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Senior Review Crew Member

Pete (dubstyle_2k)

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Other Years: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

2018 Reviews

Soul Reapers Haunted House

by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Medium Fear Factor: Low

Review

Soul Reapers, located at the Kenosha County Fairgrounds in Wilmot is back for their third season. I reviewed Soul Reapers two years ago, and really enjoyed it, though it was small and lacked a few things that I thought would improve as the years went on. I decided I would check out Soul Reapers again this season and see what has changed, if anything, since their first season in operation.

Soul Reapers has a vibe that I can only describe as home grown. Walking through this haunt, I was able to take in what was put into making this haunt, and I could tell that they didn't have the budget of a mega haunt like Abandoned. That being said, Soul Reapers has added on since my visit a couple years ago, which was one of my few criticisms of this haunt. The unfortunate thing is, Soul Reapers is still a home grown haunt with a small budget. My major gripe with Soul Reapers is that it was too lit that whole time. As someone who goes to haunts pretty regularly, rule number one for me is, make it dark! I've mentioned in reviews in the past that I rarely get "spooked" and I have a high tolerance for scary stuff, but when I can't see anything, then I'm on guard and thus more likely to get rattled. For a haunt on a budget, darkness seems to be the obvious choice, but Soul Reapers didn't go that route. What Soul Reapers lacked in size and sets, they did make up for in actors. A lot of the actors seemed young, but they certainly committed themselves to their roles. I give the actors an A+! Soul Reapers is reasonably priced, with tickets ranging from $15 for general admission or $20 for the fast pass, which I highly recommend since the general admission line was moving at a snails pace; this is something that certainly hasn't changed since my last visit. We opted for the fast pass and were into the haunt relatively fast. There were some actors that roamed the lines, but nothing like the last time I was there. We were in and out of Soul Reapers in less than a half hour, which makes it still too short for my money.

Signage / Visibility / Location


Thankfully most of us have cell phones with GPS, I've lived in Kenosha most of my life, I couldn't tell you how to get to the Kenosha County Fairgrounds if you offered me a million dollars! It's out of the way, but once you approach it, there are obvious lighting that help you find the grounds.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


Slow and not as interactive as my previous visit.

Actors' Performance


This was the highlight of Soul Reapers. The actors were great, and they seemed to enjoy the gig!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


I keep bringing it back to this, this isn't Abandoned or whatever huge haunt you've been to, this is small. You'll see things that will take you out of it due to the brightness of it all, so this isn't my favorite by any means.

Length


This is among the shortest haunts. Things move a little too fast, and the line moves a little too slow.

Crowd Control


There really wasn't any. There was a police officer on the grounds, but other than that it was kind of lawless. As I stated in my review, we purchased the fast pass, yet not a single person asked to even see our tickets, let alone checked to make sure that we actually purchased the upgrade. It was just assumed that we were in the right line because we were standing in it. I contacted them on Facebook later that night and explained what had happened, hopefully they have better control over who enters the haunt.

Most Memorable Moment


They do some pretty cool stuff with some lasers. In particular there is one room with smoke and lasers that blinds you from the ground, you can't tell what's below your mid section. I enjoyed this effect!

Summary

In all I'm not that impressed with what Soul Reapers. I gave it two seasons to work out the kinks, and it doesn't seem like they really have. It's still a short haunt that isn't very scary. If you're looking for a haunt to take your kids to, this might be a great one, as it is brighter and tamer that others. I'll give this one another two years to work it out, hopefully it gets better, I really want this haunt to succeed.

View all Soul Reapers Haunted House reviews

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Abandoned Haunted House Complex

by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 12, 2018 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

The most boring part of Abandoned Haunted House Complex, and my time as a member of this review crew is having to write year after year that Abandoned Haunted House Complex is THE BEST haunt in the area, and I'm including all of the Chicagoland area as well. I'm going to be honest with all of you, Abandoned Haunted House Complex is still the best, and might put more effort into making their haunt the best, or possibly they are just that good that they have to put very little effort into it, I don't know, I just know I never leave there feeling disappointed or even a little let down. The place is beginning to end sensory overload, combined with top of the line props, and a cast that plays it so cool, they deserve all of the credit they get. I will refrain from going too in-depth, I really encourage you all to check this place out and experience it for yourself.

