Knott's Scary Farm Announcement Event
On Thursday, August 29th, 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 19th - Saturday November 2nd. Tickets are on sale now at www.knotts.com or at the Knott's Berry Farm Box Office.
This year when we walked into the Charles M. Schulz Theater, we were a little surprised not to see monsters roaming the theater. Most years as soon as you step foot into the theater you are greeted by some of the scariest monsters Knott’s has to offer and it really sets the mood for the event. This year there were no monsters, no music and not a whole lot of energy in the theater. Instead there were staff members telling everyone to take their seats as quickly as they can and to please stay seated. This was a little disappointing and an odd choice for an event whose talented monsters are just as much of a must see as the mazes, scare zones and shows.
The stage looked great, with screens on either side of the theater showing people’s tweets and Instagram posts up until the event began. Given the strength of last year, we were hoping for a huge opening to the show to maybe explain for the lack of energy in the theater on this night. Unfortunately it fell a little flat for us.
After the opening number, Jeff Tucker took the stage to MC the event as he always does. We heard that Jeff had been under the weather all week for rehearsals, but you couldn’t tell once he took the stage as he has a way of keeping the audience engaged and focused for the entire 45 minutes. Overall the show wasn’t as strong as last year but fans still left the announcement event excited for Knott’s Scary Farm 2019. The overall lineup for this season is very strong and we are anxious to see what opening night brings.
The two new mazes for this year, Wax Works and Origins: The Curse of Calico seemed to get a lot more buzz than last year’s two new mazes, Dark Entities and The Depths. In our opinion we feel as though these two new mazes will be fan favorites as soon as the rope drops on opening night. “Wax Works” is from the twisted mind of Daniel Miller who has previously brought mazes such as the original Asylum (which in our opinion is the single greatest maze Knott’s has ever had), The Toothfairy, Pumpkin Eater and Malice in Wunderland, just to name a few. Origins is brought to life by the talented and highly sought-after Jon Cooke and his team who has previously designed fan favorites such as Paranormal Inc, Dark Ride, Infected and The Depths. The attention to detail including the lighting, sound, paint schemes and props will be top notch in both new mazes. We are definitely looking forward to both new mazes.
The two mazes that debuted in 2018, Dark Entities and The Depths and the two mazes that debuted in 2017, Dark Ride and Pumpkin Eater all return for another year at Knott’s Scary Farm. All 4 of these mazes are incredibly detailed, dark, and creepy throughout. Last year we favored Dark Entities a bit more over the other new maze The Depths, although the Depths did have some very cool rooms. We just felt as though the cohesiveness in Dark Entities was a bit stronger. Dark Ride and Pumpkin Eater continue to evolve each year and this year should be no different. We are expecting big things from all 4 mazes this year. Each should have some new surprises in store for guests and we can see all of these being around for several more years to come. We will definitely make several trips through each this Scary Farm season.
Shadow Lands and Special Ops: Infected both debuted in 2016, although Infected in some form has been around since 2014. Both have been hits since their debut however both are saying goodbye after this year’s Scary Farm. It is safe to say that both of these mazes will have long lines as fans flock to both to relive them one last time. It’ll be interesting to see if/what moves into Mystery Lodge next year. We will definitely be sad to see Shadow Lands go however we feel that it is time. Last year the maze wasn’t as strong as in year’s past which can happen over time with any maze. Hopefully this year is a strong one for Shadow Lands and it goes out with a bang.
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 except for the new ending last year (which we were huge fans of), but the detail remains strong year after year. This is year 5 for Paranormal and we are expecting big things from this maze again. We already know this maze will be returning next year for its 6th year which will make it one of Knott’s Scary Farm’s longest running mazes in history. We are looking forward to this maze again.
2019 Scare Zones
One thing that Knott's holds superior to all other events 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. There is nothing like walking through fog alley on a chilly October evening, barely being able to see 2 feet in front of you and knowing that monsters are stalking you from the dark.
Forsaken Lake debuted last year and was a hit and miss for us. The idea, theme and character talent are amazing, but the lighting, size and detail left something to be desired. This year, Forsaken Lake has been extended with new details being added and hopefully some more mood lighting. This still has the potential to become one of the best scare zones Knott's has ever produced. Some tweaks here and there and I think they will be on their way. We are really looking forward to spending some extra time in Forsaken Lake this year.
The Hollow replaced Necropolis in 2016 and has taken a bit of time for the zone to really take off. Last year we feel as though the Hollow finally hit its stride and we are looking forward to seeing the zone continue to evolve. The atmosphere and lighting have always been there. The biggest thing missing prior to last year was the talent. The characters and costume design are fantastic but up until last year each time we walked through this scare zone the number of talent on the streets of CS were few and far between. Last year the talent brought great energy and the area was always full of monsters.
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 in 2017 made for an uncomfortable confined space for both talent and guests. Last year, with construction complete, the clowns once again reigned over their territory and brought back some of that energy that had been lost since 2015. We are not terrified of clowns but when this zone is running on all cylinders it is one of the best zones at Knott’s.
Knott’s announced that this year, Hacks which was in the Charles M. Schultz Theater in 2018 has been replaced by Brian Henson’s Puppet Up. This is an uncensored puppet show that we are really excited about. So far, the excitement seems to be about 50/50. Some people can’t wait for this show, others are extremely underwhelmed. We don’t believe this show will fill the theater on a nightly basis, but we do think that as the Halloween season goes on, this show will gain popularity and end up being a pretty successful show for Knott’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. We have no idea who will be hung this year, but who ever they pick will definitely deserve it. Guess we will find out on September 19th.
Conjure, which debuted in 2018, features magicians from the popular show Masters of Illusions. This show will once again take place in the Birdcage Theater and we are hoping it is as good as it was last year. We are really looking forward to seeing new acts in this show and will probably see this several times throughout the season to see what different magicians perform. We are definitely excited to have the show back in the Birdcage. It is a great venue and there is no reason this show can’t hang around for several more years.
Awaken the Dead is coming back to Scary Farm for another season in Fiesta Village. We are still not excited for this nor will we ever be. This area deserves a full blown scare zone with proper lighting and theming. It needs a creepy atmosphere and scary music, we would also love to see a maze brought back into Fiesta Village. 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. We are still hoping 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 2019 Knott's Scary Farm Announcement Event