All Visitor Reviews
All 2014 Visitor Reviews Submitted by DragonSlayer
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|Event Reviewed: Dark Shadows (Orland Hills, Illinois)|
Reviewed by: DragonSlayer   (Event Visited: 10/25/14 @ 9:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/28/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: Low | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Dark Shadows is fairly easy to find and the elaborate yard display is apparent from about a block away.
Wait Entertainment: This is a home haunt and the yard is filled with props and animatronics.
Length of Event: This depends on how long you look around. The actual walkthrough huant takes about a minute.
Actor Performance: The actors were well hidden in the haunt and merely had jump out scares. Still it was decent.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: There wasn't any really since you go through in the group you come in and they wait for you to come out.
Appropriate Ages: All ages
Props / Special FX: Very good for a home haunt!
Costumes / Make-up: Not too much makeup and costumes as most of it is props and animatronics,
Summary: I don't normally frequent home haunts but this one caught my eye and was a nice family thing to do on a Saturday night. I really enjoyed the whole thing and the amount of stuff and details crammed into the small yard is incredible. They had flashing lights to a sound track which makes it look like a thunderstorm over the cemetery scene in the yard. There was a really cool looking skeleton which props itself forward lunging at you while spraying a mist! Overall a very cool setup and a good time!
|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Nightmare on Leamington isn't hard to find with GPS as it is located within the Our Lady of the Snows school but there are not any signs or lights outside making it difficult for those not familiar with it's location to find.
Wait Entertainment: There were numerous monsters roaming scaring and acting funny while waiting in the line.
Length of Event: About 7 minutes.
Actor Performance: Very good overall. Being that this is a non-profit haunt, the actors in there really just like scaring and being in there! It is a great atmosphere.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: This is not a problem with this haunt. They make you go in with a tour guide half way then you go through the rest by yourself. There is never more than like 6 people in there at any given time. Very well done.
Appropriate Ages: I would say all ages but it is pretty scary and intense in parts so it is up to the parents. It's scarier than you expect!
Props / Special FX: Not too much in regards to stand out sets and props. Very minimal and basic but it works.
Costumes / Make-up: Some of the costumes are just okay but there are some neat make up jobs and creatures in there including a very detailed lizard monster with armor!
Summary: Nightmare on Leamington is an old school classic haunt that delivers on scares and only cost 3 bucks to get into. They do very well with what they have available and they set up everything up in limited time yet still deliver a wonderful show that's both scary and also entertaining. I highly recommend checking it out next year as they continue to improve.
|Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Disturbia Screams in the Park is located in the MB financial park area which is conveniently located off of I-294. I had a bit of difficulty finding it only because my car's GPS didn't recognize the address or name of the venue but it's clearly advertised as you get closer to the event.
Wait Entertainment: I got here before they even opened so i'm not sure what entertainment there was or would be this night.
Length of Event: Somewhere around 25 minutes.
Actor Performance: Very good and perhaps some of the best I've seen all year in IL! The actors loved their characters and really got into the atmosphere. Some were having dialogue with each other and others were trying to bring you into the scenes they were in. Very top notch performances by all of them!
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: I went on a Thursday and got there before they opened so there was hardly anyone there. I went in with a group of 3 and lost them several times within the haunt and never caught up with anyone and never had a group catch me.
Appropriate Ages: Parental discretion is always best but I think a 12 year old would be fine unless they scare easily.
Props / Special FX: The effects and make up were great. Lots of makeup and the masks were of very high quality. There are also some neat set pieces, animatronics, and cool lighting areas.
Costumes / Make-up: Costumes were spot on as well as makeup and masks. The characters were fully into their scenes and melded well with their specific spot they were in. No complaints here.
Summary: This was my first time going to Disturbia and Screams in the Park which were up to this point two separate haunts. I hadn't heard much about them so I didn't know what to expect.
Disturbia Screams in the Park is a very fascinating haunt with a good mixture of artistic value combined with well placed scares. The sets themselves are worth the trip to Disturbia. My only complaint is not with the haunt but the venue. The haunt cost me 25 to get in but parking was 13 dollars meaning that since I had not done anything else this night at the venue the haunt cost me 38 bucks to get into. Still, the overall value of the haunt makes up for this little inconvenience.