Abandoned Haunted House Complex is split into 3 separate haunts, just like the last few seasons, Ambush, Hysteria, and Stalker. They also have a Shoot the Freak option for $5, but I've never checked that out. It seems to be just shooting a trash talker with possibly paintballs, but I haven't checked it out that closely. Ambush and Hysteria are both in the style of your normal haunt, both have multiple themes going on, and both are done as good, if not better than any other haunt in the area. These two haunts run back to back, one leading into each other. Suffice to say, going through both of these haunts you will run the gamut of what every haunt has to offer, all styles are represented. Please note, I say these run into each other, it makes for a lengthy experience. Even if you only attend for these two haunts, expect to spend an 45+ minutes inside the two haunts.

The third of the haunts at Abandoned Haunted House Complex is Stalker. Stalker was introduced a few years ago, and in my opinion has improved by leaps and bounds this season. Stalker takes you through a combination of haunted cornfields, and staged indoor areas that are very well done. There were significantly less actors in the outside areas, but I think that was done by design, walking through the corn itself is already kind of creepy, so the occasional actor jumping out makes you more on guard; when is it going to happen?! The areas where you go inside are all different themes, but all pretty great, with more top of the line actors.

I mentioned that writing reviews for Abandoned Haunted House Complex is becoming boring because they are always the best, I did however experience this with haunt with a dear friend of mine, one of my oldest friends, and she gave me a whole new appreciation for Abandoned Haunted House Complex! Let's just say that she's the jumpy, screaming type... It was a blast seeing someone experience it on that level. This being my 10th season reviewing (oh wow!), I attend these haunts and enjoy the pageantry and technical stuff more than I get spooked by them. I love it all, but I don't do much jumping, call it desensitization, or whatever, I enjoy these haunts for how much work they put into them. She made me realize just how scary this haunt really is. She told me several times throughout the night that it was indeed terrifying, I believe her, she jumped and screamed enough to prove it! We also met a father and his teenage daughter who drove up from Illinois. I talked with him for a while and he had nothing but praises for Abandoned. He recommended some south of the border haunts to me, but assured me that this was one of the best ones he had ever attended. Please do yourself a favor, experience Abandoned Haunted House Complex for yourself, you will not be disappointed!

Signage / Visibility / Location


Okay, so if you're from the Kenosha/Racine area, you know getting to Abandoned Haunted House Complex is going to be a headache. If you are not, just know the Abandoned is located right off of the I94... an interstate that is completely tore up and nothing short of a mess. To access Abandoned you have to enter via the frontage road, which is NOW located behind the haunt. They have it very well lit and not hard to find, however finding an exit to get to said frontage road might prove difficult. I came from the Kenosha area, so I came up highway 11 in Racine, and it met up easily with the frontage road, I can't speak for how it is coming from the north. Abandoned always has searchlights so it's easy to find, just know you will have to jump through some hoops!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The wait area of Abandoned Haunted House Complex is pretty great. There are roaming actors interacting with everyone, and they still have the big screen where they show videos. Personally I wish they'd show more horror related videos and less viral videos, but it's whatever. They also have a concession stand made to look like a 50s style diner. You'll love this as the neon lights go out on the N and R in the word DINER changes to say DI E !

Actors' Performance


The best of the best! I know a lot of haunts hire high school kids to work, and a lot of them are very good at what they do. Abandon's actors are as good as it gets, and if they are high schoolers, my hat goes off to each and every one of them. Regardless of who these actors are, they love what they do, they know how to unnerve you, and they are all excellent!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The best in the business. I mentioned my friend I attended with. Well, she's a funeral director, and at one point while walking through a scene involving an embalming, she turned to me and told me that they had an authentic machine they use to embalm bodies! That's how good the props at Abandoned Haunted House Complex are, they are real embalming equipment good!

