Knott’s 46th season stays ahead of the pack with the most terrifying mazes and mysterious scare zones of any SoCal haunt. Bringing back the best of 2017, this Halloween haunt veteran turns up the terror with two all-new mazes to keep your pulse pounding.
THE DEPTHS (new) is a claustrophobic labyrinth of tunnels and tight spaces. It feels like an Indiana Jones adventure. The theme surrounds a port where ancient creatures lurk in subterranean caves by the shoreline. I won’t give away the secrets hiding in this one, but the final monster is a spectacular surprise.
DARK ENTITIES (new) is a sci-fi nightmare on a space station. A murderous alien mutation has invaded and is taking over the human inhabitants. The strength of this maze lies in the creative use of warning sounds and emergency lighting. The disorienting fog is beautifully lit with violent reds and flashing lasers which keep the dangers out of sight until they are upon you.
TRICK OR TREAT is a maze that has been through several incarnations at Knott’s. It’s current theme “Lights Out” debuted last year and is the best version that I’ve seen. Trick or Treating at the home of the Green Witch is even more fun when you search the Witch’s house using a faulty flashlight. These clever devices only show you what they want you to see, turning on and off and even changing to blacklight to reveal hidden writings on the wall. Wandering through a haunted house on Halloween night is even more fun with the lights out!
PARANORMAL INC is a walk through Hayden Hill, a haunted hospital, with the crew of a paranormal investigative TV show. As the spirits of tortured patients and demonic doctors awaken, the hospital comes alive with screams. The final scene for this maze has been redesigned to make it better than ever. I loved it!
INFECTED is one of the best mazes at any theme park. Armed with special laser guns, guests get to battle a zombie hoard for control of the city. The team at Knott’s has streamlined the entry process for this attraction and made it even faster to get through the line. This maze remains popular after several seasons in the lineup, so get in line early to make sure you don’t miss your chance to join the battle for humanity.
THE RED BARN is Knott’s contender in the gross-out gore fest category. Hillbillies and threatening farmers lurk in the barn with chickens and livestock. The final animal in this maze is a grotesque horse that is neither dead or alive. Your vegan friends might want to skip this one.
PUMPKIN EATER has incredible details and unnerving sensations in every room. The smell of pumpkin spice seeps through the walls. Long strands of pumpkin guts and seeds hang from the ceiling as the rotting gourds become infested with giant munching bugs. The sounds of critters crunching get louder as you wind through this long maze walking past creepy crawlers squirming along the path and blocking your way out.
DARK RIDE was my favorite new maze last year and it is still just as much fun. Enter an abandoned carnival ride where demented clowns and carnies have taken over. The ride cars are stopped on the tracks as the music plays… and these dark spirits lurk waiting to trap you in the sinister attraction forever.
SHADOW LANDS has been redesigned by eliminating the first room where the story of a warrior entering the afterlife begins. Instead of witnessing a samurai beheading, the maze now starts with a walk through the Suicide Forest. I miss the old opener, but as a popular maze, I do see that this new version speeds things along and keeps the line moving. The rest of the maze is just as beautiful and chilling as before and the attention to detail (from the Japanese paper wall dividers to the hanging kimonos used as room partitions) is unique and exciting.
This season brings three new shows to excite the crowds. Taking over since Elvira’s departure, the improv comedy act “HACKS!” is on the main stage. This show which relies heavily on audience involvement was lackluster with unwilling participants and a small audience opening night. I expect it will improve as the run goes on and audiences grow.
CONJURERS, MAGIC AND MIRTH is a magic and comedy show at the Birdcage Theater. This clever humorous show deserves a viewing. THE HANGING, SHHH… IT HAPPENS was amazing as usual. Poking fun at the idiots and numbskulls who pervaded pop culture in the past year, the audience roared with laughter when several hanging subjects were saved from the noose by even bigger buffoons.
KNOTT’S SCARY FARM continues to be the leader in Halloween fun welcoming millions of visitors over the past 46 years and constantly improving their attractions with innovation and thrills.