|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Signage was highly visible from North Av., the air ghosts and the activity out front make the entrance easy to find. Plenty of free parking on the street north of the location was available.
Wait Entertainment: Several veteran actors were working the crowd line, along with some jr. monsters(kids). The girls in line were screaming, and the chainsaws roared as expected. The DR crew works hard and doesn't disappoint. The detailed murals in the inside waiting area draw much attention and comment from the crowd.
Because I've made multiple visits to this haunt, I personally would enjoy different music during the wait, but it seems to be appropriate to the setting and the patrons' expectations. I must be getting old.
The projection video in the wait area is a nice suspensful preview for the house, but I fear this also is beginning to show it's age for return visitors.
Length of Event: I didn't pay close attention to the time inside, maybe roughly 20 minutes from leaving the wait area to the exit.
Actor Performance: Everyone was well in character and having fun- I saw actors adapting well to a straggly group of patrons- we were all over the place. Good teamwork, and a mix of in-your-face as well as pop out interaction. The performances are varied and creative.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: The group I entered with kind of spread out, as some went ahead while one couple had trouble advancing at all since the lady was so willing to be stopped in her tracks by ANYTHING. The new pattern in the house was a nice change up, and gave the crew some control over this. I didn't feel rushed, and each section/room was ready for us. Some actors were actually able to reset and pop out at other patrons within my group. I don't think this affected the group behind us.
Appropriate Ages: Well, the more grisly scenes seem to disturb even some young adults. If your kids are past Jr. H.S. age and know up front that it's 1)theater and 2)it's loud and gory, they might have the time of their lives. If they have to be lied to or co-erced...GET A SITTER!
Props / Special FX: A lot of detail work goes into DR's rooms- stand out additions this year are the hellevator and the clown room. And, as always, I love the vortex!
Costumes / Make-up: Old favorites are present as well as some new work- I saw no "street clothes" haunters within the house. Gory make-up abounds as these guys pump up their creativity.
Summary: BAM! DR has kicked it up a notch in their second year in their new home.
Dream Reapers brings in a guest like Bill Mosely for the fans, and keeps building to improve their haunt. The actors are professional and energetic. A solid haunt that I expect will grow even better in the future. I had a good time and was never distracted by any failure to deliver...well designed and well produced.
|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Good|
Visibility/Location: This parking lot/mall front seems poorly lit and easy to miss from the street if you are not local. The construction on 53/Rohlwing might confuse drivers further about the entrance. Not a problem for me this year, as I now know where it is.
Wait Entertainment: The boys out front seemed to be having trouble with their chainsaws, but there was no crowd/no wait as it is still early in the season, and late on a Fri. nite when I went.
Length of Event: Since I was alone, I pretty well set my own pace- about 20-30 minutes
Actor Performance: A wide range here- some had well developed characters, some just slammed and banged and reset, and too many had the same angry ghost theme, shouting "GET OUT" as though there was a big line of patrons behind me....there wasn't. I caught a few rooms out of character as I approached, and I couldn't tell if some were in costume or not.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Not a problem as there was no crowd during my visit- I had the place to myself. As I noted, not all rooms knew I was coming, perhaps because no teen screaming heralded my progress.
Appropriate Ages: I did'nt find this a gory haunt, more creepy. Not for kids who dislike stumbling in the dark.
Props / Special FX: The few rooms this haunt has are well detailed and solidly built. Lighting is atmospheric and well placed, but many opportunities to create a convincing scene(building wracking storm maybe,unearthly portals, etc.) were missed.
The great lengths of winding black maze hallway constructed to fill this big space disorient you at first, and then get irritating, and finally...boring. Too much maze, too few rooms, too far apart.
Costumes / Make-up: uneven presentation- some are excellent, some look like stagehands. Okay, demonic stagehands.
Summary: I like Lombard Jaycees. I really do. Their price is reasonable for a great big built out haunt, their ideas are clever, and they have a dedicated cast and crew hard at work putting on a good Halloween show. You can see that every cent(and a lot of sweat) goes into the haunt.
I'm just tired of dragging my hand along the wall as I wander through pitch black mazework waiting for something to happen. The scene rooms were great, but the endless featureless maze destroyed the effect of the theme, a haunted hotel of the damned. I kind of missed the variety and creativity of last year's haunt. It's hard to fault volunteers, though. This effort is still approaching a professional level of haunt. I just feel the design missed a beat this year, and some tighter direction or training of the actors could get this show past merely good and well over the bar into the extraordinary range. For a "non-pro" volunteer haunt, this is still one of the best. And perhaps a slow night isn't the best way to judge- these guys may really rock on Halloween weekend with a bigger cast.