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2006 Statesville Haunted Prison
& City of the Dead Review
Ravens Grin

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

Visited: 10/27/06


Visibility/Location: This event was very easy to find, especially with the online directions given on their website.  There was a huge illuminated pumpkin, as well as several large illuminated "Statesville Haunted Prison" signs posted along the road, helping to lead you to the event.
Wait Entertainment: There was loud rock music playing for the customers waiting in line.  There really wasn't much for wait entertainment in the main tent; however, when you reached the holding cells (different staging areas), there was a plethora of actors interacting with the crowd.  This year there was the addition of a guard standing on top of a platform, with a "machine gun" air cannon.     
Admission Price: $25.00 

Statesville Haunted Prison: 10 Minutes *
City of the Dead: 5 Minutes *  

* = Since people move through haunted attractions at different rates, your time will vary.  Note: The time shown here represents the actual time spent moving through each  attraction.  Time spent waiting in queue lines or staging areas has been subtracted.  

Scare Factor: Statesville Haunted Prison: High
City of the Dead: Medium  
Crowd Control: Statesville Haunted Prison: They could have done better in this category.  Despite various check-points used to separate customers, there were still several  times throughout the house when groups ran into each other.  I believe this problem was due to the lack of spacing between groups, as well as Statesville employees in the staging areas telling the patrons to: "Run as fast as you can" through the attraction. 
City of the Dead: Crowd control was very poor throughout this attraction.  After only a minute or so inside the house, my group ran into the group ahead of us and the group behind us caught up to ours. This was a consistent problem throughout the entire attraction.    


Statesville Haunted Prison:

The prison theme was set from the very beginning, even before you even got inside the attraction.  As you waited in line, the staff transfered you through a couple of different "holding cell" areas.  One of the holding cells was a square structure made of chain-link fencing and the other was a dark hallway with bars on the windows.  As you moved through the different queue areas, actors outside would taunt you every chance they got.  This really helped to set the mood for the rest of the attraction.  As usual, Statesville's opening scene with the warden flying overhead was phenomenal!  I went through a couple of times this year, and each time it got a gasp from the crowd.   

Once inside the attraction, the staff made you feel like a prisoner, by lining you up in rows and yelling instructions at you through a bullhorn.  With their harsh language and rough demeanor, they shouted colorful phrases like "get over here, you stupid maggot", "form single file lines, damn it!" and "move over dumbass".   With that being said, it's quite obvious that this event is NOT appropriate for small children.  

Throughout the attraction they did a great job of keeping you disoriented, by assaulting your senses with multiple strobe lights, loud sound effects and a lot of fog.  In the beginning, there were a number of jail cells, with "inmates" taunting you as you walked by.  In some of those areas you had to duck down or lean to the side, to make your way through.  The insane asylum was outstanding.  It featured several white-walled areas, with lots of twists and turns.   Each section was filled with fog and flashing strobe lights.  Some of the "patients" were behind caged walls, while others wandered the hallways.  I really liked the areas with the plexiglass walls.  That was very creative.  There were some areas that had plexiglass floors with strobe lights under them, for added effect.   I also enjoyed their red and white checkerboard clown room. This area also had a lot of strobe lights to help disorient you.  This scene was literally filled with clowns who taunted you, as you tried to make your way through.  Some of the clowns were even reaching down at you, from above.   One of their popular new features this year was the bus.  They had you go up a ramp and walk through the middle of a full-sized bus.  Once inside, there were a couple of characters that taunted you and an actor who dragged a metal rod across the roof of the bus, creating a shower of sparks. 

The actors throughout all areas of the attraction did a great job.   The veteran actors were very much into their characters and the actors doing pop-out scares did a great job, as well.  Most of the actors stayed true to form and never broke character.  Unfortunately all of the disorienting strobes, fog and loud sounds might cause you to miss some of their great performances, if you aren't paying close attention.  Overall, all the actors did a top-notch job.          

City of the Dead:

The City of the Dead is an appropriate name for this attraction, as it was filled will a lot of zombie-like creatures, body parts, tombstones and other similar props that fit in with the general theme.  I really enjoyed the opening scene.  It ended with an animated 12 foot tall beast walking toward the audience!  Inside the house there was a forest area, where you had to weave your way in and out of some very realistic-looking, textured trees to find the exit.  The spinning vortex tunnel featured glowing skulls and other bones that rotated around you. There was also an area with a zig-zag path, where various body parts were displayed inside plexiglass enclosures.  To make your journey more challenging, there were areas where you had to lean down and practically crawl, to find your way out.  Many of the zombie characters in the house were wearing green glowing make-up and most of them were a bit less intense than the actors in Statesville Prison.   Overall, the actors in this house did a great job.  

The Statesville crew put on a great show this year.  Although they had some real crowd control problems this season, this event has consistently been one of the best shows in the Chicagoland area.  Even so, this event is still overpriced.  $25 is just way too much to pay for ANY haunted attraction, period!  Considering the high admission price, 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.   Regardless of the price, Statesville always puts on a great show, so check it out if you get the chance.    


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