Knott’s Berry Farm has long treasured their reign as the location for Southern California haunts, but with so many neighboring theme parks becoming infamous for scares of their own, Knott’s has kicked it up a notch with this year’s Scary Farm. Beginning September 25th, guests can test their limits through two spectacular live shows, four endless scare zones and eleven walk-through mazes, all while trying to stay away from 1,000 live monsters who will be lurking in the fog to scare even the bravest guests.
With simulated mazes, new sound-stage-inspired thrills and even the most unique, complex interactive scare attraction ever attempted in North America, this year’s Knott’s Halloween Haunt promises to be one for the books.
Here’s what you can expect from this year’s Halloween Haunt:
Overtaking the park’s 160 acres are the four endless scare zones: Gypsy Camp, Fiesta De Los Muertos, Ghost Town Streets, and of course, CarnEVIL. What’s great about the scare zones, is it allows guests to get their stuffing handed to them without needing to wait in line for a maze or go on an attraction. Simply show up, and be prepared to take on the thousand plus living dead that’s ready to scare you.
This year, the scare zones will offer more frights, but they’ll also surprise you with some fun as well. In Fiesta De Los Muertos, guests can enjoy a Day of the Dead celebration that would make even the most stiff skeleton let loose, complete with a dance zone! Likewise, one of the main attractions: The Hanging, will be back and better than ever; complete with multiple celebrity deaths. According to the Hanging judge, no one is safe, especially Justin Bieber who can’t seem to stay dead.
For those who have dared take on one of Knott’s world-famous mazes before, this year’s collection offers a completely different experience. The returning mazes for 2014: Trick or Treat, Dominion of the Damned, Forevermore, Pinocchio Unstrung, Black Magic and The Gunslinger’s Grave will all feature new additions, like Gunslingers who will put those going through the maze straight in the middle of a gunfight for the finale. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared to be scared with these fan-favorites.
Dying for your attention are the new mazes for this year. Voodoo which was designed by the twisted mind of Brooke Walters, will set guests in a bayou swamp where spirits, daemons and the all-around dead will rise up hoping to steal or petrify your soul. Adding to this maze’s dark concept, is it’s “choose your own path” options that are set up throughout, offering guests a different experience each time, and one that can separate groups into smaller, easier targets.
The Tooth Fairy as designed by Daniel Miller will take on the dark reality of the tooth fairy. “At first thought, the tooth fairy seems very childish and not scary at all, but when you really think about it, the tooth fairy is extremely frightening. I wasn’t sure how to approach this idea until I went to the dentist and had some cavities drilled out, and that’s when I thought of mixing the tooth fairy character, who sneaks into children’s bedrooms at night with the idea of the dentist.” In this maze, guests begin their journey when they mistakenly wake up while the tooth fairy is trying to pry under their pillow, and in doing so, wind up in the tooth fairy’s scary alternate realm.
Trapped is the final and most anticipated new maze this year, and Knott’s advises that it is not for the squeamish, as the challenges are darker and more terrifying than any maze has taken on before. According to Timothy Krueger, the assistant designer for Trapped, this interactive undertaking brings together a mix of a maze with mini-shows. “I want you to suffer and be miserable so that you will have the most horrifying, miserable experience, one that will make you hate me when you escape.” Without giving away any details, this maze which requires an additional fee and reservation to participate, will be an adventure for very few, and will capture guests for around 20 minutes a piece before escaping.
Special Ops Infected
Not quite a show, not quite a maze, Knott’s is taking on something never before attempted in North America with Special Ops: Infected. Thought up by Jon Cooke, a long time member of the Knott’s Scary Farm staff, Special Ops will allow guests to become apart of a 12-person squad, who have to complete obstacle courses where they will shoot and kill zombies, or face becoming infected. Free for all guests, due to the nature of this attraction, space will be limited and reservations will be taken in front of Camp Snoopy nightly for war times.
Integrating interactive gaming technology with an immerse mountainous landscape complete with barrel bridges, dark caverns and through mysterious backwoods across six acres, guests will use specially designed laser guns to fend off zombies and complete various missions. If zombies drag their bodies too close, the un-infected’s guns will temporarily deactivate, however if they survive, they will make the list for the night’s top leader board. Through attending a preview night, I can attest that this is truly an event worth making a priority of your haunt.
In addition to The Hanging, Elvira is back by popular demand with her Mistress of the Dark show. Headlining an all new show, “Elvira’s Big Top,” Elvira becomes the ring-mistress of the park as she hosts a circus carnival of macabre freaks and sinister show acts. Taking place twice nightly, guests can enjoy seeing the legendary lady herself, along with The Academy of Villains, who are fresh off their appearance on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance?”
[infobox]Bonus: Guests who spend at least $50 at Elvira’s Boo-tique can have a chance to meet her between performances![/infobox]
In all, Knott’s Halloween Haunt is leading up to host the most thrilling, captivating horror yet. Tickets will be offered for as low as $39, and new this year, annual pass holders can have unlimited access to the festivities with no block out dates for just $65. For world-class entertainment that will scare the stuffings out of you, make sure you visit Knott’s Scary Farm this season.
For tickets, times, and additional information, visit their website.
I was invited to attend a media preview, and as always, all opinions remain my own.