KNOTT’S SCARY FARM 2016 NEW MAZE REVIEW!
The fog has filled the streets of Calico and the ghouls and goblins have rolled out of their graves to torture the living. Know that when you walk down Ghost Town, there will be someone or something waiting for you in the darkness. It’s Halloween time and there is no better place to get in the spirit than Knott’s Berry Farms Annual Scary Farm Event. Every year, the demented minds behind the event bring together horrific plots and ideas that are meant to scare the poop out of people. This year, Knott’s Scary Farm is boasting 9 Mazes, 4 Skeleton Key Rooms, 4 Scare Zones and 2 Shows. No wonder this is the Grand-Daddy of all Haunts! Not only is the event bursting at the seems, but Knott’s has always had the creative edge and this year is nothing less. With each year, Knott’s has started to take steps forward towards innovation and creativity with regards to their Scary Farm experiences. The major stand out this year is the brand NEW Shadow Lands: Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword.
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.
As you approach the attraction, its clear we are in for something extremely different. For the past few years, Black Magic had occupied the spot in which Shadow Lands calls home. It’s facade was an incredible map projection in which it made the building look as though it was on fire, exploded, bled, and even time warp into a worm hole! Shadow Lands does none of this, but I am glad they didn’t. The real surprises lie within and the simplistic exterior is a true facade hiding the horrors.
I was truly impressed and astonished with this new maze. Designed by Jon Cooke, the mind behind Paranormal Inc, Shadow Lands builds upon the thematic strengths learned from Paranormal but creates new and fun maze design to bring exciting experiences for those looking for a scare. A signature for Jon, the maze starts with a pre-show to set up the backstory to this maze. Unlike tactics such as video monitors (Forevermore), this is an extremely effective way to get guests into the mood as well as inform them for what is coming for them. Walking through this maze reminds you that in the recent years Knott’s has really been putting more money into their mazes. It looks great and truly makes you feel as though you are immersed into this experience.
Monsters ranging from bird like demons to Geisha’s attack from many different directions. One thing done well in this maze is the different types of scares that are utilized as well as direction. Up, down and all around you can find something that will frighten you. Another signature moment in Jon’s mazes are what I call “show moments”. Now this may not be an accurate term for what I am talking about, but its what I come to call it. In Paranormal Inc, this moment is when one of the crew members is pulled into the ceiling and a demon drops down in his place. For Shadowlands, there is an incredible room with a Samurai slicing warriors heads off while gliding back and forth between rocks.
It really is a sight to be seen. Unfortunately this ends the maze, but it truly leaves you wanting so much more and ends on a bang. The maze felt long, the environments varied, the monsters were horrifying, the lighting and sound design were phenomenal and it was extremely unique. Many of the different reasons why I come to Scary Farm in the first place.
After finishing one Jon Cooke attraction, we head to another! Re-designed this year and coming back for its 3rd year is Infected…BLACK OPS: INFECTED!
Armed with cutting edge laser guns, brave guests will face off against hordes of zombies in the groundbreaking all-new Special 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.
Groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete terrifying 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 display board for other survivors to see each night in base camp.
BACK for its 3rd year, Black Opes: Infected comes back to life! Not saying it was dead before, but it had a rough sophomore slump. In the past two years, Infected was operated with a timed ticket system. In theory, this works perfect and would help manage crowds. But it may have only caused more issues than it solved. In its 3rd year, Knott’s has removed the ticketing system and opted for a regular stand by line. Although this may mean long waits, I’ll happily take this over possibly getting trampled in an attempt to obtain a rare timed ticket for Infected. Originally, this attractions took over the sprawling land of Camp Snoopy, but has now been moved back stage. For the better in my opinion.
Although there may be more limitations with space backstage, I believe by allowing for the close quarter zombie combat, it makes this attraction much more frantic, suspenseful, scary, chaotic and fun. Around each corner lurked zombies growling, screeching and drooling for us! As expected, we are treated by many zombies in many different environments. One particular moment, you find yourself in a department store. The windows are utilized for projections of zombie herds trying to break into the confined room. Through subway cars, cityscapes, water treatment plants, and even a Chuck E Cheese style children’s business, this attractions brings the big guns in order to give guests the most intense and fun attraction. This is a NOT TO BE MISSED attraction of the 2016 Scary Farm season!
Right across the way, in the old home of Pinocchio Unstrung sits THE RED 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.
