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2003 House of Horrors Review

House of Horrors
7865 Burden Road
Machesney Park, IL 61115
Date of Review: 10/22/03
Visibility/Location: The House of Horrors was clearly visible from the road. To make it stand out, there was a large illuminated sign along the main highway and searchlights illuminating the sky.  There were also various other signs along the road, especially near the entrance. The bright lights from their trailer concession stands also got your attention.  
Outside Appearance: This attraction was held inside a large metal warehouse-type building.  There were a number of banners as well as a nice facade on the outside of the building.  The facade, at the event's entrance, was a rickety wooden shack with fog oozing from inside of it and red lights shining through the windows.
Wait Entertainment: There were concession stands outside, so patrons could grab a snack. The only other wait entertainment was spooky music coming from the facade.
Admission Price: General Admission: $7.00
VIP Pass (online): $15.00 (allows you to bypass the main waiting line)

30 Minutes

Scare Factor: N/A

This event isn't necessarily scary, but it is rather emotionally troubling.  It contains graphic and disturbing scenes that are not appropriate for young children.

Atmosphere: The mood was established by the various scenes  throughout the attraction. All of the scenes were very realistically constructed and highly detailed. You can tell that a lot of hard work was put into building the various detailed sets. 

Scene separation, however, was a big issue. Unfortunately, many of the actor's voices were drowned out by loud crashes and other sounds coming from neighboring areas, which diminished the overall effectiveness of several scenes.

Crowd Control: Crowd control inside this event was excellent.  The House of Horrors is a guided tour, with one guide in front and one in back of you, so none of the groups ever ran into each other.  
Other Customer's
Many of the customers enjoyed this event; however, most everyone was shocked by the content of the show.  A few patrons were upset that Christian themes were presented throughout the attraction and they weren't informed of this until they got up to the ticket window. None of the advertising they saw made any mention of Christian content.  


While this appeared to be a regular haunted house from the outside and throughout all of their advertising, it actually turned out to be a Christian outreach program, cleverly disguised as a regular haunted house.   This event was put together by the Rockford Masters Commission, the same group that hosted "Fear Fest", in Belvidere, in 2002.

Most of the scenes showed you, through a dramatic theatrical-style presentation, real-life "horrors", such as a drunk driving accident, domestic violence, drug overdose, teen suicide, etc.  Their goal was to establish a cause and effect relationship between certain behaviors (committing 'sins') and unthinkable consequences, to make you think twice about how you lead your own life.  Toward the end of the house, there was a representation of what they thought Hell was like.  In the final four scenes, your tour guide gave you a lecture about Jesus.  Afterward,  they encouraged you to join them in their coffee house (where they served coffee for free) to discuss religion further and gave you the opportunity to join their church.   

I have no problem with the content of their show in and of itself; however, I don't feel it is right for the Rockford Masters Commission to misrepresent the content of their attraction and exploit Halloween, to pursue their own hidden agenda. Their heart is in the right place (helping others), but their advertising is misleading.  The House of Horrors website never mentioned anything about Christian themes, nor did the appearance of the attraction give you any idea  what you were in for.  At the entrance of the attraction, they did have a couple of small 8.5x11" signs posted, stating that the event is not a traditional haunted house and that is contains real-life "horrors"; however, there was no mention of "Christian Themes" on the sign.  The point I am trying to make is that any number of potential customers could make a long drive, then wait hours in line before they even found out this wasn't a regular haunted house.  

Was it preachy?.... Yes, a little.  Graphic and disturbing?... Yes.  Thought provoking?... Definitely!  Is it a good show?  It all depends on your own personal beliefs.  Just be aware that there is a prominent religious theme throughout the entire attraction.  If you are sensitive about religious issues or graphic images of real-life tragedies, this may not be the right attraction for you.

Click here to find out more about this event.



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