All Visitor Reviews
2014 Visitor Reviews of
Basement Of The Dead & Shattered (Aurora, Illinois)
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|15 out of 26 people thought this review was helpful.|
|Reviewed by: asylum_clown   (Event Visited: 10/17/14 @ 9:30 pm) |
Review Posted: 10/19/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Originally hard to find, but once you get to the intersection of New York St and River St you'll either see the sign or the line of people.
Wait Entertainment: Several actors, a fire dancer, and a DJ. Made the wait in line enjoyable. Also the DJ gives out free things from time to time.
Length of Event: To go through both haunts took us about 25-30 min. It was a 2 1/2 hour wait our night though.
Actor Performance: Amazing. Some of the best in Illinois I have ever seen. Some a-game staff here.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Good. Near the middle we caught up with the group in front of us but I think that was less the fault of the haunt and more of the groups fault.
Appropriate Ages: 16+ due to violent content, and scares
Props / Special FX: Another great thing. Some great effects here, and outstanding prop integration
Costumes / Make-up: AWESOME makeup and costumes. Overall all the details of this haunt were obviously really well thought out and planned.
Summary: Basement of the Dead is the main attraction and there is a secondary haunt that you can add on to your experience called Shattered, which is a 3D haunt which labels itself as "The World's Best 3D Nightmare," but we'll get to that later.
The main entrance of the house itself is tucked away behind a large brick building on New York St. in Aurora, past the Hollywood Casino on the left. While the site does say that there are different kinds of parking options you shouldn't have trouble finding free parking anywhere in the numerous amounts of lots and street spots available in the surrounding area. It isn't overly visible at first until you get to the intersection of New York St. and River St, They have a small banner up, and you will for sure see the line of people going to the event. It's literally behind/connected to a great looking Irish pub called Ballydoyle's. Anyway, unless you get their right at the opening, chances are you are going to run in to the same kind of line, for the rest of the season, that we ran in to.
When you get there (if you haven't prepurchased your tickets) you need to find the window with the red light, which means you pass the line, buy the tickets, then walk all the way back to the end of the line, all the while you have opportunities to buy food as well as interact with the actors. You line actors were more than willing to take photos, but also were really aware of when a good opportunity to scare was around. They were fun, funny, scary, and overall really entertaining. The makeup, masks, and detailed costumes that they wore gave you just a glimpse at what exactly to expect inside. There was also a fire dancer show, as well as an awesome DJ (whom I will talk more about in a minute.)
Overall the line entertainment was great. They also had the movie IT playing, and as you read in my last review, I'm not a big fan of when houses have regular movies playing in lines just because I feel like with the fact that you have all of these sets and actors it would be fairly easy for you to make your own video/short film about the haunt itself. It's not really a critique in anyway, it's just something I would like to see done more in general with haunts.
Now, our wait was nearly two and a half hours. We went on Friday, October 17th and arrived at around 9: 30 PM. We didn't get into Basement until 11: 50-ish. Near the end of our time in line the DJ said that the numbers came in and it was actually a record attendance night for them at Basement, which I clapped and cheered at. I'm glad when I can add to a milestone for a haunt. And while the line and the wait did indeed feel long, and was boring at times- for the most part, because of the entertainment from the actors, dancer, and DJ, it was enjoyable. It also reassured me that the haunt was at least trying to fairly space out the groups- which I highly appreciate. Nothing pisses me off more than a haunt that just intentionally conga-lines people through, that isn't built for that kind of crowd. Basement was taking their time and tried to make sure that everyone would get a good show. I also liked how at around 11:30 PM it looked like they cut ticket sales. It made be have massive respect for the house and the workers/owners because they realized that the line they had was already going to clear 12 AM and go on into 1 AM, and they didn't want to kill their actors; they cared about their staff and I give major kudos to them for that. I've worked a haunt before where the staff didn't care about the actors and just let people buy tickets past 12 AM (closing) and worked us until later without warning. A.) It isn't fun, and B.) it's disrespectful. So props Basement people.
