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All Visitor Reviews
2005 Visitor Reviews of
Rockford Screamfest (Machesney Park, Illinois)

Disclaimer: Reviews on this page were supplied by an outside source. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff of Haunted Illinois does not endorse, support, represent, or guarantee the accuracy, truthfulness, or reliability of these reviews.
Reviewed by: nickcufs   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 9:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/31/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: we had to do a little driving around the back of the mall no signs so if u did not know the area u would have a hard time finding it

Wait Entertainment: i loved their system i have never seen this set up before they give u a ticket and they have tv screens and it calls off ur number while you wait you could do some games like pinball ect. they had food their and a magic show for two dollars it was good for two dollars so bacialy there was no lines

Length of Event: the event was about 15-20 mins.

Actor Performance: most of them keeped their mood but some "dint stay in the mood" one of the actors know one of my friends in the haunt and they were saying his name and saying we are going to get u i thought was a added touch.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: i did catch up to the back of another group they had some check points inside of the haunt to seperate patrons in a lot of places it was tight

Appropriate Ages: 10 and up

Props / Special FX: there was some cool props in the front of the entrance there were some probs mostly static props in side no fog :( there were the strobs and the spning tunnle :)

Costumes / Make-up: make up was whell done there were some actors in the wating lobby scaring people the costumes were good

Summary: over all this haunt was avarage there was not really any scare tatics no really great actors. i would of liked more actors in the dark maze and more spred out thur the house. the price was good i liked how they had a speed pass. most of the haunt did not scare me. i would go just for the 3D. the 3D was really done whell. i woulnt where any cotes in side it gets hot! also i coulnt find a bathroom if there was i did not see any one there was no sighns for a bathroom. this haunt if great for its 3D and its lobby Entertainment.

Reviewed by: lct59   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 8:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: If you know your going to the back of of the mall yoou are ok. If you dont no visible signs out front

Wait Entertainment: Crowd mall. Lots of entertainment. Very hot inside. But you are given a # so you could buy your ticket leave and come back later and go right in. Most of the wait entertainment was Teenager oriented

Length of Event: 25 mins

Actor Performance: Fair... was more screaming than interaction.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Unfortunately our group was lead by a youngster so I felt we went thru too fast but can not blame the "haunt" for that at all.

Props / Special FX: The 3-D was Awesome. Made the whole haunt worht the visit

Costumes / Make-up: A lot of gore.

Summary: To be fair I must admit this was the second haunt we went to that night. Overall it was good. Wish there had been a guide to set the pace and give a little narration. The 3-D room...AWESOME...go to this Haunt if for nothing other than that. Even my BIG bad hubby got a good scare in there. The actors were good but some could have interacted better. Overall I would recommend. Do not over dress it is warm in there.

Reviewed by: budman27   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 10:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Fair
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Visibility/Location: The Screamfest is located in the Machesney mall and has very large signs and large creature props in the back at the entrance to Screamfest.

Wait Entertainment: You don't have to wait in line at this event and can instead spend your waiting time doing other things. They have games, food, pictures, movies playing, and other things. The downside is that most of these things cost additional money and can add up to be a pricey outing if you're not careful.

Length of Event: Our group walked through the house so quickly that it took us almost no time at all to get through everything. I think all in all it took 15-20 minutes to cover a pretty large distance.

Actor Performance: The actors seemed to save their best attempts to scare the patrons in the front of the group, so the back of the group never even had a chance. When sending us in such big groups, they should have done more for all of the patrons regardless of where you were in the group.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: this was by far the worst flow through any house I've ever been through! my group had about 15 people in it, and i was stuck at the back--how can anyone get scared in a group of 15??!!

Appropriate Ages: 8 and up

Props / Special FX: their props had potential but weren't up to the quality I'd expect from a more professional and expensive haunt. They did use themes for most of their rooms, which if executed better could have resulted in a higher quality attraction.

Costumes / Make-up: The costumes used in the 3-D rooms were good. Otherwise I'd say their costumes and makeup were about the same as any other run of the mill haunted house.

Summary: What should have been a great attraction, was essentially a disaster. Their props were not impressive, their actors did not appear very professional, the patron flow was atrocious, and their costumes were average. after making a very long drive out to see this one, i'm feeling fairly cheated.

Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 10:15 pm)
Review Posted: 10/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Fair
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Visibility/Location: Not being from the area but knowing that it was located in the mall, we were able to find it relatively easy. It is around the back of the mall, however, so it isn't immediately visible when you first arrive at the mall.

