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All Visitor Reviews
2008 Visitor Reviews of
The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier (Chicago, 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: pondfly   (Event Visited: 10/30/08 @ 8:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/31/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Poor
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Visibility/Location: Good visibility- Located on the entry horseshoe drive into Navy Pier. Well illuminated column sign, but could use a little illumination for the "eye candy" from the curb.

Wait Entertainment: Four actors / line management personnel working the front. One person would occasionally come out and "spin" glow sticks. Can't exactly see how that would go with this theme, but more of a rave.

Length of Event: 12 Minutes including the queue line video, explanation of the house rules and then the walk through the house

Actor Performance: Poor energy and focus on their section. While most of the actors were young and needed some actor coaching they would do a simple scare and pop back thinking that there would be another scare, but nothing came. A couple of actors did a better than average job, but as soon as they grabbed a scare they stopped. If you grab a scare, capitalize on it and run. It's great entertainment for the other visitors

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: With the crowd being small <100 patrons, they were able to use smaller groups 7-10. The flow went at a standard pace as most other houses go. However after about 3 minutes into the house the group behind us caught up and began tripping up on my heels. An actor should have tried to slow the other group up a little by being more in the haunt path for a few seconds would have helped.

Appropriate Ages: 6-8+

Props / Special FX: Props were limited for the size of the haunt (construction trailers) and the overwhelming union stranglehold on the facility. They were basic with some detail in places, however I want to commend them for the unique use of LED module lighting to achieve the effect of highlighting areas of attention, or accent lighting. It wasn't the "holy grail" but I think this will be a good path to follow for other haunts in the future.

Costumes / Make-up: Costumes were basic, as well as the makeup. Some of the commercially obtained masks and costumes could have used some time additional detailing to pronounce the features and bring the costume to life rather than a latex mask or suit just thrown on.  
As for the makeup, at appeared that it was all hand applied and very light. some airbrushing to shade and increase the density of the colors would have done greatly for them.

Summary: Please read the whole summary to understand the following comments. 
I went to the house since I was near for a conference and took a friend who does not go to houses and he thought it was bad. I would have to place it with levels of smaller production park district, or smaller Jaycee productions. I was hoping for more, but was left with dashed hopes.  
I think that some of this would be from the perceived thought of Navy Pier is big, therefore the production would be also. This is where I think I was most disappointed.  
if I was a betting person the production company was able to wrangle a space from the Pier Authority, but was extremely constrained by rules and other factors. Trying to produce in a set of construction trailers with very little eye candy, off the shelf lighting, basic costuming and acting with no punch attached to a price tag of $20 plus parking (no comment here), left me extremely disappointed.  
The biggest downfall for me was the lack of actor participation. The staff working in the line and ticketing area would either shuffle along or catch a small scare and then keep moving rather than using that opportunity to use the scare to their advantage. At one time I made a comment to the person next to me and an actor overheard it, broke character attempted to try and insult me. Bad idea. In the end he walked away dismayed and other customers questioning why he tried to do so. However not all actors were bad. There were a couple that kept themselves in character, made a good scare, but moved along before more could be done. These characters also did have a little more energy, but could have done more and made it a great time for them and probably more enjoyable for them as well. 
The use of the tent for the line staging was a great idea, but dump the white light and add some color to add to the atmosphere. The use of additional fog in certain areas would have also done magic. Please add some external eye candy to the haunt (some accent lighting, not flood and some occasional fogging.  
The use of the inflatable haunt, was unique and added time, but I would have loved to see the huge expense of the inflatable put towards adding to the punch. 
I judged this with the thought of them being a first year haunt. Scale back from the big location, focus on the eye candy, actor coaching, additional actors inside and better value and they may have a potential. 
IMHO, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone until the price becomes more par to the quality. 

Reviewed by: pjdan   (Event Visited: 10/18/08 @ 8:45 pm)
Review Posted: 10/24/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: Pretty easy to locate if you are familiar with Navy Pier. Although advertised at Navy Pier, it's just outside of Navy Pier.