I also want to give a shout out to the DJ, Sir, I just wanted to give you a big high five last night. You dealt with so many annoying drunks and high people, you had some malfunctioning equipment, and you just stayed cool about it. You gave out free stuff and candy (wearing my wrist band right now) and told jokes and played one h--e--double-hockey-sticks (censored) of a mix. Your work is greatly appreciated by this individual. You, and the work of your fellow line entertainers made the wait bearable.
My one main critique about the line experience was that there were no (none, that I could see) garbage cans, so there was trash here and there. If you're selling food and drinks at an event like this, and you have this many people, there should be quite a few cans spaced out in the line. It'll help you guys and the environment out!
When our wait was finally over, I was amped. I was ready to go into the abyss of the house, although I admit I was concerned that with it being 11:50 PM we'd get some tired actors. Man, was I wrong. The actors were every bit as amped as I was, even more so! Immediately in the first room I had an actor running full force at me, ready to go. That was exactly how the actors were throughout the entire house. They were on their game at Basement last night, and it made the wait so worth it. It has been a while since I was scared at a haunt, to the point of actually yelling out. I've been to them where they've made me jump. But to actually make me yell and jump backwards in defense... it hardly ever happens. It happened here. And when it did, it just fed the actors. They didn't relent. It didn't matter that I'm a big guy, they just went for it- which I loved. And they went for everyone. Often you'll have actors who, once they've done their one scare either retreat of just stand there. That hardly ever happened in this haunt. They really tried to give everyone a great show, I feel.
Now, about half way through we did unfortunately catch up to the group in front of us. I don't think it was so much of a pacing thing on the haunt side, but because they were scared as well as messing around. The lady in front of us was so annoying, and was really pissing me off. She was obnoxious and belligerent and dampened the experience for a bit, until an actor would come by and scare her or myself and then all was right with the world. We did have to put up with her and her group the rest of the house but I tried to put some distance between us at parts and we still got a pretty good show. That group was my only real complaint with the experience, and that isn't the haunt's fault! Because of them we didn't get all of the scares near the end, but in general we still had a great time.
Another plus I have for the actors is that at no time did they ever have to go into vulgar territory. In my last review I stated how much I hate when actors, especially towards males that are going through haunts, will often "go Deliverance" on patrons in order to creep them out. It's a tired, and unoriginal gag. It may work sometimes, but it often just is boring and annoying. Plus rape is just an easy way to get under people's skin (that goes for films, books, haunts, anything.) It's cheap scares, And the Basement crew knew they were better than to stoop to that level, because they didn't use it and obviously didn't need it.
The sets were stellar. There were some of the best environments I have ever seen in a haunt. Mixed with the costumes and makeup and masks that the actors donned it created a really hellishly real experience. Everything was so meticulously done, and thought out it seemed like. The animatronics and props blended perfectly with their environments, and everything really felt organic and spot on.
Overall the house was just a sensory overload from start to finish, which really added to the scare factor. At no point did you ever feel settled or oriented in any way. It kept you on your toes and on edge the entire way. The lights, the sounds and effects, and above all the acting, just made for one h--e--double-hockey-sticks (censored) of a time.
Once you come out of Basement of the Dead you can walk over to the line for Shattered, the 3D haunt. At first I was kind of surprised that there wasn't a long line for Shattered, because with the combo ticket option I assumed that people would just be doing both houses. But then I got kind of worried that it wasn't good. Unfortunately that feeling turned out to be correct. While the actors that were in the house gave it a fair go, they couldn't save this uneventful haunt. The 3D effects were admittedly really good, and the costumes and makeup rocked (on the same par with Basement's,) but there were no scares at all. The house only seemed to have a few actors in it, and they didn't seem very energized. Like I said, they gave it a fair shot. After coming out of Basement though, Shattered paled in comparison. I don't know how the building is set up inside, but if it is possible I'd just assume Basement of the Dead extend to where Shattered is, and remove the 3D haunt all together. Next time I'll just pay for Basement of the Dead.
