Tag: Halloween Haunt

HAUNT REVIEW: Knott’s Scary Farm 2017

With some chaos Knott’s Scary Farm‘s 45th Halloween Haunt brings back many popular mazes, revamps others, introduces a couple new ones, and gives a final send off to the first Mistress of Haunt.

Well, we decided to forego the early season visit (and our own advice) and went to Knott’s Scary Farm on a mid-October Saturday night. You know, a night when everyone else in Southern California typically visits. Actually we just couldn’t find another time to go this season as we’ve been prioritizing haunts that are offering newer experiences. We also wanted to mix it up a little and report on what it’s like for real-everyday guests (with Fright Lane) and not a press media outlet that has the red carpet rolled out for them,  to which there’s a significant difference in the experiences.

So after 45 years one would think that Knott’s would have it’s haunt operations running smoothly but sadly chaos ensued from the moment we arrived at the front gates. We lucked out a little on parking but even that was a mess (so was our car after paying $20 to park in a dusty lot). The process to get through the turnstile, using their mobile tickets, and getting a Fright Lane wristband was frustratingly slow. It makes no sense as to why they don’t just hand out the fright lane wrist bands to guest who’ve purchased them as they enter the park as the system for the getting the passes at designated stations within the park is aggravatingly slow and disorganized. It completely diminishes  the value of the Fright Lane’s triple admission price and causes a big crowd of confused and angry people form right inside the park’s front gates.

In addition, many employees we encountered seemed clueless as to what they were doing, where things were, and what was going on in general. Line control and crowd flow was confusing and chaotic all over the park. These things matter just as much as having good mazes. The fun spirit of the evening can be quickly killed for guests if they have to endure what seems to be unnecessary frustrations. It nearly killed it for us. Being “sold out” is not an excuse for guests to have a shitty experience.

Perhaps they need to reduce the cap on the number of nightly admissions. Or maybe they need to hire more operations employees and if they’re hiring a lot of seasonal help during haunt they should take the time to properly train ALL of them. This would really make a difference on how efficient everything is ran inside the park. Compared to Universal, Magic Mountain, and Queen Mary,  Knott’s lands in last place for its operations this year… a solid buried skull. Just go onto social media to see the never ending guest rants about this year’s operations.

Now on to the good stuff. While most of it is the same things we’ve all seen and loved before at Knott’s Scary Farm, part of the charm is the Halloween tradition that carries on year-after-year at the park. The new maze themes and the traditional Halloween ambiance that’s showcased across the foggy landscape is actually even more captivating this year with top notch park decorations along with high caliber and some truly scary maze designs. What distinguishes Knott’s in the Southern California theme park market is the originality of their mazes that are not confined to structured movie themes like Universal’s.

In particular, the new Dark Ride maze is probably one of the best themed and designed mazes we’ve ever experienced at  Scary Farm in our past 25 years of visiting! Paranormal Inc. also continues its reign as the most terrifying maze at KSF with Shadowlands, Pumpkin Eater, and Trick or Treat: Lights Out rounding out the slate of our top mazes this year. We’re very happy that they brought back an overlay to the Timber Mountain Log Ride, even if it’s just “family friendly”. Now we hope they can get the Calico Mine Train back on board. Finally, rounding out the festivities, the anything but family friendly Elvira goes out with a (double) bang for her final season at Knott’s… sad so sad.

Now here’s our full Knott’s Scary Farm maze reviews featuring some incredible full maze videos from our friends at Theme Park HD.

 New Mazes and Attractions

DARK RIDE

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.

This is the Scary Farm maze everyone has been screaming for! Dark Ride looked spectacular and is probably one of the most imaginative and well designed mazes we’ve ever seen at Knott’s. 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 fun scares 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 the most incredible special effects we’ve seen featured in a KSF maze. The scale of the sets, use of animatronics, music, and craftsmanship is definitely Knott’s warning shot back at HHN and others who have tried to run off with the  haunt  maze blueprint that they originated.  A few more scares might have made this maze beyond perfect but we’re almost glad it wasn’t any scarier as we may have then missed seeing the full glory of this awesome maze by trying to cover our eyes (lol). All in all this maze definitely earns the trophy for haunt theme of the year and for the first time in our Knott’s Scary Farm history, it earns our top 666 skull rating for Haunt Design.

