Knotts Scary Farm preview of new Haunt maze, Dominion of the Dead

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks, Knott's Berry Farm, Knott's Scary Farm

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Published on September 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm with 7 Comments

As a special treat for all of you Knotts Scary Farm fans, we were granted a special look inside the Dominion of the Dead.  The maze, still under construction backstage at Knott’s Berry Farm, will be featured during the annual Halloween Haunt Celebration.  Join us as we talk to the maze designers and developers about what you can anticipate in this new experience.  That’s not to mention all of the other news we have today, including the removal of Perilous Plunge and more!  Here is In the Parks!

MiceChat recently took a sneak peek at a new maze being created for Knott’s Scary Farm’s 40th  Halloween Haunt.  Dominion of the Dead is one of four new mazes being created for the annual scare fest.  The new maze will feature hyper-stylized art direction and immersive sets that Knott’s fans will surely love.  Maze designer, Kathryn White, recently guided us through the under construction maze, pointing out some of the impressive features as we traveled along the winding path.

The storyline is simple:  Humans are invited to an art gallery opening that is a lot more than it initially appears.  Soon enough, the hosts are revealed to be vampires who are using the pleasures of art and music to lure the victims and feast on their blood.

 Kathryn White in front of one of the many paintings she worked on in the maze.

Originally produced from 1995-1999, Dominion of the Dead was the solution to a problem that occurred when plans for a maze based on Francis Ford Coppola’s film Bram Stoker’s Dracula fell through.  The infrastructure and basic sets were constructed, but had to suddenly be made unique.  Dominion was created, and a female-centric storyline bore Sandy the Vampire Queen.  The rest is Haunt history, with legions of fans fondly remembering their visit with the queen of the damned in the various incarnations before the maze was retired. As an homage to one of the more successful mazes in Knott’s Scary Farm’s 40 year history, the vampires will return this Halloween season to haunt in an elegant, beautiful fashion.

Enough history, let’s look at what’s happening inside the building.

The maze, which features over 60 original pieces of art created for this experience, begins as an art gallery. Gaunt musicians play classical music as guests work their way through the entrance. Things seem increasingly off kilter and creepy.   Maze designers Brooke Walters and Kathryn White worked to develop a stark world of beauty and danger.  All sets and all costumes are held to a strict black and white color palate. The only color that splashes here in there is red, if you know what we mean.

The substantial woodwork that has gone into this maze is impressive.

The construction in the maze is solid.  The craftsmanship is unmatched in anything we have previously seen.  Under the direction of Lead Entertainment Designer, Lara Hanneman, Kathryn was encouraged to raise the bar and take the scope and style to new extremes.  In no other room is this more apparent than the opulent courtyard scene.  Gothic spires nearly reach the ceiling of the warehouse which houses the maze.

White points out details of one of the larger murals, the history of the vampires.

The further guests venture into this bizarre environment, the more unsettling, stylized and angular the world becomes.

We don’t want to give away the surprises, but we’re sure this maze will live up to the high anticipation building in the fan community.

This is the LAST WEEKEND to purchase your ticket to the best value you will find all season for Haunt! The MiceChat Knott’s Scary Farm Haunt Spooktacular is in one week on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012. There are just a few tickets left.

Join us for the biggest, baddest, Halloween event at the place where Halloween Haunt celebrations began. It’s the 6th Annual MiceChat Knott’s Scary Farm Haunt Spooktacular! An exclusive night of VIP treatment and a behind the screams look at the original Haunt.

  • Admission to the 40th Annual Knott’s Scary Farm Haloween Haunt
  • Behind the scenes tour of one of the new mazes with one of the maze designers
  • Private all you can eat Boo-ffet Dinner
  • Meet and greet with Haunt makers, Maze Designers, Haunt Legends and more
  • Presentation by Ted Dougherty author of the Knott’s Halloween Haunt Pictorial
  • CommemorativeTrick-Or-Treat Bags
  • VIP Wristbands – Front of the line for all Knott’s mazes (Excluding VIP Maze, “Trapped”)
  • More fiendish surprises

All for only $92.99

We have been able to add a few more tickets for sale due to overwhelming popularity, but we must end sales by 11:59pm Sunday night.

The latest from Virus Z has little to see from the outside.  The worn pinnacle of the Pleasanton Schoolhouse peaks over the newly decorated walls visible to day visitors.  The rest is hidden.

The front of the maze is almost indiscernible to day guests.

 We hear rumors that something new is happening in the Gym.

THE EVIL DEAD: Timber Mountain Log Ride
So far, nothing is visible in the Log Ride since the last minute addition of the Evil Dead overlay is a new attraction for Haunt. Based on the new, upcoming remake (see: Questionable Idea) of the classic Sam Raimi film, the Log Ride seems like the perfect place to install the theme. Let’s hope that they make fans of the film proud.

 What’s really scary…

 are the trees.

 P.S. the water gag was out of service when last we visited.

The Calico Stage will feature the regular hanging show, along with the traditional hanging of the Green Witch.

The Wheeler Dealer is now closed as the entertainment team frantically assembles the Latin themed maze.

Beginning in the early morning hours, Knott’s wasted no time beginning the ignominious deconstruction of the boat ride. The blighted Boardwalk corner of the park is already taking on a new feel as this towering, rust-riddled attraction descends to the ground.


By the 10th, the U at the top of the lift hill was totally removed.

Let’s hope that what is coming to this area of the park will enhance the guest experience for everyone, not just teens looking for a high-octane thrill.

This wraps up our Knott’s Berry Farm update.  There is a lot happening at Knott’s this week with Haunt arriving and other experiences bidding farewell.  See you in the fog at Haunt!

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • unclemike

    Regarding the Evil Dead reboot: it might have been a “questionable idea” at first, but with both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell producing the film, and both of them proclaiming their extreme happiness at the way it’s turning out, I think it’ll be fine. Also, I’m glad Knott’s got the property for Haunt and I’m very curious to see how the log ride ends up.

    Also, too: Dominion looks amazing. Thanks for the pics!

  • mratigan

    Dominion is amazing

  • indianajack

    It’s mind-boggling that Knott’s can create such amazing mazes and all-round haunt experience, but not give us one year-round Haunted Shack type attraction. It would whet the appetite of the crowds for Haunt and could have a great scary theme with Ghost Town actually having a ghost resident. It’s so obvious that it should (and could) be done.

  • Algernon

    Pretty incredible maze. Just wait until it is dark, with the blacklights turned on!

  • kbffanatic

    Wow Dominion looks incredible. Definitely a maze i will be paying extra attention to this haunt season :)

  • Zeathos51

    I’m looking forward to Saturday. That amount of detail for a maze is astounding. That’s why I like Knotts Haunt over Universal’s, more originality and many times funny. The shows are some of the funniest ones you’ll see. I never rode perilous plunge and I hope they put in a good indoor ride.

    Anyways, see ya all Saturday!

  • ralzap

    So much amazing talent goes into the haunt, and yet they leave those christmas lights on the trees on the mountain. It is hard to explain. The mine ride looked great. Better than it had in years.