Knott’s Scary Farm is finally here! The gates at the granddaddy of theme park haunts are creaking open offering new chills for veteran Haunt Stalkers and total terror for haunt amateurs.
With a theme of “Nowhere to Hide,” Knott’s has given us the most new mazes in any year we can remember, with a total of 6 new/revamped mazes. But it’s worth noting that the overall maze total has been decreased to 10 (there were 11 walk-through mazes in 2012–click here for our review). In addition, the Timber Mountain Log Ride will not be themed this year (last year, it got a minimal “Evil Dead” overlay). The Calico mine train will be more subtlety decorated for haunt and is now being presented as an “experience” vs. a full on haunt attraction. The up-charge, extreme terror maze Trapped is also returning with an all new presentation in a much larger space.
Another interesting change is what appears to be the lack of any 3D mazes this year. All three of the 3D mazes are being retired (Dia De Los Muertos, Uncle Bobo’s, and Fallout Shelter), and none of the replacements will be in 3D. Could it be that the 3D maze craze is finally coming to an end? We wouldn’t be too sorry to see it go.
New for 2013 Knott’s Scary Farm introduces Fight Lane with Skeleton Key.
Skeleton Key gives you the power to unlock a secret room in 5 of our mazes. With the turn of a key you will uncover more madness in Gunslinger’s Grave, Black Magic, Endgames, Slaughterhouse and Dominion of the Damned.
Delve deeper into the darkness with your key to terror. For pricing please visit our website and click on the date of your Scary Farm journey. Fright Lane with Skeleton Key is available on a limited basis each night of Scary Farm. To get your Skeleton Key you must purchase Fright Lane…they’re as inseparable as fog and screams. Don’t miss out on your chance to experience Knott’s Scary Farm like never before… The terror begins with the turn of a key.
Given all this, Knott’s offerings for 2013 look really cool and imaginative, continuing the precedent they’ve set over the past couple of years. Let’s take a look at what’s new:
The veil between the living and the dead is severed when Houdini’s ghost materializes during a séance and ushers a host of demonic illusions to play tricks on anyone who intrudes on his theatre. From the prop room to the main stage, this dilapidated theatre will make visitors’ skin crawl. Will you be part of the disappearing act?
Location: Carnevil (replaces Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre)
- This is a very original theme and has a lot of opportunity for detailed sets and creepy theater pops. It will be interesting to see what the main monsters will look like—will they be reincarnations of Houdini himself, or sinister magicians in tall hats? If so, we expect to see more actors in makeup than in masks. Last year’s “Trick or Treat” maze had a lot of great “illusion” type elements, and we hope to see that sort of thing expanded in this attraction. We are definitely excited for this one.
The twisted mind of Edgar Allen Poe comes alive as the “Forevermore Killer” works his way through one haunting tale after another. All the victims, driven mad by a combination of drugs and torture, unwittingly find themselves a part of “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” The Masque of Red Death” among others. Guests will want to catch up on their reading to stay a chapter ahead of their demise.
Location: Ghost Town (replaces Terror of London)
- Although this story has already been turned into a maze at both Halloween Horror Nights Orlando and Howl-O-Scream in Tampa, it will be new to most Southern California haunt-goers (unless they’ve seen the film The Raven, which follows this exact storyline). We expect to see a clever reuse of many of the props, sets, and costumes from Terror of London. Like “Black Magic,” this maze will rely on more actors in makeup than in masks. Although Knott’s website indicates this maze’s location as “Ghost Town,” previous news said this would be going into the Mystery Lodge area.
Enter a world where madness is just a looking glass away. What is real and what is an illusion? A cursed mirror absorbs everyone into a mechanical wasteland of despair. Hideous creatures of beauty and horror stalk the mirror world, hoping to draw another victim into a nightmarish labyrinth.
