NETHERWORLD

STONE MOUNTAIN, GEORGIA

ARTICLE BY: VENISHA VON MORTIS

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It saddens me that my 2022 haunt tour is drawing closer to end. Not quite as bittersweet as the new Halloween movie that dropped this week, but this part of the season always makes me want to slow down, live in the haunt moments and appreciate all of my fun, fright filled memories with Scurryface readers just a little while longer. That being said, this week, I have a special spook-show extravaganza in store for all of you goblins and ghouls. We will be adventuring to a place of mystical malevolence and magical mayhem. Buckle up. We are heading to Stone Mountain, Georgia for a visit to Netherworld!

 

Netherworld Haunted House…it’s famously known across the nation and also ranked as one of the BEST haunts in America. A personal favorite of mine! Each season, it’s an overall 8 hour road trip for my boo crew and I, but it’s an escapade that we never miss out on. It’s THAT immaculate! Netherworld…it’s a prominent name that leaves no explanation needed for those who have experienced it. For those of you who haven’t? Relax and kick back while I set the scene for you. Visiting Netherworld is like living out your childhood dreams and getting to runaway to a real life, spectral Halloweentown on steroids. It’s like being virtually transported into the movie, Hellfest, only on a semi smaller scale and without the actual killer hunting you behind the scenes. It’s your fantasy and nightmares colliding head on for an unforgettable encounter at this haunted attraction.

 

Finding Netherworld is easy with GPS. I do recommend purchasing your tickets online, leaving early and giving yourself plenty of extra time to prepare yourself for that Atlanta, Georgia traffic on I-85. Once you are close by this establishment you cannot miss it. If the flashing signs don’t give it away, the hoards of customers flocking back and forth will. The crowds are insane. This scare attraction is always packed from the front gates to the parking lot across the road. Think swarms of hundreds of ants at a time, only they are carloads after carloads of people navigating their way in and out of Netherworld. The parking spots are almost all packed to the brim and so are the lines of vehicles around the nearby streets. If you hate crowds, I’d highly recommend visiting on a weekday or earlier on the haunt season. Even then, I’d dare to say this haunt will be heavily populated. Personally, I was impressed at how well the line of customers was processed and ushered through this year. The genuine wait time was shorter than normally expected without anyone feeling cattle herded or rushed. You actually got to take your time and enjoy your trail walkthrough. Trust me when I say the personal experience here is worth every bit of the social anxiety and road tripping. There is a reason for all of the mainstream buzz and social calamity. I’m about to explain why.

 

THE UNDYING HORROR: 45 mins

From the very beginning, once you see the two scythe carrying, robed reaper guardians, you immediately get the foreboding warning that you are about to be transported into a baleful, spine chilling universe. Stumbling through a spinning vortex tunnel, you are catapulted into an alternate portal of sensory overload to the maximum capacity, a non stop thrill ride til you hopefully reach the end! The most vivid way that I can think to describe the vibe and concept of this insane maze is Underworld, Stranger Things and the castle from Labyrinth all combined forces. You never know what is coming next. Upon exiting the tunnel, you enter the land of the Zombie Queen and her Undead Army where sinister creatures swoop down upon potential victims from overhead zip lines, necromanced skeletal corpses, donning suits of armor, leap out from the shadows of canyon craters and a colossal grotesque ogre animatronic ogles the crowd. Have I got your attention yet? This maze is filled with so many scenes and characters I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I’ll cover a few of my favorites for you. There’s an evocative cemetery flanked by chiseled, moss covered angelic statues with their mildew stained tears and broken wings. Beware: some of these may awaken from their not so peaceful slumber at any moment. The cobble stone path below moves as you walk, giving a realistic stimulation of St. Louis No. 1, taking you inside a stained glass cathedral that quickly transforms into a Parisian catacombs scene. With all of the skull lined walls, it’s easy to feel entombed in an endless crypt surrounded by hissing vampires and brooding banshees. Soon, you’ll have a cluster of lined, moldy Jack O Lantern headed, straw stuffed scarecrows luring you inside of a backwoods swamp styled shack. Between all of the taxidermied deer heads, cobweb covered animal hides and strategically designed Wendigo corpse displays, the Southern slaughter vibes are easily detectable. We had a brief pause in this area due to crowd control. I was actually grateful. It gave me time to check out the wall to wall decorations and props. Netherworld is a haunt you could walk through 20 times and still find a dozen things you missed before. My absolute favorite part of this season was, hands down, the warlike wraiths. Mountainous stone gargoyle-like viking creatures brandishing double sized battle axes from above wowed customers as they followed the spiral shaped pathway and entered the carousel patterned room. This concept allowed hellish crusading heathens the ability to run, clockwise and backwards, along the sidelines while chasing victims. It was complete chaos! I loved every minute of it. The last noteworthy segment of this season for me was the Bone Beasts of Carcoa. Skulls, humeruses and femurs dangled from a hulking chandelier above. While calculated bone archways adorned mirror hallways as demonic brutes surfaced from the shadows to stake their claims on targets. It felt very Legend inspired.