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PUMPKIN EATER

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 reminded us of a mix of 1992’s Mother Noose and the more recent Cornstalkers mazes. Just like Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater demonstrates that Knott’s has really graduated up into a new level of immersive maze theming, storytelling, and design. This maze also had quite a few good scares throughout with a high energy cast that really knows how to work within the maze’s long layout. The makeup and costuming were also well done with monstrous  pumpkins and people with carved faces lurking about. There’s also some grotesque scenes but nothing that’s over the top like in the the Red Barn maze. The spiraling journey through the rotted pumpkins that requires guests to push through dripping wet passageways was a highlight of the maze. Due to many of the outdoor sections this maze is much scarier at night but all in all it really is a fun and fright inducing Halloween maze adventure.

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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.

When we first heard about this maze we thought that it was going to just be the same old Trick or Treat maze where all they’ve done now is shut off the lights so that they could promote it as something new. While this is somewhat true, it works really well with the result being more than just a gimmick. ‘Trick or Treat’ actually has never really been a scary maze to us but the “lights out” element adds a new layer of suspense and scariness to the maze this year. 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. They also added some fantastic looking new characters and set redresses. Trick or Treat has established itself as one of the most popular Scary Farm mazes that doesn’t seem to get old. With the new lights out Trick we expect it continue to be treating guests for more years to come.

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TIMBER MOUNTAIN LOG RIDE HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY

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.

After a hiatus that lasted for a few years, it’s so good to finally have the haunted log ride back at Scary Farm. For us this was always one of the quintessential and unique haunt experiences. This new version isn’t designed to be an overly scary experience but the upgraded props, effects and soundtrack make it one of the funnest things to do at Scary Farm and a nice break from walking around. We also appreciate that in spite of the stricter OSHA regulations they still managed to get a handful of live monsters to lurk about in the dark corners around the flume.

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Returning Mazes

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California’s Great America’s Halloween Haunt Celebrates 10th Year!

Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America, the Bay Area’s premier Halloween spectacular, will begin terrifying guests September 22, 2017. Scares take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 29, and all guests 13 and older are invited to face their fears.

New for 2017, DEMON: RE-IGNITED! returns the lights, fog, music and blood-red waterfall to the iconic Demon roller coaster. Two new mazes will raise fears to new levels. Chaos House will provide mystifying special effects including mirrors, strobes and fog to confuse and confound guests, and Backwoods leads guests to a deserted cabin through woods full of werewolves. All three scare zones have been reincarnated with 2017 introducing Jester Town, Underworld Alley and Feary Tales.

“Returning the original sights and sounds of Demon will be especially rewarding for long-time Great America fans,” said Raul Rehnborg, California’s Great America vice president and general manager. “For the 10th anniversary of Halloween Haunt, our entertainment team is taking fear and fun to a new level at the Bay Area’s premier Halloween event.”

Halloween Haunt is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 pm-Midnight through October 8 and until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays from October 13-28. On Sundays, Halloween Haunt is open 7 pm-Midnight.

Halloween Haunt’s returning haunted mazes include: Zombie High, Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors, Roadkill Road House, CornStalkers, Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor and Toy Factory.

Famed magician Ed Alonzo (of Saved By The Bell fame) will bring his cutting-edge humor to Psycho Circus of Magic and Mayhem. A tantalizing opening ceremony will begin the nightly horrors in 2017, and the live entertainment of Blood Drums, Nytewalkers and Sideshow all return.

Guests looking to enhance the fear factor can purchase Fright Lane Plus to gain one-time front of the line access for each maze, while also accessing five innovative and interactive Skeleton Key rooms that are so intense they can’t be mentioned here.

