Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
This got very, VERY long, so I'm going to divide it into two parts. I'll describe the scare zones and my first five mazes here, and the last four mazes, one ride, and two shows in part two. Sorry, I have a vivid memory, and I can go into way too much detail.
I've been meaning to post this up for a long time, but I kept getting distracted with work. Now that I actually remember, I decided to review my first-ever times to Knott's Scary Farm. I went twice this month, on October 5 and October 19. Why? I've been wanting to go to Knott's Scary Farm for six years and never had the chance to. Something would always come up, and I never had the opportunity to go, until this year. It was incredible to go twice, and it was all I ever hoped it would be. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, because I was spending time enjoying the event instead of photographing everything I saw. Also, this will be a very wordy trip report and review, so I apologize about that in advance.
(Instead of describing my two visits separately, I'm going to describe my experiences at the mazes and scare zones from both visits, and accumulate my experiences together.)
Ghost Town Scare Zone:
This scare zone is near the entrance to the park, on the left. They set up fog machines, and some animatronic props. On my first visit, when my stepsister and I were waiting in line for Trick Or Treat, there was a rabid werewolf animatronic that would pop out of a wagon and bark repeatedly. There were also heads on poles, and some creepy scarecrows. What was incredible was the amount of scare actors in this zone. I saw someone with a scarecrow mask, and when he would laugh or talk, the mouthpiece clicked open many times, as if he was truly a scarecrow. He even had a straw hat and overalls. There were some deranged cowboys, with demented faces. There were overweight women with enormous breasts in 19th century style dresses (polka dots) and bonnets. These scare actors would run out in thick fog, sometimes sprinting at full speed, and scaring a lot of people. The only ones that made me jump were the sliders. They would come out of nowhere, make loud clicking sounds, and dart past you on the floor. For me, this was the second-best scare zone.
Gypsy Camp Scare Zone:
I don't remember this scare zone too well. I believe it was to the northwest of Ghost Town. Assuming I'm remembering correctly, there was an interesting show there called "Cursed". It wasn't a big advertised show, but rather, a small stage with exotic dancers. They were hypnotizing, because of their pale eyes and large feathered fans. The scare actors were mostly werewolves, including werewolf animatronics.
Necropolis Scare Zone:
I don't remember this scare zone very well either. I'm not going to rate it, because I don't have clear memories of it. I believe that it was the one with steampunk vampires. (Anything with steampunk vampires would at least deserve an 8.5.)
Fiesta de los Muertos Scare Zone:
This wasn't a very well-designed scare zone. It did have incredible theming, however, with a giant skull (reminiscent of Mexican skulls for the holiday) for a stage. I don't remember any scare actors, but I remember that stage.
Rating: 6/10 (For the theme!)
Carnevil Scare Zone:
I might be biased, because I love clowns, but I thought this was the most fantastic scare zone in the whole park. Every single time I walked through it, I laughed at the monsters and people's reactions to them. The first time I walked through it, and was waiting in line for Black Magic, my stepsister got scared by a clown with an air cannon. (It blew a blast of air on the back of her neck, so she freaked out and buried her face into her friend's shoulder.) There was another clown holding one of those toy horses (the type that has a horse head with a long pole attached to it, so you can "ride" it), in a little girl's dress, who scared someone so bad by getting up close to their face, staring at them, while tilting their head back and forth. Some of the clowns honked their noses. A lot of them had insane hairstyles, and were usually very tall, with some exceptions.
During my second visit, there was a clown on stilts. That was pretty awesome to see. There was also a hilarious moment, the first time I almost laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. There was a clown messing with someone, and out of nowhere, he stopped and fell over just as a huge crowd came by. Crowd traffic came to a stop as everyone tried to walk around the clown. The entire time, he was screaming, "ROAD BLOCK!" ... I laughed so hard, I was crying.
Rating: 10/10 (Go clowns!)
Trick Or Treat:
This was my first maze at Knott's Scary Farm. Unfortunately, I only experienced it once on my first visit, and had no time for it during my second visit. This is a returning maze from 2012, but I never watched a walkthrough video of it, so I had no idea what to expect. The exterior theming was a little cheap. I know there's not much to work with, but the buildings had black houses painted onto them, which weren't even completely finished. The actual maze facade was pretty neat though, with jack o' lanterns hanging off the trees, the porch, and the Green Witch's house. What's awesome about this maze is that when you approach the house, you have to ring the doorbell, knock on the door, and yell "Trick Or Treat!" to be let inside.
The first scene is AMAZING. It consists of a long staircase with jack o' lanterns covering every single stair. Since it's the Green Witch's house, it's dark and creepy. Passing through the entryway (which even has a balcony and a chandelier!), the next room is somewhat of a fortune teller room. One of the first props in the maze is an Ouija board that's active and responding to spiritual phenomena. It has bookcases everywhere, along with a table with cards and chairs. It gives the idea that this is actually someone's house, and not a haunt maze whatsoever. The next room is a kitchen of sorts, with a witch's cauldron over a fireplace. It is followed by a VERY CREEPY HALLWAY that has animal masks. I was trying my best to avoid the walls. Even though these props were stationary, I kept feeling like they were staring at me, especially because some of them had glowing eyes. The next room is a bedroom, with a realistic king-sized bed. However, when you're walking around the bed, Satan pops out from under the bed. It scared my stepsisters so bad. It made me jump a little as well. It plays well into the idea that children are afraid of monsters under their bed for a reason.
One of my favorite scare actors is a cute little ghost, which is a person with a blanket sheet over them. It just sits there and waits, and will spontaneously move. Even though the outfit is cute, it's hilarious how many people get genuine fear from it. It's hiding in the Green Witch's bathroom, which has a sink, a mirror, and corpses in the bathtub. Past a hallway, there's a larger kitchen area haunted by clowns. It was hilarious, because every clown that saw me liked to clink their fingers (their gloves had metal tips, which produced the clinking sound). This room was particularly creepy, with dissected animal corpses on the table and cages with rotting animals inside. There was a skinned dog corpse hanging upside-down, and a dead monkey in a cage. Visual cues that are designed to freak you out. It doesn't help that the clowns like playing with the props. The room following that reminds me of a video I saw of the old 13 Axe Manor. It's a large dining room, with a huge table, with every chair containing a corpse, so it looks like a large family of 8 or 10 corpses having dinner together. In the creepy flickering light, the clowns will jump out, giving more scares.