Length


Expect to spend a good 2 hours there if you do all three haunts.

Crowd Control


No issues, there are parking control, and employees all over there to help out.

Most Memorable Moment


Hard to say, seeing my good friend jump and scream the whole time is what I really took away from this! It's great from start to finish!

Summary

I'll say it again, Abandoned Haunted House Complex is the best haunt in the area. If you haven't been, it's a must, if you have, as I have every season they have been open, go again! It's that good!

View all Abandoned Haunted House Complex reviews

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Hill Has Eyes

by dubstyle_2k (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at about 8:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: High Fear Factor: High

Review

I decided to check out Hill Has Eyes this year. It has been three years since I last reviewed this haunt, and was eager to see what they have done to change it up. I am going to preface this review by stating that if you visit Hill Has Eyes make sure you pay attention to the weather. I bought VIP tickets ahead of time, without looking at the weather, this was my biggest mistake! As soon as I pulled away from my house the rain started! The problem with buying your Hill Has Eyes tickets online is they are only valid that day. The majority of Hill Has Eye is outdoors, on a hill, walking on dirt trails. On any other night I would have loved this, but that night it was cold, rainy, and VERY slick due to all the mud you walk through. Of course this isn't the fault of the haunt, it's my fault for not checking the weather. I will say, if you are headed to Hill Has Eyes, wear shoes you don't care about, but make sure they have good grip!

This year Hill Has Eyes made a few changes. We arrived at the haunt and headed to the ticketing/waiting tent. The parking lot is quite a distance from the tent, and we were left on our own to try to figure out how we get from point A to point B. Well, we accidentally chose the path that led us to point C! We ended up at some bar, I'm still not sure where we went wrong, but we weren't the only ones to make this mistake. We decided to follow some people that at least looked like they knew where they were going, and finally we made it to the tent. I guess my second biggest mistake of the night was assuming it was going to be super busy like three years ago, so I bought VIP tickets ahead of time. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was because it was so early in the season, but there wasn't very many people there waiting to get in. While you're waiting in line to get to the cashier, you have to sign a waiver. Please note, I never felt in danger while walking through the haunts (other than the muddy trails, and almost falling a few times!), I think these waivers are strictly for liability reasons. The waiting area is pretty great, there are no actors, but there is a DJ and a full bar for visitors. Because I was there as a reviewer I didn't visit the bar, thus I don't know how prices are. Three years ago I inquired, and beers were $3, so expect to pay at least that. Because we were VIP we were able to leave the waiting area right away and head towards the first haunt of four, "Containment". Three years ago the first haunt was called "Hooded", which was great, but they've unfortunately done away with that portion.

"Containment" was definitely my least favorite section of Hill Has Eyes. It was kind of short and too well lit. The theme was Military vs Hillbilly, with a few men in ghillie suits, and doctors. I think they were going for a contagion thing, but it was lost on me. Like I said, this section was short, and not that scary, we made it through in a matter of minutes and exited to an area with a bonfire and some porta potties. Luckily there were a few workers by the bonfire, as we started towards what we thought was the next haunt, we were redirected to the correct haunt, "Failed Escape".

If you read my review of Hill Has Eyes from three years ago, then just know, I could copy and pasted what I wrote then and it would still apply. Nothing really has changed in that three years. This haunt still has a backwoods theme, and freaks a plenty. Though this haunt was too familiar, the actors in this area were top notch. Again I was with a friend who teaches in the area, so a couple actors recognized him and broke character to greet him, however a couple used it as part of their act, calling him out at times! "Failed Escape" was significantly longer than "Containment", and a lot darker, which is always a plus! My favorite part of this haunt was a very short walkway that had strings hanging down. Sounds benign, but those strings give you a tiny zap if your skin touched them! I mentioned these shocking strings in my review a few years ago, but I stated that I couldn't tell if they were zapping us or giving us a prick. This year it was obvious, these things were zapping! It didn't hurt, but it was definitely a weird feeling, I love a haunt that makes me uncomfortable! We once again made it all the way through and exited at the bonfire. Next stop, "Hunger Hollow".

