Knott’s Scary Farm Reigns Supreme for Halloween

I’ve always been a tough critic for Knott’s Scary Farm simply because it was the first. It should always be the best and nothing should ever top it. Unfortunately, I have seen a decline in the past couple of years with Halloween Horror Nights stealing the spotlight as the best and scariest Halloween Event I have been to. This year is different. Knott’s Scary Farm has raised the bar so high that it easily wins as the best Halloween event of 2017! The original theming of the mazes are outstanding, the scare zones are some of the most terrifying I have been in and the shows top anything, anywhere. I am so overjoyed that this event has returned to its prime and I want to go back every single night to see how this spectacular event! Now let’s start the review!


Mazes

Trick or Treat: Lights Out
This maze is returning for its 6th year with the same name, but 2017 holds a new experience. You now have to venture through the witches house in the dark while relying only on your flashlight. This maze was the coolest experience I have done in a haunted attraction and this maze went from the bottom of my to-do list, to the top! The new characters that inhabit the house look terrifyingly realistic and I’m glad they got rid of the cartoonish trick or treater looks of the old. Your flashlight will flicker on and off through and even change to a UV flashlight and it is incredible! The maze has the same layout for the most part, but everything has been freshened up and re-themed for a newer experience. Wait to do this when the sun goes down, because the daylight will still shine in if you enter this maze first. 10/10 rating

Voodoo
The maze now has a reverse direction that has you starting through the exit. The maze is a little refreshing, but 99% of the maze is exactly the same. The new snake ending is really neat to see, but it isn’t enough to have you go out of the way to see this maze. The scare actors are great, but one thing that Knott’s needs to turn all monsters away from are clicky gloves. And clicking them in my face is 5,000,000% NOT scary. It was only one monster, but it stands out and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 5/10 rating

Paranormal Inc.
This maze on its 3rd year is still o e of the best! The sets, scares, atmosphere and energy of the maze is incredible and this maze will be sticking around for many years to come. One thing that I do wish that this maze would do is make the Paranormal Inc. TV show visit different haunted destinations each year. Still a great maze, but visits to different haunted destinations with Paranormal Inc. would be great! 8/10 rating

Toothfairy
This maze has been at Scary Farm for quite a while now and I think it’s time for something new here. The maze still looks great and is scary, immersive and unnerving, but you can only go through the same maze for so many years before it just starts feeling old and stale. The new ending is different, but that’s all I can really say about it. It was neither good or bad. The first year with the Toothfairy animatronic was incredible and I wish they would have just stuck with that. 6/10 rating

The Red Barn
This was a HUGE improvement from last year! When the maze is not busy, you will have victims in the maze opening secret doors for you to get through which is neat, but one girl in the middle of the maze near the oven was far too aggressive where I felt she was more a part of the hilly billy cult than trying to escape it. The scares were fantastic and the energy and feel of the maze was exhilarating, but the ending was way disappointing with its “real” chainsaws which was just a sound effect and smell of gas. 6/10 rating

Special Ops: Infected
The past two years of Infected have been the best laser gun experience Knott’s has ever put on. Fast-paced and in your face makes for an incredible experience. The only problem is that it is so fast that you don’t get a chance to actually enjoy the incredible set pieces of the city, stores and underground areas. Make sure you visit this maze first because the pass out of guns and small groups on top of Fright Lane makes for a VERY long wait. 9/10 rating

Shadowlands
This maze was amazing in 2016 and was just as great for this year, but the addition of the extra room at the beginning is pointless and still holds up the line for an hour plus to where they just shut the pre-show down and have you walkthrough it. I’m all for big extravagant scenes, but having them at the beginning of the maze wastes so much time and kills the counts for the maze. The talent was fantastic in the maze and stuck with the theme and the sets were as beautiful as ever. I still want a different voice in the pre-show like the one in the finale hallway so it matches the theme of the maze. 7/10 rating

Dark Ride
This new maze for 2017 was probably one of the most spectacular and well designed maze I have ever scene at the Scary Farm ever. It literally felt like you were in an actual Carnival Dark Ride with the track on the floor and ride vehicles spread throughout the maze. The audio was incredible with the music fading in and out and the carnies in the maze were terrifying and played the part so well. The only problem I would say is in the maze is the finale monsters have so much room to run around and scare, but most of the times I have gone through the maze, they are standing around not really knowing what to do next. 10/10 rating

Pumpkin Eater
What a confusing, but interesting maze! The detail in the characters and some of the sets are outstanding, but the story and transitions in the maze are quite confusing to follow. One minute you are walking through Pumpkin vines, the next second you are in a rocking shack. Then you have a cornfield transition straight into a forest. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never been a fan of having a story told to you as you are walking through a maze, because most of the time you can’t really follow along, especially when you’re getting scared. Just give us a general synopsis of the maze, like a prison breakout with inmates attacking the prison guards, and let us go in with that. Stories are usually just too hard to follow telling them through the maze. This maze did give me some of the best scares though and the talent was fantastic! 9/10 rating

Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny
Since the removal of Red Moon Massacre on the log ride, the attraction as a scare experience has been on a decline of themes. Halloween Hootenanny appears with a fun song, easy theming and some scares and this log ride became an instant hit with me! The theming has classics such as a werewolf transformation, aliens and even The Green Witch makes an appearance! I thought this was a fun little overlay and I hope they continue to add to the Halloween Hootenanny! 8/10 rating

Scare Zones

Ghost Town
Nothing really comes close to the grand-daddy scarezone and the Halloween event that started it all! The opening segment with some of the Ghost Town monsters entering out of the fog near rope drop gave me chills and the atmosphere of lights, music and fog when night falls is amazing with these creatures bumping in the night. 10/10 rating

The Hollow
So last year I wasn’t the biggest fan of this scare zone, but the theming added to this place is outstanding and really immersed me into the world of these creatures. Every once in awhile throughout the night the ministers will do a scenes that will lead up to a midnight moment and it makes this scare zone a lot of fun! 8/10 rating

Fiesta de Los Muertos
So this isn’t a “must-see” scare zone or should you avoid it. The scares the monsters produce are great and the theming itself of just the area around Jaguar helps out, but I can’t help to feel something is missing. Maybe it’s that the lights are too bright, but it’s still a fun scare zone to walk through and sit around in. 7/10 rating

CarnEvil
Our last scare zone brings us clowns, and lots of them. The problem that I ALWAYS have with this scare zone is seeing monsters standing around chatting with each other or with guests and I always get so disappointed. The new theming they’ve added over by Johnny Rockets looks great and the overall feel of the scare zone is fantastic, but the clowns that are standing around really kill the vibe for me. Kudos to those who do put in the effort the full night to scare! You’re the real MVP! 5/10 rating

Shows

The Hanging
I’m not going to get into too much details about the show. But this version has been a lot better than previous years with the killings and parodies of your favorite pop culture icons. The jokes are hilarious and the writing of the show made the audience get really involved which I love.

Elvira Mistress of the Dark
You can never ever go wrong with Elvira at the Scary Farm. Unfortunately this is the last year for her and I don’t want to see her go. Nothing, in my opinion, will ever be able to top her performances. This show is the biggest, classic spectacle of Elvira I have seen and I loved every second of it. The dresses she wears and the songs that she sings are amazing and the dancers add so much that makes this show over the top. The set pieces and lighting are beautifully done and I do t want this show to ever disappear. We will miss you, Elvira!

Photos by Anthony Pacini
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