The great thing about this haunt is that they do a great job of incorporating different things not seen in other haunts. Upon first entering you actually are put in a chair that moves to get into the haunt. This is really cool as it makes you wonder whether this is a ride through haunt or walk through haunt. This also sets up the beginning part where patrons are separated from each other while finding their way into the first scene through complete darkness. I really enjoyed this aspect.
The haunt then unfolds into a series of elaborate scenes split up by mazes and passageways. At one point my group was separated and I ended up in an elevator with a character jumping back and forth and having a h--e--double-hockey-sticks (censored) of time trying to creep me out. They did make me a bit uncomfortable which is a big thumbs up to them! Later I was reunited with my group to find out they had already been through a part of the haunt I had not. There is also an elaborate acting job where you are tricked into believing one of the actors is actually a patron. Lets just say I fell for it and it was complete fun all around.
Scenes to note are the swamp, catacombs, elevator, and caged maze area where actors literally come from every angle including the ceiling! Very well done guys. I must say that Disturbia Screams in the Park is so far my favorite haunt this year in IL and I think it should at least get a look at it if you are in the area.
|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Statesville is visible by a large marquee sign that directs you to its location. It is fairly easy to find once you know where you are as our GPS led us just short of the haunt.
Wait Entertainment: The wait entertainment was great and there were many actors giving great performances outside getting us pumped for the main attraction.
Length of Event: It took us about 35 minutes and we walked slow but if you count the 10 minutes of putting you in a cage and getting tickets then the event could be clocked at 45 minutes. Still, I choose to time it from the moment you actually walk into the haunt.
Actor Performance: Very good overall. Most of the actors in Statesville had great energy and really got into their roles but there were a few that merely popped out and said boo or just looked at you not even in a frightening manner.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Statesville just plain and simple has too many patrons. It felt like the only intention of the haunt was to get as many people through as possible. Lines were huge and you go through as a huge group which drastically takes away from the atmosphere. Some may say it makes it feel like a real prison setting but frankly it felt more annoying than enjoyable to continually line up with 30 some odd people and then conga line through the attraction.
Appropriate Ages: This is at the parents discretion but Statesville is more aimed towards adults and teens so I would say 13 and up.
Props / Special FX: Statesville sports top notch effects and props. No expenses are spared here and perhaps it good just to get out and see what they have.
Costumes / Make-up: Costumes and makeup are also top notch at Statesville and again, no expense is spared to bring movie quality costumes and make-up to this haunt.
Summary: I put off Statesville for quite a while but decided to try it out this year and must say it is enjoyable. Statesville does a wonderful job at assaulting your senses and making you feel uneasy. I absolutely loved the bathroom area, clown room, bus area. Statesville is loud, obnoxious, and angry as it should be!
The lighting and sounds completely overwhelm your senses and I found this very cool. City of the Dead featured some great lighting as well as intimate scenes than allowed submersion into the haunt but the problem was that there were too many people in both attractions. Being that Statesville is as popular as it is, the lines and bunching of people inside the haunt make things a bit confusing and un-enjoyable. We went on a Thursday to avoid the crowd but still found it a bit packed. Another thing to note was that some scenes inside Statesville feature way too many actors while others feature too few. The boiler room made absolutely no sense and why it needed 5 women actors in it is beyond me. The idea of the boiler room is neat but needed to be better executed.
City of the Dead was a bit less crowded inside but most of that haunt was a let down as the theme and flow didn't seem to make much sense or go along smoothly. City of the Dead used to be a bit more intimate with atmospheric scares but I found they went away from this now and ended up with a hodgepodge of scenes that didn't make too much sense. They had hillbillies mixed with zombies mixed with mole people and I really didn't follow how any of it went with a city feel which was to contain the dead from the prison.
