From Mrs. Georgia to ghastly ghoul in 30 seconds at Netherworld

by: Nelson Hicks Updated:

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NORCROSS, Ga. —

Banshees, beasts, maggots, the human blob, Mrs. Georgia; it's another night at Netherworld.

One of the country's top haunted attractions is back for its 16th year in Norcross. Netherworld is a self-guided, dark attraction known for its over-the-top special effects, intense makeup, elaborate costuming, skilled stunt actors, unique monsters, unusual themes and chilling detail.

Every night, more than 100 live actors join thousands of special effects to make the Netherworld a must-see Halloween attraction for thousands of Georgia residents.

GALLERY: Step inside the Netherworld

One of those live actors is Meghan Hodges, Mrs. Georgia 2012. Hodges started at Netherworld four years ago as a makeup artist. She continues in that role each night at Netherworld this year, but after she's finished preparing her co-workers for the haunt, Hodges jumps in the makeup chair for her own transformation. Watch it in the video above.

“The first time you scare someone and they fall on the ground, you’re addicted,” Hodges told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hodges won the title of Mrs. Georgia in February.

“I’ve had an opportunity to do a lot of fundraisers,” Hodges said. “The first time a little girl walked up to me and called me a princess, I melted. To have something in common with the little girls of Georgia is pretty great.”

Rest assured the little girls of Georgia wouldn't want to run into her or any of her Netherworld cohorts at night.

As in years past, Netherworld features two haunts for those brave enough to endure the horror. This year, it's Banshee and the Hive.

"Freed from their prison beneath the sea, the Banshees wail in hunger for the souls of mankind," stated the press release about this year's attraction. "The cry of the Banshee means death as it opens the doorway to the Netherworld and releases foul beasts to pillage and destroy our world! Drawn by the autumn season, they circle ever closer, destined to create the most terrifying Halloween the world has even seen!"

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Some of the new features inside Banshee include a massive bloody crawling eye, primordial giant, slime crawler, the underwater city, the beast from the abyss, mermaids, the wail of the banshee, the house of the dead and the 21-foot tall tree beast.

The Hive is downstairs at the Netherworld.

"During the height of the Cold War in 1962 Robert Wellington-Hughes, an eccentric genetics researcher, sealed up his staff and followers in an underground bunker called the Hive," noted the press release. "Eager to create a utopian society and a radiation survival vaccine based on insect DNA, he disappeared beneath the earth for almost fifty years. Now his horrifying plot to mutate all mankind into insect-based life forms and to destroy all who dare resist him has been uncovered and you must descend into the Hive to discover the awful truth!"

New features in the Hive include an invasion of giant bugs, the bone-snapping crimson hulk, the colossal writhing centipede, wasp warriors, the unstable Cobalt 99 Missile, cocoon horrors, giant spiders, live arthropods, attacking maggots and the hideous human blob!

"We always look to deeper things," Ben Armstrong, co-creator of Netherworld, told Nelson's News on wsbtv.com. "We look to mythology and legends. We're not always trying to follow trends, we're trying to set them. So, I don't know, (it's) what comes out of our twisted brains."

“This is now a year-round job for us,” Armstrong said. “We work on the next season as soon as the last wraps. It is our goal to deliver a more frightening experience each and every year, filled with the latest terror technology, new custom made creatures, shockingly realistic props and unusual storylines designed to weave our guests into a tangled web of horror!”

Netherworld is open every night through Halloween and several nights after it. Check FearWorld.com for more info.

Here's a tip from co-creator Billy Messina. The haunt is the same whether guests stop by on Monday night or Saturday night. If you want to avoid the lines and the wait, visiting during the week is the best bet.