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zombieman

Knotts Scary Farm 2018

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2 hours ago, DTH316 said:

I always think about doing these, but I always feel like they're about 20-30ish over what I'm willing to pay haha

 

For what you get, it's a better deal than if you bought it from the park.  And it's hard to put a price on the BTS tour.  But then again, maybe your typical visit would not include things like the Boo-fet (which is pretty damned good, BTW)

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The way I portion it out is like this:

- $42 ticket (I always go on an early October Thursday and that's just about as much I'm willing to pay to go to KSF these days)

- $10 meet and greet (I feel like this is a weird thing to put a price on... meeting someone... how much of their time do I get? Is it quality time? Will they be bombarded by others with questions? How's it work anyway? I wouldn't pay to hang out with a celebrity -- or maybe I would. I don't know)

- $15 backstage tour (add an extra $8 for each maze after that, if there's more than one)

- $20 Boo-fet

- $5 Early Entry (fairly unnecessary, even on crowded nights)

- $10 unlimited FOL (just not a necessity on Thursdays too)

- $8 unlimited rides (not what I'm there for, and this ain't too bad other than GR also)

- $5 piece of mind knowing I don't have to worry about much

That's what... $115 value? That's FOR ME, at least.

 

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I've updated the current announcements on the first page.

 

I'm AMAZED they are bringing back Trick or Treat yet again. 

They are touting that this year the flashlight will trigger things.

This is really nothing new (to me).  The flashlight always responded to being in proximity of a sensor, so as to make it flash, change color, turn off, etc.

This is really just the sensor trigger something as well.

 

I mean, the flashlight always acted as a trigger for monsters. So I guess why not trigger something else?  Since there a steady stream of flashlights, I don't see what the point is.

 

 

Hoping they will spill all the beans of the new houses at Scare LA

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4 hours ago, zombieman said:

Hoping they will spill all the beans of the new houses at Scare LA

 

You can hope, but it'll never happen as they always reveal any remaining new announcements during their main AP presentation later this month. (MSS has become their go-to for announcing a couple things, but I don't recall Knott's revealing anything new during Scare LA the past couple years and I don't see that changing.)

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4 minutes ago, Tobias said:

 

You can hope, but it'll never happen as they always reveal any remaining new announcements during their main AP presentation later this month. (MSS has become their go-to for announcing a couple things, but I don't recall Knott's revealing anything new during Scare LA the past couple years and I don't see that changing.)

 

I guess you are right.  So many presentations I've been to for this type of stuff and it all gets muddled.  I do recall attending some non-AP events where Knotts presented some new Haunt stuff for that year.  For some reason Scare LA sticks in my mind for the Dominion of the Damned announcement and when the Skeleton key was announced. 

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3 minutes ago, zombieman said:

 

I guess you are right.  So many presentations I've been to for this type of stuff and it all gets muddled.  I do recall attending some non-AP events where Knotts presented some new Haunt stuff for that year.  For some reason Scare LA sticks in my mind for the Dominion of the Damned announcement and when the Skeleton key was announced. 

 

I know Dominion of the Dead/Damned was announced during West Coast Bash back in 2012. SK might have been announced back at a Scare LA, but at this point any announcements is during MSS and the AP event.

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Just announced for ANOTHER year...

 

The Red Barn returns to #ScaryFarm this year with terrors waiting for you behind every blood-soaked corner. Do you dare enter?

U7gYtsp.jpg

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Knott's Scary Farm maze live feed video announcement was pretty disappointing, they're too cheap to pay for more bandwidth and their live feed of the announcement crashed.

 

Two new mazes consist of recycling and combining old maze concepts:

 

Dark Entities (Alien Attack meets Fallout Shelter)

The Depths (Dead Man's Wharf meets Cavern of Lost Souls)

 

https://www.knotts.com/play/scary-farm/attractions

 

Not sure why one of the top ten theme parks in North America (by attendance) needs to cut costs. They already lost their head designer to Queen Mary, def need to get their sh2t together.

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, DTH316 said:

Definitely skipping this year. Just not enough new content.

I would argue that we're getting more new content than we did last year. A new scare zone, 2 new houses, 2 new shows, and a dance party zone. That's not even including the fact that Hangtime has a new lighting package, Silver Bullet will be operating, and the VR game will have an overlay.

 

I think Dark Entities is a bit familiar but the sets and lighting package sounds AMAZING. The most they've ever done with lighting was 180 in Dark Ride and this one will have over 1200? That sounds like a permanent attraction level of lights.

I'm personally more excited for The Depths due to it being a Jon Cooke house (yes, he's still a creative consultant at Knott's) especially with the clearly Lovecraftian-inspired concept.

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I remember a time there was a scarezone there already, called The Swamp, so that entices me none.

2 mazes for KSF is as exciting as one HHN maze, for me.

I don't really watch the shows. I liked Hacks back in the day, but that definitely won't get me in the park.

They've always had a DJ in Fiesta Village. At least every night I've ever gone, kiisFM or some radio station has been there.

I do really want to ride Hangtime, still need to do that.

