In a warehouse in Morton Grove there are zombies, ghouls, bloody butchers and nurses, wild apes, a ten foot tall grim reaper and an 8 foot tall fly. I am not talking about the students at Niles West High School, it’s all at “Fear City Apocalypse” and that’s just the start!
It’s not so much a haunted house as it is a gigantic haunted town. There’s 40,000 square feet of warehouse space with a series of horror movie quality theatrical scenes, putting you inside your own personal nightmare. Really, it’s that scary.
It’s done with authentic acting and attention to detail. Usually in a haunted house, it’s the surprise that scares you and there is a lot of that in Fear City, but it goes a step further. They also creep you out with intricate scenes and even better role playing performers.
You enter through a CTA style gate and get greeted by a zombie train conductor who ushers you into a CTA train car. It looks real and then it starts moving complete with flashing lights passing by through the windows. There were two other passengers in the car and they argued and one beats the heck out of the other. It was not much different from an actual Red Line ride and it smelled much better.
They did a very effective trick of passing one guest’s name through the first few scenes. Upon entering the train station, the gatekeeper asked the girl in front of me her name. He then yelled at her by name and every actor in the next 3 or 4 scenes called her out by name too. It really freaked her out.
There are a series of hyper real locations; a medical clinic complete with a medical waiting room that leads to operating rooms were a nurse asked you to donate organs, car shop, an airport terminal with a frightening stewardess, a laser beam filled maze, an Alice in Wonderland-like hallway with a small doorway at the end and a super creepy suspended giant baby that you have to duck under.
My favorites location was a very messy house. In the kitchen, there was a bloody daughter who was kneeling in front of the open fridge. The room was filled with many empty plastic bleach bottles and limitless trash. It’s Daddy’s house that he’s filled with his “daughters” besides the two in the kitchen, there’s a naked daughter showering in the bathroom behind the curtain.
Then around the corner was a living room scene with Dad in a recliner watching Home Shopping on television where they were selling dolls, ha! The room was littered with dolls and who knows what else. Besides all of his girls, he asked how much the young girls in the tour group cost, so he could add them to his harem.
Some of the best effects were done with lighting. There was one room that was completely dark until a light flashed on for half a second and two alien like beings in a body suits popped up right in front of your face every time the lights popped on. They even follow you out of the room for one last creepy stare.
This year, there are two attractions. There’s also another whole haunted house within the same space. It’s “Hades.” At the time of the press event last night, it was not complete, so they showed us a preview which was just one scene. You get ushered in by white masked ghosts to a circular room with a large circular revolving stage in the center. It was kind of a dance performance with some tribal looking neon painted zombie ghouls running in front of and between you. There was also a very creepy gigantic fly which you won’t soon forget!
It’s all at located at 8240 N. Austin Ave. in Morton Grove. You can get your tickets here. The price is $25 for “Fear City” or “Hades” and $35 for both. It’s open until October 31, check the schedule for actual dates.