13th annual Realm of Terror – You’ll never be the same again!
When asked by Tom Kristof of Kristof’s Entertainment Center if I would like to stop by and see some behind the scenes of the 13th annual Realm of Terror I jumped at the opportunity, especially after reading that it was rated #1 by every review site. Upon arrival, the first thing that I noticed was how much prices have increased since my last haunted house visit some 30 years ago. But I also had never visited one that was rated in the top 10 consistently over the years. With over 20 security & parking lot attendants and 50+ “live” actors scattered throughout the haunted house as well as scaring the pants off the people waiting in line, it wasn’t difficult to realize the costs involved.
Tom met me at the ticket booth where there were separate windows for paying cash, by credit card, or had purchased their tickets on-line. By 7:00 PM there was already a line starting to form inside. The typical wait, unless you purchase an upgraded ticket, is between a half hour to an hour. There is food and non-alcoholic beverages in the waiting area. Alcohol can only be purchased inside at the bar and cannot be brought to the haunted house area. Small and large groups who are together are purposely spaced so that they experience the full thrill of the haunted house and are not just playing follow-the-leader behind the group ahead of them. That happened in so many of the haunts I visited in the past which took all the fun out of it.
Once it’s your turn you will squeeze into an elevator and go down about 13 levels below ground to where the Quixotic Labs are located. I took a photo of the first group that went through Saturday evening and one of the bodies being dismembered on one of the tables resembled one of the guys, so be sure to avoid people in the “lab” with sharp tools!
At this point, I should probably mention that this is a very scary haunted house and not recommended for anyone under the age of 16. I didn’t take any photos inside the haunt since that would take all of the fun out of it for you. On average you will spend between 30 to 40 minutes going through the haunted house which should give you an idea of just how immense it is. I did get the opportunity to meet the make-up artists who were busy getting more actors ready for the evening’s event including Tom’s son, Steven, who has been involved in all the previous years. It often takes several hours just to complete one person’s “make-over”.
According to the Realm of Terror website the entire event is the collaborative brainchild of professional filmmakers, carpenters, set designers, sound designers, and special effects makeup artists including makeup and creature designs by Stevie Calabrese Star of “Face Off – Season 9” on SyFy and her staff. Everything is new each season with nothing being duplicated from previous years.
The Realm of Terror is one of the Chicago-Areas longest running haunted houses. Going into its 13th year, the Realm of Terror has been rated #1 by every major review site, and has been called a “Must-See” by the Chicago Tribune.
If you are a thrill seeker looking for an all-out horror experience stop by and see what Tom Kristof and his son Steven have put together again this year. You’ll never be the same again!
The Realm of Terror Horror Experience
421 West Rollins Rd
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
Those who upgrade their tickets receive a cool Realm of Terror, top-quality, Fruit-of-the-Loom T-shirt.
Everyone receives a free bumper sticker
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