By Web Master

It’s Halloween season, and no Halloween would be complete without a trip to Hades Scream Park. For the first time Hades, brought to Chicago by Nightscape Productions, is being held at the Museum of Science & Industry. The experience is called Science of Fear and promises to be just as creative as the Hades of old, with new tricks and treats for the whole family to enjoy.

The park has four levels of intrigue and fright. The first two levels, called Boo Fest, are for children age 12 and under. Tomb Town comes complete with a slime room, a ghoulish fairy and her bubble machine, a magic pirate inviting you to “Atlantis,” and the underwater sea world where you find a treasure. There are plenty of rooms for children to walk through and plenty of characters to meet. This exhibit feeds a child’s anticipation in fun ways. Tomb Town is a slow paced interactive room the whole family can enjoy.

The next level for the children is called Wildest Dreams. This phase is an incredible 3-D maze. The walls are painted neon colors, and pumpkins and skeletons seem to jump out at you from everywhere. The acting pace in this house is a little faster. There are clowns with rough-house attitudes dressed in neon outfits. They chase you and yell at you while deciding if you should, “Leave something behind.” There were bright neon faces, including one that follows you around.

The two main attractions, Hades Caverns of the Dispossessed and Hades Extreme Scream, were absolutely phenomenal. According to Dan DeWaard, my personal escort through the haunted house, “The biggest difference between this haunted house and others is professionalism. We are more theatrical. Our objective is not only to scare but to entertain.”

The event utilizes more than 100 actors and assistants who work special effects. There are two sound technicians and two electricians on the grounds at all times. Upon entering Hades Caverns of the Dispossessed, I was greeted by a dead woman beckoning for me to stay and be her friend. There were two phantasms following me around which intensified my scare. The idea behind this house, according to DeWaard, was to expose your worst nightmares. “Everyone has thoughts about the boogie man in the basement,” he said. “This plays out your fears.”

This house came complete with the acting troupe, Environmental Encroachment, who have played together for at least three years. Exotic creatures meet you at every step. Dead bodies are left on the floor for you to cross. It’s like being inside of one of your favorite or scariest horror movies.

The story behind Hades Extreme Scream was quite creative also. There was a female architect who rebuilt an old home. With each room she chose to make a replica of a room she had seen in different parts of the country. What she didn’t know was that in each room she picked, some horror had taken place. Thus in the kitchen, for example, you find a crazed chef asking you to partake in his feast of various body parts. Then there’s the bathroom where you’re asked if you were dirty baby, and you see someone’s throat being slashed right in front of you.

The houses are all extremely creative and deliver more than the expected scare. There is an extreme amount of interaction from the public as you walk through each experience. In ordinary haunted houses, you expect someone to jump out from every corner. In these houses you are not greeted at every corner, which adds to your anticipation. The actors work very well together and prove to be extremely intense. Through their intensity as actors, you are given an unmatchable experience. Since there are activities for children as well, it is quite an enjoyable evening for the whole family. Be sure, however, to have an adult to watch the children while you visit, as it is not recommended for children under 12. I do recommend adults experience all four levels for laughs, frights, and good entertainment. There are no words to describe how hard the actors work and how much thought goes into this production. For those of you who claim not to be frightened by anything, then it will present a formidable challenge. The performances alone will impress you even if they don’t frighten you.

Science of Fear is open Mon-Fri 5:30-10 p.m., Sat-Sun 2-10 p.m. Admission for both Boo Fest and Hades is $15. Hades Scream Park is $10 per section and Boo Fest is only $8 for adults and $6 for children.