Wait Entertainment: Well costumed actors were roaming. None came close to us.

Length of Event: I might be off a bit, but I'd say the whole thing barely exceeded 5 minutes.

Actor Performance: Mostly average jump out/pop out. Some had clever ways of striking and alot of them had drop down panels. The performance was not any more adult (like the web site promised!) than most other haunted houses in the Chicago area.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Stuffed way too many people in there together at a time, wrecked what little experience there was to be had.

Appropriate Ages: For thematic elements 12+, for scares 8+, for people watching their wallets, only if you have cash to burn.

Props / Special FX: Fear at the Pier had pretty good FX and sets considering the severe trailer limitations. They also had a cool looking inflated lizard to walk through. I enjoyed the quality of the sets overall, what there was of it any way. However with all the other shortcomings and how short it was, it would have been inexcusable not to have good sets!

Costumes / Make-up: A huge let down considering the way the characters looked on the web site. It was not as good as other prominent haunted houses in the Chicago area and I expected it to be better as clearly pictured on the web site.

Summary: This was a HUGE ripoff in my opinion. If you go to the other IL haunted house site, they tell you it is the best. In the voting over there it has hundreds of votes more than any other haunted house, and the reviews mostly say how incredible it is. Now that I was suckered in and paid the exorbitant price, I'm fairly certain I've been had. I'm here to spread the word. Don't be suckered in like me! I had a sinking feeling when it wasn't actually at the Pier, then when I finally saw it, it was just a couple of exposed trailers! Not even disguised trailers, trailers with a little paint on them. It was too late, though, I couldn't not pay and look like an idiot with my girl standing right there! 
The Fear cost me $20, another $20 for my girlfriend, and the parking also cost $20. Since it was basically hyped as the biggest thing to hit Chicago since Hades on the radio, their web site, and that other Chicago haunted house site, I made the drive from the distant suburbs. So there's over $10 on gas.  
That's over $70. The way I see it, to experience the Fear at Navy Pier I spent over $14 per minute. There are much better things in life to do with a lady for $14 a minute. 
If I had to pinpoint what the The Fear at Navy Pier is best at, that's easy. They are the best at shameless marketing and relentless self promotion. I can hardly express it. I feel totally ripped off. 
I've seen other local haunted houses and enjoyed them. I know what to expect and my standards are not very high. If I could give the Fear at Navy Pier a 2 out of 10, I would, but since Haunted Illinois won't allow that, they get a very generous 5. Don't fall for this trap like I did!

Reviewed by: pfitsjack   (Event Visited: 10/22/08 @ 8:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/23/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: Uhhhh...VERY easy to find. If you can find Navy Pier, you can find this haunt.

Wait Entertainment: There were a number of actors roaming around while we were waiting in line. There was loud rock music playing and we were overall entertained.

Length of Event: Wasn't the longest haunt I've ever walked through, but they REALLY took advantage of the space they had. I still felt longer than I expected it to.

Actor Performance: All the actors were COMPLETELY into their characters. Each hit their marks right on spot, and everything was timed great.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: I never ran into another group inside. This seems to be their strong point. We were let in after being read the rules in groups of 2. This really seemed to keep things flowing properly.

Appropriate Ages: I would say their recommendations are appropriate. There is some harsh language being used.

Props / Special FX: There are some great props being used in this house. They were much larger and more impressive than I was expecting for a first year haunt.

Costumes / Make-up: The nurse and doctors room were amazing with their makeup. They did not cheap out in regards to their costumes/makeup.

Summary: I visit many haunted houses a year and have been numbed by visiting and seeing so much over the years. Well, the fear has re-enlightened me as to what a haunt can be. I don't know what I was expecting really, but lets just say that I was COMPLETELY blown away by what I saw. The atmosphere was spectacular. All of the actors were VERY into their characters (Even for a Wednesday night.) Especially the guy reading the rules. He really seemed to be enjoying what he was doing. Everything was spot on through the entire attraction. For a first year that a haunt is there, I am more than impressed with what I saw (And more than excited to see what waits for this attraction next year.) I can not recommend enough for people to go see this show. It was tight, well managed, and a great time. 