Both haunts overall are very enjoyable despite their downfalls but I must say that this haunt is better for first timers. I found the price to be too steep and the masses of people to be too much to really get into the mood. This isn't a knock on Statesville however, as they have become so popular lately that they just can't get all the people through in a better manner. So Statesville is still a top haunt and better than a lot of other ones out there that charge a lot of money.
|Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: 13th Floor is located on George Street which is often a little confusing if you are not familiar with the area. It is inside of a warehouse with several large banners around it showing you are in the right spot. However it would help if they had light up signs and not just the searchlights on top of the building.
Wait Entertainment: We were well entertained by a few actors who made their way back and forth through the line. The best was the grave digger character who would not only mess with the customers but the other actors as well!
Length of Event: It took us about 25 minutes get through the haunt but we took our time to take in all the details. The haunt is well paced though and would probably take about 20 minutes or possibly a little shorter if you hurry though it.
Actor Performance: The actors were very much into their roles and never broke character the whole time we traversed the haunt. Several of the actors went above and beyond and added to the performance because the haunt was sparsely occupied by customers. You could tell that the actors enjoyed that they were doing and what they were a part of. Great performance over all by everyone and the Hillbilly character was by far the funniest one along with his weird side kick that clung to the poles!
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: We went on Thursday and it was in the early part of the season so there was not many people at the haunt. Still, we went in with a group of 6 people and ended up losing the group of 4 behind us making us only two. We took our time and ran into a couple in front of us but overall the haunt was well orchestrated and the flow was good.
Appropriate Ages: 10 and up. This is always a subjective matter and it is at the discretion of the parents. There are a few things which might be inappropriate for young children such as the cross dressing hillbilly and some of the gory scenes in the hospital area.
Props / Special FX: Overall very detailed and beautiful haunt. The props are large and elaborate and include full size set pieces that are over 20 feet tall! One of the best looking haunts in IL for sure!
Costumes / Make-up: The costumes were very well made and some were of movie quality. Most of the actors had makeup as opposed to masks and the outfits fit the scene from the shoes up to the shirts and pants. Excellent use of makeup and neat contact lenses to boot.
Summary: 13th Floor is an interesting mix of movie quality sets and good old fashioned scares. The moment you enter the haunt you know you are in for some eye candy. The archways you enter through at the beginning hoist a giant death angel with massive wings! The haunt continues you through a series of scenes which seem to follow a theme of dying and entering the afterlife. The graveyard and church scene in the beginning have some good pop out scares as well as neat uses of lighting. As you proceed further you encounter an actual 8 foot tall Tesla coil! This effect is great but perhaps 13th Floor should consider adding an actor or two to this maze with the coil.
Other well noted scenes are the haunted mansion and hospital scene which boast great amounts of details and interesting set pieces. There's also a casino scene which plays on gambling with your sole. Many of the scenes could have been better but the haunt is actually still under construction and transitions between the scenes left much to be desired. The blank walls are distracting from the atmosphere and the fact that some of the equipment didn't work made many rooms disappointing.
Still, 13th Floor Chicago is a great haunted house and it's one of the most detailed around. The haunt will surely get better as the year goes on and the operators finish up the rooms and hallways. I wouldn't go as far as to say that 13th Floor lives up to the scariest motto that it claims but it is no doubt an incredible haunted house that should not be missed. I look forward to seeing more of this haunt in the future and watch it evolve.
|Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Good|
Visibility/Location: The Forest of Fears is easy to find with the big classic hearse sitting out front with the logo for PreparedToScare on it.
Wait Entertainment: There are many characters walking around and posing for pictures and creeping people out.
Length of Event: about 25 minutes
Actor Performance: The actors inside were very good and stayed in character the whole time through the event.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: They send in groups of around 12 to 16 and that is the group you stay with. They do a very good job of spacing out the groups and we didn't see any other groups in front or behind us.
Appropriate Ages: I would say about 8 and up depending on your child.
Props / Special FX: Nothing fancy here. Most of the props used are pneumatic actuators to make things move and rock and lots of compressed air shooting out at you.
Costumes / Make-up: The costumes and makeup are decent for this type of haunt.
