The Granddaddy of All Haunts Retains the Title for 2018

Knott’s Scary Farm 2018

Knott’s Scary Farm returns for 2018 with an incredibly impressive line up of mazes, entertainment, food and much more! We had an absolute blast at this years event and will most likely only make it once because of our baby situation. But, none the less, we soaked up every second of Scary Farm that we could and can happily say this year is INCREDIBLE! Below you will find our thoughts on the mazes, scare zones, entertainment offerings, food and merchandise! You can also listen to us talk about it on our show! Click below!

Scare Zones

Ghost Town Streets

The classic, the original and the best! Nothing beats Ghost Town Streets! The once peaceful streets of Calico are now filled with Fog and swarming with ghoulish inhabitants ready to attack.

If you are a first timer at Scary Farm, the first thing you need to do is wander into Fog Alley (Main Street) and pray you don’t fall victim to these heinous creatures.

Carnevil

The clowns are back at The Boardwalk this year and they are better than they have ever been. There have been years in the past where we felt as though the scare zone needed to be changed.

But with the installation of Hangtime and it’s incredible lighting package, we don’t want them to leave!

The talent was on point, the music was fun and we saw so many people quivering in fear, which doesn’t always happen in this zone. Since this scare zone has been here for a long time, a change could happen soon. We could only hope that they try to keep it in the same vein as Carnevil because having some murderous clowns stalking guests is too damn fun.

The Hollow

Back again, The Hallow hits all the right beats as it did last year. Dark, atmospheric and awesome lighting.

The talent in the scare zone seemed to be much more energetic this year than last year, which we loved!

With regards to the decorations in the scare zone, we want to see more of those creepy cone faces! I want to see them line the entrance to the zone. It would an incredible visual statement when entering. Or even some jack-o-lanters in the trees.

Forsaken Lake

The newest scare zone to Scary Farm, Forsaken Lake had some big shoes to fill. We think it mostly filled them. The area that it encompasses is rather small, so the amount of monsters almost felt overwhelming at times, in the best way possible.

We loved the costume designs and make up design of the characters that inhabited the area. It made it feel unique and different from the rest of the scare zones at Scary Farm. The added set pieces through the zone really help flesh out the concept for the story, but we want way more! They are way to cool.

This zone also has show moments sporadically through the night. Although we didn’t get a chance to see it in person, we have seen many videos of it happening and we love it! Anything to break up the monotony of monsters just roaming in circles, especially when the zone is small, truly helps it feel like a well developed addition to the park.

Returning Mazes

Pumpkin Eater

“Escape the Pumpkin Eater’s wrath by navigating your way through the town of victims, facing a cave of crawling insects, and solving the labyrinth of thorns.”

Returning for it’s second year, Pumpkin Eater still packs just as much of a punch as it did last year! This maze invades all your senses and really makes your feel like it’s invading your space. Especially when walking through the sopping wet pumpkin innards…gross. The sound design alone in this maze will send shivers down your spine!

Not much has changed for this maze this year, but it is still a fun and chilling maze to experience. I would have loved to see a additions to the already fun ending. But they actually took away from the ending instead. I think the only true disappointment from this maze was how we were promised a new creature, but I never saw it. Even after two trips through. As we say, so many times, this could have been a timing situation. But I couldn’t help but feel disappointed when we didn’t see much change for the better.

Shadowlands

“Enter the hair-raising maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory.”

Always a favorite, Shadowlands did not disappoint this year and continues to surprise me with how scary it can be after being at Scary Farm for 3 years. Things were slightly switched up, since they got rid of the show moment at the very beginning. This slight change didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the beautifully constructed entrance to the maze. I actually get the most jump scares out of the entire maze in this entry portion. Although I am sad to see this opening moment gone, I’m more happy to know that it hasn’t affected the maze itself.

Out of all the returning mazes, this is the only maze that truly makes me feel as though there is a monster waiting around every single corner. When we went through, it was highly populated with a myriad of monsters waiting to take you to the Shadowlands!

If anything could be improved upon, it would be the ending. Not the high flying aerial stunts, because that is what sets it apart from the rest. But after that! Guests have their guards down after witnessing the jaw dropping finale, so much so that it’s a perfect time to hit them with one last scare. I’ve always felt that it was a missed opportunity. Even without it, this maze should not be missed.