"Hunger Hollow" is another section that was there three years ago, and yet another section that I could have copy and pasted my review from my last visit. The theme still centers around a butcher shop that's using, wait for it... human meat! Nothing new here, really. Again the actors were awesome, I just wanted a different experience. Aside from the butcher stuff there is more back woods hillbillies and creeps. This section of Hill Has Eyes leads you to a satanic church that was pretty great! I enjoyed "Hunger Hollow", it was long and like I said, the actors did a fantastic job! As you reach the end of this section you make your way down a path that leads you to the ski lift, or "Scare Lift". The ski lift takes you to the final haunt, "CARNIvore". The ski lift was a little disappointing. The last time I was at Hill Has Eyes there were actors in clown suits on some of the other lift chairs that would shout at you and squirt you with squirt guns, this time, no actors at all, just a leisurely ride on a wet ski lift! Once you hit the top you make your way to "CARNIvore"

As you could have guessed, "CARNIvore" is a carnival themed haunt. This was arguably my favorite section of Hill Has Eyes. This haunt was not as long as the previous two, but I do love a carnival theme! The climax of this section is a VERY long maze that is almost exhausting! There is a spinning vortex that is always fun and disorienting, with an actress that was very good. The last time I was at Hill Has Eyes, the end of "CARNIvore" included a human puppet show. That was a real awesome way to end the experience, but for some reason they no longer do the show, I was a little disappointed. Again, the actors were top notch, and the whole experience, even without the puppet show, was great!

In all I thought Hill Has Eyes was okay. They didn't change much, and the things that did change, like the removal of the "hooded" section and the human puppet show, was a little disappointing. The actors in all four sections were excellent, and the bang for your buck, length wise is bar none, the best in the area. If you have never been to this haunt, I highly recommend it, if you have been to Hill Has Eyes in the past, well, you might be upset about the lack of change, theme wise. I'll go back in another three years, hopefully it'll be revamped a bit.

Signage / Visibility / Location


If you're using GPS, Hill Has Eyes is pretty easy to find. If you come from south, you might get told to exit on Rawson, which takes you to the road that Hill Has Eyes is on, only that road is closed! I had to turn around and ignore my GPS until is redirected me to another way in. The road you take is very dark, I had a hard time seeing where I was supposed to turn, but I made it!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


The waiting area, though lacking actors, is great. There is a DJ spinning tunes, and a full bar (if you need to calm those nerves!).

Actors' Performance


From start to finish, the actors were awesome! I went with a friend that teaches in the area, so through him I learned that a lot of these actors are high school kids, they did a great job!!!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Hill Has Eyes is mostly walking through the woods, but the sets and props they have are great. Nothing really sees cheap or out of place. They really do a good job decorating for this haunt!

Length


This is were the ticket price makes sense. With the VIP tickets we were in and out in about 45 minutes, without I'd expect to spend upwards of 90 minutes. Compared to most haunts, this is the best haunt when considering price vs time in haunt.

Crowd Control


There were plenty of employees there to help out when needed.

Most Memorable Moment


Definitely the shocking walkway!

Summary

As a returning visitor, Hill Has Eyes was just okay. They didn't change much, and the elimination of some parts was a little disappointing. The actors were all excellent, and value of this haunt is amazing when you consider how long you are actually in the haunt. If you have never been to this haunt, I highly recommend it, if you have been to Hill Has Eyes in the past, well, you might be upset about the lack of change, theme wise.

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December 12th, 2018 2:58 p.m. CST 1.5.1