Summary: I had never been to this haunt before and found when looking for more family oriented stuff to do with my family. I found this attraction to be quite good for the 12 dollar entrance fee (10 bucks with a canned good).
The bathroom scene was pretty neat and the entire haunt follows the premise of a highschool that met its demise and the children and spirits of those kids that didn't make it out. I also like the lighting in the wooded area.
Overall this haunt was a neat find and I'm glad I ventured through it but I was a little upset with the guy with the chainsaw. I work a haunt as well and didn't like that this guy targeted my 8 year old daughter who was obviously very scared to begin with as this was her first haunted house. He came back and stuck the saw in her face as I tried to shield her and stick my hand in his face to tell him to back down. Other than that though, the haunt is decent and fun to go through and a good value for 12 bucks.
|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: I was disappointed again with Basement of the Dead's visibility. I've been here before and thus remember the area and building but for those coming who haven't it could have been an issue. There were no lighted signs and the corner it's near was dark as well. There were no lines and thus no crowd around the area which again adds to the issue of finding this place.
Wait Entertainment: There was no wait so therefore no wait entertainment. Usually there is a DJ and a bunch of characters walking around.
Length of Event: It took us about 7 minutes to get through Shattered and about 15 to get through Basement of the Dead so in all about 22 minutes which is short for the price but not too bad.
Actor Performance: We went on an off night and it was also raining so no one was there besides us really which can be good or bad. Most of the actors were really into their craft and did their best to keep us around during our visit.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Since we didn't have any other people there we had no issues with patron flow and went in and never ran into anyone or had anyone catch us and we walk slow through haunts!
Appropriate Ages: Parental judgement is individual but I'd say 12 and up depending on your kid.
Props / Special FX: Basement of the Dead always does with what they have and outside of Massacre they have perhaps the best 3D in IL. There aren't a lot of large props here but the ones they have do their job well.
Costumes / Make-up: Both Shattered and Basement of the Dead feature top notch costumes and make-up. The best character is the pig butcher with the large hack saw.
Summary: I had high hopes for Basement of the Dead this year but feel their presentation was merely mediocre. They had some great scenes but I miss a lot of what they did last year and many of the rooms they changed didn't seem to flow well or give the same eerie effect they exhibited last year. The room with the torture tables and tools had great strobing last year but this year it was mainly dark meaning that the detail in it couldn't be seen well and also that the effect of the actors in that room is not as convincing. Last year I walked into walls the lighting was so good and I got caught up in the details but this year Basement seemed to go the route of just being darker.
Basement of the Dead does however use the fact they are in the basement of a building very well and it is for all intensive purposes very dark. The hallways towards the end are completely pitch black and the strobes in those areas only flash periodically and of course in your eyes thanks to the actors in there! I'm not sure if the halls with the strobes are effective or just annoying as I'm still thinking about it. The church scene was pretty effective and the pews featured people moving and praying that may or may not have been props! A lot of the old haunt is still here and the energy of the place is downright scary! Still Basement could have done better with a little more light and proper use of strobes.
Shattered 3D is a completely different story. I loved Shattered last year and I don't normally like 3D haunts but they just do such a good job. The paint makes you question what's real and what's not and the actors did a great job at egging us on and messing with us. I loved it! It seemed like their were a lot more actors in it and the clown at the beginning that operates the elevator is awesome! He broke the door when we were there yet went along with the whole thing and played it off wonderfully! Check out Shattered if you want to know what 3D should look like!
In conclusion, I would say that Basement of the Dead should be on any IL haunters list and I recommend going through Shattered first and ending with Basement of the Dead if possible. Overall two very good and effective haunts with top notch scares and effects.
|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Realm of Terror is easy to spot at the Kristof's entertainment center. There is a large billboard attached to a panel truck out front.
Wait Entertainment: There was one guy scaring people in line but we were the first ones there and not many people had showed up at the opening time.
Length of Event: About 25 minutes.
Actor Performance: Extremely good! The best actors in IL hands down! They are in your face and all over the walls!