Now, if I am going to be completely honest. I was looking most forward to this maze for the 2016 period. Who wouldn’t love an homage to grind house movies? What isn’t to love? But, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth after having gone through it many times. My initial reaction was “Did they just have left overs from Corn Stalkers and Slaughterhouse?” . I left wanting much more than what was presented. With regards to maze design, it was interesting to look at but didn’t fully live up to its potential for optimum scares. Even with that said, there is only so long someone can look at wood pallets. After having spoken to the minds behind this attractions (Gus Krueger and Daniel Miller) I found out that there is so much more than meets the eye with regards to story. But having this prior knowledge before entering the maze still didn’t fully help me make sense of a coherent story line. Don’t get me wrong, I love the gore, the guts and disgusting mutated pigs. I just want diversity. Both of these designers have brought amazing attractions to Scary Farm in the past and I can only hope that things will be re-tooled in the future. With all of this, the talent is really what helped keep this maze afloat. They where high energy, in your face, disturbing and even comical at times. This may just not be the maze for me to be honest. I know plenty of people who loved this attraction. Ill be visiting Knott’s Scary Farm many more times and would love to continue to going through The Red Barn to see how they improve and change upon this amazing and fun concept.
Returning Mazes for 2016!
This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.
The Tooth-fairy is back to haunt you while you sleep! Still to this day, this maze continues to give me the willies and gives me chills. Throughout the maze, sounds of drilling, screaming and wings fluttering can be heard. What I love about this maze is how it truly takes you on a journey to find the Tooth-fairy and the many monsters that lurk within his lair.
A creepy combination of dentistry and the childhood tale will haunt you. One room in particular is something no other maze has done. Put you in pitch darkness with only the sounds of fluttering. Unbelievably creepy and unnerving, this furry hallway creates a sense of impending doom and puts the guests on alert. Although nothing truly happens in the hallway, thats exactly what I love about it. ITs the maze equivalent of a false scare in a film. It’s designed to put you on the edge of your seat and this hallway executes that amazingly. I personally would love to see the Tooth-fairy return for another year of terror. But I do think it needs some tweaking in order to keep it fresh and new for the upcoming year. Do you think its time for the Tooth-fairy to retire? Let us know in the comments below!
Beware the cursed swamps of New Orleans, where mindless zombies trudge through the murky bogs in search of bloody sacrifices and demons use Voodoo curses to possess innocent souls. Choose your path carefully children, for one wrong turn and you will be hexed forever.
Voodoo: Order of the Serpent has never lost its originality, but may have lost its (dark) magic. Designed by Brooke Walters, Voodoo takes you through the damp and humid swamps of the bayou as you pass by horrific vignettes of dark magic being performed. What is unique about this attraction is that you are really walking above water and across bridges. As you look over the railing you can find alligators and other monsters lurking. Of course they are not real alligators…or are they? Another thing this maze has going for it is its look. Its unique, dark, scary and beautiful all at the same time. It is truly difficult to balance all those things, but Voodoo does it right.
Beginning outside, the facade resembles the building you would find in South and quickly transports you into the dark dingy bayou where all the scares really begin. Over the years this maze has gone through changes and even at one time housed one of the scariest key rooms (in my opinion) but I do think its time for Voodoo to leave for good. It has become predictable and almost boring at times. I never find myself uneasy or nervous entering this maze like many other mazes Knott’s has to offer.
Trick or treat, which will it be? Step forward and ring the witch’s doorbell. Oh, she is home, but where? You are not quite sure. Don’t be afraid, her minions will guide you. You can come away with a treat, but is it worth it?
What can I say about Trick or Treat that has not been said already. I love this maze to DEATH! Year after year it continues to keep me entertained with its rather simplistic approach. If you look at events across the United States, it is extremely hard to find an attraction like this one. This maze brings the concept of traditional Halloween fun to Knott’s in a great way.
In an event filled with ghouls, goblins, werewolves, hillbillies, fairies and demons; its refreshing to see Halloween in its true form. You ring the doorbell of a dilapidated house where the Green Witch calls home. As you enter, you are greeted by a flight of stairs full of flickering jack-o-lanterns.
I feel as though this moment sets the pace and feeling of the rest of the maze. As you traverse the house, you run into the many children that wandered too close to the house during Halloweens past. In the past couple of years, Trick or Treat went through some revitalization. Adding new scenes and changing the ending which really brought it back to life! (pun intended) For me, this is a MUST see at the Knott’s Scary Farm event. But, be careful, because sometimes guests who enter don’t always leave.
