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2008 Statesville Haunted Prison 
& City of the Dead Review

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

Visited: 10/10/08


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 a large "Statesville Haunted Prison" sign right at the entrance.
Wait Entertainment: They really did a great job this season, as far as wait entertainment is concerned.  There were several actors tormenting the people waiting in line. They also had loud rock music playing.   The nice Statesville Prison facade with barred windows also helped to set the mood before you entered the attraction.   
Admission Price: $30.00

Statesville Haunted Prison: 11 Minutes *  
City of the Dead: 3 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 the 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: There could have been improvement in this area.  This is something that Statesville has always had a consistent problem with.  It seemed that they were just letting too many people in at one time.  Even though there really wasn't much of a line when I arrived, groups still ran together a number of times throughout the attraction.  The staff did utilize check-points to try and keep the groups spaced properly, but unfortunately being stopped repeatedly and having to wait to continue detracted from the scary mood they were trying to establish.    
City of the Dead: The flow in this attraction was much better, perhaps due to the staff telling patrons to "run like hell" through the attraction.  I didn't run into any other groups.      


Statesville Haunted Prison:

After you make it out of the covered waiting area, the Statesville staff did a good job of making you feel like a prisoner.  First, they transfered you into a square cage made from chain-link fencing.  From there, you were herded into a dark area with barred windows.  The staff used some harsh and insulting language (& mild profanity), so keep in mind that this event IS NOT for children!  On their website it states: "No one under the age of 10 will be allowed on the property and persons 15 and under MUST be accompanied by a paid adult.".    Once inside, an introduction was performed before you were allowed to continue through the rest of the haunted house.  If you haven't seen it before, it is spectacular; however, they have been doing the same intro for several years now and since I've seen it so many times, it has lost a lot of its impact.  It would be nice if they would come up with something different to keep the show fresh for patrons who come back year after year.

Throughout the attraction, fog, numerous strobe lights and loud sound effects are used to assault your senses.  Statesville Haunted Prison had three main sections: the prison, the insane asylum and the clown area.  The prison section featured inmates, cells with barred windows and a lot of strobe lights.  There were areas where the walls were slanted, so you had to duck down to make it through.  Holes cut in the walls gave actors the opportunity to attack you from multiple angles.  There were even a couple of spots where actors sat on top of a platform and were able to reach down at you.  In other areas, actors were banging on 55 gallon drums to startle patrons. 

The insane asylum had white walls and a lot of "patients" dressed in white.  The multiple strobe lights reflecting off the white walls did a great job of disorienting you.   Patrons had to make their way through a twisting path of cages, where they were attacked from all angles.  One of my favorite sections of the insane asylum featured plexiglass floors with strobe lights flashing underneath them.  Not only were the floors made of plexiglass, but some of the walls were, too.  In these areas, crazed maniacs would bang wildly on the plexiglass enclosures, as patrons walked by.  This year they cut down on the use of fog in the insane asylum, which was a definite improvement over previous years.  It increase visibility and gave patrons the opportunity to see more of what was going on in the scene.    

The entire clown area was themed with a red & white checkerboard pattern.  Even the actors' costumes and make-up featured that same pattern. The clown area also had platforms, so actors could attack you from all directions.  Numerous strobe lights were used in this section of the haunted house to disorient you.      

Throughout the attraction there was an ample amount of actors.  In all of the scenes, they were very enthusiastic and eager to scare.  Maintaining a high-intensity atmosphere is something that Statesville has traditionally done well over the past several years and this year was no different.  Most of the actors that I saw were really into what they were doing and stayed in character the entire time. 

City of the Dead:

City of the Dead started off with a great intro scene, which ended with a huge 12 foot tall animatronic monster walking toward the crowd.  Throughout this part of the attraction there were several scenes containing zombies, body parts, tombstones, bones and other props that fit in with the general theme of the attraction.  I really liked the tree mirror maze.  It had realistic textured trees, strobe lights to disorient you and string hanging down, so you had to duck down a little.  At various points in the City of the Dead, there were holes in the walls where actors would reach out and attack you.  In a couple of the scenes, there were raised platforms with tombstones and bones, as well as actors who would reach down at you.  The actors in this attraction had a similar in-your-face acting style, but since a lot of them were very short, they were less intimidating than the actors in the Statesville Haunted Prison.  

The Statesville crew put on another great show this year.  They have consistently had some of the most high-energy performances of any haunt in the state.  Unfortunately, the admission price of $30 per person is really hard to swallow, even considering the entertainment value provided.  $30 is just way too much to pay for a haunted house, period. 


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