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HauntedIllinois.com's
2013 Screamatorium Haunted House Review


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Screamatorium Haunted House
Arte Verde Garden Center
15630 IL Route 76
Poplar Grove, IL 61065

Visited: 10/05/13

 

Reviewed By: Raven    
Visibility/Location: Directions by mapquest and GPS were easy enough. About a mile off the highway, along a major road, the haunt is located at the Art Verde Garden Center, and should be fairly simple to find. 

The area however is fairly dark, among cornfields, and with the storms that passed through that night, was pretty dark. There was not much lighting set up except for one sign right at the entrance, which could very easily have been passed up. I would have driven right by myself, except my son had noticed it. Could very much use a few more lighted markers to help guide people to the building itself. 

Parking was easy enough however. Right in the garden center itself. Plenty of it too. 

Once in the parking area however, there were no banners or other signs to direct us to the haunt, except for the occasional scream. 

The haunt itself is located at the back of the garden center. And although there are wooden horses and cornstacks to help wind you around the garden areas towards the ticketbooth, they could do a little better with a few dim lights directing you towards the maze. 
On the way out, we did spot a huge wooden sign that said “Tickets” with an arrow, but it was missed on the way in because of how dark everything is in that area.
Wait Entertainment: Being a haunt with outside waiting, there was no eye candy here. The outside of the haunt itself is very simply made up, painted completely black. There’s a large No Smoking sign on the haunt that makes up the décor for the front. 

Being early on in the season, we didn’t have much of a wait. One couple in front of us.

A very enthusiastic Michael Meyers was there to entertain us before our mission. He did well giving us the cold hard silent staredown for several minutes before giving up and moving on to his next victims that entered the haunt after us. 

We had a few laughs at the gatekeeper and his manager’s expense (who was sitting off to the side). Found ourselves joining in their conversation, joking around, which made things fun during the wait…but if it was longer, could have very easily gotten dragged out and boring.
   
Admission Price: $10
Parking: Free
Length:

3.5 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: 1.225
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. 

The actors were very much on their feet, and were very intense inside the haunt. Not only scored a few unexpected scares from me, but had my son scrambling to get away as they followed him through-out the haunt. There’s a lot of chainsaw action here! If that scares you, you’ll be running for your life here! Quite a few actors are not afraid to wield one and leave their area to chase you throughout the haunt. 
Crowd Control: Wasn’t much of a crowd that night. A good handful of couples that came after we had exited, and two couples before us. One who were waiting for their turn, and another who just entered when we walked up. 

The timing was spaced out enough where we never bumped into the couple that entered before us and had the haunt to ourselves.

Summary:

Over the years, I have noticed that there are two types of haunts. You have the prop driven, who solely rely on props and special effects for their scare factor, and others who are very traditional. Simple props, aggressive actors who earn their scares the old fashioned way. 

I very much have a love for both, but when a traditional haunt has both me and my son scrambling to get out – you know you’ve got something special on your hands!

We were kept very entertained throughout the haunt. From the nervous gatekeeper at the door reminding us – several times! – not to touch the actors. It was his first time working the door, and although his presentation was just a bit off, he was having a great time with it. His previous comments to the couple before us were a little more R rated, and was super funny!…but glad he didn’t repeat the joke for us. Not that I have a problem with my son hearing vulgar language – very much aware it’s part of the experience in most haunts, and he’s on football – he’s usually heard worse from his coaches at this point! 

The inside of the haunt itself was extremely simple. You initially enter a dark maze with scribblings written all over the walls in chalk. The maze didn’t have us lost for too long unfortunately – could have used a little more direction here. 

Dark corridors with chains hanging from the ceiling wind you through the hallways to the next room. The rooms themselves were basic in themselves, but it worked. The actors didn’t give you much time to stop and take in everything before they jumped out at you anyways! Found ourselves working our way out of the haunt much quicker then we would have liked!

The best rooms in the haunt were the dreaded bathroom scene, read about this one last year – and was pretty intrigued. Was something unique and new, pushing the limits, which I always enjoy. 

Had to say however, walking out of the room, I was pretty disappointed. The bathroom was hidden behind a small corridor – if you didn’t look quickly, you will miss it. 

And although you could tell there were smear marks on the walls, and all over the actor, they didn’t quite have the impact needed because it was super dark in the room. A little too dark actually. If the actor didn’t announce he had poo poo all over his hands, I wouldn’t have gotten it and missed out on the experience completely.

The super bright paint in the clown room stood out nicely, and those clowns were very playful that night! Chasing us right out of there! 

My main concern however, throughout many of the rooms was safety. There is a good step down when you’re exiting out of a few of those pitch black rooms, being chased through. Nothing was mentioned as a warning, and I almost fell on my face – a few times. 

I will admit I am a bit of a klutz! And they do add to the effect of not knowing what is next, catching you off guard. But could very well become a bit of a problem for them should someone really fall and wish to make a big deal out of it. 

Overall, we really enjoyed this haunt. Was a little disappointed on the timing of it. We drove quite a bit for our fun to be over in less then 5 minutes! But, they do got a great thing going there for the local crowd. Do believe as the season closes in a little more, this haunt will get more intense – gave a great run for the few actors they had and being fairly early on in the season. Very much worth the trip if you’re in the Rockford area, but not sure that I’d drive that far again. Did have my curiosity! And I’m glad I did! Very much had a great time while it lasted, and for the price and intensity, can’t beat it!! 

To find out more about this event, visit:

http://www.trailofscreams.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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