 

PARASITIC: 15 mins

In the second maze, a bizarre parasitic based life form filled with the power of Planet X has taken over the top secret area you are about to enter, known as “The Box”. This Netherworld attraction is shorter than the previous one, but never the less, still entertaining. The maze itself has been lengthened in trail space compared to previous themes over the years. The best way to describe the vibes of this attraction is Predator meets Goosebumps, preferably that episode where the evil scientist was transforming people into plants. It’s green pus, crimson gore and spewing spores everywhere. Strolling mad scientists stuck mid transformation with corn husks sprouting from unwanted gashes gravitate towards customers while mutilated shrub alien hybrids plot their rapid laboratory escape. Make sure you keep an eye out for that mega sized spinning saw blade inside, your destined sudden split might not go as you originally planned.

 

MIDWAY:

The unique feature about Netherworld’s midway is that it’s inside the haunt. It’s literally the midway marker between both of the haunted attractions. After you exit the first maze, you will end up here before you make your way to the next segment. On Netherworld’s midway, you will find a gift shop for all of your merchandise desires, a concessions with “deadly” donuts and bubbling “potion” drinks, as well as, laser tag and countless detailed and aesthetically pleasing photo op backdrops - a shocking electric chair, a gothic tombstone throne, a vintage lit up jack-o-lantern and a high flying, fang flashing succubus display...to name just a few. There are a plethora of unique characters slinking around, interacting with guests. These monsters were all highly engaging and did an exquisite job of bringing the customers into their alternate reality. Being a part of the Netherworld midway is like stepping into a live action creature feature where all you want to do is monster mash and party with all of the ghosts and gorgons galore. Also, make sure you check out the DJ booth setup featuring a record spinning raptor before you rush off to play in the over-boiling foam pit, brought to you courtesy of a towering putrid pumpkin spewing bubbles from above.

 

The atmosphere at Netherworld is unrivaled. They have characters, props and set designs that break through any and all horror aesthetic barriers and leave you questioning reality. Netherworld’s costuming and makeup teams are outstanding and unparalleled. There’s an immediate notice of the time and innovative ingenuity that they put into making memorable monsters and other creations. They are in a league with Universal Studios and Disney on bringing unbeatable entertainment. Top notch skill and quality. Most of your interaction time spent with these grotesque, inhumanly creatures will leave you debating if that really is a person behind the makeup, an electronic prop or if it’s your worst nightmare brought to life. Netherworld also sets the bar for special effects. Nothing short of spectacular! They’ve got strobes, fog machines, animatronic props, moving floors that are each themed to match the sets, vortex tunnels, actors on zip lines and bungee harnesses...you name it, Netherworld has it. They spare no expense. Their use of all this equipment captivates your every movement and pulls you into an entirely otherworldly dimension where at times, it becomes hard to tell the difference between illusion and reality. It is an overstimulating experience, but in all of the best ways possible.

 

So, I’ve blabbed about all of the high tech animatronics, machines and electronics, Netherworld uses in its visual arsenal to ensnare guests, but what about the actors? This cast of characters are all 100% original creations. As much as I love my classic horror villains, the thing about Netherworld has always been they don’t try to imitate or duplicate what has been done before. They’re all about creating their own world of monsters. The midway characters are equally all engaging and interactive with guests. This cast pulls out all of the stops to help you enter the outworldish realm they are striving to invent. Some even following you all of the way to the cross walk at the end of the parking lot, terrorizing or talking guests up. I want to give a standing ovation to the actors inside of this scare attraction. It’s doesn’t matter whether there’s a zipline or a lift involved, this crew is making sure to always hit their marks. You never can tell when one of them is going to pop out of a trap door for a sudden startle or scream. You’ll be looking in one direction and they’ll get you at the exact moment you’re distracted. This cast is an amazing representation of being the heart that keeps the new blood (customers) moving through this haunt.

 

To wrap it all up, it’s hard to put into words what an experience at Netherworld is like. It’s a MUST SEE kind of event. It almost leaves you speechless. It’s that breathtaking and unique! You become entirely immersed into another realm full of creepy creatures and mythical monsters everywhere. Netherworld is masters of their craft. Very few will reach the standard they have set. It’s phenomenal. There’s a reason why Netherworld is considered one of the top haunts in America. They do an unbelievable job at bringing your nightmares to life and summoning the boogeymen who used to hide under your bed into actual creation. Netherworld is a spooktacular extraordinaire and a magical moment of monsters coming to life that all Halloween, haunt and horror lovers must experience and see to believe!

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