All in all I had a great time. Yes, if you go between now and the end of the season, I'd expect a pretty long wait unless you get their near the opening of the haunt. Even the VIP line was pretty long by the end of the night. But the line entertainers make the wait bearable and fun, and it (to me) is worth having groups spaced out like that so that everyone gets a great experience.
Basement of the Dead is a terrifying romp that violates your senses as soon as you step inside, and doesn't let up until to step through the threshold at the end. And even then you're not even guaranteed you're safe (*cough, cough* remember the line actors...*cough*).
For the price I don't think there is anything this side of Illinois that can beat it. Save the money on Shattered 3D though, and instead treat yourself to a Basement of the Dead shirt or a visit to the pub.
|15 out of 28 people thought this review was helpful.|
|Reviewed by: icecoldbtch0   (Event Visited: 10/03/14 @ 9:15 pm) |
Review Posted: 10/08/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: It wasn't the easiest to find, if it werent for the black pick up truck outside the haunt, we would've never seen it! I suggest more signage directing to this haunt, coming from as far as 25, being it's located in the back of an Irish pub downtown Aurora, literally right across from the Hollywood Casino, but if you aren't familiar with this area, you could get lost easily, trying to find this haunt. Plus you have to walk downstairs, behind the Irish pub, in order to get to the entrance. It is literally in the basement of this downtown building, Hence the name Basement of the Dead!
Wait Entertainment: Wonderful line entertainment, there was this guy on stilts, he must've been 7 or 8 ft tall! There was also this creepy aged faced doll looking girl, holding a doll, walking around interacting with the crowd. There were also a few evil clowns outside, very fun & entertaining to watch. Along with a DJ playing a great variety of both dance & metal music, so this long line wait was most def not lacking in entertainment, or boring whatsoever!
Length of Event: Total time inside both haunts, (Shattered & Basement of the Dead), about roughly 25-30 min. Total time standing outside waiting in line, a little over an hour. It was pretty crowded when we got there, so I knew the wait would be semi long. Didn't really mind, thanks to that awesome DJ especially!
Actor Performance: Top notch. There were a ton of actors in this haunt, sometimes as many as 3 or 4 in the same room! And they ALL brought serious intensity to their character roles. I was so beyond impressed walking thru Basement of the Dead, you could tell they have both young actors, and veteren actors scaring thru out this entire haunt! I experienced a TON of startle scares in just about every room/scene I walked into. And I am a startle scare enthusiast! So this upped the anty for me personally, kept my on my toes the entire time. Also the actors movements were crazy awesome. The sets were great too, but the actors really put a ton of energy into their characters, and noone ever broke character the entire time I was in each of their rooms. Loved how deep they got into their roles! I felt like I was literally walking thru movie sets, that's how top notch & talented these actors truly were!
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Flow was excellent, they spaced out enough time in between patrons, so that noone ran into any other groups while inside the haunt. We never ran into anybody, so noone ruined the surprises ahead! Which was great. I think they really got this part down! The staff clearly know what they are doing when it comes to patron flow here.
Appropriate Ages: 12+ up.
Props / Special FX: The giant Spider that came down from the ceiling scared the h--e--double-hockey-sticks (censored) out of me! Also, the guys throwing up in barrels were a very cool affect, I LOVED the mechanical mannequins one of them actually starts moving towards you it's crazy! I loved the clowns all thru out Shattered, you couldnt tell who was a prop & who was real until it was too late! Haha. I also enjoyed the Hospital room, with the bloody patients on the operating tables, & the hanging bodies all bloodied up all over this room. The chuch pews had moving rocking monk bodies in them, along with some actors hidden in the mix. This was also a great effect. Last mention here, would be the bouncing clown bodies in bloody bags that you have to literally walk thru, in a dark scary loud hallway. This was another creepy part of this house. So I'd say props alone are many, & awesome to boot.
