CEDAR RAPIDS — “Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.’”
But in the hands of Chris Moore and his cast of spirit guides, you’ll be saying “Evermore” or “Please sir, I want some more” after experiencing the ghostly and ghastly delights of Nevermoor: Tales of the Strange.
Sitting on the outskirts of Lindale Mall’s First Avenue side, the building that once housed the Plaza Theater, TCR Lindale and Planet X has arisen from the dearly departed to quiver and shiver again during the Halloween season.
But this haunted happening is devoid of blood, guts and gore. No clowns or chain saws will chase you through the halls.
However, don’t be surprised if a scream or two or six jumps out of your throat as you jump out of your skin in the Temple of Souls. It’s not the stuff of nightmares, but your heart will get a few good jolts during the plane crash and ensuing hike through the jungle as your tour guide — who may or may not be alive — guides you through a Mayan temple of many chambers. And you have to dig past your fears to help find the way out.
A father-daughter duo from Anamosa survived the plane crash on a recent Thursday night.
“It was very interactive,” daughter Dakota Bierer, 16, said. “A lot of things I didn’t think would happen, would happen, so good job.” Her advice to others is “to really put yourself into the story. You’ve got to play along.”
She’s been to other haunted houses, “but never one like this,” she said.
Her father, Bob Bierer, 52, was pleased to see the finished product, since he works at Home Depot across First Avenue, and got to see the raw materials being wheeled out the door.
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“I thought the prop activation was very good,” he said. “The graphic design of the places you’re walking through is really good. It’s definitely more of the thinking-type scares, rather than having somebody else scare you. It’s more of an intellectual scare, and you’ve got to be able to use your mind to figure stuff out.
“Plus, I got to see most of the material going into this place ... and now I get to see what he actually did with it,” he said of Moore’s purchases and efforts.
Moore, 39, of Lisbon, teamed up with his mother, Nina Scott, 59, of Mount Vernon, to bring Nevermoor to life.
An artist, Scott applied her paint brushes to the attractions, scoured secondhand stores for the decor, and designed the escape room. She knows a thing or two about the latter, since she and her son also co-own The Fantastic Escape! rooms in Lisbon. And they’re planning to open escape rooms in the former Bank of the West building across the parking lot from Nevermoor in mid- to late November.
For the Halloween attraction, Moore said: “We envision this as a place kind of like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ where you’re between worlds.” The name is a nod to “nevermore” from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and “moor,” often depicted as a creepy, boggy land.
He also brought onboard Chad Canfield, 45, of Cedar Rapids, who founded Frightmare Forest near Xavier High School in 2001. It grew out of his garage in the late 1990s, and in 2005, it changed hands and locations, evolving into Circle of Ash and moving into the Linn County Fairgrounds at Central City in 2015. Canfield, who now does haunted house consulting on the side, created Nevermoor’s soundscape, came up with storylines and added his specialty, holographic ghosts.
They can be seen — and seen through — in Nevermoor’s other experience, Poe Manor. It’s a spooky old abandoned house where Bob and Mary Poe once lived, but continue to lurk. Your spirit guide is a medium at large in the house, seeking to banish uninvited guests, which just might be you. Each room springs to life with things that shake, rattle and roll you through whatever the seance dredges up.
Poe Manor tourist Brian Bennington, 30, of Cedar Rapids, who was with a party of four plus one easily startled reporter, said he was surprised by the experience.
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“It wasn’t the type that I’m used to,” he said. “I didn’t have to look around every corner thinking somebody was going to jump out — I could actually enjoy the scenery more, and what was going on.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “There’s a lot of neat special effects props. It definitely kept me on my toes, and the actors were really good. They kept their part going through it, and I had a good time.”
WHAT; Nevermoor: Tales of the Strange
WHERE: Former Planet X building, near First Avenue entrance, Lindale Mall, 4444 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m. today (10/25), Sunday, Monday, Tuesday; 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, Saturday; 6 to at least 10 p.m. Halloween (10/31)
ATTRACTIONS: The Seventh Seance (Poe Manor), Temple of Souls (Mayan jungle), The Shed (escape room)
COST: $20 both haunted attractions, $10 The Shed; at the door
AGES: Poe Manor suitable for youths who go to PG movies; Temple of Souls more suited to youths who go to PG-13 movies
DETAILS: Nevermoorcr.com l Comments: (319) 368-8508; firstname.lastname@example.org