It's haunted house week at Chicago Quirk! I've personally visited six different haunted houses, and every post this week will be dedicated to reviewing a different Chicagoland haunt....the best and the worst.
I went to Statesville Haunted Prison a few years ago, and I did NOT have a good time. It wasn't scary so much as it was cheesy. When I grabbed a few folks to go with me last weekend, I wasn't very excited.
I'm glad to report back that Statesville is better than ever.
Statesville is WAY out there in Crest Hill, and both times I've gone the GPS says you're there a few miles prematurely. We ended up driving up and down Weber Road until we finally found it. Unless you're actually there, keep going past where the GPS tells you. You'll essentially be driving down a middle-of-nowhere road surrounded by cornfields. Just keep looking for signs that say Siegel's Cottonwood Pumpkin Farm, and you'll find it.
You're actually going through two haunted houses: Statesville Haunted Prison and City of the Dead. Statesville Haunted Prison is just that...a haunted prison. But it's a really messed up haunted prison where the warden is some sort of demon, and everyone inside is warped and insane. I'm not sure what City of the Dead is other than another excuse to use cool animatronics.
I don't know where they get their funds, but the sets in this haunted house are phenomenal. It's like walking into a movie. From the moment you step inside and a scary demon dude tells you the story of the prison and then flies over your head to the several vortex spinning tunnels and huge moving monsters. I forgot to be scared about half the time because I was so amazed by the scenery!
The sets are amazing, and the actors make it even better. Not only do they obviously pay and train the creatures, but their costumes and make-up are unbelievable. They're not just randomly screaming in your face; they have a purpose and a character. Again, it's like a movie.
There are so many great scenes to go through, but I think the clown room was one of the trippiest and scariest things I've seen in a haunted house. The clowns are the scary harlequin clowns, not the lame Pennywise variety, so that alone was pretty freaky. The room is painted in red and white with strobe lights so you feel like you're about to fall over. And the best part: the clowns are on bouncy swings flying everywhere. Unbelievable.
Statesville is also the best about pumping up the crowd before going in. There are monsters in various costumes and make-up wandering around to scare everyone, and they are intense. It's scary AND funny to watch other people get scared.
It's Really Cool, except.....
Let me paint a picture for you: you've been waiting in line for almost two hours and the creatures have done a fantastic job of getting you excited to go in. You're at the head of the line, and a scary prison guard ushers you and about 30 other people into a cage. They make you all stand as close together as possible, yell at you, shine flashlights in your eyes, all very entertaining. And then they leave you in there for 10 minutes. Have you ever been squished into a cage with 30 other people you don't know for 10 minutes. It was awful. People were NOT happy with this. When they let you out, they yell at you to form another line, mushed together with the same group. This happens about six times throughout the experience. Just when you're having a great time, they make you stand in a line. I know it's because they have to space the groups out, but my friends said that about ruined the experience for them.
Would I Go Back?
Absolutely! Crest Hill is extremely far from me, but it's fun to gather a group of friends and make a night of it. However, I would buy the VIP pass to skip the line. It took us about an hour and a half to get in, and the place looked fairly empty. Even though the pass is pretty expensive, I'd rather pay it then spend all night waiting.
There's a pretty good food selection while you wait. Just visit the pumpkin farm gift shop.
Dress warm! You will be waiting outside for a long time, and since you're out in the cornfields that wind really picks up.
Print this coupon and you'll get $5 off general admission on Thursdays.
Statesville Haunted Prison is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. and Sundays and Thursdays from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. General admission is $30. Skip the line with VIP admission for $40.
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