The Nightmare Machine” is an interactive theater experience in Brooklyn, New York, that was born in the summer as a playful theme known as “The Dream Machine.” But revamped for Halloween, “The Nightmare Machine” offers visitors a glimpse of Hell yet in an entirely quirky way.

Paige Solomon, the creator of “The Dream Machine” and “The Nightmare Machine” recently discussed the transformation of the space, and her future plans, via an exclusive interview.

Re-imagining spaces, pop-ups, and ideas

Meagan Meehan (MM): You launched “The Dream Machine” at the start of summer, so what made you decide to turn it into “The Nightmare Machine” come Halloween season?

Paige Solomon (PS): “The Nightmare Machine” started as an inside joke. As a first-time business owner, on slightly more stressful days, I’d call it Nightmare Machine instead of Dream Machine. One day, I said it, and a light-bulb went off! I’m such a big fan of Halloween and don’t think enough businesses play into the Halloween space. Plus, we wanted to go out with a bang! With so many pop-ups now in NY, it felt like a fresh approach for our last month here.

MM: How long did it take you to re-imagine the space and what was the process of actually altering the location like?

PS: Coming up with all the ideas took less than a week. There were a few weeks of planning and coordinating to build out a team.

But when it came time to actually change the space, we did it all in-house and in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! The process was relatively easy. It all just includes a highly organized plan of attack and a really talented crew. Luckily, I had both!

Nightmarish elements and the ball-pits of Hell

MM: What sorts of nightmarish elements did you focus on and was one room especially difficult to convert?

PS: I was inspired by the different elements of horror films and some nightmares I’ve had before. Aliens, clowns, hell, abandoned buildings, kill rooms, etc. Then based on the existing room and the structure of it, I was able to back in each idea into the room and then fully imagine it in each space. Nothing was difficult to convert, just time-consuming.

I’d say our Kill Room and Laundromat took the most work!

MM: The ball pit that once resembled a tranquil pool is now a pit of hell...that’s disturbing but also very funny! How long did it take to come up with that concept and alter that whole section?

PS: Conceptually, I do a lot of word association to get to ideas/concepts. Ball pit got me to hell pit, and the idea just stuck. Plus, structurally, we knew we had to keep it as some sort of pit. We also had the amazing video projectors on top of the screen ceiling, so I was really figuring out a way to utilize those when we transformed the space. From water to fire was a no-brainer!

MM: How have visitors responded to this experience and has it proven to be as popular as “The Dream Machine”?

PS: I personally love Nightmare Machine even more than Dream Machine! Guests have really been enjoying the space and interacting with it much more. I think October and Halloween, in general, allow people to come out of their shells a bit, so that’s been really fun to see. We’ve been sold out the past two weekends and are selling out the last two weeks fast. So, I’d definitely say it has been as popular as Dream Machine! But it has been drawing a slightly different crowd.

MM: Might you re-imagine the space yet again for the Christmas season?

PS: It was definitely a thought! I think it could be an interesting model for these pop-up experiences, as they become more permanent fixtures, to change over every few months, almost like museum shows do. And although we’d love to stay in NY and re-imagine the space as a winter wonderland, the west coast is calling our names. But who knows what we’ll have in store for Winter 2019?!