....with Valentine's Day now just a scary memory, Tansworld is nearly here, THE WALKING DEAD is back in full swing and spring is right around the corner...and all you home haunters know what that means, right?
Time to break out the carving tools, PVC piping, Styrofoam, dry lock and pray your spouse does not kill you in your sleep for wrecking the household budget, trashing the furniture or just driving them insane with our all-consuming obsession.
With all those lovely thoughts flitting about, I thought I'd revisit old habits and take us all for a spin out on the terror turnpike and visit my home town of Chicago to explore a remarkable haunted attraction that'll has patrons just dying to get in...and, yes, groan all you want, I said it...
I'm referring to The 13th Floor Haunted House, located in
Melrose Park...their website is 13thfloorchicago.com - the
thirteen in the address is numeric - and they have presences on both Facebook
and YouTube - just type in 13th Floor Haunted House in either case. Chicago
Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, is the nation's largest haunted house production, management and promotion company. Already producing six of
’s top haunted houses each year, 13th Floor America being the seventh major attraction for the growing
industry heavyweight. Chicago
At 13th Floor
you are entertained from the moment you arrive to the
moment you leave. All variety of
creatures and fiends interact with you while you wait in line.... Chicago
...but enough of all that, what did we think of it?
First of all, their set pieces are OUTSTANDING - there is an amazing amount of detail and craftsmanship invested in to this place - I won't give too much away, but the first third of the trip just drips with amazing Gothic flourishes including a crypt and cemetery section completely illuminated with black lights and ghouls popping out at you when you least expect it.
Pay special attention to their catacombs as well - these things are just amazing and go on for what seems like forever...and there are plenty of traps for the unwary...
A fair warning here - claustrophobics should avoid this haunt - it's tight and cramped in a lot of spots and may set off unwanted phobias....I'm fine with that sort of thing, but it was still pretty cramped for me as it was.
The actors - for what we saw of them - were fantastic, full characterizations and these folks are dedicated - a very enthusiastic bunch, indeed...keep your eyes peeled for a couple of very hungry werewolves, some really well done vampires and the usual assortment of ghouls and raving maniacs...
...and this brings me to the only gripe I had with the place - though no fault of the owners or the establishment itself - but we went in early October and the lines were HUGE - a good three hours or so wait, easily, and they just kept coming as we waited out turn.
With those kind of huge crowds, you have to keep the lines moving at a very fast clip, so, yeah, the experience felt a bit rushed, and I think we missed a few things along the way, but, overall, that's the only negative.
There are degrees to the ticket prices as well - General Admission, Fast Pass - cuts the wait time in about half - and Skip the Line, off the head of the class you go! - ranging in price from about $25 - $50...we chose the Skip the Line option that night and trust me, by that point, form our perspective, it was the ONLY option.
There is plenty of free parking, but it can fill up quite fast - as well as the neighboring streets and alley ways...I think the object lesson here is that if you're going to attend, GO EARLY, because, even in it's first year, this place was a HUGE hit, and their only going to get more so next season....
This brings me back around to the subject of Chicago haunts in 2015 - this city and outlying suburbs have so many to offer, you'll never be able to take them all in during one season - The Statesville Haunted Prison in Joliet, Aurora's Basement of the Dead, Zombie Containment out on Navy Pier...and on and on....
Is this safe for kids? Are you kidding?
Long, intense and genuinely scary, this is not for the faint of heart or small children - to quote Dead Acres haunted House in Columbus, Ohio:
"If you're wondering if your kids are too young, THEN YOUR KIDS ARE TOO YOUNG! So leave 'em at home...and that goes for babies...it ruins our good time to turn around and see your freaked out infant...what's wrong with you????"
So, bringing it all to a conclusion here, I'm giving the 13th Floor Chicago five missing body parts out of five...while in the Windy City give this one a whirl - I dare say you won't be disappointed!
Just so you know, this Blog is a companion piece to my segment on The Big Scary Show - www.bigscaryshow.com - take a listen and check 'em out!
See ya' next time!
Chicago has always had a distinct love for Halloween, haunted houses and horror movies - delving a bit back into my past, the ‘70s and early 80s were a hotbed for horror and sci-fi in the Windy City - there were literally tons of monster movies running every weekend - Creature Features, the original Svengoolie (the late Jerry G. Bishop), Chiller Theatre, The Monstrous Movie, Thing Theater, The Monster Rally Movie, and, of course, 1979 brought the Son of Svengoolie (Rich Koz)...
Here's a few memories or you all to ponder...