Haunt Review: Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead

Statesville Haunted Prison® 17250 South Weber Road, Lockport, IL 60441 (815) 741-9791 ‎ statesville.org

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm,Inc 17250 Weber Road, Lockport, IL 60441-6525 (815) 741-2693 ‎ ourpumpkinfarm.com

I normally don’t go around recommending prisons to people, but the Statesville Haunted Prison is one of the best haunted attractions I’ve experienced. I actually felt like I was a prisoner.

First off, the haunt is located on Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm property. By day its a family fun time with pumpkins and funnel cakes, then as night falls something evil takes over. That evilness is none other than Zombie Army Productions super cool and creepy haunted attractions. Yes, there are two attractions for one price of $30. (See ticket page for details on their site.) It’s a full evening of frightfully good entertainment.

The Statesville Haunted Prison is incredibly creative. The level of scene design and fabrication, plus the acting and costumes is all top notch. They utilize up to 7+ makeup artists every night, applying some high-tech makeup effects that were so good I thought it was on the level of movie makeup effects. Very impressive. Under the reign of Zombie Army commander, John LaFlamboy, this enormous collection ofcrazed entertainers do their job well. There are scenes we were amazed at with so much going on we couldn’t take it all in. Then there’s that shower room scene…that is just wrong! We laughed our butts off.

After the prison, you get a little fresh air break and then enter the City of the Dead. Again, this haunt was decked out with elaborately crafted scenes and creatures as you descend into the underground lair of the dead.  I must say this one was not quite as good as the prison, but was still a good show, better than many I’ve seen. I think they should have people go through the City of the Dead first and then the Prison. Either way the entire event is well worth the price. Very theatrical and highly detailed.

HAUNT TIP: “Get certified with the local fire protection agency and keep your show safe for your customers and yourself.” – Paul Siegel, Owner – Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, Statesville Haunted Prison and City of the Dead.

Happy Haunting!  Egor


Haunt Review: ABYSS Haunted House

ABYSS Haunted House – 7502 East Hansel Road, Channahon, IL 60410 (708) 691-4159 ‎ abysshaunts.com

Dollinger Family Farm 7502 East Hansel Road, Channahon, IL 60410-9412 (815) 467-6766 ‎ dollingerfarms.com

We checked out a pretty cool haunt in Channahon, Illinois this past weekend and met the owner/creative director, Paul Niemeyer. The ABYSS is a little off the main drag, but that actually helps get you in the mood… “Are we lost?”. Both myself and my fiendish assistant, Mike really enjoyed the show. Not to give away too much, the maze work was very good, disorienting and VERY dark. I lost my way and got creeped out a few times. Most of the actors were good and a few were very good. One room in particular had no way out. Then, all of a sudden there’s this cute corpse chick standing right next me…no idea where she appeared from…YIKES!

This show went on to be twice as long as I expected. When we interviewed Paul Niemeyer, he mentioned they built nearly four-hundred 4’x8′ walls for this show. That’s a lot of walls. These guys are very creative and a lot of fun. I would recommend this show to anyone.

BONUS: Live band playing in a large tent while you wait to go in. Pretty cool!

ALSO: The ABYSS & the Dollinger Family Farm will be featured on an upcoming episode of MY GHOST STORY on Biography. So, this place is REALLY HAUNTED!

PAUL’S HAUNT TIP: “Make sure you have plenty of Gorilla tape (Ducttape?) and a good impact wrench/drill.”


Let the Haunting begin!


I’m Patrick Voss, a life-long lover of Halloween and Haunted Attractions. I designed, built and ran several of the largest and best haunt attractions in the St. Louis, MO area back in the 90’s. The biggest and best was Terror Visions and Hollywood’s Dark Gallery. Rated #1 by 3 separate newspaper polls. I’ve been creating masks, costumes, creatures, props, puppets and displays since grade school and now am doing it for movies and still for haunts through my studio Robot Monkey Lab.

One of my businesses, VFXsecrets is a way I’m taking all of what I’ve learned over the years and putting it out there in the form of how-to videos. One of the videos on my list was tips and tricks for haunted attractions. I started working on this and thought it would be fun to do a site where professional haunters, home haunters and Halloween enthusiasts could share tips. Thats how TopHauntTips.com came to be.

At this year’s Transworld Haunt Show I spoke with many vendors about THT and asked if they would be interested in sposoring Top Tip contests. Every person I spoke with said YES! So, I’ll be setting up a registration page to submit your Top Tip to with some great prizes to win. Great items like silicone masks, fog machines, props, and a ton more. Should be very fun.

Well, welcome and please check back for more posts and get registered on the Top Haunt Tips website.

Happy Haunting!

AKA: Egor