The Haunted House Chicago Review Team
Since the creation of Haunted House Chicago, haunted attraction reviews have been an integral part of the service we provide to our readers. From identifying the biggest and best attractions in the area, to seeking out the new and up-and-comers, the HHC Review Team pulls out all the stops to make sure no attraction is overlooked.
In addition to reviews, the HHC Review Team is responsible for compiling each year's Official Top 13 haunted attraction list. This provides our readers with a list of all the best attractions from each calendar year. And, of course, identifies each year's Haunted Attraction of the Year.
Some of the criteria the team looks for while reviewing an attraction includes: entertainment, scare factor, acting, set design and detail, costumes, makeup, sound, lighting, special effects, originality, as well as management and marketing.
While the team is out reviewing, they also keep an eye open for stand-out characters. Each year, they choose one or two actors/actresses who rise above the rest to receive the actor of the year award, which is named "The Jim Warfield Acting Award". Staring in 2011, they also started choosing what, in their collective opinion, is the Best New Haunted Attraction for that season.
To stay up-to-date with all the updates and follow the team along their travels, check out their Twitter feed at: http://www.twitter.com/HauntedHouseChi.
Kris' love affair with Haunted Houses began at an early age. During annual family Halloween parties, his Aunt and Uncle would put on a small haunted house in their basement just for family and friends. Formed with walls from hanging bed sheets and props made of refrigerator boxes, it sparked his imagination and began his quest for all-things haunted.
As Kris grew older, he sought out bigger and scarier attractions. Starting with the Riverside (IL) Jaycees, Kris started assembling a normal tour of haunted attractions each year. But, because he was only 13 years old, Mom and Dad had to cart him around. (Which definitely put a limit on the miles.)
But, that all changed as soon as the Illinois Department of Motorists issued Kris his license to drive. (Someone sure made a mistake...)
Soon, Kris was visiting 8-10 attractions a year and starting to have other people frequently ask, "Where should I go?" and "What's the best haunted house?"
Kris scoured the internet for a place to find such information. But, alas, there was nothing that truly ranked local haunted attractions. But, he did find review websites. So, Kris applied to be a reviewer for HauntedHouse.com. (Which was owned by Nucleus Communications of Hackensack, NJ, at the time.)
Over the next few years, Kris reviewed nearly 25 houses a year and wrote many reviews for them, as well as the Chicago Tribune. One day, Kris had a vision to combine reviews with rankings on the web and focus them towards local geographic areas. He pitched the idea of localized sections to HauntedHouse.com's management, but was told that they would be getting out of the business and couldn't develop any new ideas at that point.
After working with a partner, Kris developed his vision and the concept of Haunted House Chicago was born. Within days, the first version of HauntedHouseChicago.com was publicly launched on the web.
Although Kris sold Haunted House Chicago in 2008, the new owners insisted that Kris remain as the Chief Reviewer and head of the Haunted House Chicago Review Team. (For more on this story: http://www.hauntedhousechicago.com/about/)
Since 1999, Kris has reviewed hundreds of attractions for Haunted House Chicago.In 2010, Kris and his team reviewed 51 haunted attractions! As each new season kicks-off, Kris and his team will set out once again to discover the best of what Chicagoland has to scare you with!
While Kris has had years of experience in the Chicagoland haunt industry, Rachel was the complete opposite. In fact, she hated haunted houses! Because of her overwhelming fear of them, she admits she had only been to 2 or 3 in her lifetime before joining HHC. (And kept her eyes closed the entire time, or chickened out half way through!)
In the past years, she has been the token female of the group, which usually made her the central point of 99% of actor attacks. Because, let's face it, the short little blonde girl ALWAYS gets picked on the most!? As the seasons went on, Rachel began to develop a love for haunted attractions. Now, it's pretty hard to scare her, and we commend anyone that can get a good jump out of her!?
Rachel has been a full-time reviewer for HHC for 3 years now and looks forward to the upcoming Halloween season.? She has a strong background in business and marketing. Last year she helped review 51 haunted attractions and loved every minute of it.
Rachel can't wait to see what the attractions have to bring to this year's table. She is excited to see what the veteran attractions do to surpass previous performances and how the new blood does in their first showings. Get excited for the 2011 Season... its going to be a good one!
As the youngest full-time member of the HHC Review Team, Jordyn serves as our "fresh face" and is new for 2011. With no formal haunted house experience, she is completely unexposed to the industry and will help provide us with an opinion from an important viewpoint: the traditional customer.
Jordyn will play a key role in the composition of the 2011 team. Besides filling another female role (which somehow tends to be the focus of many haunt actors), Jordyn brings her youthful spirit and adventurous attitude along with her keen eye for detail.?
We are positive that by the end of the 2011 season, Jordyn will have a love of haunted attractions on the same level as the rest of HHC.?
We would like to welcome her to the team and wish her luck during the upcoming season!
When Jay isn't pulling trucks out of ditches or recovering plane wreckage from the bottom of a lake as part of Speed Channel's hit TV show, "Wrecked", he is usually driving cross-country as part of O'Hare Towing's top-notch team of tow truck operators.
But, when the calendar turns to September and October, he puts in his vacation requests and prepares for another Halloween season full of nothing but haunted attractions!
As a former actor for the original "Asylum Experience" in Berwyn, IL, Jay learned at a young age the basics of haunted house acting. As he developed his own skills and characteristics, he learned that this was something he loved and was passionate about.
Jay has been a part of HHC Review Team for 8 years now and looks forward to the upcoming Halloween season!