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HauntedIllinois.com's
2008 Dream Reapers Haunted House Review


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Dream Reapers Haunted House
1945 Cornell Avenue
Melrose Park, IL 60160

Visited: 10/25/08

 

Visibility/Location: If you follow the directions on their website or use an online mapping website, you should have no problem finding this attraction.   There was an illuminated arrow sign on the corner of North Avenue and Cornell, showing you where to turn, as well as flashing lights on the top of the building and illuminated inflatable "ghosts" near the entrance, to get your attention. 
Wait Entertainment: In their indoor waiting area, there was a spooky mural painted on the walls, as well as backlit poster signs, featuring a few Dream Reapers characters.  For a small fee, patrons had the option to take a coffin ride.  With a recorded soundtrack, artificial scents and a moving platform, this side-attraction simulated what it might feel like to be transported to the graveyard, inside a real coffin.  Outside the building, there were a number of actors interacting with the crowd.  There was also a concession stand, so people could have a snack while they waited.  On the night that I visited, it was raining.  To help make patrons in line more comfortable, the staff of Dream Reapers handed out umbrellas for them to use, free of charge.         
Admission Price: $15.00
Parking: $3.00
Some free parking was available along the East side of the street; however, since space was limited, most patrons had to pay $3 to park in Dream Reapers' parking lot.
Length:

12 Minutes *  
*
= Since people move through haunted attractions at different rates, your time will vary. Note: The time shown here represents the actual time spent moving through the attraction. Time spent waiting in queue lines or staging areas has been subtracted.

Scare Factor: Medium
Crowd Control: Crowd control was good throughout the attraction.  The video they show before patrons entered the haunted house spaced out the groups pretty well.  I did see the group ahead of me once, but did not run into them.      

Summary:

My tour through Dream Reapers started out with a video being played on a wide-screen television, explaining the rules of the haunted house.  Continuing on through the attraction, there was a collection of scenes with varying themes.  The level of detail throughout this haunted house was amazing.  Creating a realistic atmosphere is something that Dream Reapers has traditionally done very well throughout the years.  One of the most detailed scenes was the bat cave.  This area had textured walls, hanging camo-netting, flickering lanterns, screeching bat sound effects, as well as a couple of creepy hooded creatures who stalked patrons as they walked through.  Another highly-detailed scene was the swamp.  Featuring textured trees, pools of standing water, animal sound effects and striking snakes, this scene really made you feel like you were in a real swamp.  Other scenes they had brought back from previous years included the clown room, the medical area and the "Hellavator".  

The Dream Reapers crew also made some great changes this year.  One of the new areas was made to look like a mine shaft that was illuminated by flickering lanterns.  Along the length of the hallway, the ceiling was braced with heavy wooden timbers, to prevent a cave-in.  There were also some nice changes made in the industrial area.  One of their biggest additions to the house was the new graveyard section.  Bordered with short brick walls on both sides of the twisting path, this area featured tombstones, coffins, trees and cobwebs.  Being built up higher than ground level, there were plenty of places for actors to hide and plan their sneak attacks.  There were definitely a couple of pop-out scares that took me by surprise.  After passing through the graveyard, patrons had to walk through a dimly-lit crypt, which was filled with animated, groaning skeletons.         

On the night that I attended, they were well-staffed with actors.  Most of their scares were right on target and everyone did a good job of staying in character.  A few of the actors inside the house were pretty short, which made them not as frightening; however, they were pretty creepy, nonetheless.   There was a high energy level throughout the entire attraction, with the exception of a couple of the newer actors (e.g. clown room), who were a little more passive than I would have liked.   Overall, though, most everyone did a great job.   

Kudos to the Dream Reapers crew for putting on another great show.  They effectively created a realistic atmosphere throughout the attraction by incorporating eerie lighting, custom music soundtracks, artificial scents and a high level of detail into their scenes.  That is something they have become known for over the years and this year was no exception.  Keep up the great work! 

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