Tag: Knott’s Berry Farm

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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SNEAK PEEK: KNOTT’S SCARY FARM 44TH HAUNT

The event we’ve all been waiting for this year is just about here! The original Halloween Haunt, Knott’s Scary Farm, returns for the 44th year starting on Thursday, September 22nd with more than 1,000 monsters roaming the park and lurking in the fog.

New Scary Farm Logo 2014

We consider Knott’s Scary Farm to the best theme park Halloween celebration with a park completely blanketed in fog and crawling with monsters. There’s multiple scare zones, mazes, new virtual reality experiences, shows, rides, and Elvira, “the most popular ride in the park”.

As the terrors of Scary Farm inches closer we think that now is the perfect time for us to take a first peek in the fog to see what they have in store for 2016. As they say “Whatever you’re imagining, It’s here…” 

 

Haunted Attractions (New for 2016)

Four all-new nightmarish haunted attractions will debut this year; each featuring unearthly surprises, ghoulish monsters and frightening legends that come to life as you step inside:

special-ops-infected-logoBlack Ops: Infected: Armed with cutting edge laser guns, brave guests will face off against hordes of zombies in the groundbreaking all-new Black Ops: Infected interactive maze. Small units of guests will battle the zombie apocalypse through blood soaked city streets and an underground sewer system crawling with nearly one hundred ravenous zombies. The high tech innovative experience thrusts guests into the middle of a live-action video game complete with live actors, real time scoring system, kill streak rewards system and interactive targets, including a juggernaut boss zombie. The new attraction is one of the largest mazes ever created in Knott’s Scary Farm history so form your squad and put your zombie apocalypse survival skills to the test in this action packed, one-of-a-kind experience

shadowlands-no-backgroundShadow Lands: 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 shadow lands.

the-red-barn-no-backgroundRed Barn: 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.

thehollow-no-backgroundThe 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 new 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.

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FearVR: 5150: New for 2016, enter the mysterious Meadowbrook Institute and witness the abnormal case of a terrifyingly unusual patient named Katie in the groundbreaking virtual reality horror experience Fear VR: 5150. Using Samsung GearVR powered by Oculus and strapped to a hospital wheelchair, come face- to-face with the deadly chaos unraveling around you. Disturbingly vivid sights and sounds invade all of your senses. Encounter the darkness that has taken over the medical staff during your fully immersive hospital stay. Patients beware; it is easier to check in than out.

Standalone Skeleton Key Rooms (New for 2016):

For the first time, Knott’s Scary Farm will feature standalone Skeleton Key Rooms that are independent from mazes. The four Skeleton Key Rooms will each feature a unique story and theme delivering unparalleled scares, interactive secrets and terrifying surprises:

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Slasher: Guests are invited to step into an 80s’ slasher horror film. The masked Angel Maker Killer is on the loose. Every lead has run cold and that’s when you step into the picture. Will you become his next victim?

Prey:Navigate a hay maze full of dead ends with only a faulty lantern as your guide. You are not alone. Mutant beasts are lurking around every corner.

Visions: Guests must investigate the Green Witch Museum in Ghost Town where it is not the building that is haunted, but the various items contained within. Using a Phantom Finder augmented reality device, guests will be able to identify and witness paranormal activity connected to items from the Sarah Marshall Witch Trial.

ZOZO: People from all over the world claim to have been visited by the demon ZOZO after a spirit board session. Is the demonic entity known as ZOZO real or are spirit boards just a myth?

Returning Favorites

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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 Scary Farm 2013: YOU CAN’T HIDE

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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.

img_tix_8(1)Fright Lane allows Unlimited Front of the Line Access at all of our terrifying mazes, except Trapped.

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:

Nowhere to Hide

New Mazes

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?

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.

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, 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.

Mirror, Mirror

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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

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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

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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.

Returning Mazes

  • 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)

Experiences

The Witch’s Keep

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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

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Making its debut in 2012, Trapped was Knott’s Scary Farm’s first reservation only, interactive maze – and was an immediate sell-out. Trapped returns bigger and more intense than its predecessor. For those lucky enough to secure a reservation, Trapped will offer a longer running time, more challenging puzzles, more mind-bending contraptions and more in-your-face scares. *Additional fee applies.
  • 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

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These mazes will not be returning in 2013:

  • Labryinth
  • 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)

Shows

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.”

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Here’s the full show line-up:

  • Elvira’s Sinema Séance
  • Carny Trash
  • Cursed
  • The Hanging
  • Possessed
  • Blood Drums

Scare Zones

  • Carnevil
  • Gypsy Camp
  • Ghost Town
  • Necropolis

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.

 

 

CEDAR SCARE’S 2013 HAUNTS

As most of our Haunt Stalkers know, Knott’s Scary Farm is considered the Granddaddy of Theme Park Haunts. During the past 2 decades, since joining the Cedar Fair theme park family in 1997, the curse of Knott’s Scary Farm has spread throughout all of the parks creating the largest theme park haunt franchises in the country. While you’ll find common maze themes across the parks such as Zombie infested schools (Zombie High), blood thirsty scarecrows (Cornstalkers) and Sinister Sideshow Clowns (CarnEvil), each park offers it’s own unique ‘cut’ of these themes mixed with their own local offerings making them all worthy of a haunt stalking.

We’ve already provided some extensive coverage of the Knott’s Scary Farm’s offerings. Now here’s a look at the haunts taking place throughout all the other the Cedar Fair parks, which includes California’s Great America, Cedar Point, Valleyfair, Dorney Park, Worlds of Fun, Canada’s Wonderland, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, and Carowinds.