Dark Ride

“Journey through an abandoned Carnival ride where cruel carny folk still linger. Venture down a treacherous path of sinister shadows and horrifying scenes.”

As great as ever, Dark Ride is back for a second year! And if you were anything like us, you went through this maze about… 100 times in 2017! Just as sinister and silly and twisted as ever, we can never get tired of taking a few more trips through this wonderful maze! This is one maze that I am extremely happy to report nothing has changed. We don’t want change for change sake.

We only want to see change if it will be an improvement upon what was already presented, but we truly feel that Dark Ride is a nearly perfect maze. The only major addition isn’t to the maze, but to the “facade”. I put it in quotations because it’s the front of the Boardwalk Ballroom and doesn’t have a true facade. But they did add to it faux ride sign, THE CASTLE OF CHAOS!

Black Ops: Infected

“Enlist and arm yourself and your squad with specially designed laser guns to embark on a mission of navigating through the city in a quest to find the cure.”

HEAD SHOTS ONLY! Infected is truly one of a kind! Where else do you get to play laser tag with a bunch of zombies?!?! That’s why it seems to be a fan favorite and has had so much staying power throughout the years. Each an every night of the event, this attractions has long waits. If you want to experience Infected, it’s best if you head straight to it. Since this attractions relies on a ton of talent, no two trips through this maze are ever quite the same and it is always just such a great adrenaline-filled good time.  If you get the right crew, they take it seriously and it can put you right into the middle of the zombie apocalypse with great acting.

There were a few minor tweaks to the maze this year, although we didn’t find them all to noticeable.

We would love to see this whole attraction get a total re-fresh from the bottom up! We love the actually idea of having something so drastically different as a maze, but think the theme could change. Maybe aliens?

 

Red Barn

“Race through a blood-soaked barn filled with gore that is home to a murderous farmer. Enter if you dare, for those who do, never escape.”

In it’s third (and possibly strongest) year to date, The Red Barn has majorly switched things up for the better. With a new entrance and new rooms right as you enter, the stage is set for a truly fun and sinister maze experience.

This year, Knott’s has included a barn facade…on their barn. As silly as this may sound, it makes a difference to us. Instead of a clean red barn, we see a torn down, dirty, and dingy facade of one. Above it stands a man with a microphone, professing to the groups of people about their fate. We LOVE this new set up to the maze because it sets up the maze perfectly with an ominous tone.

We do have to admit, we were never fans of this maze. We never thought it could live up to it’s potential, but this year proved us wrong. Something about the changes to the maze design, the actor placement and other minor changes really helped the over all experience. And did we mention the awesome addition of an actual chainsaw?! This put a smile on our faces, which was quickly extinguished as this crazy man attacked us with it!

Paranormal Inc.

“Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected through-out the mysterious halls while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.”

What can we say about Paranormal inc.? It’s been a fan favorite since it’s introduction to the event, and we love it too! It’s well thought out, it’s wonderfully inventive, it’s maze design is second to none and it is just so much DAMN fun!

This year Paranormal Inc. received some TLC in the form of an entirely revamped ending, and boy was it impressive! We may even like it better than the original ending!

We always thought that this maze fell off after it’s bubble wall portion. The story feel apart and the scares were really few and far between. But with it’s newly revamped ending, it almost makes us look at the maze entirely different. Since this maze has been here so many years, we would say you could skip out in order to check out the new mazes at Scary Farm. But with it’s new ending, this once again becomes a maze on the top of our lists.

Trick or Treat: Lights Out

“Scared of the dark? With only a faulty flashlight, face the terror of The Green Witch’s house completely in the dark.”

This maze holds a special place for many fans of Knott’s Scary Farm. Trick or Treat is currently one of the longest lasting maze in Scary Farm history. Since it’s creations, it been touted for it’s detailed maze design, fun characters and over all tone.  Taking such a simple concept and making it so twisted and demented is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine. It has been such a pleasure to see The Green Witch and her tricksters do their thing year after year. And the added suspense of going through this maze in the dark as Lights Out, for the past two years has only added to the suspense and thrills! That being said, not much really changed this year in Trick or Treat. Although this maze has been such an iconic favorite for the past several years, It might be time to see something new in that location next year. But similar to Infected, I want to see the technology stay and just change the theme. 

