Prism Haunt - Nightmares Manifest 12 - Halloween Yard Display - Halloween Show - Mission Viejo CA

Prism Haunt 2020: Nightmares Manifest is a Technological Dream

Prism Haunt 2020: Nightmares Manifest is a fascinating and chilling sci-fi-themed yard display and live show that uses multiple projections, actors, and some great effects to immerse audiences in their narrative.  

Nightmares Manifest follows a passionate doctor and his AI lab assistant, Metal 3 (who is represented via grating metal noises, a distorted humanoid face,  and a circle of lights that changes color to indicate Metal 3’s mood), as they seek to develop and test an invention that brings dreams to life on an actor hidden in the audience.  We soon find out that it’s not her dreams but her nightmares that are being brought to life.  It seems Metal 3 is not the submissive AI assistant the doctor thought him to be and has ulterior plans for the doctor and all of humanity.  The young girl who became the test subject must now face a difficult choice as she becomes the only person who can save humankind from her nightmares. 


Prism Haunt - Nightmares Manifest 12 - Halloween Yard Display - Halloween Show - Mission Viejo CA


Featuring multiple video screens showing various rooms within a strange lab environment, and flanked by computer workstations with unsettling programs running on screen, and mysterious barrels of chemicals, the set is tonally cohesive and well executed.  The house’s garage has been transformed into a lab setting full of bright lights, ominous tubing, and the centerpiece – some sort of chair contraption that the actors explain is used to tap into and bring to life to the dreams of compatible subjects.  Metal 3, the lab’s AI assistant, is represented via a humanoid face on a screen and a bright light above the lab that moves and changes color to indicate various emotions as Metal 3 speaks.  The sound effects are industrial and chilling, and scare actors escort participants to their spots for the show and stand behind them for a few extra jump scares pre- and post-show. 




A lot of passion is poured into Prism Haunt which is part of the reason it often tops lists of home haunts, being one of the few this year to sell tickets formally in advance.  A great deal of technology and orchestration is used to facilitate a display that is loud, bright, thematic, and immersive.  Everything from industrial background noises to Metal 3’s booming voice, to rattling barrels when the lab is destroyed result in an  incredibly theatrical experience.  


Prism Haunt - Nightmares Manifest 12 - Halloween Yard Display - Halloween Show - Mission Viejo CA


Like Pirates Cave, the effects are only strengthened by the use of live actors. The majority of the action in Nightmares Manifest takes place via pre-recorded projections, but there are numerous scare-actors and doctors in lab coats ready to ensure that the show runs smoothly and the audience is effectively scared. Further, the show utilizes a wonderful surprise by hiding an actor within the audience group–this choice of hiding the actor playing the test subject in the audience and then “choosing” a compatible subject creates a fun moment of vulnerability for the audience. Even when our show faced slight technical issues, they were quickly resolved and the scare actors kept us entertained in the meantime.

With large spaces reserved for each group, social distancing protocols were properly enforced and the experience, taking place outside, felt safe.


Prism Haunt - Nightmares Manifest 12 - Halloween Yard Display - Halloween Show - Mission Viejo CA


Overall, Prism Haunt’s Nightmares Manifest was a technologically savvy experience that perfectly combines actors, projections, and effects to create a cohesive and chilling experience in which nightmares come to life. The actors do an amazing job at scaring, engaging, and interacting with the audience, and the effects are movie-studio quality. While their normal walk through experience could not be done this year, this yard display experience is a welcomed one and was easily one of my favorite independent home experiences of the season.

For more information about Prism Haunt, visit their website, Facebook, or Instagram pages. Check out our Event Guide for more Halloween and horror events throughout the year.


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