Travel Reviews

Published on September 24th, 2018 | by Michael Newman

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Knott’s Scary Farm 2018

It’s that time of year again, where the leaves start changing color, there is a crispness in the air, and the Ghouls and Goblins come out to play.  Leading up to the one night a year where we can all dress up as someone or something else and beg for candy from complete strangers is one of the spookiest, scariest and fun-filled events of the season; Knott’s Scary Farm.

For those of you who have never attended Knott’s Scary Farm (my wife and I included) the entire park completely changes from the Snoopy filled, western themed town during the day into a monster filled, nightmarish experience at night.  The park itself is divided into various “Scare Zones” each filled with ghoulish creatures, and fantastically frightening mazes for you to endure, if you dare.  Each scare zone is themed to the creatures that inhabit them, such as the CarnEVIL Scare Zone being patrolled by clowns and carnies of all shapes and sizes and Forsaken Lake crawling with evil from the deep depths of the lake looking to drag you back to their watery graves.  With four Scare Zones in all, there is literally not an inch within the park where you won’t have to be on your guard.  

The level of makeup and detail put into each and every character is truly a sight to behold.  The actors are so committed to their roles that they never break character and their interactions with the guests range from quick jump scares to full on conversations.  My wife even had a hauntingly fun conversation with one of the fiends regarding playing a card game for her soul.  Numerous fog machines, lights and decorations further enhance the Scary Farm experience, completely transforming what would have normally been a beautiful California evening into a place right out of your nightmares.

One of the main draws to Knott’s Scary Farm is the extremely detailed mazes that are all throughout the park.  Every year Knott’s adds new mazes to their already diverse selection, always ensuring that everyone’s particular fear or worst nightmare is covered.  For 2018, the two new mazes were The Depths and Dark Entities.  

The tagline for The Depths is “Find your way around ominous caverns to discover if the superstition revolving around the cave is true or not.  But be warned, all who have entered have never resurfaced”.  The maze starts in what would appear to be a mine and has you descend into the fiery abyss where you will be “attacked” by all sorts of abominations.  Not only was the theme, which plays on an individual’s fear of being trapped underground, super creepy but the absolutely amazing special effects that were utilized really amped up the nightmarish scene.  One area of the maze appeared as though you were trudging through waist high water as horrible creatures swam below you and attempted to jump out and pull you down to the depths of despair.  Even though no water was actually involved, you still felt the weight and resistance of it while you tried to quickly escape before the monsters nabbed you.  I don’t know how they did it, but it was incredible and something that you really must experience to believe.

The second new maze for 2018, Dark Entities, imagines what it would be like to be trapped on a space station with an evil presence on board.  Taking cues from popular sci-fi horror films like Alien and Event Horizon, all of the AI gone wrong, demonic possessed robots and creatures of all shapes and sizes will have you frantically searching for the nearest air lock.  The tagline for Dark Entities is “A realm where the darkness is absolute.  A space station faces terror beyond all imagination as an extraterrestrial mutation is on the prowl for new hosts” and really exemplifies what you will endure if you partake in the madness.

Of course, other standout favorites from previous years were on full display as well.  The guests of the Trick or Treat: Lights Out maze are given flashlights to heighten their experience as they traverse the maze in absolute darkness.  In Special Ops: Infected, you are given laser tag guns to destroy waves of zombies, but only head shots count, so make sure your aim is on point.  Each maze provides a unique spin on the formula to ensure that no two mazes feel the same.  My wife’s favorite was Dark Ride which took onlookers through an abandoned carnival ride full of carnies and clowns and my personal favorite was Pumpkin Eater, a maze initially introduced in 2017, which is about a murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the woods.  The special effects for Pumpkin Eater were top notch and frankly just really, really cool.

As you would expect, there are other attractions that also keep guests coming back for more.  Many of Knott’s Berry Farm’s famous rides are open and decorated with Halloween themes.  Everything from Ghost Rider to Timber Mountain Log Ride have Halloween lighting and decorations.  There are also several live shows for parkgoers to enjoy.  One of the new shows for 2018, Conjurers, had amazing magic tricks and comedy all rolled into one.  There is also The Hanging, which is a stunt show that revolves around pop culture’s most infamous moments of the past year, and even a VR based experience where you get to fight off hordes of Zombies in the dark streets of London.  Unfortunately, the live show featuring Elvira was no longer on the agenda as she announced her retirement in 2017.  Even though that show will be greatly missed, Knott’s did a great job of replacing that time-honored event with other shows that are just as fun and frightastic.

Knott’s Scary Farm is an awesome event that is certain to keep your adrenaline flowing the whole time you are there and even after you leave the park.  Knott’s puts on a very professional show, and the actors at all times were considerate.  While they will certainly jump out at you and surround you in a polite but absolutely creepy way, at no time were they attempting to grab or pull you in any way.  I’ve experienced shows at other places in the past where grabbing was part of the show, so not only was this a far better experience, but a more memorable one as well (for all the right reasons).  Based on the intensity of the mazes/scare zones and how much my normally pulled together and elegant wife screamed like a little girl, I don’t think this is an event for younger kids and they would probably prefer Knott’s Spooky Farm, which provides a family-friendly Halloween celebration geared for kids ages 3-11.  For all others, if you are you are looking for a fun-filled, jumptastic evening to really get you in the Halloween spirit, you certainly don’t want to miss this.  Knott’s Scary Farm is an iconic event every year for many reasons and I loved every one of them!

 

Here are some pictures and video Gareth took a few days later. His action camera does not change the date but we hope you like the postings.

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