Location: Necropolis (replaces Labyrinth)
- Knott’s promises that you will “get lost inside” this maze, because you’ll actually have to find the correct path to get out. Although this has many haunt stalkers excited, we just don’t see this working. We’ve been in mazes with an actual labyrinth element, and it works ONLY with strict line control in which they limit the maze to very small groups at a time. And we just don’t think is possible most nights at Knott’s (thte exception is “Trapped,” which has “reservation” times required specifically so they can keep the number of guests low). If you have a moderate number of people inside the maze, there will be criss-crossing chaos as you’ll be bumping into other groups as you go from path to path. And if there is the (normal) large number of people in the maze, a conga line will form that will naturally gravitate to the correct pathway to the exit, which sucks all the fun out of the “labryinth.” We hope they can pull this off, but we do recommend hitting this maze very EARLY in the night (as in, right after the park’s opening) for the best chance of actually having the maze to yourself so that you can “find your way out.”
The Gunslinger’s Grave
Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path to retribution against a corrupt township. This journey back in time takes guests on a trail of terror through abandoned gold mines, a treacherous corral, a seedy saloon and a final showdown at town hall.
Location: Ghost Town (replaces Fallout Shelter)
- Knott’s says that this maze will have a lot of outdoor segments, which is certainly fitting for the theme. We actually can’t believe that, given Knott’s Berry Farm’s overall western theme, there hasn’t been a western maze here every year. We are very excited by this new, original concept and think it could be a classic if done well.
Dominion of the Damned
The Blood Queen’s reign has ended as she goes to regenerate after her long reign. In the new cycle ancient vampire lore decrees there shall always be one to rule the damned… Long live the King!
Location: Gypsy Camp (replaces Dominion of the Dead)
- What’s Haunt without a vampire maze? This one is a “revamp” of Dominion of the Dead, a long-time favorite of Scary Farm visitors. Knott’s has a long tradition of vampire mazes, and they won’t disappoint fans this year. We’re not sure how different this one will be from “Dead,” but at least they’re mixing it up a bit with a new storyline and a new layout.
- Delirium (location: Gypsy Camp)
- Endgames (location: Gypsy Camp)
- Trick or Treat (location: Gypsy Camp)
- Pinocchio Unstrung (location: Ghost Town)
- Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse (location: Necropolis)
The Witch’s Keep
Many years ago, The Green Witch uncovered a wicked source of power in the depths of the Calico Mine, and now she’s hell-bent on using this mysterious energy to capture and corrupt all who dare enter. Could this be the origin of her wretched Tricksters? A foreboding warning hangs near the entrance of the mine, “Beware the witch’s keep!”
Location: Calico Mine Train
- Although the Mine Train no longer has actors squeezing into small (and dangerous) spaces, Knott’s is at least theming this attraction for haunt, and we feel that it’s still a very good attraction and worth checking out, even without actors and scares. There are some really cool effects and illusions in this ride, and it’s always a nice place to sit and rest your feet in between walk-through mazes.
Trapped: The New Experiment
- Of course, Trapped has to be all new this year. This “experience” relies on solving puzzles and making it through uncomfortable situations to get through to the next room. For that reason, Knott’s can’t bring back any of the old scenes. However, last year, no one knew what to expect at all, so part of that level of suspense will be diminished for anyone who went through in 2012. For instance, we were so used to being told not to touch the props in mazes that we stood around in the first room for several minutes before we actually realized that interacting with and touching the objects in the room was required. We found Trapped to be more fun than scary last year, so we hope they can increase the fright factor for 2013.
Gone to the Graveyard
These mazes will not be returning in 2013:
- Fallout Shelter
- Virus Z
- Dia de Los Muertos
- Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre
- Terror of London
- Evil Dead (Timber Mountain Log Ride overlay)
Most notable is the return of the Queen of Halloween–Elvira! We are real Elvira fans, so we’re pretty excited by this news. We know that Elvira’s previous shows at Haunt tended to be very corny, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But it will be fun to have Elvira back at Knott’s after her long hiatus. Possessed is the other show that has caught our attention, promising a ghostly theme with “ghastly special effects.”
Here’s the full show line-up:
- Elvira’s Sinema Séance
- Carny Trash
- The Hanging
- Blood Drums
- Gypsy Camp
- Ghost Town
Knott’s opens Thursday, September 26 and runs through November 2. Check out their website for discount tickets, and be sure to check back with Scare Zone as we bring you news and reviews of 2013 haunts.