Costumes / Make-up: The costuming in this haunt is all custom made really cool stuff. You can tell they dirtied up, distressed alot of the dressed the female characters wear, & the masks on the male actors were scary as h--e--double-hockey-sticks (censored) my personal fave being the Devil guy with the horns. Also this haunt is flowing with evil scary looking clowns! I loved the masks & make up was pretty cool too. There were a decent amount of actors made up wearing scary looking cool contacts in their eyes, & the rest were in some killer looking & well thought out masks.
Summary: Having never been to this haunt before, I had no idea what to expect. This is one of those best kept secrets you will instantly fall in love with, upon experiencing... Not only did this ENTIRE haunt scare the bejesus out of me, but the price was great for the amount of time spent in both haunts. The scenes here that stood out to me the most, would have to be the church scene, between that creepy nun, & that scary looking Red Devil guy! You will see just what I mean when you make your journey thru this church room. They both did Excellent work, & this room alone was very effective in setting the entire mood for the rest of this haunt. I also must give special mention to the Silent Hill Nurses room. Just OMG between the way these nurses moved, & twitched! Like they were exactly in the Silent Hill movie. And the victim screaming peircing screams, really built the tension up in this scene, made you actually terrified to walk THRU the room, the way it was set up, being you had to walk Past both nurses. I must say how bad a@@ (censored) both nurses were to watch, I almost wish I couldve stayed in that room longer, just to appreciate their acting performances some more. Haha! Top notch acting thru out this ENTIRE house, as I said earlier! Between the drop boxes, the loud scary screams I was hearing thru out this whole haunt, the pop out props, & the actors, I not only had a thrilling time in this haunt, but I'd give this one a 10 out of 10, in my overall haunted house experience for the last 20 yrs!!! Prob one of the best I have been to in a long while. And that's saying a lot, for me. Being I do not scare easily, I am pretty desensitized when it comes to walking thru most haunts. But these guys got it right! I had both my fill of startle scares AND amazingly horrific visuals, making for an insane experience!!! Basement of the Dead is a Must see, for all die hards out there who appreciate a genuinely scary, & unforgettable Haunt experience.
|12 out of 23 people thought this review was helpful.|
|Reviewed by: cupajoe415   (Event Visited: 10/18/14 @ 7:30 pm) |
Review Posted: 10/20/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: Pretty easy to find, though navigating Downtown aurora for parking was a bit of a frustrating experience. It was our first time there though.
Wait Entertainment: Had a few guys out. A giant clown etc.
Length of Event: 13 minutes.
Actor Performance: There was not enough dialogue or actors willing to speak. This haunt had alot of pop outs, screamers, and grunters. Therefore I will not say the acting was great per say... however, they were great at startling people. In fact they were the best at that, I have seen yet.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: No problems at all. We never ran into another group.
Appropriate Ages: 15+
Props / Special FX: Great environment! The music and feel of the place was so dirty and city like. It really shined. It was very dark as well, but not in a way that ruined the haunt but rather made it a great place for actors to hide and get scares.
Costumes / Make-up: Costumes and makeup were done well!
Summary: I usually don't give the whole rundown of each haunt I visit since I visit 10+ every season. I usually do like to share just a few of the improvements I saw over last year, if I visited it before, as well as mention anything that I think might be helpful for the future of the haunt.
First off I was very thankful for the doorman, who excepted our tickets that I did not read the small print of. He was a class act.
While the acting was not the best in terms of creativity, the scares were great. Shout out to the guy who kicked the barrel right in front of me, that was great. The atmosphere was perfect for a haunt based on scares. I am really learning that you can go for a different aim depending on the haunt, be it acting, startles, environments etc. The environment and startle scares here were top notch. If you are looking for a haunt to get you scared this is it. Great job to all involved, you created a great place for the actors to get their scares.
|8 out of 20 people thought this review was helpful.|
|Reviewed by: hexe   (Event Visited: 10/17/14 @ 8:00 pm) |
Review Posted: 10/17/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: As previously mentioned look for the truck with the light up arrow once on W New York St. On the evening I visited there was a Pumpkin Head actor on stilts wandering around.
