Opening Night at Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare in Villa Park

Friday night was filled with fun, fright and sheer delight when the Odeum Expo & Sports Center transformed into a mecca of the macabre for Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare.

The opening night festivities included a first look into his haunted house and concluded with a concert from the man himself.

I had the opportunity to take a sneak peek of this attraction on Thursday, with the lights on, sans the scare actors and the sounds.  

Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare has three sick, twisted haunted houses based on his films and characters: The Lords of Salem in total blackout, El Superbeasto in 3D and The Haunt of 1,000 Corpses.  

Last year, Great American Nightmare made its inaugural presence in Pomona, California.  On its second year, Zombie chose two locations to house his haunt: Villa Park, Illinois and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Upon entering the venue, you’re greeted with roaming characters and overturned vehicles.  You are then taken upstairs to the the waiting line with more characters, creeps and sounds all around.

The first stop is the Lords of Salem in total blackout. You are approached by the iconic character, Heidi Hawthorne, at the entrance of the replica apartment building featured in the film.  You’re then guided through a maze in total blackout.  The maze seems never ending, as you try to twist and turn through the pure black abyss.  Characters stand inside to spook you and your limits are tested by a section of extreme claustrophobia.

After your eyes have adjusted to total darkness and you exit the Lords of Salem haunt, you are overcome with an explosion of color at the entrance of El Superbeasto in 3D where you’re given 3D glasses.  The black light reflective colors pop when you place the 3D glasses on your face and you almost feel like you’re actually inside the colorful cartoon creation.  This portion features intensely bright walls, floors props and characters.  At the end, a two-story tall Satan awaits in a fire pit as you depart El Superbeasto.

The third jaunt is The Haunt of 1,000 Corpses which really brings you into my definition of a “true” haunted house.  It pays homage to the House of 1,000 Corpses film and takes you on a journey through the “Museum of Monsters & Madmen”.  Captain Spaulding is there to greet you as you begin your terror-filled walk through the final phase of the Great American Nightmare experience.  You are introduced to Charles Manson and John Wayne Gacy and explore very artistically designed set decor. You’ll get all the blood, guts and gore in this haunt for sure.

Upon exiting The Haunt of 1000 Corpses, I strolled over to the south half of the Odeum Expo & Sports Center to anxiously await Rob Zombie’s sold out opening night concert.  His haunted house takes up the north half of the venue.  I was fortunate enough to see Zombie perform at the Austin’s Fuel Arena in July, so seeing him twice within two months, was excellent.  

DJ Ginger Fish (Zombie’s drummer) hosted a 30-minute DJ set prior to Zombie’s performance.  DJ Ginger wore a black cloak, skull mask and got the crowd pumped.  

Zombie and his bandmates, John 5, Piggy D. and Ginger Fish were non-stop full of energy from the first song to the last.  View the photos of his performance below.

Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare is open:

October: 3-4, 10-12, 16-19, 23- 26, 30-31
November: 1
    
Hours 7:00 PM until midnight (Fridays and Saturdays) and 7:00 PM until 10:00 PM (Thursdays and Sundays).

Purchase tickets HERE.


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