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2005 Statesville Haunted Prison &
City of the Dead Haunted House Review
Ravens Grin

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Statesville Haunted Prison
& City of the Dead
17250 S. Weber Road
Crest Hill, IL 60441

Visited: 10/20/05

Visibility/Location: This event was very easy to find.  Between the easy-to-follow directions posted on their website and the huge illuminated pumpkin along the side of the road, you couldn't miss it.  There was also a large illuminated "Statesville Haunted Prison" sign at the entrance, along with a couple of strobe lights to get your attention.  
Wait Entertainment: There were a couple of actors interacting with the people waiting in line, as well as some loud rock music playing on the sound system outside.  The sight of the detailed Statesville facade, with prison bars and red flashing lights, helped to get you in the mood for the event that would follow.  
Admission Price: $25.00 Combo ticket for both the Haunted Prison and City of the Dead
(Tickets for each individual house could not be purchased separately)

Statesville Haunted Prison: 17 Minutes *  
City of the Dead: 11 Minutes *  
= Since people move through haunted attractions at different rates, your time will vary.

Scare Factor: Statesville Haunted Prison: Very High   
City of the Dead: Medium-High      
Crowd Control: Statesville Haunted Prison: Crowd control inside this house was pretty good.  There were a couple of check-points, where they regulated the flow of patrons.  I had to stop at one of these for a minute or two, so they could keep groups separated.  Overall, I did see a group or two in front of me, but I never caught up to them.     
City of the Dead: It seemed they really didn't do as good of a job in this house.  I ran into the group in front of me once and at the same time, a group caught up to me from behind.  This happened near the raised graveyard.         


Statesville Haunted Prison:

As soon as you buy your ticket, you are treated more like a prisoner than a customer.  Before you enter the house, you are caged up in a chain-link fence structure, then later transferred to a "holding cell" area with bars on the windows.  Keep in mind that this event is advertised as an adult attraction and harsh language is used by the actors inside.  If you have young children, DO NOT bring them to Statesville.   As the prison guards lined up the prisoners (patrons) inside the house, they yelled at everyone through a bullhorn, saying things like "Shut up & move it!", "Single file, damn it!" and "Let's go maggots!".  They really assault your senses with tons of stobe lights, banging barrels and loud music & sound effects.  So much, in fact, that your senses are overloaded halfway through the house.  Throughout most of the attraction, they followed through with the prison theme.  There were a lot of areas with prisoners behind bars, taunting you as you passed by.  In addition to prison cells, I passed through a kitchen, freezer, insane asylum and a clown room.   The Insane Asylum was outstanding.  I particularly liked the fog-filled area with plexiglass walls, that was illuminated by strobe lights.  As you weaved in and out of the plexiglass walls, the "house residents" banged on the plexiglass walls from the other side.  The clown room was like it had been in previous years.  The walls were painted up in a red & white checkerboard pattern and the whole area was illuminated with multiple strobe lights.  It seemed like there were clowns everywhere and they were quite relentless.  

Their veteran actors gave very theatrical performances and in general, they did a great job. They really got into their roles and never broke character.  Unfortunately, due to all the loud sounds and flashing strobes, it is possible to miss some of their great performances if you aren't paying close attention.  Some of the younger "inmates" had less complex roles, sticking to simple scare tactics like screeching and pounding on the walls, for the most part.  Overall, the actors were all VERY energetic, making this event quite intense.       


City of the Dead:

The City of the Dead was really a smaller version of the Statesville Prison, only with a zombie theme.  While the actors used similar scare tactics, this attraction didn't seem to have the intensity of Statesville Prison. Unfortunately the night that I visited, they were having technical problems.  The introduction, which I remember as being pretty impressive last year, wasn't working.  After about 2 or 3 minutes of waiting for something to happen, the actors just told everyone to move on to the next room.  The rest of the attraction was filled with zombies, tombstones and other related props.  There were areas where you had to either lean over or crouch down to get through, all while actors were following and taunting you.  Like last season, their raised graveyard was nicely detailed and had a couple of high-end animated props.  Another scene that I liked was the textured "cave" walls, with skeletons embedded in the stone.  The swamp at the end was great too.  

The actors in this attraction performed well, but they were perhaps a little more low-key than the ones in the Statesville attraction.  Most of them did a great job and were very convincing.  As would be expected, the actors were made up to look like zombies, with the appropriate make-up and tattered clothing.  They all stayed in character, except for the one actor who said (in a regular tone of voice) "Sorry buddy" after he had inadvertently bumped into me.  


This was yet another great performance by the Statesville Haunted Prison.  While they did a great job, this event is still overpriced.  As I have said every year since they increased their admission price, $25 is just too much to pay for any Haunted Attraction, period.  Given the high price tag placed on this event, I think it would be a great idea for the management to consider giving patrons the option of purchasing a ticket for one haunted house or the other, instead of forcing everyone to buy a $25 combo ticket for both.  Money aside, though, I think that Statesville is one of the best attractions in the Chicagoland area.

Click here to find out more about this event.





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