Wait Entertainment: Visiting on a Thursday evening I expected that fewer patrons would be lined up & wait entertainment would be minimal. There was however a DJ, couple chainsaw guys, two actors on stilts (enjoyed the clown with the jumping stilts the most- it never got old seeing him hop on by scaring the crap out of newcomers) & a doll like creature to keep customers entertained & on their toes while they waited.
Length of Event: Again as it was Thursday evening you could've either taken your time or blew through the whole thing. I'd say the Shattered 3D House was between 10-15 minutes and Basement of the Dead between 20-25 minutes.
Actor Performance: I already gave credit to the wait entertainment actors however I cannot say the same of those in the houses. I did really enjoy both clowns before entering the 3D House & most notably the clown in the elevator. Again, again, AGAIN this was a Thursday night- which are slower nights- often understaffed (where was the red horned demon?!) I understand that actors do try to conserve their energy for the long weekend ahead... With this being said slower nights should also give you an opportunity to really hone your craft, try out some new things & enjoy playing with smaller groups. There were many actors who just titled their head from side to side, growled, and/or shouted "HELP!" These tactics do work on some people & when timed right at least show your effort; otherwise it just comes off as inexperienced & barely trying. I would like to give props to an actress who was climbing on some barrels & the floor (without risk of being squished!) early on in the Basement house. The church scene had an actor dressed in a goat head costume who also stood out (still disappointed I missed the red horned demon.) The only other few I can accredit: one of the twitchy nurses & an actor hanging from the ceiling near the black out maze.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: I'm not entirely sure why the wait was so long considering how few were waiting... If I had to guess they were trying to bask in not herding conga lines for once (oh weekends!) but overall I can't complain because I wasn't shuffling through like a sheep, hearing others get all the fun while I watched actors reset. So I would say the patron flow was good. We didn't necessarily need that many people guiding us through the blackout (bumped into several of the gentleman with flashlights) who were a bit too generous with their guidance. I get that though, if they don't do it, it gets backed up.
Appropriate Ages: Sign says recommended for 10+ which I'd say is fair. Nothing too vulgar going on here.
Props / Special FX: I have to agree with a previous reviewer who stated it was a bit too dark to really see much of the props & Special FX. From what I was able to see I was very impressed and in awe. I would've like to have seen a bit more to really take in some of the scenes. It is a basement though- right- so I can't harp too much on this. I don't wanna spoil too much (too late?) but if you dislike spiders- have fun! The mannequins were also a nice (albeit not the most original) touch- I was surprised that none of them came to life. There was an incredible prop of a victim strung up with hooks early on, several video screens with some fun & eerie footage, the large animatronic skull demon is also wickedly magnificent!
Costumes / Make-up: Initially I was very excited about seeing the costumes & makeup based on the actors before gaining entry to both houses. However there were a couple actors who appeared to be in no makeup in the basement & a lot of masks throughout. Overall this was pretty standard not notable haunt affair. Then again I could just be bitter because I really wanted to see the red horned demon- goat head guy kinda helped soften the blow.