 

California’s Great America Halloween Haunt

Santa Clara, Ca

California’s Great America’s 2013 Halloween Haunt will feature 8 mazes, 3 scare zones, and 5 shows. The new mazes added to the collection are Zombie High and  Dia de Los Muertos, a theme recently retired (thankfully) from Knott’s. Great America’s Halloween Haunt opens September 27th. Scare Zone visited their haunt in 2011 and found the event to be a good value with some excellent actors and many solid mazes. You can read our full review here.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013*  Zombie High – The hallowed halls of Zombie High beckon you back to a horrific homecoming of flesh eating hellions. Don’t be tardy. If you make it out alive, consider yourself “Saved by the Hell!”
  • *New for 2013*  De Los Muertos – Venture into the forbidden jungle of El Chupacabra where sacrificial blood rains down from the sky. The screams of La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, echo around you and the creatures of the night crawl from their crypts – “Dia de los Muertos,” the “Day of the Dead” has arrived!
  • Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor – Money does not always buy happiness. For Madame Marie, this could not be more true. As Louisiana’s wealthiest heiress, Madame Marie has perfected the art of Voodooism. Enter her Manor with caution as there is nothing richer in her eyes than blood. Your visit in her lavish home will leave you breathless.
  • Carnevil – Hurry! Hurry! Step right up and don’t be shy! The most gruesome carnival is back in town. Get ready to face your worst childhood fears as demonic clowns and other freaks of nature terrify guests at every corner where they have turned the tables to make you the attraction!
  • Cornstalkers – A cult of evil scarecrows lies in wait in this overgrown path of debris, hay bales and cornstalks. Guests must weave their way through this twisting maze of bedlam, dodging a series of dead ends and avoiding the stalkers who are “dead-set” on forbidding anyone to escape.
  • Slaughterhouse: Annhilation – There’s too many people in the world and not enough food. This Slaughterhouse takes care of both problems. A constant feed of humans are being subjected to the grinders which keep the river of blood flowing through this dark complex. It’s a virtual cornucopia of bloody remains as parts are ground into a tasty meat treat, using a very special recipe which includes one very special ingredient … You. Do not let the fear paralyze you as you attempt to escape from the edge of Annihilation.
  • Toy Factory – Once a place where dreams were made, this toy factory is now a place where nightmares come true! The maniacal factory workers are manufacturing a variety of disturbing new toys and novelty items for their demented amusement, using any part available, including human parts. Buyers beware as your favorite toys have now been turned against you, or you’ve been turned into one of them.
  • Werewolf Canyon – Be careful as you venture deep into the murky woods through a hunter’s trail where the hunters have become the hunted. A pack of blood-thirsty werewolves have taken revenge on those who dare invade their domain. With only the full moon’s light to help you navigate through…can you make it out alive?

Scare Zones:

  • Dead Man’s Cove
  • The Gauntlet
  • Underwood Alley

Shows:

  • Blood Drums
  • Ghostly Glow Party
  • Overload’s Resurrection
  • Culture Pop
  • Blades of Horror

Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends

Sandusky, Ohio 

An eerie howl echoes across the midway. Strange shadows skitter over the cabins along the Frontier Trail. Is that a fog rolling in from Lake Erie, or is it a presence from beyond preparing to materialize before your terrified eyes? Beware. The spooky chills of Halloween combine with the thrills of the world’s biggest collection of rides and roller coasters during Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends. This year, Cedar Point’s HalloWeekends will include 4 haunted houses, 6 scare zones, and 5 shows. The eeriness of HalloWeekends takes place on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays; September 13 – October 27, 2013.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013* Zombie High School – It’s “back to ghoul” at the new Zombie High School! Try to stay alive as you snake your way through its haunted halls and creepy classrooms. But stay cautious – the walking dead students aren’t ready to let you graduate…ALIVE!

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  • Eden Musee -This haunted house is a creepy throwback to the traditional wax museum that was once located along Cedar Point’s main midway in the 1960s and ’70s. Step inside this museum filled with wax figures from classic to creepy…and some have been known to come to life!
  • G.A. Boeckling’s Eerie Estate – This stately limestone mansion harbors deep, dark secrets, guarded by ancient inhabitants seeking revenge and looking for more permanent residents!
  • Eternity InfirmaryPatient’s can check in, but can’t check out! Stay away, or you may become their next patient – for ETERNITY!

Scare Zones:

  • Cut Throat CoveMeet the motley crews of sunken ships, left deserted on this island. But mind yer steps – they’ve been waitin’ for rescue for over 100 years.
  • Fear FaireStep into a menacing, medieval marketplace.
  • Maniacal, Mechanical Screamworks – Journey into science fiction past and future to explore a sinister, steamy subculture of  a world that never was, but might have been.
  • CornStalkersScarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • CarnEvilThe crazy clowns and lurking sideshow freaks are waiting to share their special brand of entertainment with you.
  • Blood on the Bayou  – Lurking along the dark fetid waters of the bayou are mysteries too dangerous to explore, too twisted to explain.
Shows:
  • Gypsy Fortune Tellers
  • Halloween Hullabaloo
  • Sideshow: A Carnival of Magic
  • Skeleton Crew
  • Edge of Madness: Infernal Nightmare

Halloween Haunt at ValleyScare

Shakopee, Minnesota

Each weekend night, Valleyfair transforms into a horror-filled nightmare. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and can’t wait to experience. Not for anyone under 13. This year’s new featured mazes are  yet another version of Zombie High and Terror of London, which takes its name from a Knott’s maze but takes on new storyline for the London town settings. ValleyScare is opens on September 21st and is open every Friday and Saturday night thereafter.  

