most. Surprisingly they are timed tickets sold in 2-minute intervals between 7 pm to 10 pm. On-site ticket sales are available as well; however, this does not guarantee you will enter the attraction soon after.

Customers are welcome to enjoy the fruit house store and the hard cider tasting room so long as they are practicing social distancing. From opening to closing, they have employees at the ticket booth announcing over a PA system when a party may approach the beginning of the attraction. Then it’s a short walk over to a grand stage where The Ringmaster and Punx the Clown are entertaining the guests while they wait to officially enter the first house.

They have three distinctive corrals for the guests to enter, sectioned off by these big wooden apple bins and labeled by a large hanging wooden number above them. Even the parties waiting in their cars could easily hear when their names were called.

Nightmare on the Ridge is also completely wheelchair accessible. All structures had ramp access to all the same spots every guest would go. The majority of the attraction is outside in a more open area of the orchard. However, I recall no difficulty in walking through the grassy area, tree roots and fallen apples were never a problem.

Atmosphere: 8.88

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The haunted attraction sits directly to the left of Wallingford’s fruit house and, at night, it is more than clear where I was supposed to go. Lights and fog and music fill the night air while the queue actors entertained the waiting crowd.

The Ringmaster takes center stage and lets the guests know he is the boss and runs the show. Behind him come the sounds of screams and chainsaws and maniacal laughter in the distance – all part of his sick and twisted world I was about to enter.

Inside the attraction, it became a little more difficult to hear the screams from the other guests since the path was more of a giant loop rather than a back and forth zig-zag like some other haunts tend to be. The group ahead of me was far ahead and the group behind me would need to run to catch up. Needless to say, I felt very vulnerable and it was excellent!

Outside the actual haunt, I was enjoying some great Autumn-inspired hard cider and some fresh cider doughnuts! I could chill out in the cool Maine air listening to all the people scream and run away. It was a beautiful night for haunting and I’m sure it’s like that almost every night up at Nightmare on the Ridge!

Special Effects: 8.28

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With the current pandemic going on, a lot of people have been telling me that they bet most haunted attractions will have to rely on special effects and animatronics this year. I’m sure most haunts have decided to step up their special effects game for obvious reasons. I got the feeling that Nightmare on the Ridge has not had to worry so much about this as their animatronics and effects look like they have been strategically placed and built for a scare that will last for years.

I was only a mere twenty seconds into the attraction when I saw their first special effect that was custom made by the crew. The Ringmaster appeared as a ghost of sorts and he guided me into the haunted hotel. His body illuminated on the other side of a mirror and walked straight off the right side where a rocking chair started to sway back and forth.

Soon enough another mirror presented a cursed doll that seemed to move closer to me as I approached it. Before I knew it she was only a few inches away from me on the other side of this mirror; I had to wonder if she was going to break through.

The effects I encountered were working quite well. But most impressing to me was a great elevator simulator within the first house. The crazy bellhop escorted me in only to slam the door shut screaming ‘going down!’ Through a small window, I could see the illusion that I was traveling up. This accompanied by multiple bumps and shakes made the illusion much more real and entertaining.

Over the intercom, I could hear the Ringmaster speaking to me and asking if I was ‘prepared to meet [my] nightmares?’ The elevator seemed to stop for a split second until his voice came back, ‘It’s Showtime!’ Suddenly, a giant snap and pop and the entire room was shaking along with the window clearly showing that I was going way down! Then a crash and all was calm for a second. The doors open and I left to venture into what was now a world of fears.

Theme: 7.16

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The story of Nightmare on the Ridge began with the Ringmaster’s father back at the turn of the century. He was the Grand Ringmaster of his own Great Illusion Circus show where he would entertain guests of all ages with his magical top hat. The hat possesses the power to bring forth all of their grandest dreams, but his son was not so delightful.

He wanted to bring forth people’s darkest fears instead of making them happy. He would need to take the hat from his Father’s cold dead corpse in order to obtain its power.

One night, he snuck into his Father’s room as he slept. The son struck down his father and took the magical top hat for himself. He was then the new Ringmaster. Now, he guides you through a world riddled with all your deepest darkest dreams!

Scare Factor: 8

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The characters were clearly passionate about their jobs and this added to the feeling of every single set that I walked through. I could never tell if the next actor was going to give me a jump scare or a creepy dialogue I would never forget. Their hiding spots were hardly ever predictable if they even needed a hiding spot.

I can honestly say that the scariest part of Nightmare on the Ridge is the fact that I could never get used to one style of haunting. While a lot of places have the typical jump scare and maybe someone following me for a little while, I had no idea what was in store for the next room or set at this great place. Everyone and everything did something a little different.

Entertainment & Value: 8.5

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Tickets to Nightmare on the Ridge cost $20 each. The full walkthrough time was 25 minutes. This gives Nightmare on the Ridge a solid 1.25 on the minutes per dollar scale showing that I paid a dollar for every minute and twenty five seconds I was in the haunt. It’s become generally accepted in the industry that a dollar a minute or more is what to aim for. That being said this means Nightmare on the Ridge is a great value!

Let alone all the great goodies and drinks and gifts you can purchase, this haunt stands very well on its own! A great back story with dedicated actors and a solid crew of seasoned professionals. Let’s not forget the pre-show entertainment from Punx the Clown and the Grand Ringmaster himself! And also the commitment to staying organized and keeping everyone as safe as possible in these trying times. Absolutely a great attraction for all!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.67 out of 10

Brooke – 10/10October 27, 2023
The actors really got into it . They did very good. Props where awesome as well.

Adam daniels – 10/10October 11, 2020
I have been to so many “haunted house” type events and honestly I could gave taken a nap. Nightmare …show more on the ridge was worth every dollar spent and every minute traveled. My wife and her friend could not stop screaming in terror and I could not stop laughing because of it. Everything was so realistically scary, the animatronics were incredible and the actors just blew me away. I will most definitely be returning every chance I get!!!!

Mickey – 10/10October 19, 2019
Fantastically done! Scary!

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