Tonight (8/6/14) Knott’s Scary Farm’s evil team of creators and tormentors announced the 2014 Scary Farm line up.
The scare-tivites were hosted by Jeff Tucker featuring an introductory appearance by “breast actress” Elvira, whose return to Knott’s Scary Farm was announced earlier this summer. Usually by this time we would already know what to expect to be lurking in the fog but this year they kept us in suspense. Unlike their “Nowhere to Hide” tagline from last year, the folks at Scary Farm had really been hiding out but alas we now can confirm just about everything we expected to see returning (and buried) for the 42nd Halloween Haunt. In addition, 3 new mazes (they claim 4 with the new theme for Trapped), promising even more unique interactive elements and expensively themed settings were revealed as replacements for the deceased mazes.
2014 New Mazes
SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED Billed as a “haunted experience” Special OPS: Infected will require participants to hunt zombies (with laser tag) in an All-Out War. Brave groups of Knott’s Scary Farm guests will embark on missions, led by their Squad Leader – a loud mouthed, take-no-prisoners commander charged with turning guests into soldiers. Groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete various missions before time runs out. If zombies drag their bodies too close, the un-infected’s guns temporarily deactivate, compromising the safety of the entire team. Soldiers with the deadliest aim will be celebrated with a tally of the number of zombies killed on a display board for other survivors to see each night in base camp. Special Ops: Infected seamlessly integrates interactive gaming technology with an immersive mountainous landscape (Camp Snoopy), delivering a breakthrough interactive haunted experience that is as terrifying as it is challenging. Missions will take guests through a variety of wilderness terrains, including the unpredictable barrel bridges across the rushing river, through the dark caverns, and through mysterious backwoods. Six acres of the beloved theme park is now home to mutinous, scream-inducing zombies, and the time has come for a harrowing Special Ops survival mission.
VOODOO This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Voodoo swap maze at Knott’s (even though they said they always wanted to do a Voodoo maze). Back in the early 2000’s we ventured the deadly swaps of the Voodoo Witch Project and then Blood Bayou. Now in 2014 you’ll have to trudge cautiously through the cursed swamps of the Deep South, where creatures search the murky bogs for their next bloody sacrifice and demons curse the innocent with Voodoo hexes. Guests must choose their path from a number of foreboding choices, resulting in a different terrifying outcome with each journey into the swamp.
THE TOOTH FAIRY The joy of hiding a lost tooth under the pillow becomes a nightmare of pain and blood in this new maze that will leave teeth chattering. This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.
TRAPPED: LOCK AND KEY After disappointing us last year, Trapped returns with promises of having more rooms, more intricate puzzles and a shocking finale more extreme than any experience ever presented at Knott’s Scary Farm (last year we were pretty shocked in the finale by how much we paid for it). They acknowledged that maze was more zany than scary and it’s promised that this year’s version of Trapped will feature challenges that are darker and more terrifying than any that have come before. You’ll become part of the terror and are forced to face your darkest fears, confront your inner terrors and descend into the madness of a maze with no way out. (Additional fee and reservation required.)
2014 Returning Mazes
Black Magic This maze was one of our favorites last year. We were amazed by the detailed themeing and settings they created around this story. Using magic as backdrop for a maze provided continuous surprises throughout. There was definitely more than rabbits popping out of hats inside of here. The talent in this maze were some of the most impressive of all the mazes with scary magician’s assistants, victims of tricks gone bad, and an actual magician who did a quick card or handkerchief trick as you passed by. This maze also had a nice blend of light and dark scenes allowing for some good scares as your eyes adjusted with the lighting transitions We look forward to capturing more of the Black Magic inside of this maze.
Forevermore The Edgar Allen Poe theme has become more popular at haunts across the country in recent years with both Universal Orlando and Busch Gardens taking a stab at the infamous writer. Knott’s version diverted from strictly recreating eerie scenes of Poe’s stories and creates the story line of a serial killer who is on a murder spree utilizing murder tactics from Poe’s fables akin to The Following. What we liked about it were some of the clever modernization of Poe’s stories into death scenes. The Pit and the Pendulum scene is incredible. While there was some good eye candy in this maze, it wasn’t always clear what was going on. In one scene it looked like we stumbled into Club Blood. The scares were also far in between. In comparison to the other new additions this maze had room for improvement. With it’s freshman year behind it, this maze should hopefully pull off some more poetic terror this year.
The Gunslinger’s Grave Yeehaw! This maze is the epitome of the Knott’s legacy. In Gunslinger’s we’re taken through the haunted labyrinths of mine shafts, corrals, and salons. The layout of this maze is mostly outdoors with trails winding in and out of the Ghost Town buildings making it really feel as if we are out in the old wild west amid the Silver Bullet and Jaguar coasters rolling by overhead. The soundtrack was solid with frenetic Bon Jovi stylized guitar riffs. It was obvious that the “residents” of this town are less than happy to see us and it wasn’t fully clear but we assume we’re looking for refuge from alive or dead outlaws and towns folks. This maze had a few good startle scares but it wasn’t overly frightening. The talent was convincing in their roles as they were fully costumed in western attire, but for scares they just did a lot of yelling “get outta here” and kept cattle prodding us through the scenes. With a few more characters in more horrific makeup and a slower pace, this maze should able to hit it the bullseye this year.
