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Read Other 2009 Haunt Reviews's
2009 Dungeon of Doom Review

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Dungeon of Doom
Historic WARWICK Building
2701 Deborah Ave
Zion, IL 60099

Visited: 10/03/09


Visibility/Location: Getting there was a little confusing. Keep in mind that various mapping utilities will send you the wrong way. They will tell you to turn off on 27th St. Since traffic has been rerouted, you will need to go two blocks north, and turn on Siloh Blvd, instead. There was a large illuminated sign on 27th St, though, to lead you in the right direction. Once I got to that point, there were vehicles with flashing lights and signs on the road, to guide me the rest of the way. After getting to the parking lot, the entrance of the haunt wasn't visible, so I wasn't really sure where to go. A sign or two pointing in the direction of the entrance would have been helpful.   
Wait Entertainment: In their large indoor waiting area, there was a gothic cathedral-style ticket booth, as well as a stone wall facade that extended down the entire length of the waiting room.  Several costumed actors were walking up and down the queue line, scaring the patrons.  There was loud rock music playing in the background and along the one side, there was a casket and an animated prop set up, to help keep people entertained.  There were also various props, including a skeleton chandelier, to help establish a spooky atmosphere.         
Admission Price: Different packages were available:
$15 - General Admission
$18 - General Admission + Buried Alive
$25 - Ultimate Package + Buried Alive
(Note: This is a review of the Ultimate Package, which includes two separate passageways on the first floor, one passage way through the second floor, plus access to Buried Dead or Alive.)
Parking: FREE

1st Path (1st floor): 6 Minutes * 
2nd Path (1st floor): 6 Minutes *
Buried Alive: 2.5 Minutes *  
2nd floor: 10 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: Medium-Low
Crowd Control: They did a great job in this category.  Separating the attraction into different sections and having various check-points allowed them to control patron flow very well.  During my tour through the various areas, I never ran into another group.     
Extras: Outside of the building, there were various carnival games set up for people to play, as well as a concession stand.       
Dungeon of Doom Pictures

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This year, the Dungeon of Doom moved to a new location in Zion, IL and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check it out.  Their new building was huge, to say the least!  It also has the unique distinction of being one of the few attractions out there to have multiple levels.  Patrons were able to see more or less of the attraction, based on which ticket package they purchased.  The first area that patrons entered was a large room, with an animated pile of skeletons as a centerpiece.  Around the perimeter of the room were archways, with doors behind them.  The color of your wrist band determined which paths they sent you down (different packages had different colors).   

In my review, I'm not going to differentiate which scenes are in which areas (path 1, path 2, 2nd floor, etc).  I'll leave that for the reader to experience on his/her own.  One thing that really seemed to stand out was that the ceiling was visible in many areas of the house. The reflection was a bit distracting.  The tall ceilings, wide hallways and emense size of the building gave the attraction a more wide-open, industrial feel, as opposed to the intimate/claustrophobic atmosphere that their haunt had back in the Grayslake location.  Different doesn't necessarily mean bad; however, the increased number and length of black-walled hallways between scenes, translated into scares that were a lot more spread out and infrequent.    

Throughout the attraction there were many scenes of varying themes, some more elaborate than others.  The following are a few of my personal favorites.  In the industrial area, there were stacked barrels, power panels and flashing lights.  While walking through the scene, an actor let a large metal grate swing down, which crashed with a loud clang.   The cockroach hallway had hundreds of cockroaches covering the walls.  Plaster was crumbling off of the walls, exposing the lath underneath.  This area also had great insect sound effects, as well as a flashing strobe light.  The Egyptian scene was nicely detailed.  There was a sarcophagus in the center of the scene and mummies inhabited several alcoves that were spread out, around the perimeter of the room. I also liked the clown area, with the glowing clown artwork painted on the walls.  The first room in this area was hung by cables and swung back and forth, as you walked through.  The backwoods shack was one of the most detailed scenes in the haunted house.  To get to it, patrons had to cross a rickety bridge.  The surrounding area was nicely themed with colored lighting, a body hanging upside-down from a tree and an animatronic alligator.  Inside the shack, there was a neon Coors sign, a girl bound and gagged in a corner, a dinner table and a roast cooking for dinner.  Patrons left the scene via a screen door, but not before a scare came out of nowhere.  One of the largest scenes in the attraction was called (according to their website) "Dead Bums Alley".  In this area, there was graffiti painted on the walls and dozens of red biohazard barrels were stacked up all over the place.  While navigating through this scene, patrons were attacked by various transients, who were begging for money.  In the last half of the scene were the bum's "homes", which were a collection of makeshift structures, built out of large pallets.    Mercy General Hospital was also very elaborate.  The introduction to the scene was awesome and there was a great scare at the end.  Throughout "Mercy General", various areas were separated by hospital privacy curtains, which were splattered with blood.  The different areas of the scene featured things like hospital beds, backlit x-rays and assorted  medical equipment, to create a realistic hospital atmosphere.  Dim accent lighting was used to further enhance the mood.  In another area of the house, there was a strobe light cage maze that transitioned into a pallet maze.  Of course, I can't forget to mention "Buried Dead or Alive", which is an effect that simulates what it would feel like to be buried in an avalanche.  

There were a lot of actors on the night that I attended; however, due to the size of the building, a few more actors in strategic places (especially the empty hallways) would have enhanced the experience overall.  The actors all knew their roles and stayed in character; however, the overall energy level of the attraction seemed a bit lower, compared to previous performances.  

The Dungeon of Doom crew did a great job setting up on short notice.  It is my understanding that they had some delays in getting started.  Also, filling up a place this size would be quite a challenge, regardless.  Their new location is really a diamond in the rough and has a ton of potential.  Considering the excellent show the Dungeon of Doom has put on for the past several years, I can't wait to see what they do with this place next year.  My tour through the Dungeon of Doom was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.  If you're in the area, be sure to stop by to check it out.  

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