Halloween Event Review: Knott’s Scary Farm 2014

By September 26, 2014
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Knott’s Scary Farm officially kicked off their 2014 season last night! This event has been really hit or miss the last few years, and this year was no different. While there were some great concepts and some clear heart put into this year’s event, there were a lot of things that missed the mark. Here’s a breakdown of some of the mazes, scarezones, shows, and rides that you can expect at Knott’s Scary Farm 2014:

Scarezones

This year, there were four Scarezones scattered throughout the park: Carnevil, Fiesta De Los Muertos, Gypsy Camp, and Ghost Town. The biggest problem I had was really the complete disregard of the importance of staying in character that most of the scareactors had. While I can’t say that every scareactor was bad, a fair majority completely missed the mark.

To clarify, when I say a scareactor was “bad” I don’t mean it in a cool, 1980s Michael Jackson way…I mean that they were just not all that great at scaring. That was what really detracted from the overall effect of the entire event. For instance, a scareactor in the Ghost Town scarezone was attempting to scare a couple by walking behind them on his knees, and shouts to them, “Hey! Can you slow down?” Not quite my idea of getting scared. Similarly, a scareactor in the Gypsy Camp scarezone was standing around talking to park patrons. Again, this detracts from the general “scariness” of the event and just seems unprofessional.

Knotts 3
Shows

For years Knott’s had a cornucopia of shows for guests to enjoy, but this year decided on only 2: Elvira’s Big Top, a variety show featuring The Mistress of the Dark herself, and The Hanging, a parody show.

I didn’t quite know what to expect from Elvira’s Big Top, other than boobs…and boob jokes, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re a fan of Elvira, as I am, this is definitely not to be missed. She’s wonderful and I can only hope I’ll look half as good as her when I’m 63! The show also featured performances by Brett Loudermilk, a sword swallower, and Bonnie Morgan, a contortionist, both of whom were really the highlights of the show. They were both incredible and highly entertaining. The Hanging is basically the same show it has been for years and years – a parody show. It’s not the fault of the performers, but this show just isn’t good. It’s not funny, despite how hard it tries.

Rides

Most of the rides are the regular day operation attractions, with the exception of The Witch’s Keep, which is basically just the Calico Mine Ride sprinkled with some party store decorations. I applaud the attempt, but Knott’s would be better off scrapping this altogether. It’s a nice concept, with some real promise if done right, but the plastic skeletons are just insulting.

Trick 1

Mazes

This year’s event featured 8 mazes (Black Magic, Dominion of the Damned, Pinocchio Unstrung, Forevermore, The Gunslinger’s Grave, Tooth Fairy, Trick or Treat, and Voodoo), both new and returning, as well as 2 special experiences (Trapped: Lock and Key, and Special Ops: Infected). A few of the mazes had a lot of promise with good ideas and some interesting props, but similarly to the issue with the scarezones, the scareactors were not effective. In general, the actors in the mazes were much better than those in the scarezones, and many of them were clearly putting a lot of effort into their scares, but a combination of bad timing and a general lack of places to conceal themselves created some less than stellar scaring opportunities. However, the sets were surprisingly impressive and even contained pieces that were grand in scale.

Without giving anything away about the individual mazes, I will say that my favorites were Trick or Treat and Forevermore. Both had interesting concepts with some impressive set pieces, and left me nodding my head and thinking, “Cool.” But I just wasn’t scared, and that is the whole point. It’s obvious that a lot of hard work and dedication is put into crafting the mazes, and it seems like a bigger budget would really allow for some greatness. It’s truly a shame that some of the scareactors degrade the overall experience because, like I mentioned, there were some really impressive visuals and beautifully designed mazes. But, because of the scareactor situation, Knott’s Scary Farm remains just…meh.

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Amanda Story

Amanda Story

Amanda is a GeekNation contributor who lives in Los Angeles.
  • Interesting. I thought Knotts blew Halloween Horror Nights out of the water this year.

  • Matthew Martinez

    The last three years, knotts has destroyed halloween horror nights.

  • Ross Pera

    I Disagree with the other two, It’s clear they have not been to the Knott’s Scarry Farm from back in the 90’s! This year was just terrible! Over packed mazes and skeleton key bull crap? really? trying to drain peoples pockets for every dime they could! this article is right on except one thing, You were way way way to nice. It’s clear that they cheeped out big time and purposely had less mazes so that they could bottle neck everyone with lines that take an hour to walk through a maze that’s 5 minutes long! which strong arms you into spending more money for the “fast pass” On top of that only one of the scare zones had fog!? the rest were barren as a damn dessert. I’m a veteran of Halloween Haunt, and this is not the Halloween Haunt we all used to know and love! it’s a complete disregard to all the badassness that made Halloween Haunt legendary. Please take it from me! It’s not worth the money this year. Save your money! if enough people hold out on paying all the extra fees for a lackluster experience they will straighten up their act stop mooching money and give us the experience we love and know!