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013*  Zombie High – Go! Fright! Win! Despite the mysterious outbreak of some, like, weird virus at Valley High, but this year’s prom is totally on! So bring your best guy or gal and dance the night away in our fully-decorated gymnasium. Then maybe, if you’re not busy afterwards, we could grab a bite…
  •  *New for 2013*  Terror Of London – Notice: the army of steam has come to claim the city of London. Our army runs strong with the animated flesh of your fallen heroes, so report to the clock tower for immediate conversion. Be advised Main Street will run red with the blood of the remaining human resistance.
  • Chateau du Damne(Lair of the Vampire) – Experience the many rooms of this Renaissance castle, and be prepared to be seduced by the blood-hungry vampires that are waiting to sink their teeth into you.
  • Mr. Cleaver’s BloodshedMurderous butchers and plant workers in a gruesome meatpacking plant.
  • Mangler AsylumDr. Mangler conducted dreadful experiments on the local unfortunates and now, a collection of living fears and phobias are waiting to wreck havoc on your innocent soul.
  • Hellside Farm At sunset, the abandoned Hillside Farm transforms into Hellside Farm as the demented residents begin to look to harvest their next victims.
  • Camp WekilouAfter being temporarily closed due to the mysterious disappearance of campers, Camp Wekilou is ready to reopen its doors and welcome new campers. The only question now is will everyone make it out alive?

Scare Zones:

  • Blood Creek CemeteryAt night the fog thickens at Blood Creek Cemetery and the dead will rise to take your soul in order to enter the great beyond.
  • Abnormal Alley – Bring your barf-bags, keep a tight grasp on your loved ones, and don’t drink the water!  ValleySCARE condemns society’s most off, deranged and twisted to the odyssey of abnormailty. 
  • Carnevil: Ringmaster’s Revenge – The clowns have escaped their maze and now roam the walkways within ValleySCARE. Under the Ringmaster’s control, these colorful yet demented sideshow freaks bring everyone’s inner fears to life.

Shows:

  • Blood Drums 
  • Hacks
  • Mick Manglers Madness and Mayhem Show

 

Halloween Haunt at Dorney Park

Allentown, Pennsylvania

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This fall, Dorney Park transforms into a horror-filled nightmare for it’s 6th haunt season. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and more. There a no new mazes featured this year however, they are also continuing the new tradition of the Zombie Invasion on Friday the 13th, which allows guests to experience the event in costume for one night only. There also will be the annual Zombie 5K Run on September 21st. Haunt officially begins on Friday the 13th and runs every weekend through October 27th.

Mazes:

  • Desolation this may be the park’s biggest haunt of all time, themed as nightmarish journey  through a  zombie apocalypse.
  • Bloodshed – warning someone is home at this cannibalistic hillbilly house.
  • Grave Walkers  – Zombies rise from a cemetery.
  • CornStalkers Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • Mansion House Hotel – An elegant and mysterious hotel with deadly secrets.
  • Psycho CircusThe crazy clowns are waiting to share their special brand of entertainment with you.
  • The Asylum Enter this asylum if you dare test your mind. Every step forward erodes your sanity. Are you committed?

Scare Zones:

  • Age of Darkness – Beware of the black plague and it’s victims!
  • Cutthroat Island – Meet the motley crews of sunken ships, left deserted on an island. Mind yer steps – they’ve been waitin’ for rescue for over 100 years.
  • Head Hunters The spirits of this tribe have returned to prepare for their ritual sacrifice. Disturb them and you may become a very deadly participant.

Shows:

  • Blood Drums
  • Witches Brew
  • Cast in Bronze

Worlds of Fun Halloween Haunt

Kansas City, Missouri

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This fall, Worlds of Fun transforms into a horror-filled nightmare. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and more. This year’s maze line up includes the new Miss Lizzie’s Chamber of Horrors along with 6 others. There’s also 3 scare zones and 3 shows. The Haunt begins on Friday the 13th and runs every weekend through October 27th.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013* Miss Lizzie’s Chamber of Horrors The Chamber of Horrors Wax Museum has reopened, and for this limited time, Miss Lizzie invites you to examine her collection of some of the most feared villains, murderers, criminals and miscreants imaginable. So lifelike, so believable, so haunting, you might even think their alive.
  • Zombie High – The hallowed halls of Zombie High beckon you back to a horrific homecoming of flesh eating hellions. Don’t be tardy. If you make it out alive, you can consider yourself “Saved by the Hell!”
  • Lore of the Vampire Featuring Club Blood Over a century’s worth of bloodthirsty vampires lurk within the walls of this catacomb of the undead. Venture underground into Lore of the Vampire’s Club Blood where human victims are drained of their life to nourish the children of the night. 
  • Blood ShedProcessing at the Old McDonald Slaughterhouse has gone horribly wrong.
  • London TerrorStep back in time and into the fog-filled streets of London where the villains of the night are terrorizing the townsfolk.
  • Corn Stalkers – Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • Asylum Island – The fear factor intensifies at an infirmary where the criminally insane are in control.

Scare Zones:

  • Outlaws Revenge – The spirits of Boot Hill Cemetary ascend each night looking for those who sentenced them to death.
  • Fright Zone – Hordes of Sceamsters lurk in the nightmarish shadows and blinding fog of the Fright Zone.
  • Carnevil Step back up as the killer clowns, freaks, and demented animals have returned to town.

