We just returned from opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm and it was an unbelievably entertaining evening. There are 9 mazes this year, 10 if you include the Log Ride overlay, and almost every one of them is a solid effort. But the real star of this year’s event is Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, in her rousing farewell performance.

There’s so much that Knott’s is doing right this year. The ENTIRE park is decorated for Halloween. Not just one or two lands, the WHOLE park. The scare zones are much improved over previous years with more props, more monsters, more fog, and enhanced lighting.  And the entertainment this year was really good. We enjoyed the (always offensive) Hanging: Fake Noose, and we were over the moon with Elvira.

I’d like to thank Scott Attula and Dsny Debbie for allowing me to drag their bodies all over Knott’s Scary farm so we could capture the event for you. Since it was a VERY late night for all of us, this is our quick take on Scary Farm 2017. We’ll be back soon with some detail pieces on our favorite mazes and experiences.  

New Mazes For 2017

All three new mazes are fun and inventive this year.  It’s clear that Knott’s has a lot of great creative talent these days.

Dark Ride

Murderous sideshow freaks have taken over an old carnival dark ride in this fun new maze. While this wasn’t my top haunted house of the night, it was a clever idea and a fun addition to the event.  As a side note, part of our party ended up accidentally making a wrong turn and finding themselves outside the maze!

 

Pumpkin Eater

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater is a bad, bad man. Seems he’s been stuffing bodies into pumpkins . . . This new maze is loaded with set pieces and rich scenic design. Scott and Dsny Debbie both picked this as their favorite maze of the night!

The digital projections on this pumpkin at the entry to Pumpkin Eater was fantastic and helps set up the story!
And there’s Peter

Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out

One of Knott’s most popular mazes has gotten a very scary new twist this year. This maze is now in the dark! You’ll be given a flashlight to make your way through this well decorated house. But beware, your flashlight is defective. Along the way, your flashlight will turn itself off and on, blink, change colors, and vibrate. This was a highly entertaining attraction. There’s a lot of psychological terror that comes with walking through a maze filled with monsters in the dark!

Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny

Knott’s doesn’t list this attraction with the other mazes, but it certainly deserves mention. For the first time since the multi-million dollar overhaul of the attraction, it has been decorated for Halloween this year. To our surprise, they’ve even got some live actors in the attraction as well! While Halloween Hootenanny has been designed for families to enjoy during the day, it’s even more fun in the dark. Don’t miss it!

Returning Mazes

Usually, the returning mazes are a mixed bag of quality and filler. Not this year. Almost all of the returning mazes are solid efforts with good design, construction & sets. And most of the mazes have also received upgrades from seasons past!

Special Ops: Infected

Armed with specially designed laser guns, brave groups of guests will embark on a mission to fight blood thirsty zombies. There are more interactive targets this year. This maze has changed significantly over the years and moved from its outdoor location in Camp Snoopy to a controlled environment behind Mystery Lodge.

Photo ©Knotts

While this experience is still highly enjoyable, I’m ready for this one to got to the history books and make way for something new next season.

Shadow Lands

This was my favorite maze for a 2nd year in a row. There were some great enhancements here, including a show scene at the beginning and an enhanced finale. The story takes place in an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadow lands. BRILLIANT!

 

 

PARANORMAL, INC.

A fan favorite, Paranormal Inc., returns for another year of high flying aerial stunts and ghostly special effects as guests investigate a haunted hospital. I absolutely LOVE this maze. I don’t ever want it to go away . . . but it’s been around for quite a while, which takes away some of the surprise element. Perhaps they could change up the mission next year.

The Tooth Fairy

Say Aaaaaaaaaah! This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out of their bedroom window and into a world of cruel dentistry. Tooth Fairy is a bloody and gory maze. It’s another that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. Now spit!

Voodoo

This old favorite has been significantly rethought for the 2017 season, breathing new life into an old swamp. By switching the flow of traffic in the maze and having guests enter through last year’s exit, they’ve made the experience feel new.  This is a seriously impressive maze with actual swamps filled with water, stilt houses, and a patchwork of voodoo hexes and creatures from the bayou. A total delight.

Red Barn

Call an undertaker . . . there’s a whole lot of carnage in this maze. If you like blood and gore, this one’s for you. There aren’t a lot of photos from this maze that we can even show you because of all the body parts, etc.

Every year Knott’s retires 2 or 3 mazes to make way for new ones. If we had to pick three old mazes to retire, we’d choose:  The Red Barn, Tooth Fairy, and Special Ops Infected.  What would you choose?

Scare Zones

This is one of Knott’s Berry Farm’s biggest assets. Nearly the entire park is a giant scare zone this year. That means that when you leave a maze you are still going to run into monsters . . . lots of them! A lot of other parks fail miserably in this department and this is one major reason why Knott’s has everyone else beat this year!

 

Ghost Town Streets was fantastic this year. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, while the notoriously startling sliders lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land.

Fiesta De Los Muertos features colorful costumes and larger than life stilt walkers in a dark scare zone. While this was the weakest of the Scare Zones, it was also one of the most fun. Lots of great costumes and performances.

CarnEVIL is another classic and has been given extra color and decoration this year. Boardwalk, clowns crave your undying attention and are known to offer jokes, perform gags, and make you laugh as well as scream!

The Hollow is the perfect fit for Camp Snoopy. Pumpkin men, witches, and other creatures make this scare zone feel like it has always been there. And with a matching maze, the awesome new Pumpkin Eater, this area is not to be missed.

 

Awesome Entertainment

The Hanging: – A live stage show on the Calico Mine stage irreverently looks back at the year’s pop culture with killer comedy. Tons of well choreographed fights and other violence, pyrotechnics, stunts and (offensive to everyone) parody make this show a must-see, even if you end up hating it.

Elvira – Returning for her final season at Knott’s Scary Farm, Elvira is back with what may be her best show ever. This show alone is worth the price of your Haunt ticket. Just a tip, see the early show. That way, if you love it, you can come back and see the 2nd show too! Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, isn’t just a Knott’s Legend she’s a supreme diva and we are going to miss her terribly.

Calvin Barrie of Windows to the Magic provided us this amazing video of the show:

The Verdict

This year’s Scary Farm event is one of the best in recent memory. The quality of mazes has improved dramatically over the years, matching and sometimes beating the best of what Universal and others have produced lately. Add to that the superior food, entertainment, park-wide decorations and scare zones at Knott’s and you’ll see why we find Knott’s Scary Farm to be the ultimate value for your Haunt dollar.