18042 Oakwood Avenue, Lansing, IL
Haunted 4 Life is one of our more recent favorites, and one of a growing group of haunts located in the Chicago southland. We first discovered this haunt in 2012, and we were really impressed with it, so we were looking forward to seeing what 2014 had in store.
The primary feature of Haunted 4 Life is the lighting and sound effect setup. Strategically placed lights and the sounds of thunder combine to make it seem as though visitors are approaching an old dilapidated house straight out of a classic horror movie. It reminds us of those cliche' haunted houses one sees in cartoons, where every other house around is surrounded by sunny skies and one house is covered in dark, foreboding thunderclouds.
The haunt consists of a front yard display with a cemetery facade. Dominant in the center are a pair of fake stone pillars topped with lights that provide the "entrance" to the cemetery. The pillars look suitably old, and the lights on them flicker with the thunder and other effects, which adds to the creepiness factor of the entire setup.
A simulated wrought iron gate surrounds the front yard, and inside are various tombstone illuminated with colored lights and numerous animated skeletons, including one that grips the fence on the left side and shakes it as visitors pass, pleading to be let out. In addition there are skeletons carrying coffins, skeletons hiding by the trees, and, new for 2013, a skeleton that rises from a coffin and one that pops out of the bushes by the porch to scare those brave enough to take a closer look. All of this is complemented by an animated scene that plays out on the front window of the house.
It features a man desperately trying to use the phone to call for help while being chased by animated skeletons. The action plays out in silhouette, as if one is viewing something happening behind a drawn shade. It's fun to watch and looks very realistic, especially when seeing it for the first time.
Overall, Haunted 4 Life is a very engaging display that lures visitors in with its clever lighting, sound, and animation. It definitely invokes visions of creepy old houses in out of the way places, or reputedly haunted houses that older people tell kids to stay away from. It's a great setup, and one that we look forward to seeing expand in the future.