Knott’s Scary Farm 2012 review- Halloween Haunt 40th Anniversary.
It’s 1885 in the western town of Calico. Townswoman “Sarah Morgan “is accused of the heinous crime of witchcraft. Luckily the sheriff has caught her and drags her up to the gallows. As he reads her crimes (which include many mysterious deaths!), he asks the crowd what’s to be done with her. Despite her pleas of innocence, the outraged townsfolk (you!) all shout for her to be hanged immediately. The trap door is released and Sarah Morgan falls to her death. (This is shown during “The Witching Hour” at midnight in Calico Square)
With a fiery flash of green smoke Sarah Morgan returns….as the Green Witch. She curses the townsfolk, and announces they will become their “true selves”, which are horrible monsters who desire blood. The former townspeople, who are now a type of zombie, return every October to seek out the blood they’ve been craving. As an extra torment, the Green Witch has decried that when they return they cannot interact with the living, so their blood-lust has slowly been increasing since 1885.
Whew, luckily all that’s in the past! Hundreds of eager Knotts fans who were lining up to get in were shocked to see the one and only Green Witch rising from the ticket booths. In a puff of smoke, and with a flash of lightning, the cackling Green Witch gleefully cursed Knotts Berry Farm and all who would dare enter. Not only did she summon the “tricksters” (her own personal group of minions) and set them free to scare, taunt, and pretty much terrorize you, but she has also allowed the “un-dead” townspeople of Calico to finally satisfy their hunger.
Despite the warnings guests rushed into the park, only to be confronted by the “tricksters”. Blocking the entrance to the park, they rushed around setting fires, messing with the guests, and pretty much created havoc. The guests were finally able to get by them, but ended up in the largest Haunted Theme Park in the United States-and straight into the Green Witch’s lair.
Pretty cool backstory right? Knotts Scary Farm’s 40th Halloween Haunt has a strong running theme throughout the park, a detail that Knotts embraces, and guests love. The Green Witch and her tricksters make their presence known by doing everything from scaring guests, playing pranks, or even simply by the “acidic” green handprint that can be found in different locations throughout Knotts, showing guests that the Green Witch has been there.
When entering the park, make a left through “Ghost Town” past Ghost Rider and you’ll find yourself in the Gypsy camp and right outside Maze #1 “Trick or Treat”. Uh-oh, you have been lead right to the front door of the Green Witch’s House! A doorbell rings, the door creaks open, and enter if you dare. I say if you dare because I actually saw people freak out and not enter! What’s a little different about this maze is that while exploring the house you are stopped at certain points for personal viewings of the witch. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t exactly a meet and greet moment, as she’s pretty much cursing you the entire time. For an additional thrill you can pay $10 and actually “Trick or Treat” inside the Green Witch’s house. What you get is up to her…hope she likes you!
The next maze (#2 on your map and right next to “Trick or Treat”) is “Endgame”. In a post-apocalyptic world the survivors are made to battle it in a ring for the entertainment of others. Think “Hunger Games” meets “Road Warrior”. The maze makes it look like your world has been blown away, with half standing houses, tons of rubble, and tent cities. On one side you see people in cages, and on the other you witness hand to hand combat as these “survivors” continue to battle to live. This maze has been expanded to include more scenes, more fighting, and definitely more blood!
Since you’re still right in the middle of “Gypsy Camp” you can check out the “Cursed” Gypsy Dancers. You can probably see them while waiting in line for Knotts new maze “Dominion of the Dead”. Imagine if Vampires and other demons of the deep had their own art gallery and you have some idea of what this maze looks like. Beautiful, haunting, creepy. Not a scary maze in comparison to the others, but very intriguing.
In order to get to maze #4-“Delirum”, you have to go through “Dominion of the Dead”. One you get out of maze #3, you are already in line for maze #4. You will not be able to sneak around “Dominion of the Dead” just to see “Delirium”. Imagine yourself witnessing a little girls’ slow descent into delirium, where fear and paranoia rule. Demons of every shape and size haunt the corners of her mind in a place where you can’t even trust the walls to stay in place. I love the idea of trying to find some sense of reality, in a completely deranged world that only you can see. Monsters jump at you from every direction as every room gets creepier and creepier. This maze is very high on the “fear factor” meter, and one of my favorites.
