KNOTT’S SCARY FARM 2021: SCARE ZONE & SHOWS REVIEW

Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 is daunting in its wide variety of entertainment offerings. Not only are guests provided top tier mazes, but they get fleshed out scare zones and shows as well. Over the years, it seems as though Knott’s continues to pack its special events with a wide variety of entertainment options that can appease almost any type of audience and 2021 is no different. Let’s go over what Scary Farm has to offer in 2021, and our thoughts!

SCARE ZONES

Scare Zones are ubiquitous at Knott’s Scary Farm and because of their historic significance with regards to the park, we expect no less. For all those who may not know, the idea of a “scare zone” was accidentally created at the very first Halloween Haunt (Knott’s Scary Farm) when security couldn’t find the key to open up the peek ins for a monster, and they were forced to roam the streets instead! And the rest, as they say, was just history and every park around the world has scare zones! For us personally, Scary Farm has some of the best and top tier talent running amok inside of the many themed zones within its walls. That’s not to say other parks scare zones are bad, we just find the variety in tone and themes to be the best at Scary Farm.

The Hollows

From within the fog, Witches of the Hollow along, with their armies of creatures, have risen once again to battle with the Witch Hunter and terrorize guests among the haunted Halloween attractions.

Introduced in 2016, The Hollows was a much needed refresh to the Camp Snoopy scare zone. Wonderfully atmospheric and utilizing the soundtrack from The Witch; The Hollows really helps create a sense of tension throughout. A wide variety of characters run through the shadow filled area, which makes it incredibly difficult to discern who’s a monster and who’s a guest.

In addition to the typical decorations that are spread out in Camp Snoopy, it seems that the Spooky Farm decorations in Camp Snoopy were chosen specifically so they fit within both Scary Farm and Spooky Farm settings. We love this small additions because it helps flesh out the area even better.

In previous years, there was a story line that was happening throughout the night which even ended in the burning of a wicker man atop the rock hills. Not sure if that is still happening this year, but I did notice the story seemed to take a back seat this year.

CarnEvil

Knott’s Boardwalk is taken over by “CarnEVIL,” where the freak show is the main event and countless deviant clowns crave your undying attention.

I’ll be transparent, CarnEvil was never my favorite scare zone growing up in SoCal. I never found it scary nor did I spend too much time there. In the past 3-5 years, I’ve grown fond of these maniacal clowns and their crazy antics. CarnEvil lends a hearty serving of humor with its frights and we are here for it!

Although simultaneously funny and scary, CarnEvil helps balance out Scary Farm’s scare zone offerings and sets it apart from the rest. The non-stop high energy clowns really help create a sense of frenetic energy which is masterfully accompanied by over the top music.

If you find during a visit you need a rest, maybe try stopping in CarnEvil and watch the clowns do their thing…you won’t be disappointed.

Forsaken Lake

This unearthly scare zone is making its sinister return to the park, Forsaken Lake. Once again, the lake underneath Silver Bullet reveals the horrors and creatures it’s kept hidden, until now. Forsaken Lake will unleash gothic creatures, which have been ravaged by the dark and murky waters, as they wander their crypts preying on unsuspecting visitors among the Halloween attractions, looking for victims to drag back to their watery graves.

Introduced in 2018, Forsaken Lake filled a void that hadn’t been filled for many years. In comparison to it’s counterparts throughout the park, Forsaken Lake might seem a bit tame. But don’t let the lingering fog and slowly plotting monsters fool you. You’ll be lured into a false sense of security and really be given the shock of your life.

Forsaken Lake is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Unlike the other scare zones, there are plenty of props and buildings put into place to help set the tone. This year felt a bit light in terms of scare actors who inhabited the area, but thankfully the layout of Forsaken Lake helps it tremendously and makes it feel more populated than it truly is. If you find yourself in Forsaken Lake, you can inquire about when they will awake the dead. They might give you a hint on when to return to the scare zone to observe a ceremony you won’t soon forget!

Ghost Town

Ghost Town Streets is the original – and still most terrifying scare zone – that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog. Beware the notoriously startling Sliders who lunge from between the fog-filled haunted attraction.

Just the uttering of the name…GHOST TOWN…gives us goosebumps and gets us so excited. The older, the best, and the scariest scare zone around. Ghost Town Streets is where it started and for all us nerds, will conjure up images of fog, saturated with dark blues and purples, and shadows darting in the dark corners. We cannot gush more about Ghost Town.

