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HauntedIllinois.com's
2003 Rockford ScreamFest Review

Rockford ScreamFest
8750 N 2nd St (Rt. 251)
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Date of Review: 10/11/03
Visibility/Location: Rockford ScreamFest is located inside the Machesney Park Mall.  Since it is on the backside of the mall, it is not visible from the road.  Their are, however,  a couple of vinyl signs directing you to the event, but since they are not illuminated they are difficult to see in the dark.  If you follow the directions listed on their website, you should have no problem finding this event. 
Outside Appearance: Since this attraction is held inside a mall, the outside is pretty plain looking.  They did have a hearse sitting out front, to help give it a spooky appearance.  
Wait Entertainment: There were several actors roaming the waiting line (indoors and outside), to keep the customers on their toes.  Their midway area provided plenty of entertainment.  ScreamFest has the only indoor midway that I have ever seen.  Free arcade games were provided for their patrons, as well as scary movies playing on a big screen television.  They had various Halloween-themed games, including a spooky paintball gallery and a "Fry Freddy" game for their customer's enjoyment. For those patrons who wanted to take a souvenir home with them, a couple of booths with spooky scenes were set up, where you could have your picture taken.  In one of the scenes, you could have your picture taken, laying inside a coffin.  How creepy! There were also snacks available for purchase at the concession stand.
Admission Price: General Admission: $12.00
  Discount: $2 off general admission, with coupon

Speedpass: $20.00 (allows you to enter the house with almost no waiting!)

Length:

18 Minutes *  
*
= Since people move through haunted attractions at different rates, your time may vary.

Scare Factor: High.    
Atmosphere: The highly detailed scenes provided the foundation for a really spooky atmosphere.  The combined use of well-trained actors, animatronics and detailed scenes, all contributed equally to the eerie "feel" of this event. ScreamFest effectively used fog, appropriate lighting, sound effects and various music soundtracks to enhance the mood in all of their attractions.
Crowd Control: Even with a large crowd on the night of my visit, the ScreamFest crew effectively managed the flow of customers throughout the attraction.  Group spacing was ample; I went through twice and never ran into another group.    
Other Customer's
Opinions:
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  I heard nothing but positive comments about this attraction from the crowd.    

Summary:

Rockford ScreamFest is essentially five uniquely themed attractions, combined into one.  As you travel through this event, you pass from one world of illusion into another.  The five different themes provided entertainment for everyone, no matter what type of haunted house you enjoy.  

The Realm of Darkness:  
This attraction takes you on a journey through an old haunted manor.  In various scenes, the actors interacted with the crowd in a theatrical type of presentation. In conjunction with the actors, they used some great professional animatronics and props.  I personally enjoyed the interactive nature of this house.  Many of the scenes contained hidden exits, thus providing effective crowd control.  It also made patrons stop for a moment and absorb their surroundings, ensuring that they wouldn't miss any of the key special effects or actor narratives.  If you like theatrical, detailed haunts, you will really enjoy this one. 

Industrial Chaos:  
This fast paced attraction has metal racks, barrels and other things you might find in a factory setting.  But you will also find an ample amount of fog, strobe lights, other eerie lighting and spirited actors (no pun intended).  It is loud, fast paced and the actors are really "in your face", stalking you as you traverse the winding path of this attraction.  

The Riverview Cemetery:  
This haunt is also highly detailed.  As the name suggests, there is a strong cemetery theme all the way from the cemetery gates to the exit.  There are some great surprises in this one.  As you walk through the detailed graveyard, actors seem to jump out from nowhere to scare you. While the graveyard was highly detailed, the plain hand rails running down both sides of the aisle, slightly diminished the effectiveness of the scene. 

The Abyss:  
When you enter The Abyss, you step into darkness.  As you weave your way through this attraction, actors attack you from all sides, jumping out of  various hidden areas. While it could have been a little darker in some places (due to light reflecting off the ceiling and the bright 'Exit' signs), the majority of this attraction was pitch black.  

Nightmare in 3D:  
As the name implies, this is their 3D attraction.  The effect of the spinning vortex was enhanced, due to the 3D glasses.  Various themes were present, in the form of glowing fluorescent artwork.  A circus sideshow was the prominent theme throughout the attraction.  Various clown characters and circus freaks were painted on the walls. This attraction not only contained some nice, glowing 3D artwork, but it also had some enthusiastic actors, as well.


It is easy to see that a lot of planning went into putting this show together.  I have never seen such an organized first year haunt. 

Actor performance was great, especially in the theatrical, speaking roles. All of them stayed in character, knew what they were supposed to do and followed through.

Considering the length of the haunt and all the midway activities available, Rockford ScreamFest really gives you a lot of bang for your buck.  This is a great attraction, period.    

Click here to find out more about this event.

 

 

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