Onto maze #5-“Terror of London”. Moving out of the “Gypsy Camp” head over to the “Ghost Town” Calico area. Stay to the left and “Terror of London” is right next to “Big Foot Rapids”. Ah yes, how can you have a night of terror without Jack the Ripper? “Terror of London” takes you through the seedy streets of Londons “red light district”. I wandered through the streets, the bars, and even the strip clubs facing scantily clad women, demons, corpses, and even Jack the Ripper himself. The props, sets, and costuming was amazing and elaborate for this one! Some parts of the maze were upbeat with beautiful vibrant costumes and up-tempo music (eerily up-tempo), and other parts were dark and terrifying. A very worthy salute to a horror icon.
Across from “Terror of London” is maze #6, the brand new and much anticipated “Pinocchio Unstrung”, a world where the Blue Fairy never granted Pinocchio’s wish to become a real boy. What’s a crazed marionette to do? Walking through the maze you see room upon room of corpses with different areas of flesh torn from their bodies. With their flesh still missing, they are strung up like marionettes (watch out for the ones that are still half-alive!). What happens to all the skin? Check out Pinocchio’s new look at the end! Definitely one of the more gory mazes, but has great special effects. A creative and welcome addition to Knotts that shouldn’t be missed. “Pinocchio Unstrung” replaced “The Doll Factory”.
Around the corner from (where the bumper cars normally are) is maze #7-“Dia de los Muertos”. Kinda trippy because it’s one of the 3D mazes, but it has a bit of a muddled story line and very few actual scares. I walked into the maze to find myself deep in the jungles of El Chupacabra where a crying La Llorona wandered around with other jungle-monster type creatures. The makeup bounced of the faces of the monsters, and paint on the walls which created a beautiful jungle effect, but not particularly scary. The lines for this remained short all night long.
I know I’m going out of order, but I have to stop and talk about the private, “reservation-only”, completely interactive maze “Trapped”. “Trapped” is located next to “Dia de los Muertos”, and for $60 a group of up to 6 people can enter…if you can handle it. After reservations are made online, you will get a time when you and your party are authorized to go. Before you are allowed to enter, you have to sign a waiver (intrigued?)! You walk through the doors, just you and your party, and suddenly you’re trapped! You actually have to find your own way out of this hands-on, very intense, and completely original maze. Revealing anything about “Trapped” would be a crime, so grab 5 of your friends (Just $10 each! How can you resist?) and see for yourself! Word of warning- if you are easily freaked out avoid this one!!!
Round the corner into the “Carnevil” and you’ll find my old nemesis, maze #8- “Uncle Bob’s Bigtop of the Bizarre”. I don’t think I’m easily scared, but clowns seriously freak me out. This maze features crazy demon clowns jumping out at you in 3D! Walking down the bizarre circus, I began to feel disoriented (in a really cool way) by the 3D, moving tunnels, and even people coming out of the walls! Ok, so it’s cool, but is it scary? If you have a fear of clowns or freak out from the 3D effect, then yes it’s very scary. If you don’t, then it’s just plain awesome. This maze is an oldie, but a goodie, and another of my favorites.
Now it’s time to head over to the log ride! Or should I say maze #9-“The Evil Dead”. Based on the 2013 upcoming remake “The Evil Dead”, you climb into your boat and are taken through a cabin in the woods. You’re supposed to be discovering the secrets of the “Book of the Dead”, but frankly I was too busy ducking to avoid the monsters (which come at you in ALL directions!) to pay attention to the plot. There are so many dark corners where monsters can hide, and at some points you’re even in complete darkness! If this sounds like something you want to do, try to head over early because the line forms fast and remains long all night.