The final scene was FANTASTIC. Best final scene in a maze, ever. There's a table in the center of the room, with a chandelier hanging above it, and the first appearance of the Green Witch. (Unless there were previous appearances that I missed.) The Witch pronounces a curse, saying something along the lines of "Fools, you think you can escape me? You must do more than that to survive!" She lunges forward, and the chandelier suddenly crashes on the table with a very loud BANG. It made everyone in the room jump. There's also lightning and thunder effects as one is leaving the maze. It's a strong maze! I'm so glad to have experienced it for my first time at Knott's.
- Incredible interior theming.
- Abundance of scare actors, including Satan, clowns, and the cute ghost.
- Plays on phobias, such as Ouija boards (interaction with malevolent spirits), animals, masks, and monsters living under the bed.
- Pure 100% Halloween maze.
- Amazing beginning. (Ringing the doorbell, knocking on the door, and shouting "Trick Or Treat!")
- Amazing ending. (Green Witch confrontation!)
- Weak exterior theme. (Black paint? Really???)
- I didn't experience this, but I noticed that if you arrived too early or too late for the finale, you would've missed it entirely. (Pacing is very important.)
This was my second maze at Knott's Scary Farm. (I also only did it once, and didn't get a chance to do it during my second visit.) It's adjacent to Trick Or Treat, and next door to Dominion of the Damned. Like Trick Or Treat, it's pretty much right underneath the Ghostrider roller coaster. This is a returning maze from 2011, and unlike Trick Or Treat, I had seen a walkthrough video of it before. (Mostly because I knew I wouldn't be going that year, and felt like I might never go, so I compensated by watching the maze at home. Experiencing it in person is totally different.) I was glad that I studied about its story and themes before I arrived, otherwise this would have been the most nonsensical maze ever.
For those who don't understand, Endgames is a futuristic apocalyptic maze. The idea is that during the apocalypse, a huge power split happened, separating the rich and poor. The rich become so powerful that they enslave the poor and force them fight to the death in gladiator-style battles, against each other, super-mutated monsters, and strange beasts. Why? Because it's entertaining. These games are televised, hence why there's in-maze footage of people actually walking through the corridors. That's an incredible effect! (What's also incredible is that it's livestreamed too!) I was so glad I studied about this before, and shared the maze concept with my stepsisters, because we ended up really enjoying this maze. The photo op is hilarious, because Endgames employs heavy use of air cannons. First, you take your picture while your group is smiling. Next, there's a large blast of air in your face and they take a second hilarious picture. (At the end, we were laughing, because my stepsister's hair majestically was blowing into my face.)
The maze itself has a very interesting transition from outside to inside. Instead of being taken directly inside through a facade, you're drawn inside through switchback lines, and a partially enclosed area, covered by ripped cloth. You enter an outdoor room, with a cloth wall and partial cieling, where there's an abandoned station. Distress calls are coming over the radio, but there's no response. Walking past that, the apocalyptic themes really kick in with the scrap wood walls (consisting of large wood boards nailed together at disorganized angles). Actually entering inside this scrap wooden structure, there's this giant gladiator monument. It's up to speculation what it is - it might be a statue of the winner, or it may just be an entertainment symbol. It looks like a triumphant gladiator, with one leg higher than the other, holding a strange weapon (it looks like a chainsaw, sword, and ripper all at the same time). What's also interesting is that very loud death metal is played upon entering - it made me laugh, because one of the scare actors was hardcore head-banging to the beat. There are long hallways, giving suspense, because you don't know what scare actor is going to pop up around the corner. At the end, there are scare actors in cages - those gave me a fright. There are also torture devices, including spiked chairs and shackles that allow the victim to hang in a painful position. It gives the idea of the sadistic humor that post-apocalyptic rich folks would do to the poor, if they could have their way of gruesome entertainment. (Much like the ancient Romans did.) There's also mutilated corpses laid across tables.
Some very interesting steampunk themes come into play. There are these large spinning gears, and intricate machinery held behind cages. There's a mutilated corpse, cut in half, presumably because he got caught on the chains. There's also this strange (unknown) machine that involves holding an old photograph up and down, in the dark and in the light. I really liked the turning cogs - it looked like clockwork, as if this strange landscape was powered by futuristic steampunk methods. Next, there's the intriguing animatronics behind cages. These are the genetic mutants and the strange monsters that dwell in this world. They appear to be not fighting at the moment, but still beheld as a spectacle for all to see. (Perhaps how the lions were beheld by the audience in their cages, drawing back to the ancient Roman themes - for crying out loud, it has gladiators.) I felt like I was seeing someone famous for the first time when seeing these props up close, because I've seen them in videos for two years, but this was the first time I saw them in person. The first animatronic seems to be either conjointed twins sharing the same body, or a two-headed human mutant. It seems to be a strong man, with enlargened muscles, wrapped in chains and shackles. It's lifting a large wooden board on its back. I just started to imagine how terrifying it would be to fight this thing - it's probably seven or eight feet tall, complete with bulging eyes and muscles. The second animatronic is the toad - I remembered seeing a video with Brooke Walters about how she loved designing it. I was waving hi to it, and then it blasted air on me. Awesome. Note that this toad is about five feet tall, green with razor sharp teeth, so it would also be terrifying to fight it in a life-or-death gladiator battle.
In the next set of hallways, there are more scare actors in glass boxes, which are creepy because of the flickering lights. I even saw a scare actor unrealistically contorted, looking like he was bent in half, yet looking backwards. It scared me so bad. It's very unsettling to see, especially if you're in a room that has blood on the walls, and a bunch of shiny weapons up on display. In the next hallway, my stepsisters got scared so bad by a scare actor that was capable of walking the way the exorcist did. Upside-down and backwards. Oh my gosh. I also loved that there were televisions broadcasting the corridors once again inside the maze, as well as outside. That feeling of government surveillance returned. Oh yeah! People are watching me get scared. Hooray!
