The quests for Illinois's best thrills and chills this Halloween season led me to The Dungeon of Doom and Statesville Haunted Prison. Both haunted houses have stellar reputations and I can happily report neither disappointed in their delivery. My review on Statesville will be posted later today.
The Dungeon of Doom, formerly a staple at the Lake County Fairgrounds, was transported to the turn of the century Warwick Building in Zion. The Warwick Building, located at 2701 Deborah Avenue, is already an unsettling location made all the more horrifying with the addition of gory creatures and axe wielding ghouls stalking the premises. Unlike the predominately outdoor lines at its former residence, The Dungeon of Doom now has the space to keep its patrons warm while they wait for some truly superb thrills and chills. The inside is well decorated and includes such amusements as a realistic hanging animatronic dummy whose leg twitches from time to time. Aside from the decorations, some of the more disturbing actors work the line to help build momentum for the actual house.
The Dungeon of Doom allows it patrons to choose their own level of terror. By purchasing a general admissions ticket, you get access to 15,000 square feet of the split -level house. For those looking for additional thrills, The Dungeon of Doom sells tickets for an attraction they call Buried Dead or Alive. This attraction, as suggested, cleverly provides the sensation of being buried alive for merely an additional $3 (tickets are limited so it is encouraged to by tickets in advance). Another ticket option is the "Ultimate Ticket" which includes all of the special attractions plus a total of 27,000 square feet of haunted delights for $25. For those like me who's patience can be calculated in nanoseconds, The Dungeon of Doom thankfully sells a VIP ticket for $35. The VIP ticket includes all the perks of the Ultimate Ticket but with front of the line access. All tickets are available for purchase online or you can take your chances at the door (upgraded tickets can sellout which is why it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance).
With the VIP ticket, I avoided the line, which on its own didn't look to terrifying. Like last weekend, the weather was still crappy which I assume impacted the draw but could easily be a different story next weekend. Aside from bypassing the line, I also got acquainted with a blood- drenched character that was playing with his dislocated jaw. He offered me a haircut and smeared some blood on my hand and wristband (word to the wise, "blood" gets sticky rather quickly. Wet wipes should be considered when visiting The Dungeon of Doom).
In no time at all, we were granted access to the house. A decaying monk walked us to a series of doors and ushered us behind Door 2. Once the door shut it became apparent we were on the elevator to hell. Aside from the sound effects, the floor shook violently creating the illusion that we were skyrocketing to our final destination. When the doors opened, we were sent on our way through The Dungeon of Doom's madness. The house hosts drop panels, animatronics, 60 actors and various attractions to ensure your visit is memorable. Among the attractions are the Cabin of Carnage, Industrial Chaos and Mercy General Hospital, which is advertised as putting the scare in healthcare. As the creators cleverly put it, they'll be seeing you in the dark.
Aside from the thrills, the house also does a great job of line control. For most of the adventure, we didn't see any other groups and only had to wait a minimal amount of time for attractions like Buried Dead or Alive. Like the Realm of Terror, I was thoroughly impressed and would say it's a good bang for your buck.
The Dungeon of Doom is open this weekend from Friday- Sunday. The doors open at 7:00pm. Closing times are not set. They will honor your ticket as long as you are in line by midnight. After this weekend, The Dungeon of Doom will be offering more dates. There is plenty of free parking and even carnie games and funnel cake.
For more information, check out their website http://www.dungeonofdoom.com/.