Shows:

  • Inferno
  • Meat Cleaver High
  • Overlord’s Awakening

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island

Kings Island, Ohio

There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  Screams of pure panic pierce the night. There’s nowhere you’re safe in the most immersive horror experience around — Halloween Haunt at Kings Island.The bloodcurdling horror and nightmarish madness of Halloween Haunt features more than 500 ghastly creatures emerging from the darkness, highly-intense and bone-chilling attractions and some of the most hair-raising rides on the planet like the Beast and Diamondback roller coasters! This year’s Haunt features a line up of 11 haunted mazes, 4 scare zone, and 3 shows along with their signature thrill rides. Halloween Haunt is open Fridays and Saturdays, September 2oth through October 26th.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013* Board to DeathIt’s Family Night at Halloween Haunt! Step into a world where all your favorite board games come to life in the deadliest of ways! This Game Night might be your last!
  • *New for 2013* Delta Delta Die – The sorority girls are having their annual Halloween party and you’re invited! They’re determined to throw the wildest party ever … or die trying!
  • Madame Fatale’s Cavern of TerrorMadame Fatale has just passed her final psychological evaluation after a decade of incarceration. Join her for the Grand Re-Opening of her museum of oddities and wax. You’re on her guest list; she and her friends will be dripping mad if you don’t show up!
  • Holiday HorrorThe holidays are right around the corner… EVERY corner! Get ready to experience all of the holidays like never before in this horrific attraction.
  • CarnEvil Join the circus like you wanted to when you were a kid… permanently! This is not your run-of-the-mill Big Top. Only the most determined will make it out alive.
  • Club Blood– This popular night club has never been so bloody good! The club’s exotic dancers are dying to meet you. Come in for a bite. Stay for as long as you like. In fact, you can stay forever!
  • Slaughter HouseLooking for a good cut of fresh meat?  You’ve come to the right place.  The butcher shop is open and you never know who – or what – is on the chopping block.  A real meat-lovers delight!
  • Urgent Scare A deadly plague is spreading with destructive speed.  At the local hospital, the virus has begun spreading from patient-to-patient.  If the virus doesn’t kill you, fear might!
  • Wolf PackThe moon is full and there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  There is something in the woods… and it’s hungry.  Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?  You will be!
  • CornStalkers – This frightful cornfield will scare the yell out of you!  Countless scarecrows rule the overgrown ruins of this formerly vibrant community.  Intruders beware!  These guardians of rubble take their jobs very seriously.
  • Tombstone Terror-ToryCovered bridges and foggy terrain disguise the evil that lurks in every direction aboard this midnight train. But don’t be alarmed. You’re guaranteed to make it to your final destination!

Scare Zones:

  • Freak Street
  • Nightmare Alley
  • Cemetery Drive
  • Backwoods Bayou

Shows:

  • Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus – The magic and mystery continue as the “Misfit of Magic” Ed Alonzo (of TV’s Saved by the Bell) debuts at Halloween Haunt. Be prepared! It’s going to be a cold, dark and stormy night!Graveyard Shift. 
  • Blood Drums
  • Hot Blooded

Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion

Doswell, Virginia

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There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.  Screams of pure panic pierce the night. There’s nowhere you’re safe in the most immersive horror experience in the Mid-Atlantic region — Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion.The bloodcurdling horror and nightmarish madness of Halloween Haunt features ghastly creatures emerging from the darkness, highly-intense and bone-chilling attractions and some of the most hair-raising rides on the planet like the Intimidator 305 and Dominator roller coasters!  Haunt will be open weekend nights, September 27th through October 27th.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013*  Miner’s Revenge Alone in the darkness… the only sound is the pulsing of your heart as the searing heat slowly boils you alive… It was reported to be the worst coal mine accident in history. The families of missing miners begged for help but it was decided that a rescue was too dangerous. The miners were left entombed deep underground. Lamps at their sides and pick-axes in their hands they are searching for the men who left them to die… waiting to enact their revenge.
  • *New for 2013*  Zombie High – The infection started as a high school science project gone bad. From a simple experiment to an outbreak that would cover the world in days. No one was prepared for the chaos that ensued – the dead were no longer dead and no one was safe. Welcome to where it all started… welcome to the last school that you will ever attend. It’s true what they say – high school never ends!
  • No Vacancy The guest rooms have been prepared and the staff is eagerly awaiting your arrival. Welcome to the Inn at Darkside Manor! Enjoy the best of yesteryear and take a break from the hectic pace of today. Enjoy a cocktail in the Gentlemen’s Lounge or sit back and enjoy a classic in our impressive Library. Just be warned – once you check in… you will never check out.
  • Outbreak: The Evolution – A virus has taken over a local town and there’s limited hope of survival.
  • Doll FactoryIn an abandoned toy factory a psychotic serial killer turns his beautiful victims into life-size porcelain dolls for his personal collection.
  • Club Blood – The infamous vampire night club “takes another bite” out of your nightlife!
  • Slaughter HouseA one of a kind factory tour to see how your favorite meats make it on to the table.
  • Cornstalkers – Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • Blue Ridge BloodbathWelcome to a mountain family’s twisted home bloodbath.
  • Medieval MacabreAs plague ravages the land, the graveyards are full, but there is always room for more.

