NASHVILLE NIGHTMARE (BEFORE CHRISTMAS)
When I heard that Nashville Nightmare–which, I learned, was voted the number one haunted attraction in America last year–would be doing a Christmas-themed haunt focusing on Krampus, I knew I HAD to check it out. The attraction is made up of two separate “houses”: “Phantoms” and “Fairy Tale Hell.” Before I give you a rundown of each, though–and I’m going to go into detail, since this article is as much for me, as a means of remembering all the cool things I saw there, as it is about informing you; I didn’t think you’d mind–I’ll tell you a little about the outside. There were Krampus-es aplenty–should that be KrampusI, sounding all Latin and stuff? What is the plural of Krampus, anyway?–a really tall one, and a guy who’d taken a Creeper mask (from JEEPERS CREEPERS) and added horns, modifying it to look like Krampus, as well as The Grinch, a freaky clown, and Cousin Eddie from CHRISTMAS VACATION. (No, Eddie didn’t quite fit the theme, but it was funny to see him.)
Anyway, on with the tour!
The first house: PHANTOMS
You begin by meeting Ebenezer Scrooge, who invites you into his home. It would seem that someone has turned his house into a funeral parlor, though, as there are caskets everywhere; even the library, as I recall. Paint flecks from walls; shadows slink around in the corners. Then you enter the chapel where a funeral was to take place, only a tree has crashed through the roof. (I found this quite inventive, visually.) Then you process through the cemetery–it is located indoors, but the way it is rendered is realistic and really cool–through the corridors of a mausoleum and through a catacomb where skulls decorate the walls, and into another house. This latter contains a children’s room, where an attractive female clown–attractive in the way Harley Quinn is attractive; that is, hot but also a little scary–beckons you to stay and play with her. There are also a couple of giant gingerbread men–one of which is not a mannequin. There is a boiler room where the remains of victims dangle from hooks, and a sewer where a giant animatronic rat waits to leap through the wall at you.
The Christmas trappings here are cursory but prevalent. Christmas lights are strung up everywhere, and every cadaver seemingly is wearing a Santa hat. But where is Krampus?!
The second house: FAIRY TALE HELL
This one lends itself more easily to the Christmas theme. Suits of armor stand as sentinels as you pass, but don’t’ stick your fingers under their visors, as these snap open and closed like rattraps. This house is home to the giant animatronics. A dragon, “life”-sized; a beckoning skeleton demon; a mutant spider monster straight out of a 50s black-and-white creature feature; and TicToc the crocodile from the Peter Pan stories; it would seem TicToc has grown a LOT in the years since that story was written. Like, we’re talking a Godzilla growth spurt, here. I loved the skeletal barbarian warrior, which looked like the Horned King from Disney’s highly underrated THE BLACK CAULDRON–of course wearing the prerequisite Santa hat. My favorite part of this house was the Peter Pan section, where you find yourself inside the hull of a pirate ship (and encounter the aforementioned TicToc) before descending into a cave. A skeletal pirate stands strapped to the steering wheel of the ship. And he’s wearing–you guessed it! –a Santa hat. There’s a Beauty and the Beast-themed dungeon, complete with torture devices like a spiked rack. There’s the grandmother’s house from “Little Red Riding Hood,” and you know what that means. The Big Bad Wolf (here a realistic, life-sized werewolf model, who looks a bit like my old friend the Limb-Ripper, sans clothing) is lurking nearby. There’s Halloweentown, with its grinning, light-effusing jack-o-lanterns, and Jack Skellington and Sally in residence. (Oogie Boogie was outside.) But where is KRAMPUS? Ah, THERE he is, complete with a captured child. “I was wondering where you were, Krampus,” I said to him as I passed him. He shrugged in reply.
The real selling point of this attraction is its sets. I’ve never seen any as impressive. It’s a shame that the attraction is so dimly lit (I mean, it would have to be, but still) and you have to move through it fairly quickly. I’d love to spend hours inside, just admiring the artistry. It’s beautiful in its creepy way, stunning.
I never get scared in a haunted house. I’m always smiling the entire time, giddy as a schoolboy. To judge by the shrieks of those around me, there weren’t as many jump-scares here as their typically are at such attractions. I swear, though, the place is so flippin’ gorgeous, you won’t care.
The event was held for only two nights, so sadly if you missed it, you’ll have to wait till next year to see it. I highly recommend that you do. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a little blood and gore, some cadavers, and jolly ol’ Krampus?