Reviewed by: rosehill   (Event Visited: 10/04/08 @ 6:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/21/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: The house is located on Navy Pier, which is good for drawing visitors. However, once we were on the Pier we had a little difficulty finding the house.

Wait Entertainment: Average. Multiple lobby haunters. They seemed to save the best actors for the lobby entertainment.

Length of Event: Technically there were 2 houses. Maybe it took 20 minutes for the first and 5 minutes for the second.

Actor Performance: OK. The best actors were in the lobby area. Inside the house were younger kids, where adults worked outside. Inside there was a lot of screaming and banging. Several actors blew/breathed on me - I hate that.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: We were the 3rd and 4th people in, so there was no bunching up for us.

Appropriate Ages: 10+

Props / Special FX: I'd bet they spent a lot of money on props, but they skimped on the lighting so it was hard to see them.

Costumes / Make-up: Again - the rooms were too dark to really see anything.

Summary: Overhyped. The rooms were too dark, and the halls were too lit up. The intro is a direct take off from Statesville (run by the same company). They didn't keep with the theme (captured strange creatures on display). The inflatable dragon at the end was a waste of my time.

Reviewed by: sniper   (Event Visited: 10/17/08 @ 9:45 pm)
Review Posted: 10/20/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Low | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: If you know where Navy Pier is, you will find it easily. If not, then a mapping program would work.

Wait Entertainment: A lot of costumed characters were roaming about. A couple of them on Navy Pier were handing out coupons for $5 off, which unfortunately were NOT VALID on the night I visited (only valid on Wednesday and Thursday nights). The outside of the haunted house was decorated in an industrial theme, with rust running down the side of the trailers.

Length of Event: There is no way this event is 15-30 minutes like one other reviewer said. If you don't count all of the staging areas where they line you up like cattle, the actual time was probably closer to 5 minutes. I expected a LOT more for the $20 admission price.

Actor Performance: ok. The best actors were those out near the people waiting in line. Most of the ones inside the haunted house did pop-out scares behind a wall or something. There were WAY too many drop panels for my taste.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: ok. Ran into a couple of other groups along the way.

Appropriate Ages: this would be good for middle school pre-teens and above. Definitely NOT an "adult attraction" like they advertised.

Summary: This was not at all what I expected. Before this year the Navy Pier haunted house was more for kids, but they advertised it as an "adult attraction". Even one of the visitor reviewers on this website said so. After visiting, I'm convinced that guy must work at The Fear and was trying to hype their event. There is nothing in "The Fear" that a middle-schooler couldn't handle. I could name half a dozen haunted houses that were just as intense for half the price, but I believe comparing events by name is against the rules of this website.  
Don't get me wrong. I really liked the scenes and the actors did a good job, but this was just not as intense and "adult oriented" as the advertised. With that I was disappointed.  
It just wasn't worth the $20 admission (not to mention the nearly $20 parking fee on top of that).  
Next time guys, think about lowering your price a considerable amount and offering free parking. It just wasn't at all worth the price my family had to pay to get in.

Reviewed by: joe888   (Event Visited: 10/19/08 @ 7:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/20/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Good
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Visibility/Location: Navy Pier... flashing lights what else could it be???

Wait Entertainment: Great and creepy the carve clown to the straight jacket chicken ... kept their focus played and rattled the audience all had style that felt like they had a well examine back story. It was the highlight of the attraction as there bits were not just boo and shoo but more developed and unfolding. Also clever as they were not afraid to engage the audience in conversation with their very strange characters. Did I mention the carved clown and straight jacket chicken man.... Or the 7 ft tall mutant with more heads than one on his shoulders... engaging

Length of Event: shorter than it should be for the price but good enough not to be missed....

Actor Performance: Wonderful... thou once inside descended into boo and shoo. This is always a gripe... why are the best actors in the line rather than in the house????

