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Read Other 2009 Haunt Reviews's
2009 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: 10/02/09

Visibility/Location: Statesville was easy to find using the directions listed on their website.  Along the road, there was a huge illuminated pumpkin, as well as a bright LCD sign, to let you know you were at the right place.  The entrance to Statesville Haunted Prison was also at a stoplight, which greatly enhanced its visibility from the road.  
Wait Entertainment: They did a great job in this category.  Covered waiting was provided inside a large tent and several actors were walking up and down the queue line, scaring the patrons.  There were also two small televisions inside the tent, but on the night of my visit, they weren't being used.  Loud heavy metal music was being played in the background.  Outside there was an outstanding new facade, to help get people in the mood for their upcoming tour.  Unfortunately, they didn't send the first group of patrons through the house until almost an hour after their advertised starting time; however, it was their opening night.   
Admission Price: $30.00

Statesville Haunted Prison: 8.5 Minutes *  
City of the Dead: 4 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: Low-Medium  
Crowd Control: Statesville Haunted Prison: I was in one of the first groups to go through, so I didn't run into any other groups inside the house.      
City of the Dead: There was a flow problem inside City of the Dead.  There was a back-up of customers about halfway through the attraction, then again near the end.  This was managed by employees at check-points, but it made the flow of the attraction somewhat herky-jerky.        


Statesville Haunted Prison:

After making it out of the tent, the staff made you feel like a prisoner, by moving you into a chain-link fence cage that was in front of the the haunted house.  After that, patrons were transferred to another holding cell, then into the attraction itself.  From there, customers were lined up in single file fashion, so they could view the trademark Warden intro that they have been doing for several years now.  Personally, I would like to see them change it up a bit.  After seeing it so many times, it's kind of lost it's impact for me.  I think that someone who hasn't seen it would find it very entertaining, though.     

It was nice to see that there were a lot of changes this year.  There were some new scenes and changes were made to existing ones.  The tour started with a zig-zag path, with prison cells on both sides.  Bodies hanging from the ceiling slowed you down, as you had to push them off to the side, to get by.  Meanwhile, prisoners reached out from behind their barred cells and growled.   New this year was a disgusting bathroom, with toilets lined up along the walls and feces smeared everywhere.  I also saw an actor pretending to urinate into a trough of glowing "urine".  Also new was the shower room, with real working shower heads.  I really enjoyed the "Ring" room, featuring about a dozen figures that resembled the girl from the movie.  Most of them were mannequins; however, a couple of them turned out the be actresses who surprised patrons and stalked them through the rest of the scene.  That was pretty creepy.  Throughout the attraction, there were various areas with leaning walls where you had to duck down to get through.  As you walked past, prisoners pounded on the other side of the walls and screamed.  

There were some distinct improvements to the insane asylum this year.  There was less fog and the strobe lights had been replaced with incandescent lights that slowly flickered.  The combination of these changes allowed customers to see more of the actors' performances.  This area was literally packed with actors; most of them had similar costumes, wearing white tattered clothing with blood splatters, as well as bloody cloth wrapped around their heads.  Some areas had Plexiglas walls that the actors would bang on and in other areas, cages on both sides of the path were angled in, forcing patrons to duck down, to get out of the way of actors' attacks.   

The clown area featured a red & white checkerboard pattern on the walls and a slow flashing strobe light.  The same pattern was used for the actors' make-up and costumes.   For some reason, the clown area had less of an impact than it had in the past.  It seemed shorter and tamer than it had been in previous years.  The ending of the tour was also pretty anticlimactic. Near the end of the attraction, patrons walked down a long, dark hallway & through a vortex tunnel, then out through the exit.      

Overall, the acting was good.  All of the actors maintained a high energy level and were more than willing to scare.  Those who had speaking parts did well (e.g. the actor who did the introduction to the "Maniac's Ward").  Also, everyone stayed in character.         

City of the Dead:

City of the Dead started off with a great intro scene.  After a monologue by a character in a skull mask, a huge 12 foot tall animatronic monster walked toward the crowd.  It had a buzz-saw in one hand and a dismembered corpse in the other.  City of the Dead was like a smaller version of Statesville Haunted Prison, but with a corpse-related theme.  Many of the scenes featured bones, skulls and body parts.  Inside the attraction, there were a couple of graveyards that were built up on tall platforms, about five feet high.  Several of the tombstones housed actors that would drop down a side panel of the "stone", to reach out and attempt to scare patrons.  Unfortunately, these really didn't seem to be that effective.  Perhaps it was because they opened quietly or maybe it was because the panels opened to the side, making them less noticeable to the patrons walking by.  Most of the attraction had flashing blacklights that illuminated the props & walls, as well as the make-up on the faces of the actors.  I really the caves, with the textured walls, as well as the mirror maze.  Several areas were accented with hanging burlap fabric.

Most of the actors in the City of the Dead were generic characters with glowing face paint that would grunt or growl.  Many of them were pretty short, which made them less intimidating than their Statesville counterparts.  Popping out from around corners, alcoves and tombstones was the scare tactic of choice in this attraction.  The actors were all enthusiastic; however, their scares were hit and miss, for the most part.            

Overall, it was a pretty good performance by the Statesville crew, especially considering that I attended on opening night.  Given the brevity of the tour and the overall entertainment value provided, this event is overpriced.  Statesville Haunted Prison is fun & entertaining, as well as being one of my favorite haunts; however, $30 is just too much to pay for this or any other haunted attraction.     

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