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Knott’s Scary Farm - 2017


Buena Park, California
Cedar Fair Entertainment


Knott’s Scary Farm 45 (2017)

By Steve Rowin of Scary Horror News for Screamscape
Knott’s Scary Farm opens to its 45th year as Southern California's foremost haunted attraction. With two live shows seven haunted mazes and plenty of dark foggy scare zones, attendees of Knott’s Scary Farm are treated to a very horrific experience.

As always the sliders or scare actors that play monsters do an amazing job at scaring even the most hardened guest! With fog so thick you could slice it like a cheesecake, there is no escaping the fear that one feels walking through the darkness in the ghost town of not scary Farm. This year the scare zones were themed in four different sections of the park.

The 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 newest 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.

CarnEVIL; Knott’s Boardwalk is taken over by “CarnEVIL,” where the freak show is the main event and countless clowns crave your undying attention.





Ghost Town; Ghost Town Streets is the original - and still most terrifying scare zone - that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog. Beware the notoriously startling Sliders who lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land.

Fiesta de los Muertos fuses Latin American mythology, colorful costumes, and larger than life stilt walkers to create a terrifying trail filled with legendary monsters from hundreds of years of folklore waiting for you in the shadows.

Between the dark fog and the haunted mazes you’re finding a gathering of people assembled for hanging. This year‘s rough, tough and tumble show features lots parody and vulgar violence as expected! Let’s just say that this year's Hanging was very presidential. “The Hanging : A Fake Noose”!

Across the park was a show of another sort, one featuring the mistress of the dark herself Elvira. As in years past Elvira puts on it very theatrical show with lots of dancing and musical numbers featuring her and her most prominent assets. She says that this will be the last year that she does a show a Knott’s  after performing shows spanning 4 decades at the farm.

The Mazes

Dark Ride “Castle of Chaos”
    Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel carny folk still linger in the shadows in Dark Ride, Knott’s Scary Farm’s newest maze. The shunned performers have created an ominous world of terror which they plan to unleash on those who enter. Dark Ride will lead brave visitors through a treacherous path and into the bowels of a long-neglected attraction, as sinister shadows and horrifying scenes cast gloom over the once pleasant ride. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, being helplessly surrounded by clowns without a way out.

My Take:
    Let’s just start with the star of the show! Knott’s likes to bring new attractions each season. Dark Ride is one of the most exciting new mazes I’ve seen in the past 5 years.  It has a strong theme that fits in so nicely with Halloween. The premise is that we are walking through an abandon dark ride, car tracks on the floor and all the usual expected gags of a carnival dark ride. However the intensity level of the scares is way up there. It’s this awesome blend of nostalgia mixed with hyped up fright! Best to show!

Pumpkin Eater
    Survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in the 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 that 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 way out.

My take:
    Oh I felt like it could have been so good. Nice idea but the scary pumpkin eater really failed to materialize.  Nice set pieces but it was bright and just lacked the design for proper scares. Knott’s seems to have an issue with this, I felt like Red Barn which was new last year, suffered the same issue, and retired Gunslinger's grave yard, was low scare factor with simplistic sets and obvious actors not really connecting the theme to the fear. 

Trick or Treat
    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.

My take:
    Wow. I just want to say WOW! Trick or treat has been a favorite of mine since we first met. It’s theme centered around the classic halloween characters with a strong “spooky” flavor. True to Halloween this maze was a nice portrayal of what we love about halloween. But hold on! The did a rework on this one for 2017 and let me tell you, I was blown away! The changed the front entrance facade from the kooky old spooky house to a more sinister looking house. One that looks abaddon out on a prairie somewhere. Once you enter you recognize some of the interior from the past but the fear is like cranked up to 11. With a new soundtrack and an intensity of elements that immediately hit you like a freight train, from the moment you walk in, it’s on! The best way to put it in words is to say it’s as if you have stumbled into a haunted house that is extremely active. With a special flashlight to light the way there is this since that from the moment you walk in you are on a mission to get out. Very much like being in the epic final scenes of the movie poltergeist, you are bombarded with intense scares. A+++

Shadow 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.

My Take:
    Nothing new for 2017 that I could tell, I liked this maze on it’s opening year for being a new and untapped asian inspired theme. It’s on the do not miss list for sure.

Paranormal Inc.
    This maze 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.

My take:
    Similar to years past Paranormal Inc. delivers! This is a great haunt and always has been. The level of technical tricks in here is great with attention to psychological effects like the lowering of sheets in the main entrance room after things begin to happen that disorientate you and allow monsters to sneak up for good scares! It’s on the do not miss list and stands out as one of the premier attractions at Scary farm.

Special Ops Infected
    Armed with cutting edge laser guns, brave guests will face off against hordes of zombies in the groundbreaking 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. There is no additional charge for Special Ops: Infected.

My take:
    Still love the interactive zombie blasting! It’s laser tag in a whole new way for those who have never done it. Just like in traditional laser tag, the survival game play is exhilarating and to be able to do this in a zombie apocalypse is just fantastic. Hit this one early and avoid long lines.

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.

My take:
    This is another one that just does not do much for me. I didn’t feel scared or get scared. This reminds me of the era at Knott’s when it was heavy into storyline and not so much into using technical gags to scare us. The music or sounds are fitting but not intense. As I’ve said before The Slaughter House maze from years past was this but way better..
    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.

My take:
    Voodoo another reworked maze for 2017! I’ve always like the theme of this house but it seemed to lack good scares. Whoa it’s fixed! Lots of technical upgrades like light and sound jump scare triggers, bungy surprises and the addition of a large estate like home we go through. It’s on the do not miss list and the creative team seems to be tapping into the fear factor associated with Voodoo and delivering it with giant alligators and all!

The Tooth Fairy
    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 finale with new terrifying surprises. Say aahhh.

My Take:
    While this one has been around many years it still holds that key ingredient that makes most cringe, dental drill noises! With some technical upgrades this haunt too has been boosted up in intensity! Had it remained as it was for the past 3 years I would not have been impressed but they impressed me! Enjoy this one and keep your mouth closed at all time because the tooth fairy is on the loose!

All in all I think Knott’s really boosted up the fear factor in 2017 putting it on top for best haunted attraction in SoCal in 2017. Scary farm runs all the way until Halloween night with a host of ticket options and hotel packages there's something for everyone.


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