What started as Brooklyn’s sweet dreamscape Dream Machine has turned into the millennial haunted house Nightmare Machine, an Instagram-ready gallery of horrors plucked straight from the imaginations of the 22-37 set.

“I grew up with Halloween as a really big deal in my family,” says founder Paige Solomon. “I’ve always wanted to own a home mostly just to be the house on the block that has the craziest decorations. This was like getting to do that.” Hold your avocado toast jokes.

Nightmare Machine, the millennial haunted house

That’s as close as you’ll get to topical horror — this is not the real-world haunted house that Creative Time ran two years ago at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The charm of Nightmare Machine’s 10 rooms is varying the spooks between physical chills and letting your mind fill in the blanks as you snap photos in creepy yet Instagram-ready settings.

nightmare machine millennial haunted house brooklyn nyc halloween


There are also some New York-specific scares mixed in. Every New Yorker has started down a cockroach or two in their time — but how about 12,000 of them in one hallway? “The joke is now, because we put about 12,000 of them in this room, is it was almost like immersion therapy,” says Solomon. “I will call friends over to kill a cockroach or actually leave my apartment if I see one. But now when I see an actual living cockroach, I’m gonna go to pick it up because I think it’s a fake one because we’ve been pranking each other for a whole month.”

There’s humor, too. Like Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the tombstones in Nightmare Machine’s Millennial Graveyard take a more humorous than spooky angle, marking the deaths of those waiting for the L train that never came or victims of that one “literally” that ended up being real.

nightmare machine millennial haunted house brooklyn nyc halloween

Solomon both loves and hates horror movies, so the squeamish among you can relax (mostly). The thrill factor of Nightmare Machine is less jump scares and surprises and more about what you bring into the room — which can be a chance to confront your fears. Instead of rushing through cobwebs and feeling nothing but blind fear, letting yourself take the time to explore and touch and pose can be empowering in its own way.

And, believer or not, seeing Hell as a fiery ball pit is guaranteed to make you laugh.

Nightmare Machine is open now through Oct. 31 at 93 N. Ninth St, Brooklyn. Hours are Wed-Sun, 5-10:30 p.m., and timed tickets are $38; visitdreammachine.com

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