In just its second year in Dublin, The Nightmare Realm is a walk-through scare house built on the grounds of the RDS. Terrifying audiences in Cork since 2009, it’s an interactive experience that engages all your senses.
Separated into three wonderfully named sections- Charlie Chops Clown House, The Nightmare Realm Hostel and The Gruber Asylum- the characters are played by actors dressed in horribly life like costumes. They jump, they chase, they stalk and they scream. It’s not for the faint hearted.
Upon entering The Clown House you’re given a torch which doesn’t bode well. As your eyes adjust to the darkness and you gingerly feel your way around, a group of demented, unhinged clowns let out blood curdling screams and leap out from behind corners. They wield saw chainsaws, run at you from the front and creep up on you from behind.
After a well-deserved short break hostel owner Earl is quick to welcome you on to his premises. As you twist and turn down smoke filled corridors the moments of calm are the worst. Knowing you’re going to be scared, but not knowing how or from where is incredibly unnerving. The lights flicker on and off as screams can be heard from behind locked doors.
In the Gruber Asylum we see experimental treatments taking place and operations gone wrong. A criminally insane patient is left rotting in an electric chair, another approaches you in a bloody gown. Dismembered limbs hang from the roof and the smell is horrendous.
Without giving away any spoilers, The Nightmare Realm gives a nod to several classic horror movies and some iconic characters may rear their very scary heads. It’s genuinely terrifying and a unique way to spend thirty minutes or so. On their website they describe themselves as an event that will ‘prey on your deepest fears and nightmares and twist them into a deadly reality’. They weren’t lying.
(The Nightmare Realm runs in the RDS from September 29th until November 5th and on Kennedy Quay in Cork from October 6th until November 5th. Tickets available at www.thenightmarerealm.ie)