Some of the events most iconic monsters live in Ghost Town’s fog, and trust us when we say they see you coming…but you’ll never see them. With each visit, we are constantly impressed and equally terrified of Ghost Town. The scare actors are simply the best in SoCal without a doubt. We always need to spend time, sitting on a bench, enjoying the fog and screams as a constant flow of guests traverse the fog.

The Gore-ing 20’s

Step back into the dark decadence of a by-gone era as the newest scare zone, The Gore-ing 20’s, terrorizes even the bravest and most brutal souls. Here gangsters run illicit hooch for the ghostly revelers as the otherworldly musicians play the music of the damned. Tell the Bouncer the secret password, and you’ll have the time of your life…for as long as it lasts.

Brand new for 2021, The Gore-ing 20’s harkens back to Knott’s Berry Farm past; referencing the long gone Roaring 20’s area of the park. Filled with flappers, paper boys, gangsters, bartenders, and party-goers; The Gore-ing 20’s feels like a magical mix of Ghost Town Alive and Scary Farm. Characters will approach you to tell you about “the devil’s elixer” and how you either need to try it or avoid it.

It’s really a blast to spend some time talking to the characters to understand the detailed story that is happening within the zone. It’s something we’ve never really had at Scary Farm before. Yes, we had the Witch Hunters in Forsaken Lake; but the detail and interactive nature of The Gore-ing 20’s is what sets itself apart from the rest.

Additionally, the sound design for the area is extremely haunting. But it transforms through the night with the help of a live jazz band and dancers. I never knew I needed this in my life until now! The jazz band brings new life to these near-dead wanderers of Memory Lane. While you’re busy enjoying the jazz music, the inhabitants of the scare zone have their eyes on you!

SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT

THE TIMBER MOUNTAIN LOG RIDE: HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY

Every year the citizens of Timber Mountain invite the mysterious creatures that live out in the woods and caverns of the area to join them as they celebrate the season at the Halloween Hootenanny. The ride’s interior features surprises as guests venture past the Calico Coffin Creeper Band, the town’s Green Witch, and splash down Skull Mountain through a labyrinth of jack-o-lanterns. This Halloween adventure is set around an original song performed by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.

The Timber Mountain Log Ride takes on a whole new personality during Halloween. While it’s the same during Spooky Farm and Scary Farm; having a traditional halloween themed attraction at a…halloween event just feels right.

Some people might be disappointed by it not being scary anymore; but it’s honestly a nice change of pace between the scares and shows. It also has an incredibly catchy theme song, by Krazy Kirk and the HIllbillies that you’ll be humming all night! It’s also always nice to see the now iconic skull back atop the mountain during the spooky season!

CALICO CANDY MINE TRAIN

Where do we start with the Calico Candy Mine Train…when we rode this…we were flabbergasted. At first we couldn’t really wrap our heads around it, but ended up loving it! This attraction changes from the traditional Mine Train adventure to see the Glory Hole transformed into a fun candy filled jaunt into the mines! Now, I really REALLY don’t want to spoil this attractions because it’s different during Spooky Farm and Scary Farm and really pulled the rug from underneath our feet. So, if you dare…venture into the Calico Candy Mine Train…but keep an eye on your kids while you do so.

CARNAVAL DU GROTESQUE

Grab a seat as the Halloween carnival show is about to begin! Your mind will melt at the sights and sounds of the Carnaval du Grotesque. Live bands provide the soundtrack for the creepiest company of performers to ever disgrace the stage.

Long gone is The Hanging and in its place is Carnaval Du Grotesque. This is very reminiscent of Knott’s Summer Nights and brings the same energy to Scary Farm but with 100% more side show acts. We aren’t particularly the type of people to stop and watch a band play, especially at Scary Farm. And we will admit that this type of entertainment isn’t really aimed at us. But it did seem to garner some attention from the younger crowd. Each time we passed by, we didn’t see anyone over the age of 30 watching the band play. The younger crowd is sucked in to dance and even some of the clowns from CarnEvil get in on the dancing as well.

While this may not be the best replacement for The Hanging, it does provide continuous entertainment throughout the night. Regardless if you’re stopping to watch or strolling through to your next maze.

CONJURERS – MAGIC AND MIRTH AT THE BIRDCAGE THEATRE

You won’t believe your eyes when our skilled Illusionist takes the stage in the heart of Calico. Get to the magic show early as seats have been known to vanish.

