Events: The Nightmare Realm, Cork
The queue… the fucking queue. All the way around the side of the building that houses Cork’s Nightmare Realm. Since they only admit people in groups, the going is slow, and we wait a decent hour before we actually get inside. The staff on the desk and the security play up to the whole experience, saying stuff like, ‘Oh, there’s only two of you? Good luck’ and ‘They love long hair in there; be careful’. At this point, we become more than a bit nervous. Even more so when there’s an actor crawling around the queue, grabbing for ankles and whispering in ears.
What’s side-splitting about being in that queue is that once you get inside, you can see people coming out the exit of the Realm. Some are laughing, some are strolling out like it was a walk in the park, some are running and screaming. The building works as follows: you go up a back stairs, all the way to the top, and work your way back down through the maze of the Realm.
We, however, can not stroll up the back stairs at our leisure. The terrifying being that frightened us in the queue spider-crawls up the stairs after us, so, understandably, we leg it. When we get to the top, we’re already giddy. We’re handed 3D glasses and told to walk through the bubble. This ‘bubble’ is the actual entry, and it’s demented, trying to push through this massive synthetic white… thing. Getting through is a relief, until we see what awaits us on the other side.
A personal note: I went to the Nightmare Realm last year and loved it. The whole experience is meant to last between 20 and 25 minutes; we did it in 15 last year, so this year, I was adamant to take my time and absorb everything. But the best laid schemes often go awry, and so did mine once I got in there. Are you going to take your time when someone is running at you with a chainsaw? Didn’t think so.
The 3D is amazing. Blood spatters on the walls stand out, it looks like we are walking through laser beams on the floor, mice are running out of little holes; the experience is surreal. We work our way from room to room, holding hands like scared kids. But it is that childhood fear that we all know so well; we know it’s a show, that they are actors, but the kid part of our brains takes over and we peg it from the scary clown blowing in our ears. We literally can’t help but run.
And we can’t help but scream. There are a lot of surprises in there: people jump out at us from inside walls, there are totally dark rooms where hands grab our legs, we hear loud bangs, chainsaws, constant sound effects, there are rooms full of mist, and a slaughter house (which does not impress my vegetarian friend). We creep into another room. It’s almost pitch dark, but we can see the outline of a bed, and something lying on it. We inch forwards … and suddenly the figure lying on the bed bangs something undoubtedly horrible against something equally undoubtedly horrible, screams, and there’s a flash of light. Horrific! But when we get through the house, we see that the effect came from a photograph being taken. Which is the fucking funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
I realise that describing the experience makes it sound ever so slightly lame, but it’s far from that. The Nightmare Realm is a really professional production. The effects are excellent and the make up on the characters is very realistic. It’s well worth the hour long queue and the 10 quid entry. It’s the kind of thing you come out of and want to go through again straight away.
If you haven’t been, go. Even if you’re not a scaredy-cat, it’s guaranteed you’ll appreciate the special effects. It’s open until the 3rd of November, with different opening times on different days, so check out the Facebook page for full details. You’ll never have so much fun being terrified.
And yes, this year we legged it through in 15 minutes. Again.