The Doctor, portrayed by Robert Frankenberg, center, with all his...

The Doctor, portrayed by Robert Frankenberg, center, with all his patients from "Experience Unknown," a 5-D horror show at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Credit: Retro Souls Entertainment LLC

The Doctor is in, he will see you now — if you dare.

The madman scientist has taken over the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City and is looking for people to experiment on Saturday, Sept. 30, as part of an immersive horror event, “Experience Unknown,” that blends a haunted house with a 5-D theatrical production.

“The show starts the minute you hit the door,” says writer-producer Robert Frankenberg, who plays The Doctor. “The power gets cut and there are air-raid sirens blaring with spotlights coming down, and you hear explosions all around you in the pitch black. It’s really made to make you feel uncomfortable.”


The Doctor is developing a serum, Chemical Z, which turns humans into creaturesque beings. In the process, he angers patients who stage a revolt. Chaos ensues.

The experience begins when attendees are immediately quarantined at the door and patted down by real security guards.

“You are read a list of rules and you are inspected by the chief officer, who is a hybrid robot,” Frankenberg says. “Warning: You may be separated from your friends.”

Groups are taken into the classroom of Professor Darkwood, who informs them about The Doctor’s botched experiments, which they are about to meet. The tour moves into the museum’s hangar, where the creatures exist. They all suffer side effects stemming from electroshock to having a lobotomy.

“Some are in cages, some are in tanks, some are running rampant,” says Frankenberg. “What separates us from other haunts is that our actors don’t just come out and say, ‘Boo!’ They will follow you through the atrium.”


Those who survive the creatures of Hangar 18 will witness The Doctor perform his experiment in person as they enter the JetBlue Sky Theater, where the real show begins.

“It’s like a horror film come to life,” says Philip Martinez, who plays Chester Ravenwood, The Doctor’s right-hand man. “It’s very dark and macabre. There are many things you don’t expect to happen.”


The show is a combination of screen and stage with 5-dimensional action.

“It’s the complete, full immersion where the characters come off the screen. The audience can interact with the digital world,” Frankenberg says. “The characters are on the ground in front of you talking to characters on the screen. The lights will go down and all of a sudden the monster on the screen is in the audience.”

The effects don’t stop there. Electronic firecrackers go off, a full 360-degree lighting system surrounds the audience and silicone custom-made masks move with the actor’s facial expressions.

“People get hit in the face with things. You will even smell a decaying corpse,” Frankenberg says. “Some will get within three feet of The Doctor and his creatures.”


Despite its dark tone, the show has its lighter side.

“It’s an ’80s-gore, hilarious cheese-fest,” Frankenberg says. “There are parts that are terrifying, but some parts are just funny. You will laugh just as much as you scream.”

The scare level ranks about an 8 out of 10, according to director Tony Noto, and is appropriate only for those 16 and older. The cast hopes Halloween enthusiasts take to this new haunt/horror show hybrid.

“People like a challenge. Typically they want something they haven’t seen before,” Martinez says. “There’s a progression in this experience, and you are more invested in where everything is going.”

The question is, what’s going to get under your skin?

“Some people can get freaked out from the masks, while others are startled by loud noises,” says special-effects director Aidan Finnegan. “It will put you on edge somehow, depending on your phobia.”

‘Experience Unknown’

WHEN | WHERE 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City

INFO 516-572-4111,

ADMISSION $20 16 and older

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