Wait Entertainment: This is where they excelled. Your ticket has a number, which corresponds to your place in line. Instead of waiting in line, you can do other activities (most of which are on the pricier side) or sit somewhere and wait until your number is called up on one of their many TV screens. This is such a unique concept and made for a very pleasant waiting experience. This is also the main reason why I'm not rating this haunted house even lower on the rating scale.

Length of Event: I honestly have no idea how long it took us to get through the haunted house(s) since we pretty much flew through them in our giant, cattle-sized group. My guess is it took about 20 minutes to get through everything.

Actor Performance: It was the end of the night and I think the actors were ready to quit and head home. They were very disappointing with only a couple exceptions, and were very low energy by the time the back half of my group passed by. I can understand being tired after a long day, but if these were paid actors (which I would guess they are) they need to keep the energy up for all patrons, regardless of what time they visit this attraction. Even for the actors who did have their hearts in this, their timing didn't provide any scares for anyone other than the first couple people in our group. This experience could have been the same for me if there had been no actors in the houses at all!

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: AWFUL! I believe this is the number one main (but not only) cause of why this was such a horrible experience for me. I was stuck at the end of a group about the length of 17 people. This resulted in me never being able to see what was going on at the front of the group when the actors would pop out for scares or when the props would briefly be animated. By the time the tail end of our group caught up, nothing would be going on.

Appropriate Ages: any age if they get stuck at the back of such a large group like I did

Props / Special FX: Some of their props were visually interesting to look at, but many of the props still weren't as advanced as I would have expected for a higher priced haunt.

Costumes / Make-up: Average, with the exception of the actors in the 3-D segment of the house

Summary: Needless to say, I was very frustrated after leaving this almost eventless haunt. I don't spend my hard earned money just so I can be cattle herded through little more than average-quality decorated rooms and hallways. I feel that this attraction really missed the mark by sending its patrons through their houses (or should I say, house)in such large groups that you lose any surprise factors you would normally get from the actors and animated props. Unless I hear of some pretty major changes in the years to come, I do not plan on returning to Rockford's Screamfest.

Reviewed by: VampOfAsylum   (Event Visited: 10/15/05 @ 11:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/16/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: Some pepsi signs that aren't lite up very well but being to this event in previous years I knew where it was at.

Wait Entertainment: Lots of pluses here :)Huge statues when you first enter the place. Games, Videos, Pictures, Live Animals. All some pluses in the waiting time. Since we were pleasured to Speed Passes we didn't get to really take much time to look around until we got out of the haunt but was still awesome.

Length of Event: 25-35 minutes

Actor Performance: All the actors seemed to be into there jobs big time. Never ran into a actor who was off timing or just plain dull. All the actors did a great job :)

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Never once ran into another group which was nice because it gave me time to enjoy all the props and things :)

Appropriate Ages: 13 & Up

Props / Special FX: All the scenes were very impressive. Alot of detail and work was put into this part of the haunt to set your mood to be very eerie :)

Costumes / Make-up: The costumes/make-up jobs were pretty immpressive. All the scenes and costumes went well together.

Summary: The overall drive was well worth it as it has been previous years. 
All the staff was really nice and being a fellow haunter was treated with even more special treatments :) Enjoyed the entire thing very much. 
All the scenes and things were moved and redone this year. The actors were really into there jobs. Don't want to give to much away but the girl in the padded ceil bouncing back and forth was really into her job. Very nicely done. 
The entire haunt was awesome and I'm hoping to see more to come in the next years of haunts :O)

Reviewed by: rmpear2   (Event Visited: 10/08/05 @ 9:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/13/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Low | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: The Location was somewhat hidden behind the Mall, but can't complain about getting lost :)

Wait Entertainment: The idea of this haunted house is good, you get numbers and you wait inthe lobby with food, games, movies, sitting space. However, the decorations were kind of cheesy and some of the activities were a bit pricey ( but what do you expect !) The Magic guy was the most entertaining.

Length of Event: The wait was over and hour and the tour lasted about 15-20 minutes

Actor Performance: I didn't find the actors very entertaining. They basically just walked around repeating the same line and banging on the walls. The make-up was also poor. One of the better parts what the 3D area, some actors blend into the walls and that was cool.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: We ran into the peopel infront of us two times and the people behind us were behind us for half of the event. Sometimes we would have to wait outside a room for the groups infront of us to proceed

Appropriate Ages: Of course.

Props / Special FX: sometimes you would walk 30 feet without seeing any props at all. Other time it was only a fence against the wall. The props where too stretched out to make the even seem longer but I thoughtthis was one of the downfalls of the event. The rooms weren't decorated elaborately either. one or two of the rooms were well done but the majority where sparse. 3D area was fun.

