In the late 1990s, Lou Nasti’s Mechanical Displays Inc. was commissioned by Astroland to make big changes to Dante’s. “They took me through the ride and showed me where they wanted to put things,” recalls Nasti. “That worked out great because I love to stand in a space and visualize what could go there. I had a budget to work with and I later presented them 15 illustrated concepts. They picked the ones they liked.”
Nasti created Dante’s new stunts in his factory and installed them in the ride with photoelectric switches. He also introduced digital sound to the ride. Nasti said he removed all but one of the original stunts; one that he recalls was housed in a building. This may have been the ‘evil king” stunt which currently sits in a dark corner of the ride, unseen by riders. (A close-up look at this stunt’s face reveals striking similarities between the faces of the original stunts in the Flying Witch dark ride at Playland Park in Rye, N.Y.; supporting a theory that the stunts were created by the same designer).
Repeat riders on Dante’s soon realized that some of Nasti’s sets had “supporting casts”. For instance, just below the werewolf is a spider dangling from his web. When the mummy makes his appearance, a snake gyrates beside him, and behind the Butcher Shop victim is an assortment of severed body parts.