The finale is the arena. I saw more Roman themes, because the arena's entrance is held up by two roman columns. The centerpiece is a large stone animatronic. It looks so familiar! I remember seeing it in a previous maze video, but I don't remember which one. I almost want to say the Labyrinth, even though that was a really old discontinued maze. Another amazing prop is the giant gladiator animatronic, which looks like a giant death machine. It has a spinning core stained in blood, as if it mowed through thousands of bodies. It has skulls attached to it, weapons sticking out of it, and cogs turning it. Yup, I DEFINITELY don't want to fight against this thing. It already wins. So many human body parts (including an entire arm) were lodged into that thing. There was also a scare, where a scare actor leaped out on bungee ropes (oh gosh, I forget what it's called). It scared my stepsisters worse than it scared me. (I jumped.) After that, the ending was quite anti-climatic. It showed the giant televisions again, and then it ended.
I must admit. Endgames doesn't get enough love. Yes, it's not as lavish as Trick Or Treat, or any highly themed mazes, but it does have a really original concept. It also has incredible technology and innovative ideas, such as televising people's scare reactions. (They should do compilations.) I felt like the ending was weak, probably because it could never beat Trick Or Treat's finale. For an "arena", it was pretty empty. One machine, one animatronic, and no fighting whatsoever. I kept feeling like they were going to show the fighting, but they never did except in the hilarious commercials aired before you enter the maze. (It shows gladiators fighting with blood spraying everywhere.) Other than the weak ending, I loved the actual content of the maze. Very creative, very original, and very well-placed scare actors. Unfortunately, it's too smart for its own good. Audiences can't catch on as to what it's about, so they think it's weakly themed.
- Innovative technology. (In-maze surveillance, impressive props, and incredible turning gears-and-cogs machinery.)
- Animatronics. (The mutated two-headed human, the toad, the recycled stone statue, the gladiator death machine... They were the best animatronics I saw that night.)
- Subtle Roman themes. (Alluding to the gladiator games.)
- Well-placed scare actors. (The exorcist person... OH MY GOSH.)
- Air blast cannons. (Most hilarious picture I've ever taken in a theme park.)
- Inconsistent story. (It feels like we're walking through this post-apocalyptic landscape, and we're learning what everything does, but why is it placed in this order? Why do we see the machinery first, the animatronics in their cages later, and an empty arena last?)
- Weak finale. (Seriously? An empty arena?)
- Long hallways. (They added suspense, but too many of them started to wind down the hype of getting scared.)
Dominion of the Damned:
This was my third maze at Knott's Scary Farm. I was lucky to see it during both of my visits, so I've gone through it twice. What was strange was that the first time I went through it, it terrified me. The second time I went through it, I never got scared. So weird. How could it be the scariest maze of the night my first time, and then the least scary maze of the night my second time? (Probably the amount of scare actors.) It's somewhat of a returning maze, but it's also somewhat of a new maze. Dominion of the Dead was a creepy but not scary vampire maze, back in 2012. It had been a while since Knott's returned to its vampire tradition. Since a lot of people complained that it wasn't scary, it was reborn into Dominion of the Damned in 2013, featuring very scary vampires. I never saw a walkthrough video of Dominion of the Dead OR Dominion of the Damned, so I had no idea what to expect. (I'll recount my first-time experience, because sadly, my second-time experience was so weak.)
Dominion of the Damned is across the way from Endgames, and at the end, you're streamed right through the hidden Delirium maze. I was told that Knott's does a double maze every year, where there are two consecutive mazes. I really enjoyed that, because I felt like the two most terrifying mazes were paired with each other, so it felt like you were having double the scare for half the wait.
Like Endgames, Dominion of the Damned had a transition portion from outside to inside. The exterior is actually a large garden. It consists of black walls with vines sprawling over them. There are also unexpected moss men jumping out from nowhere, and some human-like vampires leaping out. You don't expect them, because you're not inside the actual maze yet, so they can be quite terrifying. What also adds to the creepiness is the large statue at the end of the garden. To me, it looks like an angel statue playing the violin. It has such a somber face, its wings look like bat wings, and it's shrouded in a long cloak. The actual entrance into the maze is into a vampire mansion. There's a large staircase, and when I went through, there was a very beautiful vampire in a long dress that sprawled down some of the stairs. It was a very startling image to see, just starting out. (To my disappointment, nobody was on the staircase during my second walkthrough.)
This entryway has that spiral staircase, large paintings on the walls, a chandelier, and usually it's occupied by two to three vampires. The music was very creepy, it sounded like disjointed classical. The corridors are tight, and the paintings are very large, and they seem to be staring at you. I must note that they picked very attractive vampires in these corridors, yet despite being beautiful, they still manage to scare you. I had an attractive, long-haired male vampire actually follow me and press his face up against the back of my neck so I could feel his fangs. Later, I had an attractive female vampire stare at me (with pale blue eyes and tiny pupils), retracting her fangs and following me. I thought it was incredible how in-character they were. They were very believable vampires, and a lot of them had bite marks on their necks. The long endless corridors were there, probably for the scare actors to repeatedly assure you that they are vampires, and they REALLY want your blood. (And they're good-looking.)
The first large room I actually saw TERRIFIED me. It looks and feels like you're outside again, and the room's centerpiece is a large angel fountain, that consists of four individual angel statues. I was walking around this creepy centerpiece, admiring how well built it was, when suddenly... THE HEADS MOVED. OH MY GOSH. They were real scare actors. That made me jump, freak out, and hurry into the next room. I did NOT expect that. It was followed by more corridors, but this hallway was different in that it had tiny doors on the walls. Sometimes scare actors would jump out or reach out. The coffin room scared me the worst. It was the only time, the entire time I was at Knott's Scary Farm (both times), that actually made me scream out loud. In that coffin room, a vampire actually chased my stepsister out of the room. (And her friends were way up ahead) So I was all alone in the coffin room, with nobody behind me. I slowly stepped forward. Suddenly, an animatronic jumped out of a coffin, which made me jump. Next, a scare actor jumped out of a coffin, and the double-scare made me panic and scream. (It also didn't help that a second scare actor then jumped out from the side, out of nowhere.) After that, I started laughing hysterically. I didn't think they'd actually get me, but they did. The next corridors are different, because they look like large bat caves. It's really eerie, because then the grotesque vampires start appearing. The ones that have deformed faces, massive eyes, and blood streaming down their mouth. I was still alone for the remainder of the maze, and I found myself in another massive room with a throne.