Scare Zones:

  • Cleaver Brothers Carnival – Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls you have seen the rest now step right up and experience the best. The Cleaver Brothers have set up their midway and invite you to experience a carnival like no other. Enter a world where the extraordinary comes to life and your worst nightmares will seem like a pleasant dream.
  • Primevil: Thw Kuru Curse Set in a distant jungle, the inhabitants here have lived with one rule… eat or be eaten. In this cannibalism filled land you will get a chance to explore this long forgotten cursed village. Watch your step and steer clear of the locals – their idea of a great meal will be your living nightmare.
  • IronworxJourney into science fiction past and future to explore a sinister, steamy subculture of  a world that never was, but might have been.
  • The LairA small clan of vampires has taken refuge in the dark.
  • Necropolis – At night the fog thickens and the dead will rise to take your soul in order to enter the great beyond.
  • Feary TalesWhen the Brothers Grimm set out to tell stories from the countryside, they never imagined the dark horrors and unhappy endings they would encounter.

Shows:

  • Edge of Darkness –  Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls step right up and take a seat for the greatest show unearthed. Rock music fills the air as we bring a decaying circus back to life. Get ready as we take you over the edge… the Edge of Darkness.

 

 

SCarowinds Halloween Haunt

Charlotte, NC

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Carowinds is transformed from a “theme park” to a “scream park” as it opens SCarowinds’ Halloween Haunt, the largest, most horrific Halloween event in the Carolinas. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and more. There’s 7 mazes with the new Zombie High along with 5 scare zones and 3 shows.  SCarowinds’ Halloween Haunt is open on select weekend nights from September 13- October 27  from 7p.m. to midnight. This event is rated PG-13 and may be too intense for young children and is not recommended for those under the age of 13. No costumes or masks are permitted in to this event.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013*  Zombie High – Know anyone who still “lives” in the 80’s? We know a few undead who do. Where Freshmen are Freshmeat and Seniors are dying to get out. You’ll need more than brains to survive Homecoming at Zombie High.
  • FuryAn experimental military drug cocktail that mutates, disfigures and weaponizes its human subjects  who are now pitted against mankind.
  • Cornstalkers Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • The AsylumInsanity is your only hope of forgetting the horrific sights and sounds within this twisted Asylum.
  • Last Laff 3DClowns and circus freaks are looking for fresh blood to continue their demented performances.
  • Defex A “disassembly line” for defective toys.
  • Silver Scream  – A “sinematic” tour of some of the creepiest horror films ever made.

Scare Zones:

  • *New for 2013* London Terror “Steam” and “scream” collide with murderous results in the foggy streets of terror-gripped London. You won’t find this sinister city block on any maps.
  • *New for 2013* Scary Tales – Once upon a time, fairy tales were Grimm and every one was mad in this dark, twisted forest where no one lived happily ever after.
  • Mass Acres Death is a walk in the park compared to what the unsettled sprits of our not-so-dearly departed have in store as they await you in the mist on the grounds of Mass Acres.
  • Feeding Frenzy Blood-thirsty horde of hardcore vampires terrorize this gritty, high-impact scare zone.
  • The PlaygroundIt’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Shows:

  • Blood Drums
  • Eternal Jamation: Lost Souls
  • Night Terrors

Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland

Ontario, Canada

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Get ready… something evil is coming and everybody’s dying to get in. This fall, Canada’s Wonderland transforms into a horror-filled nightmare. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and more. This haunt season brings 3 new mazes to Haunt with Sci Fi House, Louisiana Scream, and The Ruins. These mazes complete their line up of 10 mazes, 4 scare zones, and 3 shows.  Haunt is open Weekend Nights, October 4th through 27th.

Mazes:

  • *New for 2013* Sci Fi House – The Wilson family lives in a perfect home on a quiet cul-de-sac; or so they think. Every night when the neighbourhood street lights turn on, the Wilson home goes to a deadly dark place. Deranged aliens and venomous creatures inflict bloody torture on any house guest. Run, don’t walk from Sci-Fi House.
  • *New for 2013* Louisiana Scream – Deep inside Wonder Mountain reside the residents of a Louisiana bayou. They have long been warned not to venture too far from the water’s edge. Beyond the opulent river mansions is a mysterious, twisted world where curses are whispered in the dark and no one ever makes it back to shore. Those who go too far are soon driven mad with fear and bloodlust so be cautious – there’s no telling what you could wake in the Bayou.
  • *New for 2013* The Ruins – In early 19th century, archeologist Dr. Carver led his team into ancient ruins on what turned out to be a deadly mission. Evidence of massacre and evil creatures lurking in the shadows is all that waits for new victims. Trek into Wonder Mountain and travel along the once taken bloodied path and hope to get out alive.
  • Terror of London – Back for 2013!  It’s 1888 and the Jack the Ripper murders have terrorized the city of London. The discovery of the five unrecognizable bloody victims has paralyzed the residents of Whitechapel District with fear. With no hope of catching this culprit, every person you pass on the street is a potential attacker or victim.
  • Streets of the Undead – A mind-altering virus has taken over the population; the city now ruled by mindless zombies. Survivors hide in the darkness and wait for a cure that may never come. Hope is dead, like the souls of the city dwellers that now hunt in the Streets of the Undead.
  • Cornstalkers – Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
  • The Asylum – The fear factor intensifies at an infirmary where the criminally insane are in control.
  • Mother Noose When the Brothers Grimm set out to tell stories from the countryside, they never imagined the dark horrors and unhappy endings they would encounter.
  • Clowns at Midnight –  The 1937 big top fire doomed the circus and now the clowns and circus freaks are looking for fresh blood to continue their demented performances.
  • Club Blood – The infamous vampire night club “takes another bite” out of your nightlife!