Costumes / Make-up: As mentioned before the make-up was just some paint. didn't look realistic. costumes were appropriate though

Summary: I am trying to not be critical here because I think peopel should know the information I presented is not biased or resentful. However, I thought this was one of the poorer(est) haunted houses I have been too. Maybe I have just been spoiled. Things were just too stretched out. Some rooms were really well done but towards the end it fell apart. I shouldnt know I am in an old department store either! It might be a product of going early in the season, and i did hear people coming out screaming, but the people in my group and the group behind us had similar responses.

Reviewed by: adult_female   (Event Visited: 10/07/05 @ 9:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/11/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: Visibility can be poor if you're not from the area. Screamfest is located in the backside of a mall so you need to get off the street and take the the perimeter road around the mall. Once there you do see signs and decorations.

Wait Entertainment: I believe my friend and I went on the opening night so there was really no wait at all. Once you've bought your tickets , there is a midway with all sorts of entertainment, from scary movies playing to concessions, video games, and there were even parnormal investigators on hand in case you have a real haunted house of your own.

Length of Event: I was pretty impressed with the length of this house. It's billed as six houses in one which is and isn't true. It is six distinct seperately themed areas, but all run into one another, so technically it is one house that you're going through. I can't remember the exact length of time, but I it took a half hour-ish to complete.

Actor Performance: The actors performances were one of the highlights of Screamfest. I can tell a lot of these kids (pardon the word, but 20-ish to me is still a kid) must study drama or be involved in local theatre projects. No one that I know of broke character and all of the performances were believable. Even the younger girls scared my friend (who is an adult) with how creepy they sounded.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Patron flow was alright, although the group behind us did catch up, it really wasn't a bother. If it bothered them, that may be a different story.

Appropriate Ages: This is always a hard thing to guage because not all children are the same. I guess I would say 12 years or older, although there was a girl in group younger than this who seemed to handle it all OK.

Props / Special FX: There was definitely a lot of creativity and imagination put into the props, however in my personal opinion they could have done a bit better. I just didn't find most of the scenes scary but they were artistic, that I will give them credit for. The best special effects were reserved for the 3D portion the house. I don't want to spoil anything but it was the most interesting bit and more fun than scary. Oh, and one other thing I just remembered is exiting the rooms in a couple of unique ways, I liked that as well.

Summary: In all, I would have to say $13 is slightly overpriced in comparison to the scares I got in the house. I do realise that a lot of money has to be made back on what was put into it, but I just expected a slightly bit more. I guess that's how I'd sum up the experience for me, I kept expecting something more to happen (especially after being told repteadly to "hurry up, he's waiting for you". I was just left a little disappointed that I wasn't as scared as I thought I should have been.

Reviewed by: RealmofTerro   (Event Visited: Before Oct. 1st @ 8:00 pm)
Review Posted: 09/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Good
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Visibility/Location: Though it is not visible from the spot where we entered, it is prominent, and very easy to see once you get to the back of the Machnesey Mall.

Wait Entertainment: When you first enter you are greeted by a Giant beast and a few actors roaming near the front entrance. You then venture through an entrance designed for the ticket booth and step up to the nicely built "Rockford ScreamFest" Facade. In the waiting area they had many different games and activities to entertain yourself with. (MY personal favorite is Fry Freddy.) There were live bands, and a few actors roaming around aswell. Since it was only the 2nd night I wasnt expecting too many actors to be in the wait area. But the ones that were out were very well done.

Length of Event: Approx 20min.

Actor Performance: The Actors in this attraction did very well for the most part. Since I attended on an early weekend I'm sure many of them were still getting their parts good to go.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Very Good, My group never ran into anyone else.

Appropriate Ages: 12+

Props / Special FX: Many great animated and static props were scatterend throughout the attraction and were extremely appropriate to set the mood.

Summary: My experience at Rockford Screamfest was very fun, and once again proved that Rockford puts on a good haunt. My group had traveled almost 2 hours to see RSF, and all of us walked out happy. I wont go into any house details as I dont want to ruin anything for anyone else. Thank you Rockford, and have a Great Season!

Reviewed by: topcat240   (Event Visited: Before Oct. 1st @ 8:30 pm)
Review Posted: 09/26/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Good
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Visibility/Location: No signs on road but great building signs - read below.

Wait Entertainment: Midway - read below.

Length of Event: 30 minutes.