I was amazed, yet a little frazzled, because I loved it yet I had no idea what was going on anymore. One of the scare actors approached me and said, "You look confused, sir." I replied, "I am. HAHAHA." He laughed. It was a funny moment. The last room had large sacrificing tables, including a very flexible scare actor, who perched on it and looked like she was going to jump off it. There were mannequins strapped down by chains, having their blood drawn out by machines. I didn't expect that to be the last scene, so the maze lacked an appropriate finale, but I still LOVED it. It was one of the scariest mazes of the night the first time I went. (I was disappointed the second time around, but was still amazed by the "statue" scare actors, the coffin room, and the large throne room. The vampires were still awesome, even if there were fewer.)
- Scare actors. They had the best vampires I've ever seen, from beautiful to grotesque. They always stayed in character, and would actually interact with us, including having conversations or stalking.
- Statue scenery. (They foreshadowed the statue scare actors, which were not expected, even if they were life-sized!)
- Paintings. (They're beautiful, but they're also creepy, and it feels like extra sets of eyes are staring at you.)
- Overall theme. (The mansion, the garden, the corridors, the coffin room, the throne room, and everything. The feeling that you were in a vampire manor and they welcomed you as guests, so they could feast upon your blood afterwards.)
- Animatronics. (The one popping out of a coffin really scared me. It looked like a demented deteriorated vampire. Also, the ghost thing flying up on the ceiling, also in the coffin room.)
- Too many corridors. (They were appropriate for the scare actors, but there weren't as many big rooms, so it felt like the maze was smaller than it was. Also, during my second visit, when there weren't as many scare actors, it felt like this was a hallway maze instead of an incredible vampire maze.)
* If you can believe it, that's my only possible complaint. This was an AWESOME maze.
My fourth-ever maze at Knott's Scary Farm. It's a returning maze from 2011, and I've seen walkthroughs of it for two years. I already knew what to expect, but I also knew that it would probably scare me out of my mind anyway. I was lucky to see it during both of my visits, like Dominion of the Damned, but unlike Dominion, I was terrified BOTH times. That's how strong of a maze it was this year. I was really impressed. They should make more mazes in this vein of common phobias and pure horror. I love how it doesn't rely so much on scare actors, but more on the surroundings and props. I also love how it didn't have much of a line, because it was behind Dominion of the Damned, so we were able to walk straight through it.
The facade is effectively creepy. What was weird was that the first time I visited, the facade wasn't animated. It was a giant fleshy mass with stationary eyeballs. The second time I visited, it was a giant fleshy mass with moving eyeballs and flickering lights. BIG DIFFERENCE. The idea is that you're walking into a living nightmare, through the jaws of horror itself. I'm really glad I read the backstory beforehand, because I got a lot more out of the maze, much like I did with Endgames. The maze concept is that you're entering into the mind of an insane woman, who is currently living in an asylum, who is recalling her horrific experiences from birth until death. A mysterious amount of her hauntings are due to her stepfather - but what he did to her is unknown. He is the giant fleshy mass of eyeballs that we walk into.
Delirium is a living monster. You walk into its jaws, and you see its throat. It's a second monster, complete with rows of teeth and a long wiggling tongue. It moves and shrieks as you walk past it. It's also overflowing with fog, so you can't fully see what IT is. Next, walking through its stomach lining, it's a gory mess of raw flesh, exposed blood vessels, and red tissue. It even has faces assimilated into it, as if it has digested people, which have become a part of its monstrosity. Venturing deeper into this monster, it gets very dark.
If you have claustrophobia, you will panic. There is a long dark tunnel that represents being born. I saw this in videos before, and thought that you'd be able to brush past this tunnel and easily pull the walls away from you. Oh, no. These walls squeeze against you, and it feels like you'll be stuck if you don't keep moving. Even if you aren't claustrophobic, that feeling is very unnerving. After being born, you even hear the cries of a newborn. It's really unsettling, because the background sound is a very loud heartbeat. The next hallway is covered with demented paintings, depicting grotesque and abstract human forms. Faces coming out of faces coming out of faces. It doesn't help that the walls are red. I recalled from old videos that there should've been creepy hanging heads in the next room. Instead, it's replaced with a giant prop. It looks like a giant column of flesh with faces assimilated into it. The column is spinning in dim lighting, so it's reminiscent of the monster's stomach lining. A very creepy effect. The next hallway is eerie even without scare actors. There are many torn red curtains, with large monster hands at the edges of the curtains, giving the idea that scare actors are supposed to pop out from here. It's terrifying even when they don't. It's even more terrifying that it sounds like the creepy voices in the back of your head are getting louder. Oh gosh, what do they want!?
The next room really freaked out my stepsister and I. There's a bed, and... what is that THING under the bed!? It looked like a rabbit, it looked like a corpse, it looked like a small half-furry animal. What is it!? I looked up maze walkthrough videos to have a look at it again (I never saw that in previous videos - is this a new prop?), and I still can't tell what it is. It almost looks like a rotting rooster head. Or a teddy bear. Or an amorphous blob. Whatever this thing is, it freaked us out, because we didn't know what it was. (Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.) The room after that was the cockroach room, where the woman's mom had died and her corpse was infested by cockroaches as she was decomposing. It was a traumatizing memory for her, perhaps even the brinking point of her insanity. There was an excellent scare actor, dressed up as a little girl, asking my stepsister if she was her mommy. The creepiest area for me was the bugs room. (That's weird, because I own Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Hmm.)
Of course, it is freaky to see a mannequin covered in bugs on the floor. I was walking over him, when suddenly he came to life and started thrashing. That made me jump. It was interesting how he only animated to life when I walked over him. (I was staring so intently, too. Gosh.) The giant six-foot maggot is here. What adds to the unsettling atmosphere is the fact that the corridors get so narrow, you can only walk through them single-file. I was holding on to my stepsister's hand, but now, I was walking up in front with my stepsisters both behind me. It didn't help that the scare actors were messing with us, and we couldn't grab onto the wall, because there were oversized three-foot BUGS on the walls. Their wings were spread out too, yech. I think I also saw a strange human-like bug that had a human head and four arm/finger projections. Maybe I was going insane. It didn't help that the next corridors were giant spider webs. I don't remember that either from previous videos - is this new? The giant spiders were creepy. The next room was just... WHAT?