Scare Zones:

  • CarnEvil
  • Ghostly Pines
  • Steampunk
  • Toys

Shows:

  • Mysterion the Mind Reader
  • The Underworld
  • Skeleton Crew

 

 

Haunt Review: Knott’s Scary Farm 2011

This past weekend we kicked off our seasonal “Haunt Stalking” with a trip to the original theme park Halloween Haunt, Knott’s Scary Farm (KSF). We have a special affinity for KSF as it was the first haunt we went to 19 years ago, which began our ongoing obsession with haunts. In the past, Knott’s has offered some of the most original and scary mazes around, such as Dominion of the Dead, Nightmares, Uncle Ernie’s Madhouse, Red Moon Massacre, Santa Claws Mountain, Curse of the Werewolf, Deadman’s Wharf, Toxichem, and Revenge of the Dead. However, over the past few years we have become concerned that the original scare factory seems to be losing its touch and becoming a monster retirement home.

Last year, we were very disappointed with KSF as many of its mazes felt dated and the scares were few and far in between. With Universal now offering one of the scariest and most elaborate haunts in Southern California and smaller haunts such as Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, The Haunted Trail, and Sinister Pointe introducing new scare tactics, it seemed as if KSF was riding off in a hearse to the haunt graveyard.

There was excitement about Knott’s new 2011 mazes, Delirium, Endgames, and Invasion Beneath, which promised to continue the innovation we saw in last year’s Virus Z. In addition, older mazes like Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre were supposed to be upgraded to become “more sinister” experiences.

Going to KSF this year, we were somewhat skeptical, but also hopeful, about their ability to ramp up the scares. So, this year, we’re glad to say that KSF was successful in pumping some new blood into their haunts. Overall, 2011 is more elaborate and scarier than it has been over the past few years. We like the direction that they are headed in, but it still doesn’t have the level of intensity that we’ve come to expect over the past 19 years.

REVIEWS:

One our ‘Terror-spondents” wore a  heart rate monitor to measure how scary the mazes really were by seeing how much their pulse increased. We’ll include these new pulse ratings along with our traditional 1-5 skull rating system. 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 on the effectiveness of the mazes.

MAZES

Lockdown – The Asylum: The inmates really are running the asylum in this nightmare prison, and insanity reigns supreme. The inmates are out of their cells and their minds. And don’t scream for help, this hostile takeover has the authorities running for cover!

Last year, we were thoroughly disappointed with our experience inside this maze. It was low energy and we even saw one monster accidentally scare another. However, this year Lockdown is by far the most improved and even scariest KSF maze of 2011! The monsters were rampaging all over, literally chasing us down the dark corridors where it almost became hard to catch our breath between scares. While many of the scares in this maze still rely heavily on the monsters hiding around the corner, they accented their scares with loud banging and had two sided walls where they could scare you twice around the same corner. The  loud sirens and mix of flashing lights and dark rooms added to the maze’s disorientating effect.

As a theme, Lockdown is getting a little old and generic. But with this year’s energetic talent and amped up scares it’s hard to say it should be replaced. Perhaps Knott’s can create a new way for us the experience the madness inside the Asylum in 2012?

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +46

Delirium *(New for 2011): In the deep recesses of the mind, on the clouded brink of sanity, lies the wasteland of Delirium. A place so gruesome that our imaginations fall short in comprehending its horrors. Reality slips away as the line between the waking world and nightmare dissolve. Welcome to complete madness.

After escaping Lockdown, you immediately go into this maze. While it’s nice to go from one maze to another, it also can be distracting as it would be better for guests to have a moment to catch their breath, and reset their pulse, before venturing directly into another maze.

Like Lockdown, this maze is an indirect sequel to the past Asylum mazes where now we’re going inside the mind of one of the demented patients. The entrance is amazingly elaborate where we have to enter the “mouth of madness” and then pass through the stomach of the bloody beast.  This opening scene features enlarged animated eyes, teeth and claws reaching for you, and it really draws you into Delirium’s nightmarish dimensions.

Once inside, we encountered many disturbing scenes, which included people spewing cockroaches, monstrously large flesh-eating maggots, and hideously bloody monsters hiding under the beds. This maze also featured some of most interesting lighting effects and props at KSF. It’s obvious that they put some time and money into this maze. We did notice a few familiar scares from past mazes like Malice in Wunderland and Nightmares, but they were used in new ways and would only be obvious to veteran Haunt Stalkers.

What we enjoyed most about Delirium was the fact that they didn’t just rely on the typical “monsters around the corner” scare. They used new scare tactics such as monsters in the ceilings, walls, and under the floors. They also had a couple of double scares where the monsters teamed up to terrorize victims. This was definitely the best of the new mazes and lived up to its hype. We hope they continue to make moderate changes to this mazes to keep the nightmare fresh in years to come.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 3.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +30

Terror of London: Step back in time and into the fog-filled streets of London where a host of infamous characters are on the prowl terrorizing city dwellers.

 

This maze still has some of most elaborate sets at KSF and has kept a consistent level of  scariness over the past few years. This year, there did seem to be many more monsters inside this maze as we were immediately assaulted by multiple monsters during the first scene, which takes place inside a London pub.

This maze has a good mix of monsters who are there to scare and those who’s presence is simply to add to the eerie atmosphere. Our favorite moment was in the outdoor graveyard where we encountered a surprisingly new and loud scare.  We liked the extended brothel and sewer scenes. And per our review last year, we like that in the final scene they switched out the Dr. Frankenstein laboratory for a dark and bloody torture chamber, which better fits with the proceeding scenes. We believe that maze may have a couple more years of “death” left in it at KSF.

