9531 S. 52nd Avenue, Oak Lawn, IL
Midnight Terror has been one of our favorite home haunts/yard displays for several years now, and we've watched it grow to include and more more interesting items each year. Thus, when we heard about Midnight Terror going professional and expanding into a larger space we were naturally quite excited. We made a point of visiting Midnight Terror on opening night. What did we think? Well, in short, sometimes less is more.
When Midnight Terror was a home haunt, it occupied the garage on the property, as well as some space outside and behind it. It was a short haunt, as most home haunts are, but it packed a nice level of detail into the small space, along with some enthusiastic actors who made it come alive. At its new location, Midnight Terror still has some nice sets and detail, as well as a decent number of actors, but unfortunately all of the extra space in the new location has seemingly been populated by dark corridors with nothing in them. In some ways, Midnight Terror looks as though they have taken some of the exact sets from the garage and moved them to the new location, but without adding anything else to make up for the greater space.
Some of the sets, such as the wire cages with chains and the hospital/surgery/morgue setting seem to have been recreated almost exactly the same, and some, such as the outdoor area, have been beefed up. Also, there were some entirely new sets, such as a large crypt area with skeletons hanging from the ceiling (which looked excellent and was our favorite part of the haunt), the main entrance and greeting area, which now takes the form of a mine that has been taken over by an evil spirit, and a cool area with withe pipes and strobes, populated by a couple of creepy female actors.
However, sets seemed to be few and far between, and there were entire sections which consisted only of dark walls with a few drop down windows behind which actors would be hiding. Most of the sets appeared to be towards the end of the haunt, which did actually save the best for last in a way.
While there were a number of actors inside (over a dozen at a rough count), almost all of them either jumped out attempted to startle, or screamed a lot, which limited the variety. The haunt was also quite short (about 6 minutes), and even at that there was a lot of repetition. In comparison with other haunts at the same price level, there are others that are longer and have more to see than Midnight Terror, at least in its present incarnation.
Overall, we were quite excited about seeing Midnight Terror as a professional haunt, and we applaud the owners and operators for their efforts in taking it to the next level. Unfortunately for us, it seems that some things were lost in translation, making the larger presentation seem like a smaller presentation in too large of a space. However, we have seen great things from Midnight Terror over the years, and given that this was their very first year as a professional haunt, we would not be surprised if it continues to improve, and we'll be looking forward to seeing what new things are in store in future years. The publicity and advertising for the new haunt were top notch, and certainly gave the impression of a well-oiled operation (and also drew the crowds), so here's hoping that the levels of entertainment inside can equal what was done on the outside. One other note - if you are going, go early, as the crowds will undoubtedly be large, and we honestly cannot recommend paying $17 for VIP admission.
As a side note, we just want to mention that as haunt reviewers we strive to be honest and up front in our reviews. We do not work for any haunted houses, nor do we allow ourselves to be influenced by any of the personal relationships we have cultivated during our years of reviewing. We pride ourselves on being objective and honest, and in providing a source of unbiased reviews so that people can get reviews free from any outside influences. In short, that's our mission and that's what our fans and followers want from us, so that's what we give them.
Thus, there will be times when you see great reviews, as well as not so great reviews from us for the same haunts. Haunts change every year, and we want to make sure we are delivering the most accurate information possible. It's not personal; it's simply our way of staying true to our mission of informing our visitors about Halloween attractions they might like to visit.