Three large creatures. They were gory, with raw flesh, and strange shapes. They seemed to be knitting, I don't know if they were putting together or taking apart, small animals. I couldn't tell what those small animals were, but their entrails were getting all over the table. These larger creatures were frozen, not moving whatsoever. I'm not sure what they were doing. After passing that, there was another creepy corridor with paintings, and then... The eyeball tunnel. When you watch videos of it, it doesn't look scary. When you're actually walking through it, the strobe lights make it look like the eyeballs are actually FOLLOWING you. At the end of this tunnel, there's a scare actor with a giant four-foot tall mask. It looks like a skull with massive razor-sharp teeth. It's also wearing a red cloak. This thing made me freak out so bad, I couldn't look at it for very long. It's right there, in your face, STARING at you. The fact that it wasn't moving scared me more than if it actually moved. According to my stepsister, it jumped out at her. Oh my gosh. I would panic.
The retiring home is very creepy. It was much darker than I remembered it being in previous videos. I guess mostly because I saw the behind-the-scenes videos that showed these props in clear lighting. In the darkness, it's so much scarier. The television shows nothing but static, and it's the only source of light in this room. The mannequins are old people with demented faces, often with a black substance seeping out of the eyes and mouth, and the fact that they're only illuminated by tv light makes it creepy. Especially because you expect them to move, but they don't. It's that phobia of aging and dying. I believe that the last mannequin is the woman herself, because it's being totally engulfed by the black substance, which is coming out of the wall and personifying itself as death. (It has a really creepy face, similar to the massive skull with teeth mask that I mentioned earlier.)
The last room is the cult room, the fear of the occult and the afterlife. You walk into yet another set of jaws, this time, the jaws of death instead of the jaws of life. A giant face with red eyes, instead of a fleshy mass of eyeballs. There's a large sacrificial table covered with intestines, with a large skull presiding over it. There are large columns, and as you walk by, the hidden scare actors will jump out at you. At the end of this hallway of columns, there's the cultist, on the throne. Eerily staring at you as you walk closer and closer. The throne is made out of human bones, adorned with three skulls at the top. It's a very eerie and unsettling finale. At least Delirium has a true finale! (Unlike Endgames and Dominion of the Damned, where the finale is unclear and rather weak.)
- Core theme. (True to its name, this maze is a delirious journey through birth, life, death, and the afterlife.)
- Phobias. (It touches upon the fear of being eaten, the fear of enclosed spaces, the fear of insects, the fear of being watched, the fear of aging and dying, the fear of death itself, the fear of the occult, and the fear of the afterlife.)
- Design. (The surroundings are so creepy that even without scare actors, it's completely terrifying.)
- Scare actors. (Spot-on amazing. It's a tight maze, so they seem to jump out of where you wouldn't expect them to.)
- Disturbing themes. (A lot of the unknown. What's that under the bed? What are those creatures and what are they doing?)
- Gore. (So much of this maze looks like the walls are made of rotting flesh. The props are distorted and disturbing, as they should be.)
This was my fifth-ever maze at Knott's Scary Farm. I only saw it once during my first visit, and didn't have enough time to see it during my second visit. It's located near Silver Bullet, somewhere in the center of the park, away from the Ghost Town mazes (Trick Or Treat, Endgames, Dominion of the Damned, and Delirium). Unfortunately, to me, this was the weakest maze. It's brand-new, so I had no idea what to expect. It wasn't scary, it seemed random, and I had no idea what its story was. I've heard that it's an amazing experience if you actually know the backstory, which unfortunately, I don't. It had a short line, so I had the feeling it wasn't too popular.
I will admit that I really liked the soundtrack. It was a mix of western and hard rock. This maze is entirely outside, unlike the other four mazes I previously experienced. It did have some buildings to walk into, but for the most part, it was an open maze. It has a cemetary at the start, and then you walk into a little building, which has some scare actors. It's a little western shack, and it has a corpse sitting at a table. I have no idea why it was there. After that, we're outside again.
Next up, there was a crashed horse-drawn carriage. A body lie in the carriage, completely gored from the impact. There were some women screaming help. They were very convincing that they were afraid. Convincing enough that I wished I could help them out of whatever predicament they were in. I wasn't sure if they were witnesses of the accident (but then why would they be saying "help me"?) or if they were trapped in this little western town overrun by bandits. Walking back inside a series of caves, there was dripping water from the ceiling, but pretty much nothing inside. At the end, there were some bandits that jumped out, and they had little pistols.
We walked through the livestock pen. That made me jump a little, because the animatronic rabid dogs get SO CLOSE to your ankles. It's interesting how small these buildings are. You step inside, walk about ten steps, and you're back outside again. The saloon was interesting. It had some showgirls, a pianist, and some gamblers (one of them was a corpse). The general store was my favorite part in this maze. It was so good that I wished the rest of the maze could've been that unexpected. You walk inside the general store, which is stocked with a vast array of items, and then the store owner "shoots" you with an air gun. It made me jump. He shoots everyone that walks by. It was awesome.
Outside again, there's the gallows with an animatronic man struggling for a breath. There's also an executed person who had been recently beheaded. Law has gone astray in this town. Inside the prison, there are beheaded corpses behind bars. Hmm... Serving life sentences after death? Back outside again, we walk into town hall. This confused me so much. Why is there a giant horse animatronic inside town hall? (Was this a continuation of the carriage accident? That would be hilarious if it was true.) The large horse is the finale. It's a very unexpected and somewhat frightening finale, especially if you're creeped out by large animatronics.
- Scare actors. (Especially the women begging for help, because they're very convincing. I also like the general store owner. He liked shooting people.)
- Animatronics. (There's an abundance of them. Rabid dogs, dying men, and a giant horse.)
- Soundtrack. (Wild West!)
- Outside/Inside transition. (I love how most of this maze is outdoors, and the real action happens inside.)
- Getting shot at. (With an air gun.)
- What's happening!? (Is there a story?)
- Not scary. (It's like a history lesson if anything.)
- Inconsistencies. (Why is there a giant horse in town hall?)
- Name. (Why is this called Gunslinger's Grave?)