 

 

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 3.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +21

 

Slaughterhouse: Farmer Willy will think you are prime beef as he sets out to auction you off to the highest bidder, tenderize you with his chainsaw, and grind you into a tasty meat treat.

This maze features some of Knott’s goriest set pieces. One of our favorite scenes is still the human head garden which reminds us of the 80′s classic movie Hotel Hell. This year’s incarnation was consistent with last year but there seemed to be fewer monsters compared with last year and many of the monsters’s masks looked like, rubber masks.  It also would of been better had more of the slaughter “victims” been real actors in makeup opposed to dummies and animatronic props.

If Knott’s decides to continue Farmer Willy’s the mayhem, which they probably will, they should redesign the layout, improve the lighting effects and props, and bring in more real-life victims.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 2.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +17

The Doll Factory: A twisted museum of death and disfigurement as you are pursued by the Marionette Murderer, a psychotic killer who turns his beautiful victims into life-size porcelain dolls.

This year we were the only ones inside the maze which made a big difference compared to our experience last year. Most of the monsters act out scenes to create a sense of creepiness, but we were rarely startled, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as each maze is to designed to offer guests a different experience. The highlight of the maze is the back-bending, backwards-walking doll girls who are extremely disturbing to look at. There are some elaborate scenes, such as the doll sewing room and mannequin freezer, but many are showing their age and wear from the years of use.

This will be the Doll Factory’s fifth and final year, and while it seems to have been a haunt favorite, we believe it’s truly run its course…3 years ago.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 2.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 1.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +8

Dia De Los Muertos in 3D: The screams of La Llorona echo around you and the creatures of the night crawl from their crypts.

This maze is known more for its design and 3D effects rather than scares. Visually, the maze is very stimulating, with a lot of black light and bright colors. There are also some very cool looking scenes, like the church, graveyard, Amazon jungle, and Aztec sacrifice temple. However, this year, the maze had nearly no monsters in i,t and any ones we did encounter seemed tired and lazy with their scare tactics, which was very disappointing. Perhaps our timing was bad, but this maze also wasn’t very scary in years past. One room that did get us scared was the one with hanging skeleton piñatas, where some turned out to be real-life monsters.

While we’re screaming “no mas” for this maze, we assume that KSF will bring it back again next year. !Que horror!

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 1 Skull
  • Pulse Rating: +6

Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre in 3D: It’s the greatest slaughter on earth with clown carnage galore!


 

 

 

Back in 1992, the first maze we ever went in was Uncle Ernie’s Madhouse, a clown maze which scared the crap out of us (like an unloading clown car). But over the years, we’ve grown tired of the KSF clown mazes, which have basically featured the same sets with different names (e.g., Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns, Killer Clown Kollege).

This year, the most current reincarnation of the clown maze for the past few years, Uncle Bobo’s, was revamped, and the improvements are noteworthy. While it still has a tone of  “humorous horrors,” they also added some more dark scenes to really distrub those who suffer from Coulrophobia (fear of clowns). We particularly liked the ice cream room, which featured a decaying clown corpse frozen inside an ice cream cone.

The killer clowns inside also have stepped it “right up” and were more aggressive and menacing than in years past. Our criticism is that this maze is still all about the “monster around the corner” scares, which are very predictable and not scary. Even 19 years ago, Uncle Ernie’s featured clowns on bungees who jumped off of platforms at unsuspecting guests.

It seems no matter how much we cry, like the tears of a clown, a clown-based maze will be an ongoing signature of KSF. Therefore, we can expect Uncle Bobo’s or another crazy clown uncle to return to next year’s haunt. As long as they continue to be more scary than funny, we’ll go along with it.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +26

Cornstalkers: Plunge into rows and rows of rotting corn and try to evade the blood thirsty monstrosities seeking to impale you on their razor sharp scythes.

This maze is exactly the same as in previous years. The sets do seem to get more basic as the years go on, but it is one of the darker mazes at KSF with very narrow walkways that provide a suspenseful and fun journey through the set up cornfield. There also is an impressively large animatronic monster featured in the maze’s final scene. Some of the scarecrow masks and costuming could be more elaborate, as they look very similar to the Batman Scarecrow villain masks.

There actually seemed to have been too many monsters inside this maze. There were so many, not all of them could even hide. This is also a maze that is scariest when you go through it in a small group. If you end up in a line inside the maze, the scare factor diminishes significantly. Unless, you suffer from formidophobia.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 3 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +30

Virus Z: A small town is overrun by infected cannibals, zombies and blood-thirsty corpses.

Last year this maze was one of the best. This year it was lame. We guess it hit the sophomore slump, which we’ve seen before with other mazes, such as Cornstalkers and Lockdown. While it still has a very impressive set and some of the better make up effects,  the monsters were low energy and lazy. We even missed the vending machine zombie who scared the mess out of us last year. The best scene of this maze is the office set, where we found the monsters with the most energy lurking in the cubicles. The other problem with this maze is that it has many large open areas, so it is harder to get scared. Coupled with lazy monsters and it becomes an instant bore. Next year, they need to create tighter walkways and give the monsters some vitamin B12 before this maze’s rating becomes a buried skull.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 1.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +6

Fallout Shelter: Where the insane residents haven’t seen the sun since the Atomic Age.