Beginning October 13, the Haunt Boo-fet, located in Great America Pavilion from 5-7 pm, includes an all-you-can-eat fried chicken meal for as low $14.49, plus tax, when purchased online.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.cagreatamerica.com/haunt and admission is free for 2017 and 2018 Gold and Platinum Passholders. All Season Passholders can take advantage of special Bring-A-Friend pricing on select nights. Halloween Haunt is intended for guests 13 and older and is now hiring at www.cagreatamerica.com/jobs.

Follow Halloween Haunt on Facebook @cgahaunt, Twitter @cagreatamerica and Instagram @cagreatamerica and join the conversation at #GAHaunt.

THE GREAT PUMPKIN FEST

For the younger set, on weekends September 30-October 29 (closed October 22 for a 49ers game), The Great Pumpkin Fest is included with the price of admission and takes over Planet Snoopy during daytime hours. The Great Pumpkin Fest features trick-or-treating with Snoopy and the PEANUTS Gang, pumpkin decorating, a hay maze and coloring.

Great America will also entertain with “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” movie showings and book readings throughout the day.

Dorney Park Sets a Tourist Trap for Halloween Haunt

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom will debut a gruesome new maze this fall when its Halloween Haunt nighttime event opens for its 10th season on Friday, September 15th, 2017. Haunt will feature seven mazes, four scare zones, three live shows, 25 rides and more than 500 costumed creatures throughout the park, ready to scare visitors over the age of 13. The Great Pumpkin Fest also returns to Dorney Park, opening on Saturday, September 16th, providing a family-friendly daytime Halloween experience featuring the classic PEANUTS™ characters.

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The park’s new Haunt maze, Tourist Trap, is themed after a ramshackle hotel run by a morbid collector of the macabre. Tourist Trap will take guests back in time to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago where they will witness the horrendous fate of patrons who checked in and soon after disappeared; scenes of terror and torture will shock guests during their twisted travels through a variety of hidden rooms.

Dorney Park allows guests to experience more fear during Haunt with the Fright & Fast Lane Pass including Skeleton Key. This premium add-on experience includes priority access to eight mazes and attractions and features more intense and interactive scares in seven Skeleton Key attractions. In addition, the pass allows priority boarding on all Fast Lane rides and attractions. Dorney Park will feature five new Skeleton Key experiences in 2017, including an immersive stereophonic experience at Tourist Trap and an experiment in fear at Blackout where you take control of the maze experience of other guests. Fright & Fast Lane with Skeleton Key is available online or at the park for as low as $40.00* per person. Guests who want to join their friends, but want to have a scare free night will be able to purchase a No Boo Necklace for $10.00* to let monsters know to keep away. For more information about Halloween Haunt or to purchase tickets, please visit www.dorneypark.com/play/haunt and share your terrifying photos with us using #DPHaunt.

The Fog Has Rolled in at Knott’s Scary Farm 2015

 

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This weekend at ScareLA the folks at Knott’s Scary Farm revealed the first details for this year’s Halloween Haunt, which begins in only 45 days on September 24th. This year’s event will feature 2 shows, 3 Scare Zones, 5 Skeleton Key Rooms, 11 mazes, and 1,000 monsters! There’s also a ‘Scary Farm Pass‘; a haunt season pass available for “only” $80. A great deal for local fans. Tickets are on sale now starting at $39.99.

Here’s The full Scary Farm lineup for 2015…

New Mazes

DEAD OF WINTER:

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Escape the icy grasp of the chilling Snow Queen in the The Dead of Winter. Backed by a ravenous beastly army of resurrected Viking warriors, she is hellbent on avenging her beloved family’s murder, and preys upon any unsuspecting visitors who foolishly enter the borders of her icy domain.

PARANORMAL INC.:

Paranormal-Page-HeaderIn this groundbreaking new maze featuring high flying aerial stunts and scares, guests 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 hunt for new patients to torture.