- Lots of long corridors. (Especially in the cave. Nothing happens in that cave.)
- More reliance on animatronics than scare actors. (Believe me, some of the animatronics are creepy. However, since you get a break from the surroundings while outside, it doesn't bring the same total immersion as Delirium.)
- Weak immersion. (Every time you go outside, you escape from the supposed fear that should be in the indoor sections, when something is actually happening.)
Okay, that's all for part one.
Part two will have my reviews and experiences of:
- Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse
- Black Magic
- Pinocchio Unstrung
- The Witch's Keep
- The Hanging 2013
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
good review can't wait to read more
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse:
This was my sixth-ever maze at Knott's Scary Farm, and definitely one of the most anticipated. I've seen maze videos online of Slaughterhouse since 2008 when it opened. After five consecutive years of watching how much they improved with this maze, with it going on its sixth year run, I've been so hyped to finally see the details of this beautiful maze in person. I was fortunate to see it during both of my visits. I remembered hearing about how difficult it was for some people to find this maze. However, I spotted it easily each time. From the entrance, go right, and it will be on the right. It's near Camp Snoopy. What's fun is that there are farm-boys, usually with dirt covering their faces, who are walking around and inviting us to Uncle Willy's Barbecue with a very alarming tone. As if they're hiding something. Hmm.
Walking past wooden architecture, the maze's opening scene begins with the Uncle Willy's Barbecue sign, featuring a demented cartoon pig wielding a large cleaver. There's a pick-up truck parked out front, perhaps it's Uncle Willy's or his star customer's vehicle. Usually there's a deranged employee, complete with a human flesh mask, ushering in unsuspecting victims - er, guests. Directly to the left, we actually enter into Uncle Willy's restaurant. This is really neat, because the original incarnation of the Slaughterhouse involved walking straight into the holding pens. This tells a more elaborate story. What's interesting about entering this restaurant is that there's a waitress at the front desk, trying to sell you a mysterious blood-red substance in a jar. Mystery meat. Looks delicious.
Walking past the numerous shelves lined up with blood-red jars, we enter into the actual restaurant, complete with tables, chairs, and booths. Something seems off, because one of the customers (a mannequin) is swooped up from his seat and sucked up into some large mechanical apparatus. Oh man, they took him, so if this is what I think it is... The mystery meat is human flesh. We enter the storage room at the back of the restaurant, which leads to the kitchen.
In this kitchen, there are struggling human animatronics, chained up and unable to free themselves. The subject of focus are the slices of human meat being heated up on multiple grills. Some of the scare actors are convincingly poking and prodding at these steaks, seeing if they're prepared for serving yet. What fascinated me is that even in that level of darkness, I could've sworn that there were oily bubbles forming under the meat, and that the meat itself had a very tender and realistic texture. I hate to sound cannibalistic, but it looked delicious. In the washroom area, it looks like one of the workers got lazy and left a hand stuck in the drain again, with the garbage disposal on. Oops, common mistake. Now that hand's just spinning round, and round, and round...
The washroom leads to a giant freezer where they keep the meat fresh. Of course, there are no animals in here - all the cadavers are human, either fully fleshed, or already cut into prime pieces. Most bodies have large slices of them taken out, exposing their inner muscles. No wonder they call it Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse. What's awesome is that several of the scare actors are holding on to mystery meat jars and showing it off to those walking by, showing the initial and final products.
The next room had some props I recognized from old videos! Specifically, the mannequin that lied dead, with a giant rotating fan or drill apparatus spinning through its chest. Next to it was another mannequin, sliced in half, yet being hung by its wrists. There are more props that look like clean-cut human remains. They're butchers - they've got to have class and know how to cut their meat. An interesting feature that reminds me of the defunct Doll Factory (that makes me so sad - I never got to see it) are the multiple conveyer belts, each hook having human body parts attached to it. I'm talking a hook through the head of an upper body corpse, a hook through the abdomen of an upside-down upper body corpse, a hook through the elbow of a severed arm, LOTS of beautiful pieces of gore.
On a table, there's a mangled corpse, where a scare actor is typically "eating" the intestines. It's a revolting, yet interesting sight. It doesn't help that the strange spindly objects hanging from the ceiling resemble intestines as well. There are lots of human scraps, and partially complete corpses, in this area, almost within reach. Yet the visual of it makes you want to keep away from it as far as possible. Down the next hallway, I found yet another familiar prop! It's a human animatronic being hung over a steaming vat of liquid, and it looks like their skin had been boiled off, down to the skeleton with little to no flesh left. Yet mysteriously, he retains his torn clothes. In old videos, he would be screaming in agony and pleading for his life, which is quite disturbing seeing that he no longer has a face. However, both times I walked past him, he was completely silent, with the exception of the sound of him restraining against the buckles.
It's unnerving to walk so close to spinning graters. If they can shave off thick carrot and potato skins, they can shave off human flesh at ease. That really creeps me out to walk so close to them. They're also familiar to me. Another familiar prop is the giant sausage-maker machine, which has warning sirens beeping as we walk by. I'm not familiar with the meat industry's procedures, so maybe there wasn't a malfunction going on. However, it was convincing that something was awry, because the machine wasn't producing more sausages - it was just rotating back and forth to the same positions. I will note that this prop looked MUCH larger in videos, yet I wasn't disappointed to see it in person. It looked awesome. I tend to wonder if too many humans got into the machine, so it jammed. Another interesting touch is that the nearby barrels are filled with sausages that look identical to the ones in the machine.
The next room is particularly gory as well. At this point, all that's left of the humans are their excess skin, so their hides have been hung up within reach. In fact, I had to brush past them to walk through, they were that much in the path. Oh gosh, their skin felt like leather. Also, there's a complete human being roasted above a fire, impaled by a spit. At Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse, humans are pigs. They're slaughtered, cut up, grinded, grated, skinned, roasted, and grilled just like pigs. A hilarious moment did happen in this particular room during my first visit. I was walking by with my stepsister, and she walked in front of me to get away from a particular butcher who had a human flesh mask. He was picking his mask's nose as she was walking by, and after she passed him, I saw him "flick" into her hair. I laughed so hard.
