|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Great location at the Odeum. This is a huge venue, like a mini-Allstate arena or United Center, with plenty of parking, easy to see from the road, near major roads (North Avenue & Route 83) so overall very convenient with no parking hassles, etc.
Wait Entertainment: Some interesting old movie footage was playing on a large screen/wall in the waiting area. Also a fairly creepy dude carrying and beating a bone was walking throughout the waiting line providing continual entertainment with our group. There were a few other actors as well making our wait time go very quickly. This was probably the least impressive part of the experience which in the scheme of things was a non-issue. In addition, there were a few vendor booths along with food & drinks available as you entered the wait line, so we enjoyed a beer while we waited as well. A definite plus not found in most other haunts I've attended.
Length of Event: The initial house (Blackout) seemed to go fairly quickly, maybe 10 minutes, although the dark factor tended to keep us moving steadily. The main attraction, The Asylum was probably 20 minutes, with each scene containing so much detail, it could easily have taken longer just to take it all in.
Actor Performance: I attended this haunt last year and the acting was good, but seemed to be rather new and inconsistent. This year, they seem to have spent a great deal of time with the crew as they all seemed much more effective and stayed within their roles and characters. In particular the girl in the attic scene, the guys in the initial library scene as you enter, and the bride in the graveyard were standouts.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: The patron flow was never an issue. We seemed to have plenty of time to soak in each scene without any issues of running into groups in front of us or behind us.
Appropriate Ages: I'd say 12 or 13 and above
Props / Special FX: My absolute favorite part of this haunt and definitely where these guys excel. Every scene was created with almost an overwhelming amount of detail. Where do they get all of these gadgets and cool stuff? They actually had a broken down old camper in one scene, all kinds of electronic welding equipment, a junkyard type scene with all sorts of demolished cars, a semi-truck, and some unbelieveable props that launch at you. Stuff I've never seen before so possibly building it all custom? One of my favorite memories is the elevator experience which was new this year. However they did it, it feels as if you are traveling up many floors within a building along with a runaway effect that left me feeling disoriented for a few minutes after. Amazing!
Costumes / Make-up: I thought the costumes and makeup were consistently outstanding. From the entertainment in line prior to entering, through to the end, it's obvious they have some seasoned make-up artists and designers on staff.
Summary: The Asylum Xperiment is one of my all time favorite haunts mainly because it goes way beyond simple scares, blood and gore. There is plenty of this as well but not overdone. It's a great mix of keeping you in a state of awe, admiring the detail in each disply and then BANG, you're hit with a scare or something unexpected. For me it's the "awe" that makes it AWESOME. Many of the sets had a smell about them that made them even creepier - the attic scene and the graveyard in particular. The attic reminded me of an abandoned old house on our farm as a kid and the graveyard had the perfect dank, mossy smell that completed the overall feel. It's definitely an outstanding show and must-see event!