Maze#10 (As you’re walking towards Camp Snoopy) Is “Virus Z”, an old maze featuring zombies with a new Carrie ending. The nice town of Pleasanton is in ruins, as zombies have taken over the town! Zombies are always a hit with fans, and a bloody zombie-like Carrie wandering around just adds to the creepy affect. Great sets, fun props, and just a lot of zombie-fun!
Walk around through what was Camp Snoopy (but is now Necropolis!) to maze #11-“Slaughterhouse”. Another older maze that they have expanded, most likely due to its popularity! Good old Uncle Willy has found the perfect cuts of meat for his BBQ, and those cuts are coming from you! For those of you into gore galore you’ve hit the jackpot! If you have a weak stomach, you may want to sit this one out. This maze is a classic, and one that’s hopefully a must-see on your list.
Rounding the corner again, but staying in Necropolis, and you’ll find maze #12-“Fallout Shelter”. Another maze with the innovative 3D effect, Fallout shelter takes place underground in a world where nuclear waste has turned people into mutants, strange animal hybrids, and just plain freaky people. The use of 3D with the new breed of what now passes as humans really heightens the fear, plus you can tell your friends you’ve heard that the government has a bunch of these abandoned underground fallout shelters that may or may not have mutants throughout the US! A fun maze and a solid 7 on the fear scale.
With 4 different “scare zones”, 9 live shows, and 13 mazes, my suggestion would be to check out the map, read the maze and show descriptions, check out the times and try to plan your night from there. Of course wandering around aimlessly is always fun too. There are so many things to do it’s easy to forget a maze, miss a show, and some people had trouble finding certain scare zones. Even if you’ve been to Knotts before, this time you are dealing with a lot of fog, crowds, and certain areas (like the Gypsy camp) which are part of the backlot, and not usually open to guests. So if you have a “Top 10 list”, a little planning beforehand will help a lot! “Front of the Line” maze wristbands are available for $55-60. Only a limited number are available, so they should be bought online beforehand because they may be sold out the night of the event. If you can afford it, it is highly recommended so you can have plenty of time to enjoy every maze.
Showtimes: Ed Alonzo’s Funhouse-9:00PM, 10:30PM, 12:30PM. Tonga Tiki Terror (select nights only!)-8:45PM, 9:45PM, 10:45PM, 11:45PM. The Hanging Games-8:00PM, 9:30PM, 11:00PM. The Witching Hour (Sara Morgans Hanging)-12:00AM. Mephisto’s Mechanical Mayhem-9:00PM, 10:00PM, 11:00PM. Blood Drums -8:30PM, 10:00PM, 11:00PM, 12:00AM. Cursed (Gypsy Dancers)-9:00PM, 10:15PM, 11:30PM. Zamoras Slideshow of Torture-8:45PM, 10:00PM, 11:15PM, 12:30PM. Unearthed- 8:30PM, 9:30PM, 10:30PM, 11:30PM, 12:30PM.
Extra Info: For an extra $21.55 ($24.99 + tax at the door, or an special admission + buffet cost of $50.99) you can get the “Pre-scare Boo-fet”, a large and diverse buffet that’s not only well worth it just for the food alone, but can actually get you into the park 5-20 minutes early! You can check out the pre-show with the “tricksters”, and then make your way to the #1 maze or attraction on your list. None of the attraction lines were very long so my suggestion would be to go to “Trick or Treat”, “Delirium”, “Evil Dead”, or “Pinocchio Unstrung” as these lines only got longer throughout the night. This year there is only 1 place in the park to buy beer (Spurs Chophouse, near the entrance. You can find mixed drinks at the TGI Fridays before you enter the park). Knotts states that they want to provide a fun, safe experience for the whole family, so drink responsibly everyone!
Haunt dates for 2012: Sept. 21-22 and 27-30 and Oct. 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28 and 30-31. Hours: 7PM- 1AM Sunday, Thursday, Tuesday, and Halloween. 7PM-2AM Friday and Saturday. No costumes! Tickets are $36-52, depending on date. The one and only Elvira will be making a special appearance on October 4th, so keep that in mind!