Knott’s Scary Farm sincerely carries on traditions for it’s 2018 Halloween Haunt. With two new mazes, returning popular mazes, and shows Knott’s will get (keep) you in the Halloween spirit all night long.
We do our best not to spoil the mazes for those who’ve yet to experience them, so we won’t provide scare-by-scare reviews, but we will share highlights and our overall opinions from our own experiences in the mazes. Haunts are rated on a 1-5 “skull” system.
New Mazes and Attractions
A heavy fog drapes over an abandoned port village where ancient creatures lurk inside the pitch-black underground caves hidden below the seaside shores. The Nightwatch Mining Crew has mysteriously disappeared and village rumors point to the eerie tunnels the town sits upon. Myths of the terrifying horrors that lurk within the cave have often been whispered but never confirmed. Did the crew meet their demise at the hand of vicious creatures that live within the cave? Journey into the ominous caverns and follow the crew’s path into The Depths, discover if the superstition revolving around the cave is true or not. But be warned! All who have entered have never resurfaced.
The Depths is another visually invigorating maze added to this year’s lineup. Similarly to mazes like Shadowlands and Dark Ride, this maze has a very distinct theme that we’ve never seen anywhere else showcasing some stunning scenes, effects, and set pieces. There are also some distinct scares such as a scene with sea creatures jumping out from below the surface of the water as you’re descending underwater, which is effectively pulled off with low lying fog and laser light effects. There’s also massive Kraken monster that rocks the hull of the ship back and forth as you make your way through. One of the final scares features a giant zombified shark whose sharp teeth and jaws get terrifyingly close as you try to pass. The story is a little hard to follow as you somehow start off in a mineshaft going through the barracks of some ill-fated miners and then end up underwater. Nonetheless, we liked this maze and think it’s a solid new entry to the Scary Farm line-up.
Teleport beyond earth and into a realm where the darkness is absolute. In the depths of space, a lone station faces terror beyond all imagination. An extraterrestrial mutation has invaded the station, and it’s on the prowl for new hosts. The unearthly inhabitants’ force increases as it feeds on its unwilling victims. Escape the dark entities before its deathly force eliminates all living form aboard the station. There’s nowhere to escape when time is running out!
This maze has so much potential that it never lives up to. Perhaps we went through at the wrong time but there were hardly any monsters or scares inside. The attempted scares it did have were all the predictable “monster around the corner” type. The settings and props were fun and interesting, reminding us of the old school maze Alien Attack (which was far scarier). This maze would be so much more with better lighting, scare timing, and the monster talent. Dark Entities disappointingly failed to make any significant impact and really needs some reworking to make it something worthwhile. They get a solid ‘B’ for effort but it falls far below average for the execution.
Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel characters still linger in the shadows in the NEW maze, Dark Ride. The carnival attraction has become a refuge for sideshow freaks and now those shunned performers have created an ominous world where they plan to unleash terror on those who enter.
Dark Ride is still a spectacularly designed and fun maze. Paying tribute to the old school carnival haunted – fun houses, Dark Ride takes guests on a twisted pathway through and behind the scenes of one of the most elaborate mazes in the history of Scary Farm. There are some startling moments but this maze is more about the story and design. It’s almost ironic how a maze based on a simplistic carnival haunted house ride features some of the most incredible special effects in a KSF maze. They’ll probably need to invest in making some updates to keep it interesting in the years to come as we’d hate to see this maze slowly decay over the years like other once great mazes had (Toothfairy, Pinocchio, Voodoo). It can also use some more scares but for now, this is still one of the top mazes at Scary Farm.
Daring guests will attempt to survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in this year’s NEW MAZE, Pumpkin Eater. The notorious creature is on the prowl, hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath all who enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the only way out.
The nursery rhyme of Peter Peter Pumpkin eater is brought to life (and death) in this very imaginative maze concept. It still reminds us of a mix of 1992’s Mother Noose and the more recent Cornstalkers mazes. This maze continues to demonstrate Knott’s commitment to immersive maze theming, storytelling, and design. The section where you take a journey inside the dripping wet passageways of a giant rotted pumpkin is the real highlight of the maze. Pumpkin Eater also has quite a few good scares so long as you go through it when the monsters aren’t on break. We had to go through it a second time as the first time there were literally no monsters inside, which is a pretty bad show for Knott’s to let the mazes run empty at any given time. Fortunately, we had an opportunity to go through for a second time and the maze redeemed itself from getting a buried skull rating. With monsters, Pumpkin Eater is a fun and fright-inducing Halloween maze adventure, without it’s just like walking through an abandoned Halloween store.
TRICK OR TREAT: LIGHTS OUT
Are you afraid of the dark? You will be. Armed with only a faulty flashlight, explore the creepy house at the end of the street, in the upgraded Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out maze. Face the terrors of the house in complete darkness as your interactive flashlight reveals the horrors hiding in the shadows. Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out will terrorize you like never before.
Six years in, Trick or Treat is still one of the most popular mazes in the park – just judging by the wait times. The line was an excruciating 150 minutes long after the first 30 minutes of the park opening! Obviously, this maze is still going strong and they probably could get away with running it for a couple more seasons or hell make it a permanent attraction. ‘Trick or Treat’ actually has never really been a scary maze to us but the “lights out” element provides a layer of suspense and scariness to the maze. Each guest has their own flashlight so the rooms and settings are somewhat illuminated as the groups walk through but now the ghouls and monsters have the full advantage of seeing you before you get to see them. You really have to get to the maze as quickly as possible at opening if you don’t have Fright Lane as due to them having to hand out flashlights the wait is tediously long and slow. If you’ve seen it before then there’s nothing new but it’s still worth seeing (for under an hour-long wait) if you have the time and patience as it’s one the quintessential Scary Farm haunt maze experiences.
