Knott's Rehire Raises the Bar on "Scary"

You’d imagine that anybody willing to wake up at the crack of dawn on a hot summer weekday to audition as a scare-actor at Knott’s Berry Farm, especially the ones whom have already worked the event (some even for years) would be hired in a literal heartbeat correct?… WRONG! Creepyla was invited for the first of two audition dates to get an up close  look at these intense scare-actor auditions!

“We are a little bit nervous, but were gonna get through it, were all gonna come out alive!” exclaimed a giddy group of colorful vets. Returning maze monsters were invited back to reclaim their position in one of Knott’s 13 mazes.  They also had the exclusive opportunity to take it to the next level by auditioning for one of the coveted street monster positions, which is a viable upgrade for most working in a maze. While many auditioning love their spots in the mazes- many newbies and former street monsters were anxiously anticipating they’re shot at being able to work the street’s of haunt.

It’s a huge step from working in the mazes, not only do they have a shot at becoming an infamous haunt icon and hopefully get their own collectable playing cards one day ( Hello The Bride anybody?!), but they get the option to really step up and play with the guests as they enter the park. The scare-actors set the tone for the entire event. Being able to roam the fog ridden streets of Knott’s and engage, stalk, and shock guests is a dream come true for some of these young hopefull’s.

The best thing I overheard all day was an audition from a young man who declared his wife who normally auditions with him was home pregnant with a monster baby so he was auditioning for the both of them. 7 years, 3 years, 2 years, all these guys are in it for the long haul and would work the event all year if given the opportunity. ” It’s an amazing collaboration of people, It’s all the people you wonder what happened too after high school – they come here” laughed  returning vet Megan Miller.

” Energy, creativity, excitement- WOW us. Turn that switch on,  show us some excitement ! ” were some of the first words uttered to me by Knott’s head of Live Entertainment Craig Harreld when asked what he was looking forward to seeing during the first round of auditions. “That’s not gonna scare me”,  spoke Harreld while auditioning  3rd year vet Kelly Hall who was aiming for a street position in the CarnEvil scare zone, ” I walk in the park- your not gonna scare me…you need to scare me, you need to convince me your scary”. With almost 30 nights of operation, Knott’s really wants to see how much energy these actors have in them and how well they can take effectively take direction.

Not only is this another year of the event that literally defined the haunt industry, but it’s the 40th anniversary of Knott’s Scary Farm. Its a big deal. ” We’ve raised the bar in scare, we made sure there’s a scare in every single room, we just said what can we do to raise the bar? and we most certainly have” declares Haunt maze designer Brooke Walters. The 40th  definitely set the tone for auditions. Knott’s is really making a vast effort to show guests that Knott’s can be really scary. While I always love both Knott’s and it’s rival Universal during the month of October- they each have they’re pros and cons. Universal is know for its intense scares, Knott’s has sort of been known for its fun atmosphere and varied levels of scariness. Knott’s execs are completely aware of this notion and are cracking the whip this year to make sure the monsters are up to par with what’s really scary. The intensity and integrity given by management during these auditions is what really peaked my interest in what’s to come for the 40th. I think we’ll be experiencing some more intensity this year which I eagerly anticipate!

Check out the video and see a close up look at what it’s like to audition for Haunt. Open Calls to the public are monday Aug 6th. Unlike rehire where actors are all given positions, you will be sent home without a position if you fail to bring the scary and energy to the audition room. Good luck monsters!