Knott’s Scary Farm 2018 – Worth the Price of Admission and So Much More!
This past Thursday, September 20th marked the commencement of the annual Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park, CA, which this year celebrates its 46th season, and we were there to check out the park’s nine haunted mazes, four scare zones, four shows, and more than 1,000 roaming monsters. Did Knott’s deliver? Read on!
A staple of the Halloween season for Los Angelenos (Scary Farm has been doing it longer than many of us have been alive), the seasonal redress of Knott’s Berry Farm stayed delightfully true to their roots, bringing forth that Knott’s sense of nostalgia in the concept and execution of their classic production design, while also delivering a fresh and spooky spin to fan favorites. With no licensed intellectual properties, at Scary Farm it’s all about their creativity, and as evidenced once again this year, their well is far from running dry.
Following Knott’s Scary Farm press reception, we first hit the maze Trick or Treat: Lights Out, returning this year as a darkened attraction in which guests traverse solely via the dim, flickering light of faulty flashlights (meaning remotely controlled by hidden operators) which are handed out at the maze’s entrance, and it remains a terror-inducing refresh. The maze’s classic staircase tableau of jack o’ lanterns remain, as does the appearance of Knott’s iconic Green Witch character during the finale (although the environment in which the latter exists seems to somehow lack punch in its design this year). A mid-maze transition into an “outdoor” environment works spooky wonders however, rendering Trick or Treat: Lights Out a must-visit.
New mazes we toured for 2018 include Dark Entities, in which parkgoers explore an interstellar ship whose crew has been infected by an extraterrestrial, malevolent being (we felt as if we were perhaps trapped on the Event Horizon) and The Depths, an attraction which journeys into the bowels of seaside caves. Lovecraftian monsters and lost miners await, although with the exception of a scene with some eye-popping animatronic tentacles and an altogether pleasing old-school spook house passageway on a gimbal, the Harry Warden/Dunwich mash-up didn’t seem to register narratively.
As for the returning mazes, fan favorite Dark Ride, which takes park goers into an abandoned carnival populated with homicidal carnies still delivers in spades (its finale is exceptional), and the refreshed zombie shoot ‘em up Special Ops: Infected, an attraction which guides visitors, who are outfitted with infrared assault rifles, through a zombie apocalypse filled with convincing live actors, was a favorite of one of one of those in our group. Additionally, PARANORMAL INC., a suspenseful walkthrough of a mock haunted hospital is not to be missed (really, that wirework never gets old).
With so much to do, we missed returning mazes Red Barn, Shadowlands and Pumpkin Eater (take our advice and purchase a Fright Lane pass in order to see it all).
As for the four scare zones, they are comprised of Ghost Town Streets, CARNEVIL, The Hollow and Forsaken Lake (a trip into a submerged gothic town populated by the undead). The ride Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenany also returns, as does the popular show The Hanging (this year called Shhhh… It Happens), which is joined by live shows Awaken the Dead, the comedy and magic show Conjure and the improvisational b-movie comedy experience Hacks! Cutting Room Floor.
And let’s not forget about the roller coasters. We ended the night with quick, death-defying rides on HangTime and Silver Bullet, and staggered away like werewolves struck by the latter, given how delightfully shaken our equilibriums became.
Once again, Knott’s is worth the price of admission.
Ticket information is as follows: a Scary Season Pass will run you $95, admission and Fright Lane pass $120, and general admission as low as $42. For more info click here, and don’t forget to check them out on Facebook at Knott’s Scary Farm!
My thanks to Knott’s PR’s Diana Bahena for arranging our visit.