The original and grandest theme park haunt takes us back to where it all began with two new mazes and plenty of returning favorites.
After nearly three decades of visiting the Scary Farm, one would think that we’ve seen it all. Well this year’s Halloween Haunt disproves all jaded notions as the mazes are fully crafted, the scare zones and Halloween decor spans the entire park, and talented monsters are lurking around every corner.
Since the 40th Haunt, Knotts’ creative team has been on a mission to revitalize Scary Farm and now once again it stands out as one of the top theme park haunts in the country.
Over the past 7 years, they’ve conjured up mazes with more sophisticated settings, elaborate themes, and intense scares. It began with Trick or Treat and Pinocchio Unstrung. Then continued with Black Magic, Gunslinger’s Grave, Tooth Fairy, Paranormal Inc., Shadow Lands, and Dark Ride. While these mazes emerged there were still some leftover “old school” mazes that didn’t have the same caliber. However, this year the entire line up is solid with some very exceptional additions.
Here’s our review of the new mazes and ratings of the returning ones with videos from our friends at Theme Park HD.
Origins: The Curse of Calico
Don’t mess with Sarah Marshall, she’s a real witch. This maze serves as a prequel to reveal the true beginnings of the Ghost Town and Halloween Haunt at Knott’s. it unearths the sinister paranormal activity that plagues the town as Sarah Marshall is put on trial for her suspected crimes of witchcraft. All is unveiled when the Green Witch rises up and curses the townsfolk, transforming all who have accused her into a wicked horde of malicious creatures with an eternal quench for the living.
This is the maze that Knott’s has been working to perfect. The theming begins with the queue entrance in the Calico graveyard and carries through the opening courthouse scene into the climatic ghostly transformation of Calico from a bustling western town to an eerie Ghost Town. The settings are impressively immersive with fully detailed rooms and superb lighting effects. The design and special effects are top notch even surpassing many of the mazes we’ve seen at some of those movie studio theme parks. The cast is diversely talented with full scripted actors and energetic monsters. Many different types of scare tactics are effectively used for some very startling moments and fun scares. Oh and the legendary Catawampus also makes a cameo!
We truly loved this maze and were in complete awe going through it. You don’t want to miss it! We recommend going to this maze first thing and then try to go through it again later in the night.
It’s been a long time since there’s been a wax museum in Buena Park. Now mysterious lights and strange noises have begun to emanate from the eerie abandoned wax museum. The once prominent plastic surgeon, Dr. Augustus Scratch, has been seen tinkering at night and is now ready to show off his beautiful yet terrifying life-like masterpieces of hot molten wax and bloody flesh.
This is another solid addition to the KSF maze lineup. While not entirely unique this maze is like the perfected mixture of The Doll Factory and Pinocchio Unstrung with a little bit of Black Magic. This maze also has the most spectacular facade at haunt that looks reminiscent of Black Magic.
The inside of Wax Works is decorated from top to bottom with elaborate set pieces such as large rotating stages and animated props. It’s this kind of attention to detail that creates a fully immersive environment that is equally intriguing and foreboding. It could’ve been scarier as there are some areas that would benefit from having more monsters to keep the intensity consistent throughout the maze. We did enjoy the maze’s humorous dark undertones with the hall of dead presidents, plastic faced Hollywood stars (lol), and the wax version of the invisible man. There are also some gruesome scenes with cut up bodies strewn and sewn all over, and live people being covered in hot wax. Fates we would only wish upon our worst enemies (and people who cut in lines at haunt).
With a little more sculpting, Wax Works could be a solid five skull maze. Nonetheless, it’s still a visually stunning and impressively themed addition to the 2019 lineup.
Returning Maze Ratings
You can read the complete details of these mazes in our 2018 review.
Ratings have been updated for the 2019 season.
We really did enjoy Scary Farm this year. There are just a few annoyances such as the parking being $2 higher for those who arrive after 4 to attend haunt. That seems like a petty money grab at people who already are going to be spending a lot of money on food, drinks, treats, and merchandise inside the park. There also was the issue with ‘The Depths’ maze which had its ratings fall from last year due to them adding an unnecessary pre-show room that did nothing to enhance the maze but it did enhance the line. ‘Dark Entities’ was somewhat improved and all the other mazes were consistent, which is a good thing.
All the mazes at Knott’s have interesting themes with great settings and effects. In addition to the scare zones, entertainment, and park operations they’ve really set a new bar for themselves and the industry. This is the year you don’t want to miss going and for us, it confirms that we’ll still be looking forward to going in the years to come.