Hell’s Gate in Lockport, IL has got to be one of the most amazing experiences a haunted house could ever give you. The ride to the haunted attraction isn't like most. You will arrive at a free parking lot and board a bus driving you to a secret location which makes you feel like you're far from civilization! The Zombie Army Production team does such an amazing job making you feel like you have gone back in time and I could compare it to a very much “Haunted Mansion” attraction feel. The trip to the haunt gave me butterflies and true excitement and glee. I absolutely could not wait to experience this haunt and finally experience the “giant slide”!
Midway/Que Line Experience
When you exit the bus at the official location of Hell's Gate you are let out right in front of ticketing. You have the option to “Will Call” or purchase on the spot! The ticketing experience is very easy and on their Facebook they do present opportunities for bundle deals to see both Hell’s Gate and Statesville which are both Zombie Army Productions shows! After purchasing your ticket you have an option to visit a beer tent prior to your wait in line and consumption of alcohol while in the fairly lit que tent is allowed. The characters in the que line tent were trying their hardest to entertain the very long line of patrons which were waiting approximately 45 mins until they were at the start of the trail. The music was loud and set the mood for the evening and made it all the more entertaining when the actors were dancing around. At the time there were only a handful of actors in the que and you can tell they were needing some extra hands but the line actors went up to everyone to ensure no one was bored while waiting. Although the estimated wait time was 45 minutes it felt as if it went a tad quicker.
Eye Candy/ Visuals
The Sets were OVER THE TOP AMAZING! It really looks like a movie set and every twist and turn through the dark mansion in the middle of the woods is full of eye candy. If you have ever seen the movie Clue it reminded me of the mansion from the film and the Haunted mansion ride in Disney had a sick twisted baby. ZAP did a phenomenal job with set design and creating fear of where the real actors were in numerous rooms. If you look around there are “hidden twins” such as you would find “hidden mickeys” at Disney. They kept you looking around and caused you to feel paranoid wondering what is real! The makeup was so well done and the costuming fit the roles of every person on the trail!
After you leave Que-Line, you enter the woods and it is so different from most wooded trails. Full of scares and actors were obviously properly trained to quickly reset for the next group without hesitation. The tail had show lights that didn't overpower and helped hide the characters that needed to be hidden. The outdoor scenes and sets were perfectly done and I, Kerri, can confess I truly was terrified on the outdoor trail and screamed almost the entire way! The most wow factor of the outdoor trail was just before you walked up to the mansion prior to being put into a que line to enter the house. They have pyrotechnic towers that shoot flames straight into the air that light up the entire area each time a group passes through (We assumed that these were Hell’s Gates). The absolute coolest part of the entire experience was “The Twins” and “Mother” in the parlor. I will not spoil what happens but this portion of the haunt is so theatrical and tells the story of the house and gives you the entire story before walking through the attraction to avoid any confusion as to what is going on from patrons walking through the haunt. Walking through I had heard a few “cliche” phrases such as “What are you doing here” and “get out” but that did not take away from how thoroughly impressive it is. The show ties in fears for everyone. From clowns, to porcelain dolls and snakes, this haunt caters to everyone's fears and did an amazing job at it. Hell’s Gate is absolutely scary! The time from start to finish the walk through time was approximately 55 minutes and was worth EVERY PENNY! We spent 2 and a half hours from que to finish here so definitely clear your calendar for the evening to be here. You will not be disappointed! For the ticket price of $35 dollars without their occasional discount it is by far a total bang for your buck!
Every single one of these actors played a special role in the story of Hell’s Gate and never broke character. They were all on que with every scare and did such a great job! None of them fell short of amazing. You could tell some were new actors but they tried their best and refrained from using many “cliche” phrases. Many rooms had multiple actors in it, and it made sense and worked so well together! Huge compliments to the actors and even actor managers who help these actors become these beautiful monsters prior to makeup! All actors maintained vocal communication with groups and knew exactly how to work rooms and scare.
The haunt is very much Original and one of a kind. It brings you to another time and they do it in such a creative way. It stays on track to their original back story of the darkness consumed home and how the twins became what they are now. The most deserving shout out of this haunt has to be the opening scene. We have never ever seen anything like this and it is so worth the time, money and travel no matter where you live! We are so glad we took the time to see this show and all of its beautiful chaos unfold during the show. Personally we shared such happiness post show we were so pleased with it.
Overall this haunted attraction is everything you could want and more. From killer sets, and great acting, amazing costuming and makeup. The whole show is over the top and makes you believe you’re really in a movie. This is totally a must see show! Without spoiling and giving way the whole of the show, hands down you MUST come see it! There were very little issues with the show as well as actor issues. But when there was, they were easily fixed issues. This haunt no matter where you are is totally worth the drive, you won't be disappointed.
Reviewers Personal Notes
Kerri: This haunt scared the literal pee out of me. Obviously it doesn't help that i have a somewhat weak bladder after childbirth but it seriously scared me so much! I loved it though, it is so difficult for me to be scared during haunt shows but this one did it for me for sure! I was so impressed with every aspect of the show and I loved it. The only issue i had were with a few props that were almost a trip hazard or danger hazard that were in the haunt or even in the rooms that were used as mini ques. They did this to prevent conga lines to avoid each group from getting a ruined experience in significant rooms that were deemed theatrical. Very well done Hell’s Gate crew and cast!
Jarvis: The overall experience of the haunt was great. The only issues I had with the experience is one with an actor that had a chainsaw and was scaring from the front, with most patrons that would cause a back up in line flow and caused slight issues for the show. As well as the fact there was an overuse of heavy strobes in some areas that I thought was unnecessary.