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Very good. We went in as a group of about 6 and they split us up in the haunt into a group with me and my buddy and the other group of 4 then later we all caught up to each other again.
Appropriate Ages: Parental discretion is always advised but I would say due to the language and intensity of the haunt I would like 14 and up. A 10 or 12 year old may be able to go through if they are the type but it's definitely more for adults than kids.
Props / Special FX: Extremely good! The props and actors all blend into the scenes well and become hidden and some of the scenes are very realistic. The cyborg guy with wires sticking out moving back and forth is very cool. That's a one of a kind thing.
Costumes / Make-up: Extremely good and movie quality. Realm of Terror always delivers on this. All the characters are patients of the facility and they all fit into the rooms well and have costumes that fit into the scenes.
Summary: Realm of Terror has become my favorite haunt in IL. They combine great scares, cool effects, unbelievable actors, and lots of eye candy to make a haunt worth praising. They also move patrons through well without jamming people up or messing up the experience for anyone.
The overall theme of Realm of Terror follows a contagious outbreak and while this type of theme has been done to death by most haunts, they do it best at the Realm! The actors are in your face and really make you feel like you are in danger and like you should be scared. This is what a haunt is supposed to be.
The rooms are great and small and a lot of parts make you have to climb through and around things to get to the next part and make you feel as if you are trying to escape. The maze at the end is as always great and I really love it even with the changes to it. In fact I think it is better than before because it doesn't allow for people to jam up at the end yet still disorients you and makes you feel dread. A lot of people don't like the maze but it has been a favorite of mine and I still love it. My advice, if you only hit one haunted house this year, make it Realm of Terror.
|Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Fair|
Visibility/Location: Massacre is fairly easy to spot with its huge light up sign.
Wait Entertainment: There were not many people in the haunt when we visited but there were two actors roaming around and messing with people.
Length of Event: About 25 minutes.
Actor Performance: I was very let down with most of the actors in Massacre. The best actors were the guy scaring people in the line and the guy dressed up as a demonic pope in the church scene. Other than that I felt very disapointed by all the acting overall. Most of the actors were off cue and some were even talking or doing other things when they noticed us and tried to get into character quickly. For this haunt I was very let down by the performances.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: There were not many people in the haunt but we never ran into anyone and no one ran into us.
Appropriate Ages: I would say 10 or so but the church scene is a bit overly done so it's really up to the parents.
Props / Special FX: The special effects and props were great but the problem is that they are not well hidden and not well placed.
Costumes / Make-up: The costumes and make up were good. A lot of detail on most of the characters and I really like the doll room!
Summary: I had high hopes for Massacre especially since it was ranked as the best haunt in IL and I really liked it last year. All these hopes soon became disappointments though as soon as I started through the haunt. The problem is that Massacre tried to do too much with their space and they spread themselves too thin. Most of the haunt has light bleeding through from all of the other rooms much like 11th Hour did when they first moved to their permanent spot. I get it, you have to open to make money but save some of the space to make improvements instead of spreading across the entire warehouse. There were not nearly enough actors in there, there were not nearly enough props in there, and most of the scenes were from last year.
The props were very nice and elaborate but things need to be better hidden to create that reality you want to convey. The T-rex looked laughable as this head comes near you on a huge bar sticking 5 feet out of the wall. Fix that! Cover it up better and actually the tightness of where that prop was last year made it more intense and believable. Massacre is too open inside. Smaller twists and turns would make many rooms more intense. Also, actors talking to each and not caring much about their craft really detracts from a haunt.
On a positive note though, Massacre has a lot of potential. If they control the lighting better from room to room they will have a top haunt. The 3D is great but make those areas a bit tighter especially where the barrels are to really get people's attention. The best part of Massacre is the purge are. You leave a movie theater and end up on the streets. This was well done and I thoroughly enjoyed this part the most.
Overall, Massacre is a decent haunt and the only reason I rated it so low is because of the hype and recognition that comes with this haunt. We expect the best and you have delivered before and I know you can again. I think Massacre will get better but this year is not the best of Massacre. It has seen better days before.