A fulfilling life ensures a soul safe passage into eternity, but what happens to the souls of soldiers slain in battle? Enter the hair-raising Shadow Lands maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory. Guests will embark on a quest through a sacred shrine, an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadowlands.
They’ve removed the maze preshow and go straight to the scares. This maze is like a mix of ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘The Grudge’. Instead of cutting it down a little we wish they had replaced or added some new scenes to keep it fresh. Still, with the Japanese setting, they utilize some creative and surprising scare tactics with moving walls, sliding screens, and animated props. The monsters in this maze were high energy and athletic performers who perfectly synced their moves to the sound and lighting effects making it appear as if they could actually strike us at any second. While not as intense as the previous years, they were able to startle us numerous times in this maze. The maze was also very colorful but still had a sinister atmosphere with drastic transitions back and forth between brightly lit and dark rooms. The highlights of this maze includes the geisha house scene, a temple with crushing stone walls, and the outdoor samurai battle where flying warriors attack from all angles decapitating prisoners in their path. This is still a must see maze.
Paranormal Inc. features high flying aerial stunts and scares as guests help investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
Knott’s Scary Farm’s special effects spectacular continues to terrify with a solid 5 skull rating across all categories. Even with no noticeable changes since it premiered this maze is by far the scariest at the Farm. It all begins with a pre-show where ghost hunters are showing their recent contact with a spirit from another dimension but things “surprisingly” go wrong quickly and soon the group is split up into two and everyone must find their own way to escape the raging demons that have come to take us back to the “other side”. They spared no expense in this maze where they cleverly mix digital projections, animatronics, practical effects, and rigged sets. There a disorienting lighting effects and some impressive stunts such as a guy suddenly getting sucked up into the ceiling by a force of evil. Every detail in this maze is well crafted and the actors do a great job trying to keep you scared and emerged in the story. When you enter we suggest you try to stand in either the front left or right corner next to the scientist actor so you can be one of the first into the maze. And the left side is a little scarier.
Take a trip to a blood-soaked barn filled with carnivorous animals seeking to prey on human flesh in the Red Barn gore maze. Legend has it the farmer who owns the barn was transformed into a heinous creature that sends his sadistic sons to ensure his legacy. None dare enter the barn, for those who enter never escape.
This maze definitely more about gore than scares. We always hope that this maze would be improved from the prior year but alas we’re still disappointed. Many of the monsters in this maze were lazy and wandering about just taunting us as we passed by. This maze had the potential to be a more intense experience but now all we can say is “burn the barn down”. We don’t suggest waiting in a long line for this maze and just save it for last if you have time.
SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED
Armed with cutting edge laser guns, brave guests will face off against hordes of zombies in the groundbreaking Special Ops: Infected interactive maze.
This maze isn’t so special anymore. It’s a very long wait for a maze with no scares. You just get to use a laser gun to zap zombies and animated props wearing collars that light up when you accurately (or accidentally)”shoot” them. This maze might be fun if you like shooting at things, but there’s hardly any ounce of terror in it. Throughout the maze, there are zombies and military ops running chaotically all over the place. The sets are interesting and well constructed but you really don’t have enough time to take it all in as the “Ops” keep yelling at guests to hurry up as you make your may through the maze. This rapid pace kills any kind of suspense and the zombies are always in plain sight so there’s not a single scare in this maze. This maze is really not worth the extra long lines.
This season the Timber Mountain Log Ride becomes the Halloween Hootenanny. This is a family friendly Halloween overlay to our classic Timber Mountain Log Ride. This attraction will be open every day during the Halloween season and features a brand new original song sung by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
We love having the haunted log ride at Scary Farm. To us, the log ride is Knott’s Scary Farm. Since it returned last year it’s no longer designed to be an overly scary experience but the Halloween props, effects and soundtrack make it one of the most fun things to do at Scary Farm and a nice break from walking around. We were disappointed that there were no monsters lurking around inside when we went through but we’ve heard there have been some sightings.
GHOST TOWN STREETS: Ghost Town Streets is the original – and still most terrifying scare zone – that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog. Beware the notoriously startling Sliders who lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land. New for this year, Ghost Town Streets has been expanded to the backstage maze area to create the largest scare zone in Scary Farm history, full of new surprises.
FORSAKEN LAKE: New for 2018 – Forsaken Lake unleashes gothic creatures, which have been ravaged by the dark and murky waters underneath Silver Bullet, as they wander from their crypts preying on unsuspecting visitors, looking for victims to drag back to their watery graves.:
CarnEVIL: Knott’s Boardwalk is taken over by “CarnEVIL,” where the freak show is the main event and countless clowns crave your undying attention.
The Hollow: From within the fog, the legendary Headless Horseman and his army of the undead are ready to unleash a reign of terror in the newest scare zone, The Hollow. Guests entering the frightful 6-acre area will be terrorized by the souls of fallen soldiers and local farmers that have escaped their shallow graves.
Knott’s Scary Farm Overall Fright Value:
General Admission/Fright Lane
Overall Rating of Knott’s Scary Farm 2018:
Tickets and Dates
Knott’s Scary Farm is open through October 31. Tickets are now on sale.
Knott’s Scary Farm is the largest and most haunting Halloween experience in Southern California, with unimaginable scares and innovative thrills that can’t be found anywhere else. The fully transformed theme park encompasses uniquely haunted mazes and attractions, sinister shows and more than 1,000 horrifying creatures lurking in the fog and hiding in every corner of the park.