Reviewed on: Saturday, October 24, 2015
Just over an hour away in Valparaiso, IN, is Amhurst Asylum. Being chosen as Haunted House Chicago’s Haunted Attraction of the Year in 2013, we always expect big changes each and every season from them, and once again, they didn’t disappoint this year.
The attraction to us begins as soon as you enter the property. Driving down a long and winding gravel road toward the attraction, you don’t know what could be lurking out in the dark amongst the trees and bushes along its path. Are there patients that have escaped? Guess you’ll just have to look really hard and hope they don’t join you in your car!
As we waited outside the front door to the Asylum, we saw numerous patients roaming the line among other patrons, and some even taking “selfies”. Here, we were greeted by a familiar patient, “Scarlett”, who ran and crawled on the ground to escape the nurse chasing her, trying to get her back inside the Asylum where she belongs.
Now, for those that have never been to the Asylum, be prepared to be put out of your comfort zone, as the patients here are allowed to touch you! Feeling as if you are going deep within the walls of a true asylum, patients here reach and lunge for you, hoping that you will help them escape from within its walls. Or for some, they are trying to keep you there with them forever as a new patient, OOPS!, we mean friend!
Before we even began our journey, we are shuffled into a waiting area, where numerous actors whisper sweet nothings into your ear, some blow kisses to you, and some, well, they climb the walls above you. It truly is an over the top experience and you just don’t know where to look!
Here, we also met Pickles & Geneva, who told us the rules of the facility and not to break any of them, otherwise there would be repercussions of our actions. With witty banter back and forth between them and our group, it definitely made for a fun start to the night.
Another actor that stood out was that of Rufus, the elevator operator who transported us to the Asylum. With clever jokes and games, such as “Who’s hand it this?”, you never know what will happen within the walls of the elevator when the lights go out.
Weaving in and out of classic rooms from the asylum, including the padded cell, library, kitchen, morgue, the fire room, and the bathroom (complete with smell and all!), it felt as if we were never going to escape!
One thing that Amhurst created a few years back is that of a house-wide “event”. This is something that we have not seen done anywhere else throughout our travels during the season to other attractions. As you make your way throughout the asylum, at some point, an air-raid siren goes off causing every single actor to stop what they are doing with their current performance and just go insane! Lasting just over a minute or so, it is quite the sight to see. Some actors cover their ears and drop to the ground in terror while others jump on tables and yell even louder. It is definitely quite the experience to see and very well done each and every time!
Taking a walk through the asylum, you never know where a patient is going to come from. With patient actors waiting for that perfect moment, you are always on your toes ready for that element of surprise!
The Bottom Line: With another season to add under their belt, the crazies here just seem to keep getting crazier. Amhurst Asylum is definitely an attraction you need to add to your “must-see” list if you haven’t gotten the chance to go yet. It is definitely worth the drive!
Entertainment: 18.5 out of 20
Scare Factor & Fright: 9 out of 10
Acting: 9 out of 10
Sets & Room Detail: 10 out of 10
Costumes: 5 out of 5
Make Up: 5 out of 5
Sound: 5 out of 5
Lights: 5 out of 5
Props & Special Effects: 9.5 out of 10
Originality & Story Concept: 10 out of 10
Management & Owner Presentation: 5 out of 5
Website: 5 out of 5
Total: 96 points out of 100 points possible
– Official Haunted House Chicago Review Team Review