Who doesn’t like a bit of magic? Sit down for some close up magic by Johnny Ace Palmer (the act changes by the week). While we thoroughly enjoyed the show with it’s dad jokes and mystifying tricks, we can’t help to feel like it’s kind of out of place.

Conjurers, although fun, doesn’t really have much to do with Halloween. I guess you could make the same argument about Puppet Up; but in this particular case there really isn’t anything even halloween adjacent with the show. If the idea of magic will stay inside The Bird Cage, I’d love to see more “spooky” magicians take the stage that have an edge. First person that comes to mind is Mudd The Magnificent! Rude, crude, fast talking with even faster hands; Mudd brings the fun whimsy of magic with a bit of attitude perfect for Halloween.

DOCE DE LA NOCHE

The night comes alive at the stroke of midnight when our electric dance group takes the Fiesta Village stage. Dressed in colorful and vibrant colors, the lively dancers dazzle all with their moves set to high-energy music, which takes over all senses and has everyone dancing their feet off.

Instead of the typical DJ in Fiesta Village, we now have a high energy dance group (with calavera make up) that takes the stage! I actually really enjoyed the show and was wowed at the different types of dancing the group was capable of performing. There was also a good amount of physical comedy thrown into the mix as well, which always helps.

This feels like Scary Farm’s version of the Jabberwockeez show at Halloween Horror Nights, just on a much smaller scale. It’s a nice change of pace to the typical party atmosphere this area typically has.

INVITATION TO TERROR

Invitation to Terror is a digital illusion horror show which tells the story of Millionaire Tom Shackleford, who is set to unveil the secret project that he promises will change the world. Set in Calico 1986, guests are invited to the debut of Futuretronics, the world’s top technology creator, latest technological advancement. It’s going to be a killer Halloween party with plenty of terrifying surprises no one will ever see coming.

Every 20 minutes, you’re invited to witness the newest technology from Futuretronics to help the world find a new source of renewable energy. The Mystery Lodge is transformed into a 80’s themed show where we, as guests, get to witness some truly astounding discoveries.

We absolutely LOVED this show! From the overly excited Futuretronics employees (which feels slightly cultish) to the hysterical introduction of Tom Shackleford; Introduction to Terror hits all the right beats for us. The writing for the show is not only funny, but so well balanced. There’s this wonderful balancing of humor and scary that the show wonderfully executes. Not only that, there’s an almost rhythmic nature to the beats of the show that’s extremely satisfying as a viewer.

The only issue I’ve had with the show, is how different it’s been each time I’ve seen it. The Grand Finale has changed each time, for better or for worse. While each guest may not know this, they also don’t know there might be a better iteration of the show and have them leaving on a better note.


PUPPET UP! – UNCENSORED

Returning nightly to Knott’s Scary Farm for the 2021 season, Puppet Up! Uncensored is an outrageous, off–the–cuff live show featuring a combination of improvisational comedy and the magic of puppetry performed by a cast of world-class comedian puppeteers from The Jim Henson Company.

Created by legendary puppeteer and award-winning director Brian Henson and directed by Patrick Bristow (Ellen, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Puppet Up! – Uncensored is no ordinary puppet show. In true uncensored form, the content is driven by audience suggestions and participation, topped with the zany antics and naughty shenanigans of the colorful and brazen puppet cast. Puppet Up! – Uncensored will be performed three times each night at Knott’s Scary Farm and is intended for mature audiences.

Puppet Up is one of the best shows that Scary Farm has ever brought to the event. It’s irreverent humor is such a nice break from the all the scary entertainment outside the Walter Knott Theater. What’s great about Puppet Up, is that each show is completely different from the last because it’s improv. No show will have the same joke twice! I truly hope Scary Farm keeps Puppet Up around for a long time!

OVERALL

Each year, Scary Farm continually impresses us on how much they can pack into their event. Scary Farm presents the most spectacular lineup of entertainment in Southern California for Halloween. Not only is it sheer quantity, but it’s also quality. Each show brings a unique style, tone, and characteristics that make it stand out from the rest which really helps create a well rounded event. While you can easily just spend your time doing mazes, you can spend two or three nights at Scary Farm taking in all the wonderful entertainment they have to offer. You honestly might need that time, we haven’t even had a chance to experience it all! You can also do what we do, spend time in each scare zone and soak in the Halloween vibes!

If you want to buy tickets to
Knott’s Scary Farm, CLICK HERE!

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