Paranormal Inc. features high flying aerial stunts and scares as guests help investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
In its sophomore year, Paranormal Inc hasn’t changed much. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Why fix it if it isn’t broken? Right? If you are looking for massive upgrades to this ground breaking attraction, don’t get your hopes up. Paranormal Inc. is back again with the same scares from last year, BUT they are still extremely effective. One difference that I noticed through the maze were some of the masks. Last year, Hayden Hill was completely over run by black shadow demons.
This year, there are some variations in the demons. You may run into some white and black demons as well as red and black demons. A small and subtle change, but a change none the less. Also, as you enter the (as I like to call it) vortex into another dimension, there seems to be a nice effect added to the once static red light.
Other than that, its still the same Paranormal Inc everyone fell in love with last year. Yes that does mean the lines are still long for this attraction. I bet those people are still waiting from last year! Boy….people are dedicated to Haunt!
“A Blood Moon Rises” continues the story of The Gunslinger. The Red hand gang has disturbed a burial ground that contained a SkinWalker relic, that has transformed them into Werewolves under the Blood Moon Curse. Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path to retribution. This journey back in time takes guests on a trail of terror through abandoned gold mines, a treacherous corral, a seedy saloon and a final showdown at town hall.
The Gunslinger is BACK to fight the evil Red Hand Gang as they transform into grotesque Werewolves out for blood. I loved Gunslingers Grave in its original form. One of the first mazes in Knott’s Scary Farm history to not include the supernatural, it carried itself on pure intensity and its talent.
To me, the booming music and the quick moving and threatening talent really gave this maze its flavor and strength. As it morphed into a Werewolf style maze, I believe it still maintained its momentum. (I bet you all though I was going to say I hate it!) I still love Gunslingers Grave: A Blood Moon Rises. With all the familiar spots from the original, I believe the designers added upon what they did last year and also fixed some flaws from last year. One fun new aspect to this maze is the caves. Originally, the caves were a very simple concept which took you from point A to Z. But this year they have added a couple different cave walls which give it an extra sense of getting lost! I know when I went, my group went one way, and I went another. I ended up all alone which was amazing. I’m not sure about the future of the Gunslinger, but I hope he keeps fighting another season at the farm.
Deep in the frozen tundra, the realm of a treacherous snow queen has been usurped by her evil minion, the horrific wendigo. She may be dead, but her evil spell hasn’t been lifted: The dead cannibals have risen from their snowy graves as hungry creatures feast on the surrounding villages. During the chaos, the queen’s prized possession, the horrific wendigo, has seized control of her throne, ready to prey upon any unsuspecting visitors who enter the borders of its icy domain.
Dead of Winter: Windigo’s Revenge attempts to fix what Dead of Winter got wrong last year. I believe that it fixed some and left some untouched. A major problem with last years incarnation of this maze was lighting. It was simply too bright and allowed you too see where monsters were hiding. This year, they have fixed this problem by really turning down the lighting and allowing the stark white snow bounce the light so fill the voids. Another added touch was more blood. There was blood everywhere in this maze. The gore factor of this attraction was taken to an 11! Designer Daniel Miller took over the reigns of Dead of Winter this year, which is why there is no short supply of gore. A surprising and nice touch was the alteration of the maze path. It brought a nice and more diverse maze design to the attraction. Allowing guests to experience more environments than just simple white snow. Once particular portion of the maze, simply does not fit in my mind. Its a mirror maze….a mirror maze. It didn’t fit last year and it doesn’t this year. Id much rather see the space used to further along the story of the Windingo taking over the Queen’s palace and its violent blood soak trail its left behind! With all these additions and changes, is the maze effective? It’s hit or miss. I feel as though this is a maze that relies heavily on its talent. If the talent is off, the maze is off as well. But, its early in the season and I am 100% positive that the monsters will get into their groves make this a classic that has returned for a vengeance from its icy slumber.
Albeit some bumps, the 2016 season of Knott’s Scary Farm is truly off to a scary fun start! As always, Knott’s brings an eclectic variety of themes to fit your fear needs. It is simply an incredible event and should never be missed. There is a reason why Scary Farm has the reputation it does. Nobody can recreate the magic and warmth of such an incredible event. Make sure to check out Knotts.com for more information regards Knotts Scary Farm and how you can buy your tickets to the biggest and baddest Halloween event in Southern California (or possibly…the world?) What did you think of Knott’s Scary Farm 2016? Let us know in the comments below!
See you in the fog…..