New Mazes

The Depths

“Find your way around ominous caverns to discover if the superstitions are true or not. But we warned, all who have entered have never resurfaced.”

The Depths (replacing Voodoo), while not overtly scary, succeeds in almost every other category. Designed by Jon Cooke (also designed Dark Ride, Infected and Shadowlands), The Depths transports guests with the use of beautiful set design and concurrent story.

Walking out of this maze, our jaws were dragging on the floor as we attempted to gather our thoughts. The maze design alone shows how far Scary Farm mazes have come. If you ever have a chance, go through this maze multiple times. It could give you a new appreciation for how well thought-out and meticulous the maze design truly is.

Now, like many Jon Cooke mazes, there is always one moment in the maze that is eye popping and just completely spectacular. Within The Depths, it is where we get to see an impressive animatronic Kraken take down a ship. You are then forced to enter the ship, which is still rocking back and forth as you come face to face with the Captain of the ship itself, a Davey Jones of sorts.

Dark Entities

“A realm where the darkness is absolute. A space station faces terror beyond all imagination as an extraterrestrial mutation is on the prowl for new hosts.”

A technical wonder, Dark Entities is the beginning of a whole new world…when it comes to lighting. Where Dark Entities sometimes lacks in maze design, it makes up for in lighting, atmosphere and great scare actors. I’ve never seen a maze in Scary Farm history treat lights the way this maze does.

ALL of the lighting used to create the over all ambiance of this maze is presented through panels on the walls, computers and other sources in the set design. All of the flashing lights really helps create a sense of urgency as you progress through the maze.

The story get’s some what muddled through the experience, but it never took away from my over all enjoyment of the experience.

Something that I love about this maze, in contrast to the other new maze (The Depths) is how different they are in maze design. The Depths has lots of bigger rooms with less tight corridors. But Dark Entities thrives in it’s ability to make guests peer around each and every corner. It revels in it’s claustrophobic nature and we love every second of it.

Entertainment and Experiences

We sound like a broken record every time we talk about Knott’s entertainment. It’s simply the best in So Cal! The amount and the variety are unmatched when factoring how much tickets cost.

It was only a matter of time before the quality and caliber of entertainment offerings made at other Knott’s events made their way to Scary Farm. Last year we got tastes of it, like in The Hallow. The continuing story through the night that would culminate in show moments. Even though small, it gave the scare zone a life of it’s own. We would even go to the extent of calling it another attraction on top of everything else offered.

This year, the people at Knott’s have doubled down on this sort of entertainment offering. Not publicized, not in the map show moments through the park. Little morsels of Scary Farm goodness to find through the night to keep people on their toes. Some of these moments include a processional in the new Forsaken Lake scare zone as well as dance numbers above the Saloon in Ghost Town. We are sure there were plenty more going on through the night, we simply didn’t have enough time to see it all!

One top of those, there are the major show offerings for Scary Farm. With the departure of Elvira, Scary Farm was able to grow their entertainment offerings for the season. Admittedly, we didn’t have time to see many of the entertainment offerings this year. There is just simply too much to do at the event. But we did get to see The Hanging because it is a quintessential part of the Scary Farm experience.

The Hanging – Shhh…It Happens

” A live stage show filed with special effects and high-flying stunts that is a no holds barred assault on pop culture’s most infamous moments of the year.” 

The Hanging is the show that never dies and we love it so much. The unadulterated verbal assault on pop culture figures of the year is just so damn fun. Through the year, we even mention situations we guess will appear in the show.

Each year can be hit and miss depending on the years events, which is totally understandable. Also, the older we get the less and less we feel like the show is tackling pop culture figures that we know prominently. Needless to say, the show is no longer targeting our demographic, which makes us sad because we are becoming old FARTS!

Although the show is always entertaining in ways and we are always excited with the choice at the end of the show; this year felt off. The show usually consists of a story line that is constantly being pushed while having little moments to take away from it for jokes or violence. The story felt very loose this year and ultimately felt like one big fight scene instead of sparingly using the fight scenes as eye candy. We can say without a shadow of a doubt that we are here for the jokes and the fights are the cherry on top of it all.