MY BLODDY CLEMENTINE:

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There is no tale more vicious and vengeful than that of My Bloody Clementine. Take a grim ride through the transformed Calico Mine where Clementine and her father were brutally murdered centuries ago. Their wretched spirits roam the tunnels in search of those who killed them. This year, the ride through maze will feature live monsters out for revenge at the train track’s every turn.

Returning Mazes

TOOTH FAIRY:

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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.

THE GUNSLINGER’S GRAVE: A BLOOD MOON RISES: 

Gunslinger-Page-Header 2“A Blood Moon Rises” continues the story of The Gunslinger. The Red hand gang has disturbed a burial ground that contained a SkinWalker relic, that has transformed them into Werewolves under the Blood Moon Curse. Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path to retribution. 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.

SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED – PATIENT ZERO:

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Survive the Zombie Apocalypse in an All-Out War! Back by overwhelming demand, guests can enlist to fight the zombie apocalypse in an all-out war against the undead in the interactive experience, Special Ops: Infected – Patient Zero. In this ambitious attraction groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete terrifying missions before time runs out. Special Ops: Infected seamlessly integrates interactive gaming technology with an immersive mountainous landscape, 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.*There is no additional charge for Special Ops: Infected.

PINOCCHIO UNSTRUNG:

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Years have passed since the blue fairy denied him his final wish, but Pinocchio has returned with an army of murderous marionettes intent on killing his former masters. The purpose of his killing spree – human flesh to cover his twisted wooden body. Revenge comes with no strings attached.

FOREVERMORE:

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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 unwittingly find themselves a part of “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” The Masque of Red Death” among other horrific stories. Guests will want to catch up on their reading to stay a chapter ahead of their demise.

BLACK MAGIC:

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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?

VOODOO – ORDER OF THE SERPENT:

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Beware the cursed swamps of New Orleans, where mindless zombies trudge through the murky bogs in search of bloody sacrifices and demons use Voodoo curses to possess innocent souls. Choose your path carefully children, for one wrong turn and you will be hexed forever. This year’s maze is even longer featuring a new finale. 

TRICK OR TREAT:

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Trick or treat, which will it be? Step forward and ring the witch’s doorbell. Oh, she is home, but where? You are not quite sure. Don’t be afraid, her minions will guide you. You can come away with a treat, but is it worth it? This year’s maze features a new attic scene and a witch’s potion room to conjure up more scares.

 

Scare Zones

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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.

FIESTA de los MUERTOS: Fiesta de los Muertos fuses dance music, colorful costumes, and larger than life stilt walkers in a dance party scare zone with even more characters than last year to create the ultimate late night celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

CARNIVAL: Knott’s Boardwalk is taken over by “CarnEVIL,” where the freak show is the main event and countless clowns crave your undying attention.

DEADLY 7: Prowling the darkest corners of Scary Farm’s midways and scare zones, the Green Witch and her Deadly 7 are a sadistic crew guilty of more terror than meets the eye. Each of the monsters represent one of the seven deadly sins and make terrifying surprise appearances throughout the park each night.

Shows

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ELVIRA’S ASYLUMElvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark, returns to Knott’s Scary Farm in a spectacular all-new nightly show, Elvira’s Asylum, which transports guests to an asylum of music, dance and comedy.

THE HANGING: – Haunt’s traditional show (that we only watch while waiting in line for Calico Mine Train or The Log Ride) in Calico Square will continue its’ irreverent look at the year’s pop culture with special effects, pyrotechnics and stunts.

Experiences

ELVIRA MEET & GREETIn honor of Elvira’s return to Knott’s Scary Farm, the Nautilus merchandise shop will become Elvira’s Boo-tique, where fans can purchase stylish apparel and sinfully fun products featuring and inspired by the Legendary Mistress of the Dark. 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 Asylum” and collect her signature on one of the purchased items.

