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Read Other 2010 Haunt Reviews's
2010 Dream Reapers Haunted House Review

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Dream Reapers Haunted House
1945 Cornell Ave
Melrose Park, IL 60160

Visited: 10/16/10


Visibility/Location: Dream Reapers is easy to find, especially if you use GPS or an online mapping utility.  At the intersection of Rt. 64 and Cornell Avenue, there was a backlit arrow sign, showing people were to turn.  Once on Cornell Avenue, flashing lights could be seen outside and two tall inflatable "ghosts" were blowing in the wind.     
Wait Entertainment: They did a pretty good job in this category.  Loud rock music was playing for the people waiting outside.  Outside I only saw one or two line actors, which was surprising, since Dream Reapers usually has several ghouls interacting with the patrons.  Near the line area, there was a concession stand, so people could get a snack, while they waited.  The indoor waiting room area had some great creature artwork painted on the walls.  Backlit posters featured some of Dream Reapers' trademark characters.  Coffin rides, which simulated what it would feel like to take a ride to the cemetery, were available for only $3 .         
Admission Price: $16.00
Parking: $3.00 

12 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.

LPR: 1.578
LPR stands for Length/Price Ratio. It represents perceived value of an event, by comparing length vs price of admission. Higher numbers represent more value per dollar. Actual quality and/or entertainment value of an event are not factors in this calculation. Click Here to see how this event compares to others visited this year by the staff of
Scare Factor: Medium-Low
Crowd Control: They did a good job of crowd control.  I didn't run into any other groups.     
Dream Reapers Haunted House Pictures

(Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge)



Instead of showing their rules video on a big screen television like they had done in previous years, this season the rules were conveyed by an animatronic skeleton, whose jaw moved in sync with the rules soundtrack.  While the new intro was ok, I actually liked their old rules video a little better, because it was more fun and interesting to watch. 

Inside the haunted house, there were several highly detailed scenes of various themes.  Additional atmosphere was created with the use of animatronics, colored lighting, strobe lights, artificial scents and fog.  Creating realistic scenes has been something the Dream Reapers crew has always excelled at.  

The tour started in a mineshaft that was illuminated by hanging lanterns.  From there, my group entered a "Hellevator", which was a room that simulated a ride in an out of control elevator with a herky-jerky motion, mechanical sound effects and flickering lights.  The tour continued into an underground cave that had textured "rock" walls.  It was dimly lit with flickering lanterns and there were bat sound effects playing in the background.  As patrons walked through, various cave-dwelling creatures attacked from corners and hidden alcoves.  In the middle of the house there was a mirror maze, which was illuminated with multiple strobe lights, to disorient customers.  It was fun to go through, but it didn't seem to have the same high energy level I had seen during previous visits.  Another scene was the alley, which had tall brick walls spray painted with graffiti, as well as a couple of "bums" milling about.    

The butcher shop featured a row of hanging pig carcasses that patrons had to push to the side, to make their way through.  A girl was chained to the wall and a character with a meat cleaver was standing in the corner.  When my group walked by, the actor sprung out to scare everyone, but since he was already in plain sight, the scare wasn't really that effective.  This was another area that seemed more low-key than it had been in previous years.  The next area in the butcher shop had body parts hanging from the ceiling, as well as a character with a pig mask, who was startling patrons with a loud air chisel.  In the same area, a couple of actors got scares from great hiding places.  One of the more visually appealing and realistic scenes was the swamp.  Featuring textured trees,  hanging vines, jungle sound effects and snakes, this scene made you feel like you were in a real swamp.  While it looked great, there seemed to be a lack of actors in this area, as well.  From the swamp, patrons entered the "living tree".  Illuminated with red light, the walls of the inside of the tree moved in and out, like it was breathing.  

While most of the scenes were the same as what they had last year, they did revamp the industrial area quite a bit.  One of the most interesting scenes in the industrial area was the clown torture chamber.  Some victims were chained to the walls, begging for help and trying to escape, while others were being whipped by evil clown characters.  Other scenes in the haunted house included the sewer pipe, toxic waste accident and the zombie graveyard.

The actors in the house did a good job, for the most part.  They all stayed in character and were very enthusiastic in their roles, with the exception of a couple of actors who seemed a bit too passive.  Also, there seemed to be a significant shortage of actors on the night that I attended.  In fact, some areas had no actors at all.  This seemed to account for the lower energy level throughout the attraction.  Having additional actors in several places throughout the haunted house would have greatly enhanced the experience.   

Overall, the Dream Reapers crew did a great job of creating some enjoyable and realistic scenes, which is something they have always done very well.  While the haunted house was visually stunning, actor issues had a significant impact on the overall quality and enjoyment of the show.  The haunted house was fun to go through, but this year it just didn't seem to have the same punch, compared to previous performances.  Perhaps I came on an off night.  Actor issues aside, Dream Reapers is still an attraction worth checking out.       

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