Statesville Haunted Prison
After waiting in line for 2 hours, we made our way into Statesvilleís ever-famous holding cell. This is the part where you are treated like a prisoner. The prison guards pack you into a holding cell like sardines, and then advise you to hold up your ticket.
This has been Statesvilleís signature entry for quite some time and I think itís a staple to entering their haunt. Itís a great idea. Flashlights in your face, yelling in your ears, a claustrophobic feeling, I love it. But hereís the dealÖ Please move this section away from everyone waiting in line and the loud blaring Top 40 music. I am begging you Statesville. Give me the sound of prison guards and sirens. Wind me through tall chain linked fencing. Blind me with beacon lights! Bring me into a different realm and then pack me into a holding cell where prison guards are taunting me from each side.
From the holding cell you are then escorted into another short line. No entertainment going on at all in this area. I would have liked something to look at as I have already waited in line for quite some time. Since we are waiting to go to prison, maybe put some security monitors with video of prisoners in their cells. Give me more in this second holding area guys.
Moving on, you enter into the third holding area. Itís the most intense haunted attraction intro in Illinois thatís for sure. If you have never been to Statesville it will definitely throw you off guard, but for the people that go year after year, like myself, it is getting a little old. But seriously people lets be honest itís how a haunted attraction opening should be Ėin your face, loud, and memorable. In a nutshell, you enter a dark room, the lights go out, and the chaos starts. The sound starts rattling your chest and the ďwardenĒ of Statesville speaks a short intro from above you. Itís then followed by louder sounds, prisoners getting electrocuted, fog, strobe lights - just complete havoc! Iíll stop there because I donít want to ruin the rest. I also noticed they added a floor drop this year which was a nice surprise. It truly is a great intro for first timers, but again if youíve seen it before you might agree itís getting old. I would love to see a major revamp next year. I think itís time, and much more can be done to make it even better.
After the intro you finally enter the last holding area where you are broken up into smaller groups. From here the walk through starts. Twisting and turning through the crazy walls of the prison. Statesville does an awesome job with getting the most out of their space and they particularly pay extra attention to detail. I canít stand when Iím walking through a haunt, look up and see warehouse rafters, black painted wood panels, and extension cords hanging everywhere. Statesville goes that extra mile and fills all the nooks and crannies. For example in one scene you look up and see rows of cellblocks. One, it makes the haunt look massive and two, it immerses you in the element. Every room is very well done and perfected. Some of my favorite scenes include the shower scene, the electrical room with running water oozing out of broken electrical equipment, and of course the maniac ward with plenty of gruesome acts going on.
Now, for your new customers this stuff is impressive, but for your past customersÖ We are getting bored. I was praying for some major changes this year. I know you canít flip the entire haunt, but at least give me something new to experience, something different, something bigger. New and past customers should both be satisfied! Thatís what I am waiting for.
As your journey ends in the prison, actors with chainsaws chase you out to enter the next haunt, City of the Dead. Again Statesville, Iíd like to see an update here. You smack us in the face with the intro of all intros and then let us go with an over used finale. Every haunt uses a chainsaw ending. I want to remember that prison Statesville style!
City of the Dead
Now that youíve made your way through the demented minds of the prison, the living dead are about to haunt your dreams. The tale of the city of the dead is simple. Basically, it is the burial ground for the inmates that have died in the prison. Itís a fun theme and has a lot to offer.
You start out by waiting in yet another queue line with not much to look at. It appears as if you are entering a mineshaft. Slats of wood and dim lighting lead the way to City of the Dead. Once again, you are packed into a dark room to await the second intro, which unfortunately, is pretty much the same concept as the first intro.
After the intro, you are sent back in line to officially enter the haunt. I have to give compliments to the actors who play the miners. They were really great and held character extremely well. Their wittiness and interaction with the patrons was a great addition when entering the haunt.
The City of the Dead scenes are packed with detail, detail and more detail. Cave like structures with a great foggy atmosphere and excellent lighting design gave it a very realistic appearance.
While City of the Dead may not have been as in your face as Statesville, the theatrical aspect of it made up for the lack of scares.
A favorite detail of mine was the use of a live snake in one of the scenes. It pushed the envelope one step further and tapped into a phobia that quite a few people probably have.
Overall, Statesville and City of the Dead are very theme park-esque haunted attractions. Considering the amount of detail, amount of actors, and talent that goes into putting on such an extravagant event, the $30 ticket price is worth it, in my opinion.
While I believe they need some re-vamps to keep the reoccurring customers interested, I will always be a Statesville fan. The haunt in its entirety may not be terrifying, but itís always highly entertaining, and that is EXACTLY what Statesville represents Ė memorable haunted entertainment.
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