by VICTORIA HENLEY
Nestled deep in the woods just down the road from the famous FDR State Park in Pine Mountain, Ga., Nightmare on 190 is a bone-chilling and thrilling haunted house experience that will keep you on your toes and stay with you long after your visit.
The initial Nightmare on 190 took place in 2019. The frightful attraction has quickly gained acclaim as the premier haunted experience in Georgia, entertaining and terrifying a bevy of guests from across the US each weekend throughout the holiday season.
Born from ideas conceived by Nightmare on 190’s masterminds Matt Roach and Marty Spells, who collaborated together on a successful haunted trail a few hours south in Valdosta, Ga. That venture continued until Marty became assistant manager of FDR State Park. While working with the park, he came across an eerie abandoned building that once housed troubled youth under a program sponsored by the state park. Roach, who picked up a creepy feeling each time he visited the building, decided this building would be a quintessential location for a haunted house and quickly got to work with his equally visionary business partner to create a one of a kind haunted house experience unlike any other.
A self-proclaimed haunted house enthusiast and someone who has visited top haunted attractions around the U.S., I have never experienced “the creeps on my back” (as Lynn, our photographer so aptly phrased it) quite as much as I did at my visit to Nightmare on 190.
Brandishing an authentic and non-commercialized aesthetic, the Nightmare on 190 experience is spine tingling from start to finish. Loud rock music and strobe lighting blasts you as begin your journey into the dark depths of the unknown. Guests encounter ghouls, goblins, demons, knife -wielding possessed clowns and more as they wind their way down coordinators and halls that lead to unexpected scares
Familiar characters include Michael Meyers, Jason and Chucky. Themed rooms (including “corpse bride,” “the exorcist,” an “evil circus”, a “witches coven” and more are featured throughout the expansive haunted house.
This was one of the largest and most sprawling haunted houses we have ever toured. Nightmare on 190 features not one, but two haunted houses (for the admission price of one), separated by a winding trail, complete with various evil mongrels and chainsaw-wielding mad-men who await you along the way.
Each portion of the experience is the direct result of immense planning and well-thought out choreography by the Nightmare on 190 Team, with placed props and dedicated actors waiting around each corner to surprise you, each ardently committed to their respective roles.
The costuming and sets are largely repurposed. This stellar attraction stands out because almost no animatronics are utilized and each interactive scare zone is carefully orchestrated and executed by real people. This helps provide a more realistic haunted house experience.
One of the standout moments of Nightmare on 190 is the “Cheyenne Room” where guests are prompted to “Say Her Name,” which triggers blood curdling screams and other forms of delightfully fun and frightening chaos. The story behind the “Cheyenne” portion of Nightmare on 190 could truly be the premise of a classic horror film. Matt, Marty, and several members of the production team were clearing out the abandoned houses one day in preparation for the impending haunted house set up when they came across a poster labeled “Cheyenne” (allegedly in tribute to the Native American tribe). Each time a member of the crew uttered the word “Cheyenne” aloud, they heard movement behind them that only each person who said the name could hear.
Widely believed to be haunted in real life, Matt and many members of the Nightmare on 190 team have reported hearing sounds of children giggling, foot steps, and strange voices while walking through the haunted house venues, long after all the guests and tourists have left.
Perhaps these paranormal experiences further contribute to the palpable “other-worldly” energy which can be felt throughout the haunted house tours.
Just as entertaining as the exceptionally curated haunted house is the other guests’ often hilarious reactions to their surroundings. During our tour, one young lady lost all sense of reality (completely understandable, given the chillingly realistic nature of the haunted house) running out of breath, screaming wildly and falling over on the “Exorcist bed” as she attempted to get away from the possessed titular character.
The horror is not over at the end of the tour, as the cast of players, ever in “Method Mode,” often chase unsuspecting visitors to their vehicles while wielding chainsaws.
Not for the faint of heart, and a true delight for fans of well curated, traditional haunted houses with real characters, real thrills and chills, and perhaps even a few real spirits, Highway on 190 is a “must visit” bucket list item for any Halloween enthusiast.
Not to worry…the ghosts and ghouls are not allowed to touch you, and guests are not allowed to touch them for safety purposes.
Get ready for the thrill of a lifetime at Georgia’s premier new haunted attraction that has everyone buzzing.
It will be held this Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. to midnight, and on Halloween.
PHONE NUMBER: (229) 233-2069
Victoria Henley is on IHeart/FCB Radio and can be found at CTFashionMag.com