Haunt season is creeping up, and, with less than a month before opening night, Knott’s Berry Farm invited us to their special event, “Nightmares Revealed,” to see just what horrors await us when the gates of Scary Farm open on September 21.
The Calico Mine Stage was decked out in all sorts of spooky decor as Jeff Tucker took the stage with Leanna Vamp to announce this year’s offerings.
Knott’s confirmed the Timber Mountain Log Ride will be receiving its fan favorite “Halloween Hootenanny” overlay, and that the Calico Candy Mine Ride would also be returning.
Onto the Scare Zones…
Carnevil, Forsaken Lake, the Gore-ing ‘20s, and the legendary Ghost Town streets will be joined by a resurrected favorite from Scary Farm past: The Gauntlet. Originally debuting in the ‘90s, before it was replaced by Necropolis in 2010, The Gauntlet is modeled on a medieval kingdom, with a horrific twist.
“The Gauntlet has a completely different feel than the old [zone],” revealed Lori Lee, the costume designer of this new iteration. “It’s a dark, bleak land. There’s torture, there’s a lot more gore and blood, which is unusual for a scare zone.”
The zone will be populated by 60 actors portraying the King and Queen, the village priest, knights, sinister jesters, executioners, peasants and even a wizard.
Returning mazes for Knott’s 50th Anniversary Haunt include, Wax Works, The Depths, Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind, and last year’s headliner, The Grimoire.
Returning to the Wilderness Dance Hall, will be the fan favorite Origins: Curse of Calico, which delves into the lore of Haunt history and the witch Sara Marshall, who cursed the town of Calico.
Dark Entities will come back for its final year.
Bloodline: 1842, one of the new mazes from last season, also returns, but will drop the interactive Lazer Tag element that was originally incorporated into the attraction.
Now, what most fans have been eagerly awaiting, the time has come to announce the new mazes for Knott’s 50th Halloween Haunt.
First up, from designers Daniel Miller and Jon Cooke, is Cinema Slasher, taking over the Boardwalk Ballroom. You’ll find yourself inside a condemned movie theater attending a horror film triple feature based on former Haunt mazes: Trick or Treat, Slaughterhouse and Camp Gonnagetcha.
Miller promised this will be a bloody, high gore, violent slasher nightmare, inspired by the low-budget horror films of the 1970s and ‘80s. “It’s all set in a haunted movie theater on Halloween night, the last night the theater is open,” he said. “You’ll go through the movie screen and be transported into the scene you were just watching.”
Not only will guests enter the world of these horror films, they’ll also find themselves in other sections of the haunted theater. “I shouldn’t give too much away,” Daniel began, “but you’ll go into the projection room, where they store the film, and will enter other theaters to transition and slip in and out of each movie,” while also trying to escape the masked “Cinema Slasher” at every turn.
Tying into the well-received Gore-ing ‘20s scarezone is Room 13, residing in the arcade beneath Berry Tales.
Inside Room 13, you’re invited to check into the historic Argive Hotel and uncover the mystery of the Devil’s Elixir, a dangerously addictive cocktail that figures into the unsolved “Blind Tiger murders.”
“We’re taking the story we’ve had in the Gore-ing ‘20s and continuing that on into our brand new maze,” said Chris Do, producer of the new attraction. “This will take you behind the scenes to explore the origin of the Gore-ing ‘20s.”
The last of the three “new and terrifying” mazes coming to Halloween Haunt this year is The Chilling Chambers.
A callback to the very first Haunt maze that debuted in 1977, The Ten Chilling Chambers, this new attraction is a modern take on the old classic to celebrate 50 years of Knott’s Scary Farm. Hosted by “The Keeper,” a new character inspired by Sinister Seymour, original host of the Haunt, and advertised as “the ultimate Scary Farm tribute,” this maze is “sure to please anybody who has experienced the Haunt in the last 50 years,” said Haunt show writer, Ted Doughtery.
“We tried to hit on the favorites people have, but we didn’t want [the maze] to feel one note. We chose mazes in our history that had a before, and after in each genre, to celebrate them and their legacy,” said Gus Kruger, creative designer for The Chilling Chambers. The Underground, Doll Factory, the Asylum and many more of Knott’s most famous mazes will be recreated or reimagined for a modern audience in this living Scary Farm museum.
Returning to the Calico Mine Stage will be the hit show Le Magnifique Carnaval du Grotesque, featuring its collection of acrobats, circus acts and death-defying stunts.
Continuing the theme of resurrecting old classics for its 50th anniversary, Knott’s will bring back the demented Dr. Cleaver in his new show, Dr. Cleaver Returns, in the Bird Cage Theater.
Debuting at the Walter Knott Theater is a “50th anniversary tribute musical spectacular” called Music, Monsters and Mayhem. K.C. Gussler, director of the show, said it would bring to life the best mazes and entertainment in Haunt history, “taking you from the Doll Factory to the streets of Ghost Town—and even to the depths of Hell itself.” You’ll have three chances each night to catch a performance of this new show.
With more to be unveiled, presenters Jeff Tucker and Leanna Vamp announced the return of an old staple after a four-year hiatus.
The pop culture spoof, and former Haunt staple, The Hanging returns in The Hanging Uncanceled, promising to be “as irreverent, violent and offensive as ever before.” The new incarnation will take place in the enclosed Wagon Camp Theater by the main entrance of the park.
Knott’s also revealed a selection of exclusive merchandise for the 50th anniversary of Halloween Haunt.
Alongside the usual T-Shirts, hats and clothing items is the new Scare-opoly — a Knott’s Scary Farm-themed version of the Monopoly board game now available for purchase. Also available for purchase is a collectible 50th anniversary tiki mug, adorned with Easter eggs from the last 50 years of Haunt.
Also available for this year is a custom, light-up, ceramic figurine of The Conductor, Knott’s icon of the Ghost Town streets.
Two special pieces of merchandise that will have an impact on your Haunt experience also we’re revealed.
Inspired by The Conductor, the overlord of the Ghost Town streets, is “The Conductor’s Lantern.” For $39.99, you can purchase this light-up collectible that unlocks more than 100 interactions at this year’s event, including 50 in the mazes and 10 special experiences in the scare zones.
Nearly drowned out by a chorus of booing was the announcement of new “no-boo” necklaces. These items will let the monsters know not to approach you if wearing one. However, these will not keep you safe in the mazes.
All of these items and more will be available in the Legacy Store and Haunt Museum located near Ghostrider.
Food & Beverage
Knott’s has rolled out an impressive array of Haunt specific food and beverage items for guests to enjoy this Halloween season.
There is more than enough to please anyone looking for some sustenance or libations at this year’s event, from themed cocktails like the “Red Rum Runner” and the Gore-ing ‘20s tie-in, the “Devil’s Elixir,” to entrees such as the “Eerie Elk Chili Chambers Burger,” to sweets like the “Cinema Slasher Funnel Cake” and the “Dracula’s Bite” cookie.
Knott’s also announced some more returning up charge offerings for the year. The Very Important Monster tour, Boo-fet and season pass will all be back, as well as hotel packages from the Knott’s hotel.
That about wraps things up for this year’s coverage of Knott’s Scary Farm: Nightmares Revealed. Stay tuned to InsideUniversal.net for more updates, reviews and exclusives from all your favorite parks.
Until next time. See you in the fog…
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