Knott's Scary Farm Announcement Event
On Thursday, August 30th, Knott's Berry Farm held their annual Knott's Scary Farm announcement event for annual passholders and members of the media. This blog will feature our take on this year's announcement event and our thoughts on the upcoming Scary Farm season. Knott's Scary Farm runs select nights from Thursday September 20th - Wednesday October 31st. Tickets are on sale now at www.knotts.com or at the Knott's Berry Farm Box Office.
The Knott's Scary Farm Announcement Event keeps getting better each year. This year they kicked off the night with a solid song and dance production based on the new scare zone Forsaken Lake. The opening song which debuted at Midsummer Scream (www.midsummerscream.org) perfectly sets the mood, while lending a strong creepy tone to the choreography. Towards the end of the opening number a funeral procession made it's way down the center of the theater with several members carrying a coffin. Once placed in the middle of the stage the coffin opened up to reveal none other than Knott's own Jeff Tucker, our MC for the evening.
The two new mazes for this year, Dark Entities and The Depths didn't get the same buzz that last year's two new mazes got when they were first announced. In our opinion however, we feel as though these two new mazes might have the best first year since the Asylum debuted several years ago. The attention to detail including the lighting, sound, paint schemes and props will be top notch. What could make or break these mazes is the talent. But if the talent comes prepared and brings the energy, both these new mazes could battle each other for maze of the year.
The two new mazes from last year, Dark Ride and Pumpkin Eater debuted in 2017 to rave reviews. Both had tremendous attention to detail although both were very different. What made Dark Ride standout to us a little more was the talent. Their talent stayed energetic throughout the entire run where Pumpkin Eater's talent seemed to lose energy halfway through. We are expecting big things from both mazes this year. Dark Ride should build upon it's momentum from last year while Pumpkin eater is introducing 2 new characters in the maze and as long as the talent maintains its enthusiasm and energy from beginning to end, it will have a very successful year.
Shadow Lands and The Red Barn both debuted in 2016. Shadow Lands was an instant hit strengthened by great talent. The Red Barn in its initial year was very unnerving and really brought the sense that the backwoods could never be a safe place. We are excited for the major changes coming to this maze along with a new opening and several new scenes along the way. We believe that The Red Barn will have a strong 3rd year at the Farm. Looking forward to both mazes in 2018.
Paranormal Inc. has been one of the most popular mazes at Knott's Scary Farm since its debut in 2015. The story and layout haven't changed much but the detail remains strong year after year. This year they are promising a brand-new ending to which we are definitely looking forward to.
Special Ops Infected has had a long run spending it's first two years in the Camp Snoopy area before moving backstage to the Mystery Lodge area. This will be Infected's 3rd year in the Mystery Lodge area which is a fantastic location. This year they are promising more zombie's than ever before and a new boss finale. This should be another fun year for Infected however we would not be disappointed if this is it's final year.
Trick or Treat has been around for many years now and was really beginning to lose steam before changing things up last year by turning the lights out and providing guests with flashlights to navigate in the dark. This did give a little life back into the maze but in all honesty we feel as though this maze can say goodbye. The flashlight experience breathed a little new life into this maze last year but not enough to warrant another several years at the Farm. Hopefully Trick or Treat proves us wrong and we end up loving this maze again.
2018 Scare Zones
One thing that Knott's holds superior is its scare zones. Ghost Town is where it all started. The original scare zone is still the best. The atmosphere and the lighting are always on point and the characters are as unique as any other event around. The talent brings their own personalities to each character and no two characters are the same. Even the two pigs roaming Ghost Town have completely different personalities.
Forsaken Lake is the newest scare zone at Knott's Scary Farm. From the moment this zone was announced at Midsummer Scream there was a buzz in the air. This has the potential to become one of the best scare zones Knott's has ever produced. If the lighting, talent and guest interaction live up to the hype, Forsaken Lake might challenge Ghost Town as the top scare zone of the season. We are really looking forward to spending quite a bit of time in Forsaken Lake.
The Hollow replaced Necropolis in 2016. The concept was there as was the lighting, props and music. The biggest thing missing was the talent. The characters and costume design are fantastic but each time we walked through this scare zone on multiple nights, the number of talent on the streets of CS were few and far between. That said the talent that we did see stayed in character and brought great energy to the area they covered. This year we are hoping to see The Hollow reach it's full potential and be the badass scare zone we know it is.
Carnevil has been around for several years and seemed to peak around 2015. The talent that year was full of energy, had their own personalities, were creepy at times, funny at others. They really had it all. Over the last couple of years this zone has had some of the air sucked out of its balloons and struggled to find its rhythm and energy. The construction on Boardwalk made for an uncomfortable confined space for both talent and guests. Now that construction is complete we expect that the clowns will once again reign over their territory and show the park visitors how truly evil this Carnevil can be.
For several years Knott's Scary Farm was home to up to seven shows that ran several times a night. But around 2012, the same year they cut the maze lineup down to 8, they also cut the show lineup down to 2. The Hanging and whatever show was in the Charles Schultz Theater. When we found out that this year Knott's was going to have a total of 4 shows we were excited. We knew that Elvira had retired from doing shows and that last year was her final year performing at Knott's. This led to hope that Ed Alonzo would be returning to the Farm. Ed Alonzo always puts on a great show with fun magic and great humor and has a big enough following to fill the Charles Schultz Theater on a nightly basis. So I have to admit we were a bit underwhelmed when they announced the show lineup for this year's Scary Farm.
The Hanging in our opinion hasn't been as funny in past years but we’ll continue to keep an open mind. This year we do have hope being that there are so many social offenders that have been in the news over the last year that we can laugh at or with them. Our thought is that Harvey Weinstein will be the one hanged at the end, but we've been wrong before. He definitely deserves it though. Guess we will find out on September 20th.
Hacks was always a popular show back in the day and had a nice following but putting this show in the Charles Schultz Theater could be a misstep. Will it have the ability to fill the 2,000 seat theater on a nightly basis? We prefer the intimacy of the Birdcage Theater but Hacks may bring enough people into the Schultz Theater to warrant utilizing the large space.
Conjure is a completely new show that will feature magicians from the popular show Masters of Illusions. This show will take place in the Birdcage Theater and has the potential to be really good. We are really looking forward to this show and will probably see this several times throughout the season to see what different magicians perform. We are definitely excited to have a show back in the Birdcage. It is a great venue and there is no reason to keep the theater dark during Scary Farm.
Awaken the Dead is bringing a dance party back into Fiesta Village. This is the announcement we are least excited for. We never felt that the scare zone in Fiesta Village ever reached it's potential but bringing the dance party back is not the answer. It needs a more creepy atmosphere with better lighting, theming and scary music possibly even a maze again. There should be no safe place to hide at Scary Farm. Every inch of the park should be creepy and horrifying. The only thing scary about the dance party is the bad dancing being performed by some of the guests not to mention intoxicated idiots. We hope next year Knott's brings an actual scare zone back to Fiesta Village to showcase the stellar talent just waiting to terrorize unsuspecting guests.
Photos from the 2018 Knott's Scary Farm Announcement Event