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Read Other 2011 Haunt Reviews

HauntedIllinois.com's
2011 Asylum Xperiment Haunted House Review


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Asylum Xperiment Haunted House
Odeum Expo Center
1033 N Villa
Villa Park, IL 60181

Visited: 10/14/11

 

Reviewed By: Minion     
Visibility/Location: Extremely easy to find with a GPS or just by Google maps. Simply stated, it’s the Odeum Sports Complex in Villa Park, a well known location in the western suburbs. To make it easier, there is signage from the main roads off the highways that point you in the right direction, and an “Asylum Xperiment” van located at the Odeum.
Wait Entertainment: It was early in the evening when I arrived, and only a short line waiting to get in, but there were two wait entertainers mixing in with the crowd, scaring patrons. In addition, there was a tattoo artist and psychic card reader available for patrons for a small fee, and the haunt promotional materials were playing on the side of a wall leading to the haunt.  
Admission Price: $20
Parking: FREE
Length:

17 to 20 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 forward through the attraction. Time spent waiting in queue lines, staging areas, intro scenes, rules rooms and when traffic jams cause patrons to come to a halt, has been subtracted.  

LPR: 2.500
LPR stands for Length/Price Ratio. It represents perceived value of an event, by comparing length vs price of admission. Higher numbers represent more value per dollar. Actual quality and/or entertainment value of an event are not factors in this calculation. Click Here to see how this event compares to others visited this year by the staff of HauntedIllinois.com.
Scare Factor: Medium-High
Crowd Control: This one is hard to explain. I had problems with it, but the biggest problem was not the fault of the haunt itself. A group of about 6 to 8 patrons went through the haunt right before us, and they took their SWEET ASSED TIME wandering through. I was traveling at a normal clip, and I ran into them IN THE SECOND ROOM OF THE HAUNT. (You read this right – they were given a four minute head start before we entered the dark maze, and yes, we hit them in the second room. Obviously… something strange was going on.) Because of the issue, I jumped out of the haunt at the third room and started over. On the second time through, we were put in with a group of about 10 other people who went through exceptionally fast, because they were freaked out.

Now, with all of that being said, my professional opinion is I don’t think there would be a problem in most areas. Flow was good and evenly spaced, but I could see a potential problem on some nights because rehearsed lines from some actors could lend it to causing some delays on busy nights.
       

Summary:

After walking out of Asylum Xperiment in Villa Park, the only words that came out of my mouth was: "Wow, thats a damn good haunt."

And, now, after going through the notes of my walk through at Asylum, it's clear they have definitely thrown their hat in the ring to be named the best haunt of 2011.

Let’s start the review by saying the design of the haunt is absolutely gorgeous. The entire house starts with a four minute dark maze that, while short in thrills, is what it is. Its four minutes of walking through the dark while people bang on the walls around you.

I only had two minor complaints throughout the entire haunt, and the first is in this section. It was not as “dark” as one would expect from a dark maze. Forgetting about the state required lights near the emergency exits and the semi-cool lasers interspaced throughout, this dark maze was never really pitch black as expected. The simple solution would have been for someone to tarp the top of the maze because, if you look at the ceiling, you can actually traverse your way through it without touching a wall. But, they didn't, and I walked through without any difficulty at all.

But, with that being said (and despite my complaint about being able to see,) I did experience my first “jump” of the year in that same maze. I was looking at a half-wall with a laser system shining out – more specifically, I was looking at a high-priced fog machine that probably should be hidden better - when a guy banged the wall right in front of me and jumped over the half wall. While I didn’t “yelp” and fling my self back into a fetal position on the floor crying or anything, I definitely jumped back and said “that was pretty cool.” Though, despite getting a quick shrill at my expense, the "evil critic" in me says that fog machine should have been hidden better.

After the dark maze, you open up into what truly sets Asylum Xperiment apart from other haunts in the state of Illinois. From a design standpoint, this is easily one of the coolest looking haunts I have ever seen.

The props and decorations in each room and the way they used different ingenious ways of getting people from room to room is what truly separates this haunt from any other in Illinois. The rooms inside Asylum are truly just amazing to look at. They used a ton of props in each room to make you feel you a part of any story they were trying to conjure up, and they were ingeniously put out for maximum effect.