Dominion of the Damned While this maze was revamped from it’s 2012 to 2013 version we didn’t find it to be changed significantly. We anticipate that the immortal blood suckers will be back in one fashion or the other. This is another maze with a cool soundtrack and superb set design but among the beautiful set pieces we encountered vampires who looked in desperate need of a blood transfusion. Dominion is a nice showcase the different reiterations of vampires from the Nosferatu to the Anne Rice versions but it was hard to track the story line, which seemed to be like we were on a tour of The Natural Museum of Vampire History (hmmm that could this year’s revision). Since it seems that we’re Dammed to always have a vampire maze at haunt we expect this one to return in some reincarnation we just hope to see it get more energy and scares.
Pinocchio Unstrung This maze established the new bar of themeing and design for all the preceding new mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm. The entire setting feels like walking through a bloody, after hours, version of Disneyland’s Pinocchio ride. Pinocchio successfully twists the popular children’s story in a way that makes its feel as if we were trapped inside a dark storybook nightmare. What’s unsettling about the maze is how the once innocent characters are now placed into scenes of distress, gore, and horror. It’s rather tragic to see Gepetto, Stromboli, and the Blue Fairy meet their fates at the hands of a torturous wooden puppet who instead of becoming a real boy now wants to be a real killer. The monsters in this maze were consistently scary and high energy. In some scenes they even team up on victims. This is a now a haunt classic and we don’t see Pinocchio getting strung up anytime soon.
Trick or Treat This maze recreates a night of Trick O Treating gone bad. Once you enter the front door of the Green Witch’s house the journey cascades through a haunted mansion packed with sinister Halloween decorations and ghostly effects. The infamous Tricksters are also creating mayhem in the various rooms along the way. This maze is shorter than the others, but it’s also has some of the strongest atmospheric environments and an interestingly theatrical finale. The scares were turned up slightly last year but the focus of this maze is more on the fun of Halloween versus the scares. Knott’s has also been posting teaser pictures of the Tricksters on their Facebook so we’re certain they’re going to be up to some new tricks this year.
The Witch’s Keep As reported on Mice Chat last month, the Witch’s Keep will be returning to the Calico Mine Train in 2014. There was some speculation that it might be scrapped due to the complete refurbishment of the attraction this year with brand new animatronics, but it looks like the Green Witch will be back to curse us all for another year.
Mazes Gone to the Graveyard
Delirium -The Delirium was the maze credited for setting a standard for the modern Scary Farm mazes featuring some very disturbing scenes such as, people spewing cockroaches, monstrously large flesh-eating maggots, and hideously bloody monsters hiding under beds. We loved the nightmare/dementia theme but agree that they’ve already pushed the boundaries of Delirium as fas as they could.
Endgames – What does it look like when you combine The Running Man, Mad Max, UFC and the Hunger Games? You get a standard post-apocalyptic, industrial maze with some cool animatronics and an infusion of technical glitz. We never found this maze to be scary, and we’re glad that the game has finally ended.
Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse - While this maze packed some great scares last year, the meat along with theme had passed the expiration date and rotted away on the shelf. We’ll miss the zany yet scary slaughterhouse cannibals but welcome a new story and settings.
Mirror, Mirror -This was a new find your way carnival style mirror maze. We applaud Knott’s for trying to do something new but last year this maze seemed like it was thrown together at the last minute and was too small inside with a finale that was disappointingly anti-climatic. This maze had the potential to be better but it never was.
Ghost Town Streets
Fiesta De Los Muertos
Elvira’s Big Top: Ring-Mistress of the Park Back by overwhelming demand for 2014 is Elvira – the legendary Mistress of the Dark. Elvira will headline her all new show Elvira’s Big Top, in the 1,800 seat Charles M. Schultz Theatre twice nightly for the entire run of Knott’s Scary Farm. In her new show, Elvira becomes the Ring-Mistress of the Park as she hosts a circus carnival of macabre freaks and sinister side show acts. The show also features explosive dance performances by The Academy of Villains, who return to the stage in 2014 fresh off their appearance on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance? Each night, a limited number of guests who spend at least $50 at Elvira’s Boo-tique during Knott’s Scary Farm will get a chance to meet Elvira between performances of Elvira’s Big Top and collect her signature on one of the purchased items. Knott’s Scary Farm is the only place Elvira can be seen this Halloween season.
The Hanging® – Everything is Gruesome! Haunt’s traditional show (that we usually only watch while waiting in line for Calico Mine Train or The Log Ride) in Calico Square will continue its’ irreverent looks at the year’s pop culture with special effects, pyrotechnics and high-flying stunts.
GENERAL KNOTT’S HALLOWEEN HAUNT INFO
Knott’s Scary Farm takes place on select (24) nights from September 25 – November 1
Tickets purchased online will range from $39 – $49 depending on the night. Tickets purchased at least 24 hours in advance at the theme park ticket booths are $49 for all nights, and day-of-event tickets purchased at the ticket booths are $65
Additional prices for Fright Lane with Skeleton Key will begin at $65 (does not include admission). Fright lane offers unlimited priority to mazes and haunted attractions all night long. The Skeleton Key, provides access to secret rooms inside of five mazes.
Knott’s also announced a $65 season pass to Halloween Haunt (available only to Knott’s season pass holders, with quantities limited) with NO BLOCKOUT DATES.
Parking will cost a killer $20!
More info available at Knotts.com
Now here’s the complete announcement presentation. In addition, Knott’s Scary Farm will be revealing more surprises at this year’s ScareLA taking place this weekend! Don’t miss it!