Nightmare on 13th Can’t Wait to Hear You Scream

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By Holly Vasic

Nightmare on 13th is ready to hear you scream, since the Halloween season is officially upon us.

Themes such as “Sleepy Hollow,” the bayou, clowns, vampires and more are prepared to get your heart pumping. “I actually wanted to cry,” Lauren Burrows said on her way to the parking lot. Brett Barstow, who was with Burrows, urges people to give it a try. “I’d recommend it to anybody into haunted houses, even if you’re not into haunted houses. Just a good scare.”  Even if you’ve been to Nightmare on 13th in the past, as Burrows has, it is not the same. “This year it was terrifying. For reals” Burrows added.

Art and Casting Director Jimmy Dilley keeps the haunt changing every year on purpose with the help of customer and cast feedback, as well as his personal philosophy. “A lot of our sets in here aren’t older than 3-4 years. I like to say that a haunted house should be designed like a good horror movie. See it once it’s scary, see it twice you still got startled, you see it a third time [and] that movie’s just not scary anymore” Dilley said.

Dan Gorham and Aubrey Springer snapped pictures in the new Nightmare courtyard. “This is the first one I’ve ever been to in Utah. I’m from California and I’ve been to some out there but this was definitely a better one” Gorham said. Springer said her favorite part was the “spinny thing… I hated it but it was fun.” Unlike some haunted houses, Nightmare on 13th has the goal of scaring without over-dosing on blood and gore, as well as not touching people. Marketing Director Travis Hahn described the use of blood in the haunted house as “eye-shadow; it’s an accent.” Dilley explained that touching people “is not in our business model and will never be a part of it. We do say here we do not need to touch you to scare you or entertain you.”

Because of their no-touch policy, amongst other things, Nightmare on 13th is considered a more family-friendly haunt. After 28 seasons in business, going to Nightmare on 13th has become a generational tradition. One of the actors, Alan Dial (also known as Zero the Clown) said, “Nightmare, for an independent haunted house, is pretty family friendly.”

Despite being appropriate for varying ages, the scare factor is still prevalent. Dial recalls working in the haunt one night and feeling the fear. “The masks were going dim, the soundtrack was going full blast, I hadn’t seen anybody for a while. So I was kind of just waiting there. That was probably the scariest night I ever had there.”

Nightmare on 13th is located at 320 W. 1300 S. in Salt Lake City. It is open daily starting at 7:30 p.m., and goes until midnight on the weekends, until Halloween. If you miss your chance to get your fear on this October, the following weekend, Nov. 3 and 4, will be your last chance. Tickets are $25 and you can bounce back for $13. Get through the general admission line fast for an extra $10, or skip it all together for an extra $20.