Can you survive the House of Torment?


House of Torment

Actor from the House of Torment haunted attraction.

Reanna Comiso, Features Editor

Haunted houses have never been my thing. They terrified me as a kid, bored me as I grew older and never gave me the thrill I was seeking from the Halloween season. I much prefer baking Halloween treats, carving pumpkins and dressing up in goofy costumes as a way to celebrate. It wasn’t until I visited the House of Torment in Morton Grove, Ill. that I left feeling satisfied by this haunted attraction.

In many ways, House of Torment is your typical haunted house, filled with monsters, zombies and screaming thrill-seekers. Actors undergo extreme transformations each night with heavy costumes and special effects makeup to scare the people who paid $31.99 for a fright. No matter the situation, the actors never break character. Sometimes, their acting seems so real you forget it is all for fun. That is what set this haunted house apart from others I had been to in the past.

One thing about haunted houses I never enjoyed is the way the characters sometimes overextend their stay. You wait in line. A “zombie” appears, gets too close for comfort and stays for longer than necessary, waiting for you to flinch. This was never scary to me, just uncomfortable. What I enjoyed about House of Torment is the way these characters instead tried to interact with attendees and made their rounds, appearing behind you when you least expect it. Before you even entered the haunted house, you got a feel for what’s coming in the near future.

When you finally get to enter the haunted house, you go in small groups, which  makes the experience better. The first thing to point out about the House of Torment is its size. Within the overall building, there are three separate haunted attractions as part of the haunted house.

The first portion is based primarily on jump scares and a creepy atmosphere. The actors appear when you least expect it, which admittedly left me screaming more than a few times. With each new hallway, every twist and every turn, you do not know what to expect. There is usually a sense of predictability within haunted attractions like this, but I felt surprised every time a new actor jumped out at me. The characters were covered in blood and makeup, with their costumes ripped to shreds. Some rooms included zombie teachers or evil doctors, depending on the theme of the room.

The next portion had some genuinely terrifying moments. The set-up of this portion is what made it so unique. There were mazes, mirror rooms and an extreme amount of fog, along with one actor in particular who followed me through this entire section to mock my apparent discomfort.

Things started to get really disorienting when I approached an “inflatable hallway,” in which two large inflatables were attached to the walls, and you had to physically push yourself through in order to proceed. This was my claustrophobic nightmare, and I hated every second of it. It left me feeling terrified, which is exactly what haunted house fanatics are looking for.

Immediately after, you are led into a room with the brightest strobe light imaginable and an intense amount of fog. When you combine the two and leave a fraction of a second between strobes, being able to see anything is next to impossible. Not being able to see an inch in front of yourself is scarier than any possible jump scare, which made this the scariest part of the entire attraction.

The final portion was a “role-play” in which the actors strap you to wheelchairs and push you throughout the attraction while performing a short scene of a hospital visit gone wrong. This wasn’t necessarily scary, but it was interesting and unique. The scariest aspect was being lightly “restrained” and blindfolded throughout. It might be a good alternative for those who can’t handle a traditional haunted house.

To get into the Halloween spirit, House of Torment does the trick. Put this haunted house at the top of your list; it’s the only one you’ll need.