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Review: The Mangler’s Fear Machine

RATING: 5 Keys          RESULT: Win           REMAINING: 0:27

Bigger is not always better. Sometimes, awesome and scary things come in small, claustrophobic packages.

Netherworld in Atlanta, GA


The Manger's Fear Machine

The Mangler has created a room filled with nastiness and horrible devices to test your fright level and to determine if you will survive – or succumb to your fear.

What more story do you need? A haunted house venue that is consistently rated as one of the top in the nation every single year has created an escape experience full of the best ooey-gooey, gross and scary things that money can buy and some of the industry’s best hands can create. Lock us in and throw away the key!

That said, the premise is this: The Mangler has trapped us in a tight space with some of the worst fears a person can have – starting with claustrophobia. But, even extreme claustrophobia didn’t keep our team from tackling this challenge.

The story was oozing out of every square inch of this toothy, bite-sized adventure. Escape the Netherworld expertly immersed us in all things spooky, creepy, and crawly.


The Mangler at Netherworld

The Mangler’s Fear Machine was a pop-up game located at Netherworld Haunted House during the 2016 and 2017 Halloween seasons. Because it was quite simply a quick, mini-room, it took place in an over-sized storage closet located inside the gift shop.

Upon entering the rather unassuming space, our team was taken aback by the incredible amount of scenic detail that went into this small chamber. We found ourselves standing on a steel grate floor surrounded by industrial-looking pipes and valves running throughout the setting.

The theatrical lighting in the environment was fantastic and included varying hues of red and green effectively used to give the space an eerie quality. That, coupled with the fog that was permeating the room from the flooring and piping, definitely gave a very realistic impression that we were inside a functional, mechanical – or maniacal – contraption of some kind.

Interwoven with the cold, hard steel parts were what seemed to be living, breathing elements. If it wasn’t sticky, fleshy, or gooey, then it was hairy or crawly. As huge horror fans, it was utterly exquisite and divine.


Maegen and the Mangler at Netherworld

Since The Mangler’s Fear Machine was literally a 3-minute game, no elaborate or time-consuming puzzles were present. Instead, most were physical tasks which essentially involved us figuring out how to activate the next challenge or simply looking for a key. While that sounds like a simple task, we must stress that this is a Netherworld room, so finding a key won’t be a basic task involving searching. It will test your courage as well.

Our fear of the unknown was certainly put on trial, in that we couldn’t always see or know exactly what we were reaching our hands into. Rest assured, everything was really nasty. A few of the devices gave us pause, and we weren’t sure if was safe to stick our hands inside some areas, at the risk of suffering bodily harm.


We thoroughly enjoyed being the Mangler’s experimental test subjects. Netherworld injected more details and aesthetics into this pop-up game than many full-fledged 60-minute games do. When we played this experience, we asked about the possibility of them opening a fully-realized escape venue. The gamemaster told us that they were using The Mangler’s Fear Machine as a measuring stick to gauge interest of the visitors to their haunted attraction. We’re guessing people were pretty interested! Flash forward one year later: Netherworld now has a year-round escape facility that leaves quite a first impression.

While we escape unscathed, we hope to cross paths with the Mangler again one day, if only during the annual haunt event. We can take pride in knowing that we went eye to goggled eye with him and came out ahead – and with our heads intact.

Maegen and Michael at The Manger's Fear Machine

Venue Details

Venue: Escape the Netherworld

Location: Norcross, GA

Number of Games: 3


Duration: 3 minutes

Capacity: 2 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: This room has since been retired.


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