For example, in the opening study, you walk down a long hallway with lightning and blowing white curtains into a room that is the same exact study you would find in any horror movie. There’s books on the walls and pictures perfectly placed, chairs with cobwebs… hell, you’ll even find a telephone and red velvet walls and a fire place creating the feeling of being inside of an old creepy home.

This haunt is TRULY amazing to look at.

Then, in the red neck back yard, you find a picnic table with a family of “yee-haws” sitting around eating body parts, while an actual full-sized camper is flashing its hazard lights at me as I walk through. You have to walk through clothes hang from clothesline throughout, while some killbilly is screaming at me to become her pet..

Then, again, in the kitchen…bugs are crawling in and out of rotten food, garbage and crap is everywhere… the table is littered with tons of old, stale food, making the room just DISGUSTING to look at.

Add in some highly detailed pneumatic props, placed in locations that you not only wouldn't expect but also in spots to add to a maximum effect...and it’s clear how much thought has gone into this place to create a haunt far superior than most out there.

Then, the second most dynamic thing about Asylum is their ability to use ingenuity to get patrons from room to room. They just didn't use black curtains to show people the exits, instead they used pneumatic and hydraulic devices open doors throughout the haunt to get people from point A and point B. For example and to release a bit of a spoiler, a wall slides up and the fireplace is pushed aside in the study to grant patrons access to the haunt behind. In the toy room, you have to cross through a closet (with another surprise awaiting guests) and a claustrophobia to get into a creepy toy room with actors popping out from everywhere.

I mean, moving patrons from one theme to another is something haunts rarely think about. Yet, the designers of Asylum spent a lot of time making sure it was done with ingenuity.

Other scenes I really liked was a doors room that had a couple of strange and unexpected surprises, a Frankenstein room that brought the mythical creature “to life,” a room of televisions that you would never expect to work as well as they did, a clown room that erroneously made you think you reached the end of the haunt and the aforementioned kitchen and all its disgusting attributes within.

Each room is highly detailed right down to where a pair of legs should go hanging out of a dog house, to a mosquito-netted baby bassinet inside of a child’s room. And, for a guy like me who lives inside of haunted houses for a month at a time… the look of this place is the crème de la crème of haunts.

The biggest problem - and the one thing that makes the race for best of the year so competitive - was definitely in the acting department. On a scale of 1 to 10, the acting was definitely a solid 7. That may seem harsh, but what made me come to that average was that, throughout the haunt, someone would give a solid performance worthy of an award, but then you'd bump into someone who would turn a performance of only a five and it caused the average to plummet. Seriously, throughout the haunt, it seemed like for every two good actors that were trying their best, there was an actor that was just confused on how to handle their role.

For example, in the doors room, the twin girls inside displayed high energy and changed demeanor quickly with the flick of a light, going from helpless to mean in response to the lights in the room. However, in a nearby scene, I actually had someone say “rawr” at me… and because he wasn’t scary at all, it allowed me to see him push the buttons that controlled the room.

Now, if it was just once, I wouldn’t mention it because the haunt is absolutely outstanding and one performance can be ignored. But, this sort of thing happened throughout the haunt: there would be two or three outstanding performances to help the patron lose themselves in this world the owners and designers created, then one performance would bring you back to reality and show patrons that this whole thing was just an illusion around you. For every girl in a kitchen that was smearing some sort of disgusting pudding on her legs while eerily mumbling something, there was one actor leaning against a wall not really sure of what to do. For every actor in the study that did an absolutely tremendous job of selling the story of the haunt (to a point where I actually got goosebumps), there was a person who just stared at me as I walked by, not really sure what to say.

Now, I heard the directors of Asylum really went out of their way to improve the acting in 2011, and if thats the case, they took a large step in the right direction. The overall show at Asylum was outstanding, but this small problem could be the one thing that keeps Asylum from winning it all in 2011.

Bottom line: I really, REALLY liked what Asylum Xperiment did in 2011. The detail in the house is ingenious, their design was outstanding, and the acting was definitely above average despite a handful of actors that seemed lost inside. You really couldn't expect much more out of one place than this.

Kudos to the entire group.        

To find out more about this event, visit:

http://www.asylumxperiment.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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