Summary: Overall I feel a bit like a nit picky jerk for some of my above comments- just bare with me as I've haunted for a couple years myself & don't scare easily. I do however walk through with a big goofy grin on my face & eagerly await & appreciate the show before me. I cannot say that Basement of the Dead disappointed, I would definitely recommend it to most! I just wanna walk away feeling that all the little spooks love doing what I love doing & in that aspect it did fall a little short. You are rewarded with this incredible playground- USE IT. Imagine every victim that wanders through is the jerk who cut you off in his BMW on the way to work IF you can't channel your character alone. Victims shouting help? Why should I help you? Tell me exactly what evil is going to befall you in quick graphic detail so I may be concerned that the same will happen to me. You're a clown? Why are you silently tilting your head from side to side? I know the very word "clown" is enough to cause some folks to pee their pants but c'mon now you're not Michael Meyers. You guys truly have the ability to be the best of the best-- let us really see & experience that! And by see & experience alright I'm back to- it was a bit too dark & I would've liked to have seen more. Strobes & flashing bulbs can easily give that, "Oh *bad word* the lights are going out...." feel which would be appropriate in a basement. In summary there is incredible potential with these haunts- the ideas/stories behind each, the sets (3D FINALLY done right!), the spotlight characters (referring to those understandably placed in front of the houses) & the church scene are reason enough to check this place out. Let the frequent screams coming from the customer in front of me during my experience also guide you here! Despite any personal gripes I may have had- still has to be one of your best bets for visiting a haunt this year. My suggestion is try shooting for a weekend & getting there early- I may have to do this myself.
|8 out of 20 people thought this review was helpful.|
|Reviewed by: DragonSlayer   (Event Visited: 10/02/14 @ 9:15 pm) |
Review Posted: 10/13/14
| Overall Score:|
|Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good|
Visibility/Location: I was disappointed again with Basement of the Dead's visibility. I've been here before and thus remember the area and building but for those coming who haven't it could have been an issue. There were no lighted signs and the corner it's near was dark as well. There were no lines and thus no crowd around the area which again adds to the issue of finding this place.
Wait Entertainment: There was no wait so therefore no wait entertainment. Usually there is a DJ and a bunch of characters walking around.
Length of Event: It took us about 7 minutes to get through Shattered and about 15 to get through Basement of the Dead so in all about 22 minutes which is short for the price but not too bad.
Actor Performance: We went on an off night and it was also raining so no one was there besides us really which can be good or bad. Most of the actors were really into their craft and did their best to keep us around during our visit.
Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Since we didn't have any other people there we had no issues with patron flow and went in and never ran into anyone or had anyone catch us and we walk slow through haunts!
Appropriate Ages: Parental judgement is individual but I'd say 12 and up depending on your kid.
Props / Special FX: Basement of the Dead always does with what they have and outside of Massacre they have perhaps the best 3D in IL. There aren't a lot of large props here but the ones they have do their job well.
Costumes / Make-up: Both Shattered and Basement of the Dead feature top notch costumes and make-up. The best character is the pig butcher with the large hack saw.
Summary: I had high hopes for Basement of the Dead this year but feel their presentation was merely mediocre. They had some great scenes but I miss a lot of what they did last year and many of the rooms they changed didn't seem to flow well or give the same eerie effect they exhibited last year. The room with the torture tables and tools had great strobing last year but this year it was mainly dark meaning that the detail in it couldn't be seen well and also that the effect of the actors in that room is not as convincing. Last year I walked into walls the lighting was so good and I got caught up in the details but this year Basement seemed to go the route of just being darker.
Basement of the Dead does however use the fact they are in the basement of a building very well and it is for all intensive purposes very dark. The hallways towards the end are completely pitch black and the strobes in those areas only flash periodically and of course in your eyes thanks to the actors in there! I'm not sure if the halls with the strobes are effective or just annoying as I'm still thinking about it. The church scene was pretty effective and the pews featured people moving and praying that may or may not have been props! A lot of the old haunt is still here and the energy of the place is downright scary! Still Basement could have done better with a little more light and proper use of strobes.
Shattered 3D is a completely different story. I loved Shattered last year and I don't normally like 3D haunts but they just do such a good job. The paint makes you question what's real and what's not and the actors did a great job at egging us on and messing with us. I loved it! It seemed like their were a lot more actors in it and the clown at the beginning that operates the elevator is awesome! He broke the door when we were there yet went along with the whole thing and played it off wonderfully! Check out Shattered if you want to know what 3D should look like!
In conclusion, I would say that Basement of the Dead should be on any IL haunters list and I recommend going through Shattered first and ending with Basement of the Dead if possible. Overall two very good and effective haunts with top notch scares and effects.