In the last area, the meat has been FDA approved (YEAH RIGHT) and packaged into large cardboard boxes, where they will be shipped across the nation. Hooray! Mind the boxes though, they might fall on your head. I really like that finale, because the Slaughterhouse has one of the best storylines out of all the mazes in Haunt this year. I think it's because it's the longest running maze, so they've really had time to work on improving the story. Originally, I remember being intrigued with Slaughterhouse in 2008, but it seemed like a high-gore, minimal-scare maze in its first incarnation. It involved walking into the Slaughterhouse, seeing the holding pens with crying women inside, getting into the bowels of the machinery, seeing gored corpses everywhere (they were almost never clean-cut), intestines hanging from the ceiling, skins lying about everywhere, and finally, it exited into a gift shop. (After all, in a theme park, every ride and maze ends with a gift shop.) I'm so impressed with its improvements. It went from a gross-out maze to a captivating high-gore/medium-scare maze. Its storyline is fantastic because it loops. What happens at the end is that you're seeing the meat in packages, and if you were to jump back into the entrance, you go to the restaurant where the packages are sent, and the cycle begins again! That's VERY impressive. It's the only maze at Haunt to have that awesome extra-special story touch. Great job, Slaughterhouse! I'll be very sad when you're gone.
- Story. (It has a very clear beginning, middle, and end. You go to a restaurant, you find out that the mystery meat is human flesh, you see it being packaged, and then you go back to the restaurant where it was packaged. AWESOME!)
- Gore. (It's safe to say that this is the goriest maze at Haunt right now. There are gore props in every maze, but Slaughterhouse loves going all out on it, and I think it's very effective for the story they're trying to tell.)
- Props. (They're life-sized, so the corpses are human-sized, the pick-up at front is a real vehicle, and the machines are factory-approved size. It makes the idea of this being a functional slaughterhouse very convincing.)
- Immersion. (It's great at it. It's definitely not as terrifying as Delirium, but it does give you that unsettling feeling, and yet the sight of grilling meat is so inviting. It's this strange attraction-deterrent relationship.)
- Short. (I know that the Slaughterhouse is no longer a new maze, so they've significantly decreased the space for it, so it's a 2 or 3 minute maze while others are easily 5 or 6 minutes. Yet with the small amount of space they had, this is VERY well done.)
- Lack of scares. (It's definitely a medium-scare maze. It's scarier than Gunslinger's Grave because of the props alone. High gore is unsettling, even to the most desensitized person on the planet. However, I did get scared a few times in this maze, just not as frequently as in other mazes. Let's just say that you don't expect the scare actors to lie WITH the corpses and come to life.)
This was my seventh-ever Knott's Scary Farm maze, and it easily ended up being my favorite maze of all time. I've had some various favorites in the past, even though I had never personally visited them. This one BEATS them all. It's brand-new this year, and it replaced Uncle Bobo's Big Top of the Bizarre. This made me sad, because I love clowns, and I was anticipating going to that one, and the maze before it, Klown Kollege. I was pleased to see that there were still clowns haunting Carnevil, so I wasn't completely disappointed that they didn't have their own maze. Nevertheless, Black Magic is far superior to Uncle Bobo's and Klown Kollege combined. It's better than everything else they have at Haunt this year. The only downside is the horrendous 2-hour line that sprawls across the Boardwalk. Unfortunately, I only saw it during my first visit, and had no time during my second visit, because of said horrendous line.
I was glad that I knew the backstory behind it, so that I could enjoy the maze more than if I had no idea what to expect. I knew that this maze was based on Harry Houdini. He already died, but through seances (which he actually did when he was alive), he's been brought back to the realm of the living once more. However, he rules over a group of dead magicians, who haunt the burning building he currently dwells in. This maze concept is golden, and its execution is absolutely brilliant and beautiful. I'd argue that it's one of the best mazes Haunt has ever had. I wouldn't say THE best, because I've only been to Haunt twice, and I probably need more years of experience to know what I'm talking about. (But I have been keeping up with it since 2007, even if I didn't personally visit it during those years.)
Black Magic has a unique feel to it. First off, it's the only maze to have a digitally projected mannequin face that can talk as the facade. In comparison, all other maze entrances are clever, but they fall short to this. Harry Houdini's porcelain doll-like face communicates, and then its eyes go blank as fire burns over it. The building is made of bricks, and the windows have fire visible behind them. Overall, this dramatic entrance can only mean that the interior contents are fantastic. I love how the entrance says "Houdini seance, tonight only", every night.
Walking through the red curtains, the first room has actual REAL posters of Harry Houdini, old-time advertisements. Just like typical advertisements in the past, they're flashy and have all-caps headlines. Up at the top of the balcony, there's a Houdini animatronic communicating with the audience as we walk by. He's above us, so most people missed him. I caught a glance of him though. What's also interesting about this room is that it features many dead magicians, hanging upside-down, wrapped in chains. AWESOME.
Following the theme of chains, the next room is an ultra-large cage, with a person stuck inside. It's reminiscent of Houdini's famous escape stunts, where he claimed that no cage, restraint, handcuffs, or trap could contain him. Unfortunately, the untrained magician inside is an amateur, so he can't free himself from a straightjacket. I noticed that the cage casts intriguing shadows in the wall. The next room seems to be a large area of Houdini merchandise. It contains a little Houdini doll inside a chest, another Houdini doll sitting on top of a bookshelf, and mysteriously, there's a corpse (the shopkeeper?) lying dead and un-maimed next to a giant rotating circular saw.
I loved the next room, because it made me have a nostalgic flashback of Delirium. A loud thumping heartbeat sounded in the background. Two bodies were impaled to walls covered in spikes. Right as I got to the end of it, the walls shook as if they were going to close again and impale me. That gave me a mini heart-attack. Well done! What made it more convincing and suspenseful was that at the beat of the heart, the red strobe lights were synced with the sound effects. That even made the walls seem like they were moving, even if they weren't.
The mirror room was incredible. These mirrors were typical of showgirls, and they were used while applying make-up. We walked by the mirrors and saw that they were ordinary. During that time, there was a girl with no face waving at us. Next to her was a showgirl putting on her make-up. She was normal from the back, but the mirror would suddenly flash and show that she truly had no face. It was an eerie effect, and it actually scared me the first time I saw it. The undead showgirls were fantastic, because even without faces, they were ready to put on a show. The theme of supernatural mirrors that showed more than just a reflection continued to expand. The following hallway was covered in mirrors.
