Edge

Nightmare in Soho Studios

Apparitions, phantasms, possessions and exorcisms a haunted house do make. Not only does the unknown outcome of the upcoming presidential election have Floridians fearful, so too do fear-mongers Psycho Clan. With the help of Steve Kopelman, the entertainment company has brought the essence of blood, guts and horror icons to create your own living nightmare right here in Miami.

After asking Web surfers of their most interesting paranormal encounters, Psycho Clan collaborated those they found to be extraordinary and twisted them a bit, creating what they consider the “most terrifying experience possible.”

Consequently, AOL Cityguide has rated its frights number one in the country. Those near its New York City origin have gossiped about Nightmare: Ghost Stories tremendously for the past four years. And for the fifth anniversary, it is Miami’s turn to do the judging.

Since late September, Soho Studios in downtown Miami has been renovated into 18 rooms, in the hope of having each portray a different spine-tingling thrill. From the legendary Frankenstein to the chainsaw massacre and from rag-covered phantoms to sinister dolls, every real experience has been reenacted with live actors to deliver an interactive experience.

However, University of Miami junior Becky Kohberger was disappointed by the not-so-scary attractions. “I am from New Jersey and I have heard people rave about Nightmare in the northeast.  I was nervous and shaking upon arriving, but I was soon let down by ridiculously fake scenarios,” she said.

Admission grants access to three attractions – the haunted house, Nightmare: Old School, and the Mortuary. Creators say all three immerse patrons into an inevitably heart-racing haunt. “The haunted house has to be the most exciting and fearsome attraction to hit Miami in years,” says Nightmare spokesman Charles Cinnamon. “Almost as much fun going through it is watching the reaction of the crowds coming out… [there are]lots of hysterical ‘wow’s!’ Everybody’s howling how much fun it is and some even have the courage to go back for a second round.”

Before dishing out cash for a scare, some college students find it difficult to scrounge together the spending money they need for such an outing. For instance, biology major Mary Wise will be the first to tell you the thrills aren’t worth the bills. She advises not to go for the first time, let alone a second. “There is no way that this is the best haunted house in the country,” Wise said. “Of three attractions you would think one would have to be a little creepy, but none of them were even close. Nightmare: Ghost Stories is just a waste of twenty bucks.”

Perhaps the problem that arises is that a group of ten to twelve people enter the house at a time. This was Wise’s biggest irritation. “I think the main reason that I wasn’t frightened was because I was at the end of my group. I saw everything happen to the people in front of me, so I knew what to expect.” Kohberger agrees, “I may have a different opinion on the production if I had to go in by myself, but in a group fear was not a factor.”

Either way, in its second week in Miami, the Psycho Clan can only hope that the attraction’s presence will create a more favorable reaction from University of Miami students.

It is possible that the Halloween Bash which Nightmare is throwing on Oct. 31, in conjunction with the haunted house, will attract student patrons. A costume contest and a VIP open bar and lounge will add to the shock and shake at Soho Studios.

If you would like to test your own horror meter, Nightmare: Ghost Stories will be open until Nov. 1. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Visit http://hauntedhousenyc.com/miami for time details and more information.

October 8, 2008

Reporters

Stefanie Schartel

Contributing EDGE Writer


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