42 W. New York Street, Aurora, IL
As a special July treat, we got to visit one of our favorite haunts, Basement of the Dead. Despite the fact that it was about 90 degrees and very muggy, the Halloween season feeling was there, and Basement of the Dead presented an excellent haunt experience which showcased some our our favorite rooms in updated style and included some entirely new things as well.
Since we don't want to spoil anything for anyone who will be going in October, we'll just say that the "new" version of Basement of the Dead took some excellent elements from their recent blackout haunt in February and included them in the haunt, revamped some of the layout to make it different yet still familiar, and made some great updates to a couple of our favorite rooms, including the giant spider room and the Satanic mass room. And the entirely new inclusions were well crafted and clever, with one being something we have rarely seen in a haunt. In fact we know of only one other that has something vaguely similar.
That's all we'll say about the details, but we will make sure to mention a few of the things we always like about Basement of the Dead. First, the actors. They are always excellent, remaining in character the entire time and not overplaying their parts. They make a point of being creepy and odd without being annoying. They sometimes get right in your face but never in that way where you just want them to stop. Also, they tend not to speak, but rather mumble or make very odd sounds, which increases the creepiness and gives the impression that you, the visitor, as simply intruding on their daily lives.
Second, there's the costuming and makeup - always excellent and 5-star quality. Even the more simple masks have distinctive features to them. Great stuff. And finally, there's the lighting and layout. Each scene is well detailed in and of itself, and there's enough light to see the scenes but not too much so as to spoil the effects. Also, the darker areas are never completely dark, so while you might have a bit of trouble navigating for a moment, you're always back on track for more!
Overall, Basement of the Dead continues to impress. The new features are always welcome, and we see them as a bonus to an already great haunt. We can't wait for October!