With that being said, we were very happy with the celebrity they hung at the end of the show. Everyone cheered for their death! In all honestly, no matter how poorly the show can be received, we will always be there to answer one questions…”GREAT CITIZENS OF CALICO…ARE YOU READY FOR A HANGING?!”

Hacks! Cutting Room Floor

“The unique and improvised comedy antics of “Hacks” uses audience participation and “B” rated horror films that will have you screaming with laughter.”

Conjurers: Magic and Mirth at the Birdcage Theater

“Award winning magicians and Fox’s “Masters of Illusion” regulars take the stage for a comedy and magic show that will amaze and amuse.”
Dana Daniels Performs Sept 20, 21, & 22

Taylor Hughes Performs Sept 27-30th

Chipper Lowell Performs during the month of October

“Awaken The Dead” Dance Party

“Awake the dead with the help of some of the most popular songs at this interactive dance party.”

Need a break from all the scares and mazes? Then head on over to fiesta village and jump right in to their Day of the Dead Dance Party! With a live DJ and dancing skeletons, this area is a lot of fun and we are so glad that it is back!

We know plenty of people who hated to see the Dia De Los Muertos scare zone leave Scary Farm. The argument being that there are now places to go at Scary Farm to hide. Let’s be honest, there were always places to go to escape the horror and by losing this one spot is by no means a hinderance on the event.

Time Zombies: VR Experience

“Travel back in time to the dark streets of London as you fend off hordes of the undead in this unique VR experience.”

We definitely recommend taking the time to go over to the arcade across from the Charles M. Schultz theater to check out this VR experience with a zombie overlay made especially for Scary Farm! In this experience, you are dropped onto the streets of London and it is up to you to fend off a hungry horde of Zombies! It is a very fun experience and definitely worth the slight fee to experience it! Nikki kept screaming her face off because the zombie do seem to come very close!

Bizarre Bazaar

“Inside the Bizarre Bazaar/Nautilus store, INTO THE FOG is an art show specially curated for Knott’s Scary Farm with nearly 40 pieces of original art.”

One thing that we were ecstatic to see come to Scary Farm this year was an art gallery dedicated to everything Haunt!!!!!! Head over to the Nautilus shop across the street from the Charles M. Schultz theater to take a look at all of the amazing artwork for sale this year. You may even be tempted to take home a few prints! We definitely did!

MERCH AND FOOD

The merchandise for this years Scary Farm is beyond amazing. The newest maze line up shirt is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. On top of that, this year, they have a line up of classic/vintage Scary Farm merchandise that you can find inside the Bazar Bazar by Iron Reef.

It’s actually embarrassing how much merchandise we bought this year! We had to get all the items that had the Scary Farm monsters on it! It was the first time that Knott’s has leaned into using the monsters that have made them famous over the years. I hope this is the start of a new trend for them because we would buy shirts with our favorite monsters on them from each and every scare zone.

With each event over the year, Knott’s has been putting in a ton of effort into providing specialty food offerings. Scary Farm is no different and some of these are mouth watering!

We personally love the additional food items during special events like Scary Farm because it helps make the event feel much more full. On top of that, it’s about the attention to EVERY aspect of the park (including food) that makes this event different than the rest! Next time you find yourself at Scary Farm, make sure to try these! They are to die for…

OVERALL

Knott’s Scary Farm 2018 is another strong year! So much entertainment your head will pop, incredibly detailed and fun new mazes, a vibrant new scare zone and much more.

The direction Scary Farm is headed is exciting! Lot’s of new additions and small changes that makes the park the attractions, instead of just a theme park with scary mazes. The park is completely covered and transforms when it becomes Knott’s Scary Farm. Do we think there is room for improvement? Of course! There will always be weak points and places to improve.

One in particular is how the two new mazes lacked facades. We aren’t sure if this happens to do with budgeting or if it’s the new way, but we miss the facades.

Yes both have themed entrances and The Depths has a massive Light House. It just doesn’t match the grandeur and impressive nature that facades like Trick or Treat, and Paranormal have currently.

In the big picture, this is something rather minuscule in nature and something only a nerd would complain about. But we are nerds for Scary Farm and always want to see it succeed and get better with each year. Which, Scary Farm has been on an upwards climb in recent years. If they continue to build upon their incredible entertainment line up, detailed mazes and wonderful scare actors Scary Farm has a bright future.

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