BOO-FET WITH EARLY ENTRYKnott’s Boo-fet dinner invites guests to feed the beast before Knott’s Scary Farm opens each night. Dine on a frightfully delicious buffet meal while monsters scare and delight you throughout your meal. Meals include a collectible 2015 souvenir cup, which provides unlimited complimentary refills during the night of first use, and 99¢ refills for the rest of 2015. After dinner, enjoy early entry into select parts of Knott’s Scary Farm before it opens to other mortals. Boo-fet dinner is $26.99 online / $32.99 at the door (plus applicable taxes and fees).

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Knott’s Scary Farm 42nd Haunt – Sneak Peek

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In just a few more nights the fog will come rolling in at Knott’s Scary Farm. Last year solidified Scary Farm’s reinvention with the most highly themed and exceptionally crafted mazes in it’s 41 year history. In comparison to other big SoCal Theme Park Haunts, Knott’s still wins big in creating the perfect feeling of celebrating Halloween. Knott’s also benefits from having unique mazes themes that are not constrained by the pre-scripted story lines of movies and TV shows, thus allowing for more surprises throughout.

The total number of mazes has slightly decreased in recent years but it wasn’t noticeable given the increased quality of the mazes overall. We still miss was the haunt layover of the Timber Mountain Log Ride. Even though the ride’s scare factor had declined over the years it still was one of the most unique haunt attractions anywhere (and a nice way to get scared without having to walk).The caliber of the shows was also increased with production upgrades made to The Hanging and the voluptuous return of Elvira.

Now, to get you fully prepared for this year’s 42nd annual haunt, we’ve compiled some sneak peek images of what you can expect to find lurking in the fog for the 42nd year. We also have a peek under Elvira’s Big Top (as if you don’t already know)!

Maze Sneak Peeks

A glimpse into the ghoulish gallery known as Dominion of the Damned

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A sneak peek inside a fan favorite, Trick-Or-Treat

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Did somebody mention they wanted to see VOODOO? Here’s your first glimpse….

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How about a taste of The Tooth Fairy?  You’ll soon know the drill….

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Pinocchio Unstrung where revenge comes with no strings attached…

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With a little Black Magic, this Rabbit will reach out and grab ya’ out of a hat…

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Forvermore offers head splitting terror…

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With Special Ops: Infected you’ll be the only thing standing in the way of oblivion…

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Under her the Big Top, Elvira becomes the “Ring Mistress of the Park” dazzling audiences with music, madness and mayhem in her Sinister Circus of the Macabre.

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Knott’s Terror Tips

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before the posted opening time (we recommend doing one of the Knott’s pre-scare dinners or walking to one of the restaurants across the street)
  • If you can, attend on a Thursday of Sunday night for lighter crowds (but avoid the Sunday before Columbus Day holiday)
  • Visit the mazes counter clockwise, this year it’s best to do Special Ops first due to the time involvement of attraction – lines will predictably get longer through the night.

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  • Following a counter-clockwise flow should bring you to Elvira’s Big Top in time to see the first show at 9Pm. If you miss it, there’s another at 11:30
  • If you choose do Trapped, schedule an appointment for later in the evening after 10, so you’ll have a chance to get through all the other mazes first.

Check HERE for our coverage of all of Knott’s 2014 mazes and attractions along with the complete announcement video.

Knott’s Scary Farm takes place on select (24) nights from September 25 – November 1. More info available at Knotts.com

**All Photos Sourced by Knott’s Scary Farm ‘s Facebook  page

Knott’s Scary Farm Haunt Video Previews

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Here are the newly released video teasers for Knott’s Scary Farm’s new mazes. Check HERE for our coverage of all of Knott’s 2014 mazes and attractions along with the complete announcement video.

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.

Voodoo

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.

Bone…err Bonus video of

Elvira

 

Knott’s Scary Farm 2014

Tonight (8/6/14) Knott’s Scary Farm’s evil team of creators and tormentors announced the 2014 Scary Farm line up.

