Devil’s Krypt (Cicero’s Town Hall of Horrors) is an atmospheric haunt that is held in the abandoned Cicero town hall. The multiple levels and disused areas are put to good use as set pieces, adding realism to certain scenes. For example, real jail cells, abandoned offices, bathrooms, and basement areas are all incorporated into the haunt design.
This year the haunt is completely redesigned, and starts in the basement of the building. Corridors and rooms are highly detailed, with some even having ceilings, and with staircases and other areas being covered in fake stonework to resemble the “Krypt” in the haunt name. In addition to the main Krypt area, there are swamp scenes, clown scenes, hospital scenes, wooded scenes, cannibal scenes, and more. All are extensively detailed, with moody lighting and sound effects in the background, such as dripping water, lightning, and outdoor noises, that add to the ambience.
The lighting this year has also been improved. In several areas, lights only come on when you walk close to them, then shut off after you pass by, creating many shadowy areas where actors can hide and leaving areas behind people in the dark so that they are never sure if someone is following them. Fog is also used to great effect, with the majority of the haunt being shrouded in a thin layer of it. It is not too much so that one can’t see, but just enough to keep the atmosphere tense.
The actors are also very good. There are many of them in the haunt, with most scenes containing at least two and usually more. Although many are younger actors, they vary their performances and don’t simply jump out and startle visitors. Many actors are simply quiet, and follow people as they pass through scenes, or sneak up on them from behind when they are walking down hallways. Also, there are scenes that purposely do not have actors so that people walking through them feel isolated from the outside, which builds on their paranoia and feelings of unease. In fact, it is this feeling of dread and uneasiness that is a unique feature of this haunt, and adds to the tension even when people are alone and no actors are around.
The staircases in the building are also used to good effect, becoming part of certain scenes or being covered in ramps that allow for easier climbing or descending into different locations. While some of the scenes inside the haunt may be familiar ones that are seen elsewhere, others are completely new or enough of a variation on a familiar theme as to feel “new.”
Devil’s Krypt is a excellent haunt that combines a high level of set detail with some good atmosphere and uses the actual facilities and rooms inside of the Cicero town hall to great effect. One thing to note is that the haunt is very popular and they do not offer a VIP option. Lines on the weekends can get quite long, so it may be better to go on a Thursday or a Sunday and/or get there before they open to minimize wait time.
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