In there, I saw the COOLEST prop I've ever seen anywhere, in my life. There was a mirror that seemed to project infinite cards, each one hanging by the ceiling from a string, and they went on and on into the distant, to no end. What was incredible about this illusion was that if you looked to the side where the cards should've been, there was a blank wall. If you looked down the mirror at any angle, there were infinite cards. AMAZING!!! This part was hilarious, because while my stepsister and I were entranced with this illusion, the large mirror pulled back and a scare actor jumped out, making us jump. That's a good effect. You don't expect a guy to pop out from behind a mirror, and the distracting illusion makes that scare super effective.
One of the best rooms is the water room. It contains multiple tanks connected to pumps, each one of these tanks filled with bubbling water. To the left, there's a large water tank. To my amazement, there was a scare actor INSIDE, bobbing about as if he was underwater but then breaking the effect by moving his arms normally as if he was in the air. WHAT!? It looked totally convincing, because the bubbles moved around him realistically, and the water didn't seem to be just on an inch of glass, but rather dispersed throughout the whole tank. I have no idea how they did that, but they just broke the borders of epic maze technology. Another cool effect was that the pipe leading out of that tank had REAL dripping water coming from it. I got wet. The boundaries of reality got shattered that day.
I was really looking forward to the next room, which would've involved a live magician performing in front of the maze audience. Unfortunately, when I went through, the magician was sluggishly hovering a cloth over a ball, and no magic was performed. I was only slightly disappointed, but not too badly, because I have a friend who's a magician who can probably perform 75% of what professionals perform. I could just ask him to show me a trick after Knott's. The following bunny room FREAKED ME OUT. There was a scare actor that had a scary bunny mask which made me cringe, and then I turned around there was a 6-foot-tall cackling bunny animatronic. Can anyone say "EEK"?
The next room had an awesome trick. There were two stages, and a walking lane between them. What would happen was that on one stage, a girl would pull a switch. She would walk through the curtain. Suddenly, she seemed to teleport to the opposite stage and walk through that curtain. I was impressed! And then as I was walking through the lane, she popped out from the back of the stage and gave me a heart attack. Mostly because like all showgirls, she had no face. There are loud electric hums buzzing through this room, reminding me of the real-life sounds a tesla coil makes. The next room was home to the professional knife-thrower. He's so good at throwing knives that he manages to completely impale victims at all vital spots. There's a stabbed corpse off to the corner. An impressive prop is a giant rotating wheel, with a corpse attached to it, staying in a very particular position because she was impaled to be that way. It's like morbid art.
Alas, the finale arrived. It had the grandeur of Trick Or Treat. Unfortunately, Harry Houdini wasn't hovering above us during the finale, but despite that, I still thought that the set-up made it superior to Trick Or Treat's finale. The center stage has these incredible fire effects. It looks like realistic fire, and yet it looks like fog or smoke. I have no idea how they did that, but it puffs up in flames. In this room, there are themes of animal masks, and there are more faceless showgirls and animal mask showgirls. The amount of red curtains in this room was grand and astounding. Even without the appropriate finale, I rate this maze...
- Finale. (I missed the Harry Houdini finale, but this maze has the BEST finale in the history of mazes. The giant stage with fog-like fire makes it incredible.)
- Optical illusions. (OH MY GOSH. A water tank with a scare actor in it, endless cards that could only be seen inside a mirror, a showgirl teleporting across the room, walls that seemed to be moving!)
- Magic tricks. (Even if nobody's performing professional magic tricks, this entire maze feels like one incredible magic trick. It empowers the imagination.)
- Scares. (A lot of really unexpected scares. A guy popping out from behind a mirror, a showgirl popping out from backstage, the walls jerking forward when you get to the end. Oh my gosh, my heart rushed.)
- Visual beauty. (This maze is visual eyecandy. It's low-gore, high-scare, and very beautiful. It relies on tricking your eyes, which will trick your mind, to the point you realize you have no idea how they did that.)
(I missed Harry Houdini himself, but that was just my bad timing. 10/10 ALL THE WAY!)
Unfortunately, that's all I can post for now. However, I will make a part three and continue my reviews, ratings, and comments. I love Haunt. I'm so sad that it's almost over, and I can't wait for it to be next year already. R.I.P. Haunt 2013.
Part three will have:
- Pinocchio Unstrung
- The Witch's Keep
- The Hanging 2013
I'm glad some of you enjoyed my double maze review! I take a lot of time describing the details, which means that posting it is lengthy, but hopefully the descriptions are worth the wait. Happy Halloween!
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
BTW, story for Gunslinger's Grave is that the gunslinger was hunted down and burned alive in his cabin while the whole town did nothing. (First room). His spirit then rises up, travels through the mines, and gets his revenge on the town by slaughtering them all. The horse is supposed to be his nightmarish horse (I guess the horse was burned in the fire too.)
An decent story to an okay maze. Knott's has enjoyed giving their mazes an interesting backstory, but they don't do a good job at getting that story across. Universal does a better job at this by having multiple actors in identical costumes representing the antagonist spirit coming for you at multiple points on your journey. Knott's does more kitchen sink scares of having the hallways filled with a variety of nameless monsters. One method gives you a strong story, the other gives you more time with scare actors doing environmental scares.
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
One thing I'd point out, on your Trick or Treat walkthrough, is that the Green Witch actually appears a few times throughout the maze. Her first official appearance is in the cauldron room, where she casts a spell that sets off some lighting effects at the entrance to the animal mask hallway. She then appears in the bedroom, but this appearance doesn't have much story other than you're in her bedroom.
I also thought this year was one of the best versions of Slaughterhouse. The condensed space allowed for a much more concise storyline, and allowed the designers to pack in as many scares as possible.
These reviews are great! Keep them up.
Re: Knott's Scary Farm Double Maze Review
May I add that Universal utilizes pre-digested (aka: familiar) characters from movies we've all seen? The ones at Knott's are original, the ones at Universal are predictable. We've seen them a thousand times before and they'll just keep hauling them out again and again. I give kudos to Knott's for originality and nothing to Universal for simply pounding that nail in over and over again.
Originally Posted by Professortango