There was a slight improvement to this maze over last year’s version. Once again, we were the only ones inside, so we received the monsters’ full attention. This maze does have some extraordinary animatronic props, and it’s very claustrophobic in sections. The problem with Fallout Shelter is that the story isn’t coherent and the theme is hard to get. In addition, it’s considered a 3D maze, but the 3D effects are minimal, so it’s hard to tell if there was anything that was really supposed to be in 3D. If anything, the 3D glasses merely cause a sense of disorientation, which makes everything a bit fuzzy and actually does contribute to the fear. But if this maze does return next year, we’d like to see some more props and a bit more 3D effects.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +24

Sleepy Hollow Mountain: Travel thought the dark woods of Sleepy Hollow featuring the legendary headless horseman along with ghosts, ghouls, witches and goblins.

This is a haunt layover on Knott’s famous Timber Mountain Log Ride. This was a little better than last year, when it debuted. The potential for this attraction is great, but it still falls short. It still has the problem of having very few monsters. In the past haunt versions of the log ride, we remember there being many more monsters attacking from the sides of the waterways. On the final lift hill where there are a lot of great places for monsters to pop out, it just never happened. It didn’t happen last year either. We do wonder if CAL OSHA, which has been much stricter on theme parks in recent years, has had any impact on where monsters can be inside the ride.

There are some great looking set pieces, and the mountain’s atmosphere helps to sustain the ride, but at the end of the night, the effect of a good haunt is lost without the presence of monsters terrorizing us through out the ride.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +18

Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse: The world as we know it has ended.  The survivors in this barren desert have scavenged to rebuild society.  The rich and the powerful have turned all others into slaves for sport.  Enter the post apocalyptic arena where gladiators are forced to battle to their deaths for entertainment.  Are you game?

A new maze for 2011, Endgames was inspired (loosely) by the Hunger Games book series. Most of the maze has a standard post-apocalyptic, industrial feel with a bit of gore mixed in, but the twist to this maze is the addition of video screens throughout. The screens show live feeds of people walking through other parts of the mazes, which would be a great way to heighten the suspense…if those other people were getting scared. Crowds were light on the night we attended, so there wasn’t much action on the video screens. The feed is also streamed live on the Internet, but the live feed is filled with commercials, so if you have friends watching for you in the maze, they might miss you. But we do appreciate the addition of the interactive video effect. We see some potential in this maze as the years progress. Overall, we didn’t find it to be too scary, but the sets were pretty detailed and interesting.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +18

Invasion Beneath: LIVE FROM KNOTT’S BERRY FARM: Details are sketchy but eyewitnesses report that the Calico Mine Ride has been invaded by creatures of unknown origin through a large fissure in the earth’s core.  The creatures posses advanced weaponry and are extremely hostile.  The military has just infiltrated the mountain to try and rescue the survivors and combat the violent attacks.  Stay tuned…

Every time the Mine Ride gets a new theme, we get excited. We remember the old days when the Calico Mine Ride was one of the scariest Haunt attractions, and we hope that a new theme will inject new life into an old favorite for us. Sadly, for at least the past decade, the Mine Ride has not been scary, and 2011 is no exception. The new theme is simply confusing. There are monsters in military fatigues and machine guns. There is evidence of aliens who, to our frustration, never really materialize (imagine how awesome it be to really deck out the Mine Ride with some seriously creepy aliens?). There’s also a scene with three giant grim reapers that does not seem to fit with the theme at all. (Someone didn’t get the memo that Cavern of Lost Souls ended years ago.) Like the log ride, this attraction also lacks the number of monsters needed to make it scary. Again, we suspect that the small spaces between the mine train and the walls are probably an occupational hazard for monsters, and that’s why we don’t see them in there anymore. Despite this year’s disappointing theme, we won’t give up hope for the Mine Train. We know it has the potential to be great. We’ll keep waiting.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 1.5 Skulls
  • Scare Factor: 1.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +9

SCARE ZONES

Ghost Town: This is a Knott’s classic, and walking through the fog-filled streets doesn’t stop being a nerve-wracking  good time!

  • Scare Factor: 4 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +32

 

 

Carnevil: Some disturbing antics from the Crazy Killer Clowns who are on the loose in the streets. These guys are fun and not very scary, but they are engaging with guests and full of pranks. These are also some of the biggest hams and will eagerly pose for your pictures.

  • Scare Factor: 1.5 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +2

 

The Necropolis: This is the newest scare zone, premiering last year.  It features Victorian Steampunk vampires in the most elaborate costumes of all the scare zones. This year, the monsters were much scarier, and it was an improved experience over the first year. The monsters were even scaring people who dared to look down to text or who were walking out of the bathrooms (then having to go back in).

  • Scare Factor: 3 Skulls
  • Pulse Rating: +24

Shows

Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of the Bizarre: The Misfit of Magic brings slight-of- hand, slight-of-mouth and slight-of-mind to this insane, psycho-sensory, twisted production.

This was the only show we stopped to watch, and we’re glad we did. It was very entertaining. We found ourselves wishing the show were actually longer so that we could see more of Ed’s magic tricks. His humor was a bit corny, but it worked. There were a few too many “dance” numbers. If they could replace the dancing with more magic, this show would be awesome. Definitely stop in to see this show if you have the time.

Overall Scare Zone Rating for Knott’s Scary Farm: 3.5 Skulls

Huge Haunt Photo Update on MiceChat

MiceChat has posted a great photo update and commentary on many of the Halloween offerings going on in Southern California right now. They’ve got photos from Disneyland, Knott’s, Six Flags, and the Empty Grave. Plus a list of other ongoing haunts in the area.

Check out their update here.

Scare Zone visited Disneyland to experience HalloweenTime last night, and we’ll be posting our review and photos soon. Stay tuned!

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