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The Northerner

USS Nightmare has lost its scare appeal

Stuart MacKenzie

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The USS Nightmare is a huge waste of money. If you are in college, or over the age of 14, do not bother going, it’s not for you – unless you are deathly afraid of jumping robots.

I remember going to the USS Nightmare in sixth grade and being scared by countless gory-looking actors who jumped out from unseen corners, shrieking their heads off. This year there were so many robots I thought “Judgment Day” had come.

Throughout our entire tour, there were probably a total of 12 costumed actors. On top of that, most of the time they were not even trying to scare us. Two of the workers in costume, collecting-light bending glasses, even said “please” and “thank you,” and a skeleton gave my friend a high five.

Instead of having people set up to scare unsuspecting thrill seekers, most of the workers were there to make sure you did not fall in the shoddy ball pit or break anything.

I used to get scared at haunted houses, and I think I still would if someone besides an obvious, hissing robot jumped out at me.

In fact, there is a sort of embarrassment when a robot scares you. Being scared by a human is different – after they scare you, they run away or laugh.

The point at which I realized this haunted boat lost its scare appeal occured when the woman in front of me tickled the actor in the ball pit, and he shrieked like a little girl, and louder than anyone in our group. It was the only screaming from a guy we heard all night.

There are countless rooms full of fake robots. They must be on a timer because they all jumped out at the people at the front of the line, and the middle just had to watch. It’s amazing what one non-mechanical werewolf would do for a haunted forest.

I guess some robots would be permissible if they had some real people mixed in. There is a room with a bunch of “dead bodies” hanging from ropes. This would be pretty scary if there was one real guy inside who jumped out at you, or who would at least stop the throng of teenagers having fun throwing the rubber bodies into the people behind them.

The robots themselves are bad enough, but they have another invention that adds to the insanely bad haunted house. It’s known as an Interactive Scare Machine. While people wait in line, they can put a quarter in and trigger one of those hokey hissing robots to pop out and scare someone already in the haunted house. They even get to watch it on a screen.

I think that is ridiculous. People have already paid $12 to get in and, now, they’re subject to someone’s prank. If no one pays they don’t even get to see the fake robots.

For $12, I want to see every fake robot there is in that ship

All of that money must be going to pay off the expensive sets. They had an alien station, a haunted forest, a room of demented clowns and an Egyptian tomb, all of which were elaborate, but not scary.

What would have been scary is if the USS Nightmare had pretended to be a real haunted ship and just played that up.

They could have demented sailors, and they could even keep the clowns (because clowns are scary, if you do them right). The boat is decrepit and scary enough-looking without all the cheesy “smoke and mirrors”.

Unfortunately, gone are the days when USS Nightmare was the scariest vessel on the sea. I think Beer Seller’s bathrooms on a Saturday night are much more frightening.

Now, it is just a boat full of expensive sets, robots and a few cheesy scares. It is not worth your time, or your $12.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
USS Nightmare has lost its scare appeal