The granddaddy of Halloween haunted events, Knott’s Scary Farm, is back again for its 46th season. This year, the park has added a couple new mazes as well as revamped some older ones, but it has also lost its star in the retirement of Elvira. Can Knott’s Scary Farm recover from the loss and bring the scares to Southern California? Read on to find out more!
We were invited to attend their opening night and arrived at the park early. After some logistical wrangling, we were allowed into the park to a staging area just outside of Ghost Town. There, ropes had been setup around the intersection and crowds were already gathered, waiting for something to happen. At 7:00 PM, there was a crack of thunder and a song started playing on the PA system – a revamped version of Harley Poe’s The Hearse Song. Then we saw them: A line of monsters and ghouls walking through the Ghost Town fog towards the anxiously-waiting guests. At the end of the song, they ran forward, causing panic and terror as the guests shuffled into the park. The opening rope drop ceremony is a fun thing to see and I highly suggest you get to the park early to do so.
Once into the park, we started working our way through its various haunted houses or “mazes” as they call them. New for 2018 are The Depths and Dark Entities – both of which turned out to be my favorites of the night. The Depths sends guests into a mine shaft that ends up leading to all manner of underground areas. Shipwrecked pirates, monsters, submarines, and a lot more will be waiting for you to explore. The Depths is one of the most jaw-dropping mazes I have seen in a haunted attraction – ever. Dark Entities is a sci-fi based maze taking place on a space station taken over by a mutating alien infection. The maze is wonderful, with cool tech elements throughout, the story of this space station’s fall is told well and I always enjoy a haunted house with a decent narrative element. If you do not have a “fright lane”, front of the line pass, I suggest you go to these two mazes first – you won’t regret it.
There are plenty of returning mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm this year – but park designers have, for the most part, tried to do a little something new with each. Trick or Treat: Light’s Out is back, and this time the interactive flashlight tech shown last year has been taken to the next level. They work very well this time and I love how they would change function throughout. I am very interested to see how else Knott’s can leverage this technology in future haunt mazes.
Knott’s Scary Farm has long been known for its various “scare zones” throughout the park, and this year sees an entirely new one added to the mix. The Forsaken Lake is located from the North side of Ghost Town and runs across Reflection Lake. Unfortunately, on the night we attended, there were no sets or scenery setup and no lighting for the monsters to work in. It was empty and dark. Now, I have heard from people who attended the haunt since that they have added props and lighting to the area – so if I can go again I’ll be sure to update this review. Ghost Town and The Hollow are both still killing it with high-energy characters and plenty of great set design and props.The park’s Boardwalk is still full of maniac clowns and they usually have their tongues planted firmly in-cheek. Despite the Forsaken Lake, the park’s scare zones were all doing very well and bringing great scares to guests.
Without Elvira, Knott’s Scary Farm had a void to fill for 2018 in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. They decided to bring the improv based Hacks! show in, and they do a very entertaining experience for guests. It’s not as much of a spectacle as Elvira’s show was, but it’s a lot of fun and worth watching. New for 2018 is the Conjurers – Magic and Mirth show in the Birdcage Theatre. It’s a magic show – but an entertaining magic show and a fun one to watch. Rounding out the event’s shows is The Hanging, which lampoons popular culture from the past year. This year is no different and the entertaining show is its usual mixed bag of hit or miss jokes.
Overall, Knott’s Scary Farm has entered the 2018 haunt season in very strong shape. Its two new mazes are each incredible in their own way and there is so much to see over the course of the evening, especially when ticket prices start around $42 dollars! Less, if you pick up the discount coupons floating around fast food restaurants.