Inside Atlanta's Most Haunted House
One of the top Halloween attractions in the country, Netherworld is open through November 3.
Netherworld may only be open for a couple of weeks each year, but getting the attraction ready for visitors is a year-round job. Located inside an 35,000-square-foot warehouse right off the interstate in Norcross, Georgia, this haunted house is based on the simple idea of telling a story, albeit a scary one.
Founded 17 years ago by a group of people with backgrounds in television in film, Netherworld wanted to offer a different experience aside from just men in Freddy and Jason masks popping out from behind corners. “You have to create some original content that people are not expecting,” says Co-Owner Ben Armstrong, who worked as a supervisor at Fox before retiring to run Netherworld full time almost 10 years ago. “We came up with storytelling of the netherworld, a place where monsters dwell and every spirit cracks open in a different way.”
Netherworld started in an outlet mall in Kennesaw, but after three years of packing up all the props and equipment at the end of the season found a permanent home in a former Pepsi bottling plant turned antique mall. “We built it up and made it much more detailed,” says Armstrong.
As for content, Armstrong says they’ll take a theme and run with it for a few years. Classic monsters, from werewolves to Frankenstein and vampires, have been featured in the past, with this year’s theme focusing on skeletons and boogeymen. Netherworld has continue to expand but offers two main areas of haunts. The main space this year is called The Dead Ones, described as “twisted skeletal aberrations they glide through the darkened streets destroying everything in their path” and are based on our own superstitions.
A secondary space proves the boogeyman really is under the bed, as six innocent people trapped in comas are unable to escape a nightmare world of their deepest darkest fears. “We rely on phobias,” explains Armstrong. At Netherworld, the cast is counting on the fact that you’re afraid of something. They just need to find out what it is. “There’s a lot of ways to scare people, but our goal is not to terrorize,” Armstrong adds. “Our goal is to have a good time.”
From the moment you enter the parking lot, Netherworld’s monsters are in action, and there may be zombies and vampires, but they won’t be like any you’ve seen before. “Of course we pay attention to pop culture, but we’re more interested in things that are mythic and literary in nature,” he says. “We’re looking deeper.”
Think H.P. Lovecraft and Guillermo del Toro. Says Armstrong: “A properly done haunted house drives a fine line between shocking moments and evoking a sense of wonder that people feel in October.”
Netherworld is open nightly through November 3. Tickets to both attractions are $28 during the week and $30 on weekends. Speed passes are also available for $50 as lines tend to be long. The box office opens at 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7 p.m. on weekends and October 31.