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Well managed

Appropriate Ages: Adults

Props / Special FX: Well done

Costumes / Make-up: Well done thou again the further you traveled into the house the more an afterthought the actors look and feel felt. 

Summary: Good experience. We had fun got creeped out by the line entertainment got our adrenaline rushed in the house, some good scenes that created a building experience. The Highlight was the giant rats. The reuse of the giant inflatable from a early navy pier show was nice thou we wished more happen inside the inards. No real ending but still wonderfully enjoyable. This was the first of two haunts we saw on the Chicago lakefront which made for a great night. The Sanatorium(a little north of navy pier on the lake )and Fear(navy pier) is a great one two punch for Haunting night allowing us to stay in the city and get our seasonal dose of fear.

Reviewed by: ONEofTHEM   (Event Visited: 10/17/08 @ 10:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/18/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: There were no signs saying where to go unless you were already at the pier. which it wasnt at the pier. there are 2 goblins at the beginning of the pier handing out fliers.

Wait Entertainment: expected more from these guys. there were a bunch of monsters out scaring. but only 2 (the black mask guy whos face inflated, and the insane guy} they were the only ones in total character! i recall the guy that was managing the line he seemed like he was fresh out of California. his character voice was not frightful at all.

Length of Event: 10-15 mintues top. we breezed through the lizard thing. no scared in there at all. just an obnoxious actor pushing every one over with the blown up walls.

Actor Performance: huge let down. to many females who couldnt live up to scaring the s**t (censored) out of people. even the guys in there were almost worn out and just trying to move along the groups instead of giving us a real frightful time. the actors tried to scare the group once; in stead of scaring each person individually. there performance was weak!

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: my group of 5 ran into the group of like 3 or 4 before the second room. and the group behind us as well ran into us. there was no effort on keeping groups separate.

Appropriate Ages: s**t (censored) . this scare factor was so low, id say go a head and bring the kid. if the kid has guts and you want to spend the $20 bucks on him go for it... but id find a better place for the child and adult to go. this was NOT an "adult haunt only!"

Props / Special FX: ill admit their props were pretty cool. but the sucky part was that the actors DID NOT KNOW HOW TO USE THE ROOM OR THE PROPS GIVIN!! waste of good props....

Costumes / Make-up: yeah their make up ranked the same as walgreens face paint for little kids Halloween costumes! give me a break and do something interesting!!!

Summary: NOT WORTH THE MONEY! or the drive. actors are very weak and the haunted house its self was poor. it seemed like effort was lacking on giving the customers what they expected to get out of it all. waste of time....

Reviewed by: radsponge   (Event Visited: 10/11/08 @ 7:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/15/08
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: Not actually on Navy Pier - just to right (South) of the Pier entrance. Signs are posted and there are actors directing you to ticket booth. Make sure you get the $5 off parking/$5 off ticket price flyer.

Wait Entertainment: quite a few line entertainers including two "surprise" actors. Line staging and management is handled by a whole group of porters who get you in the mood very quickly of what you are in for.

Length of Event: 15-30 mins depending upon if you are just trying to "run through the house" or really want to take in the atmosphere and notice the level of detail in each room.

Actor Performance: Actors all stayed in character. Not just the "yell in your face" approach. Also many actors getting you to realize what the room atmosphere is.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Very good flow, group staging in first room and then down into small groups of 2-5 people. Line was 3 rows deep when I got there but flowed well = 15 min wait for me which was fine because I was getting crap scared out of me by line entertainment.

Appropriate Ages: Should not bring under 12 yrs into the house unless the adult accompanying them is sure the child is mentally ready for this adventure.

Props / Special FX: Most of the house environment that generates the "FEAR" in you is from the actors' performances. The few special effects are good, well-placed animated props and lighting affects.

Costumes / Make-up: Top Notch. Makeup well done and the costumes worn are specific to the theme of the room that you are visiting.

Summary: Very dark, adult-only type haunt. THIS IS NOT YOUR PREVIOUS NAVY PIER KIDS HALLOWEENNYY HAUNT! I saw a grown woman crying in line before she even entered the house!!!





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