Actor Performance: Never broke character and very intense - see review.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Early in the season and did not hit any other groups.

Appropriate Ages: 12 and up.

Summary: Dear Haunt Fans, 
As always I will try to give everyone a good overall feel for the attraction without giving away any specifics that could ruin your experience if you attend. I visited Rockford Screamfest on Saturday September 24th with my group. The haunt was, as in previous years, tucked in the back of the Machesney Park Mall. It is easy to get to, even from the Northwest Suburbs. Although, there were no visible signs from the street pointing you to the attraction, once you get to the back of the mall you see a giant sign hanging over the entrance and a huge winged monster on a trailer. The attraction costs $13 per person, but there are several ways to get one dollar off per person including a printable coupon on their web-site. The wait area for this attraction is very unique. After purchasing your tickets you are allowed to freely roam the midway that they have set-up. There is the “Monster Café” with concessions, video games, three separate horror movies playing, a chance to take your picture in “spooky” scenes, vendors selling reptiles, and SEATS everywhere. There is TV screens set-up around the midway notifying patrons when to enter the attraction line based on the corresponding numbers on your tickets. This without a doubt is one of the coolest set-ups around especially when compared with option of standing in line for (insert amount of time) with nothing to do. Rockford Screamfest claims to have “over 6 haunted houses for the price of one”. While I feel that it has several themes in one VERY LARGE haunt. Either way the attraction is large and takes a good amount of time to get through. 
Once into the attraction you are immediately ushered through “Willowdale Farm”. Before you reach the farm you walk through a dark area that has a long winding path of White Birch trees and dark netting. After this though most of the areas are open at the top are not nearly as dark, which kind of takes you out of the scene. But once you enter the farm you are immediately greeted with a very detailed and large barn. The barn, the tool shed, and the farm house scene (especially the planks leading to the house) were amazing. Other areas that you encounter while in this house include cornfields that are greatly detailed with both real stalks and a painted background and a country graveyard. 
After exiting the farm you then are ushered to the “Institute for the Criminally Insane”. This haunt, overall, was the least detailed in the attraction. One example was that an exam table was made of unfinished wood and not painted or decorated at all. I am not saying that the detail was bad but it just did not look nearly as tight as the farm scene and especially not in the same caliber as the Realm of Darkness. There were a couple of good areas and props (the hanging corpses were very realistic). But the acting was excellent (as it was in all the scenes) and a lot more intense, which made up for the lack of scene detail. 
Once you finished with the Institute you are brought to the “Realm of Darkness”. If you have been here in the past this is where the attraction used to begin. This is by far and away the most detailed haunt at Rockford Screamfest, which begins with the exterior look of the manor. Although it has not changed much there are still some of the coolest exits from rooms that you will find anywhere. The main draw back is that most of the actors, while intense and energetic, are just in plain sight, which takes some of the thrill out of the house. One of the coolest scenes in the entire house can be found in the kitchen, especially how you leave the kitchen.  
The next haunt is “Riverview Cemetery”. This area does a lot to give the feel of being outdoors from the trees placed throughout to the bridge over the fountain. The scenes were well detailed but there was way too much light because the tops of the walls were not covered with anything. While other houses at Rockford Screamfest had this same issue it seams more noticeable in the cemetery because you almost wanted it to be completely dark and only lit by the individual scenes. Another major drawback to this attraction was the lack of actors it had compared with the other houses. Three scenes that you can not miss though are the three headed wolf, the abandoned car (and an easy and fun scare for almost anyone in your group), and the stage coach, which is one of the best looking props you will find anywhere. 
Lastly, is the “Nightmare in 3-D”. This is one of the best 3-D houses that you can attend. The graphics are awesome and it is large enough to really mess with your mind. The best part of the house are the actors that are disguised in costumes that hide with the surroundings so well that you can barely see them. Also, the clowns in this area are about as intense as you will find anywhere. 
In the end, Rockford Screamfest has made a lot of changes (for example Industrial Chaos is gone) and if you have not attended in a couple of seasons now is the time. The biggest complaints I had were that there was too much light in a lot of areas (because of open ceilings) which takes you out of the scene and that there were some scenes lacking sufficient or any actors. With that said they offer, hands down, the best wait area of any attraction that I have attended, this will be an even greater asset as the temperature drops or if there are any rainy nights. Also, this attraction offers a large haunt at good price even though the travel time may be a deterrent for some in the suburbs. The entire attraction offers great acting, decent scenery, and a medium scare factor. This was a very good all around attraction and is worth the trip. 
Happy Haunting 





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