10298359_553297338110324_2325016403689301507_o   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 Infected_Thumbnail 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 Voodoo_Thumbnail 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 TheToothFairy_Thumbnail 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 Trapped_Thumbnail 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 10091539434_b1f8e53342_o 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 10091614105_f692778c74_o 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 Pinocchio 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-facade-21-1024x682  Endgames 10091645463_40f88be0c7_o 10091552234_c6a93cd884_o

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.

R.I.P 


SCARE ZONES

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Ghost Town Streets

Fiesta De Los Muertos

CarnEVIL

Gypsy Camp


SHOWS

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 scaryfarmpass_thumbnail

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!

Elvira is Baaaack (and front too) at Knott’s Scary Farm 2014

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The Queen of Halloween, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, just announced on Twitter that one of Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt’s most popular things to ride on, herself, is coming back once again to titillate and frolic all over the stage. And she’s doing a show too!

 

spl624327_015Elvira had a long run (not just in her pantyhose) starring in a stage show and hosting Knott’s for Halloween Haunt for 20 years and during that time she also had a maze – Elvira’s Nightmares, and a haunted log ride – Elvira’s Red Moon Massacre, which were both based upon her scary adventures (the log ride was somewhat autobiographic).

After taking an extended hiatus to pursue other endowments, err endeavors, she finally returned back to the Scary Farm last year with a new show titled ‘Elvira’s Sinema Seance’. ‘Sinema Seance’ was two handfuls of fun as her big… return kept the crowd alive with musical numbers, tongue in cleavge jokes, some high grade stage effects and low brow humor. In ‘Sinema Seance’ the Mistress of the Dark was sucked (or the other way around) into scenes from classic and contemporary horror movies such as The Blair Witch Project, The Birds, and Paranormal Activity. She also wound up inside of one of Saw‘s deadly booby traps.

We think Elvira’s shows at Scary Farm are as good as it gets when it comes to theme park Halloween shows. She always gives it all up in her spooky Vegas style variety shows that fully mounds, err rounds out the Knott’s Haunt entertainment experiences. We also have to hand it to Elvira as she’s still looking great and we’re glad that she’s once again back (and front) to where she belongs during the Halloween Season. Now we just hope we can get to see more of her on the Boob Tube again.

 

Knott’s Halloween Haunt Hiring Event: June 6 (Construction/Artist Jobs)

Attention all carpenters, painters, artists, and prop makers! Knott’s wants to hire YOU!

Knott’s annual haunt build/construction hiring event will take place Wednesday, June 6, from 9 am to 5 pm at the Knott’s Berry Farm Employment Center in Buena Park. You must be 18 years old and a high school graduate to apply. Openings include theatrical carpenters, construction carpenters, scenic artists/painters, audio and lighting technicians, and theatrical crafts/prop masters.

This is your chance to work behind the scenes building the original Halloween Haunt. Note that actor auditions will NOT be part of this event. Actors are usually hired in August. We will post information about actor hiring when it becomes available.

Last year, we received a lot of requests for information about these build jobs–many of the requests after it was much too late. Haunt construction usually begins in July (or earlier), so make sure you apply in time!

For more information, go to Knott’s website. They recommend that you print and fill out the application beforehand and bring it with you to the hiring event.

SAVED: Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America

In a sudden turn of events, Cedar Fair has announced that they are no longer going to sell their California’s Great America park. This means that we can now expect their Halloween Haunt to return in 2012!

This is good news for the relatively young haunt which launched in 2008 after Cedar Fair took ownership of the park. After 4 seasons of frights, they now bill themselves as “Northern California’s Biggest and Best In-Your-Face Halloween Experience” with more than 500 ghastly creatures, six spine-tingling haunted mazes, four themed scare zones, one themed attraction, and live stage shows.

We were able to visit their haunt this year and believe that it has the potential to become an even larger haunt akin to it’s sibling park  Knott’s Scary Farm. We were particularly impressed with their CarnEvil 3D and Club Blood mazes which we believe were actually better versions than the ones found at Knott’s. Now we hope that their haunt design team has dusted off their plans and gets to work soon on planning next year’s offerings.

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