Silver Bullet was operating last year, to my knowledge? I think it was Xcelerator that was out and had me sad. Silver Bullet is just okay to me, just makes me want to go on Batman.

And definitely won't be doing the VR.

 

Great thing about Knotts is everything touted as new this year will still be there next year. And all the old, boring stuff will be replaced by something even newer.

Next year, I'm hoping ToT, Red Barn, Hootenany, and Shadowlands are replaced, and either Special Ops or Paranormal Inc need to go or be given a new gimmick. Which should be loooooads of new content.

 

I just can't bring myself to go through their older and getting more and more tired mazes again. Last year, some of the older ones were wearing thin and it was a drag to go through them (Tooth Fairy), including a newer one (Red Barn, uggggh) and their newest, hottest attraction was just meh to me (Dark Ride). I'd only really be there for Dark Entities, Depths, and Pumpkineater. I don't want to see the slow death of old favorites like Shadowlands, Paranormal Inc, or Special Ops. It's just depressing the way Knotts treats their mazes older than 2 years old sometimes.

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Although I do agree that this year does have a decent amount of new content, it is a sad fact that you could skip this year (and the next two years) and not miss anything new, other than the content of The Hanging.

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I just YouTube the Hanging now. I used to love it when I first started going, but now that I'm older, my feet and back hurt way too much to stand there for 30-60 minutes. If anything, I'm constantly looking for places to sit lol and since the concept of a hanging is to have spectators stand and watch, I can't necessarily wish they provide seating either as that defeats theming (also practicality, for that area). Now that I think about it, I keep forgetting they moved the stage and that vantage point just doesn't feel like The Hanging to me anymore, which probably doesn't help my desire to see it anymore either

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1 hour ago, DTH316 said:

I just YouTube the Hanging now. I used to love it when I first started going, but now that I'm older, my feet and back hurt way too much to stand there for 30-60 minutes. If anything, I'm constantly looking for places to sit lol and since the concept of a hanging is to have spectators stand and watch, I can't necessarily wish they provide seating either as that defeats theming (also practicality, for that area). Now that I think about it, I keep forgetting they moved the stage and that vantage point just doesn't feel like The Hanging to me anymore, which probably doesn't help my desire to see it anymore either

I quite literally feel your pain.  Standing around has made a lot of haunt experiences less fun for me.  I used to like the houses where you had to stoop or crawl.  Now I say "jeez, you have another way?"

And I don't know about you, but I recognize about 30% of the references at The Hanging anymore...  So few kids today would recognize anything from the Hangings we grew up watching.  Damned kids...

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I work at a college, so I'm usually up to date with a lot of references, but usually I hear about them a week or two after they happened. Like Yodel Kid, I was like... wtf do you mean there's just a kid who yodels in Walmart? That's just a thing?! And now he's famous?!

I think it also has to do with where these viral things are found, website-wise, are just places kids are going and I don't know about anymore. Like maybe tumblr or something, or whatever they're using these days.

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Both of the new houses got very good reviews by Dusty from MiceChat.  They went through with several people including vets and newbies.

According to them the new houses were better than they had expected, but not to the level of Dark Ride, which remains in a class by itself.

They said that Shadowlands has lost it's first scene and the last scene was neutered.  I don't understand what removing scenes saves them, unless maybe the props were broken beyond reasonable repair.

Red Barn was at the bottom of everyone's list, and Special ops not far above that.

And Ghost Town VR got a haunt overlay - baddies replaced with zombies

I'll be going in four days.

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Oh wow, just realized nobody posted in here. Sorry that y'all were left hanging. Here's my non-spoiler thoughts I left in another forum:

 

Decided to give the videos a watch since I'm not going this year, will only comment on the new things. Again, these are on the videos and not based on actually being there:

- The Depths looks like your typical KSF maze. The set design is elaborate and detailed BUT doesn't look realistic. Has all those round edges like you're walking through a cartoon instead of a real place. I don't know what that's called, as I'm not an artist, but this is the one thing that takes me out of the element in every KSF maze. [Disney does these on purpose in something like ToonTown, but can also provide a realism aesthetic for their more grown up fare, while Universal mostly employs this, even on stuff like the Despicable Me zone.] Also, it seems low on scares, but provides a great environment and mood. I guess that's the shame, for me, is they have all this dread and dark tone to work with and it's simply just people shouting in corners or in very noticeable hiding spots slamming their hands against the wall. A couple cool puppets but again, like every KSF maze, gets super random and far beyond unrealistic by the time you reach the climax of the maze. I just feel like the creators have no restraint, which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending how far they go.
B-

- Dark Entities looks AMAZING, definitely one of the absolute best mazes they've ever done, probably in the top 5 for me, I just love aliens and stuff like that. The sets look far more in the tone of realism and there's freakin' robots, man, what's not to love? The lighting in this house is bar none the best work they've ever done, that's for sure, and fully immerses you into the scare. The monsters look a little stupid, but oh well, what are ya gonna do, at least they finally got some realistic dead mannequins. Also looks like there's a lot of interactive elements that play on your senses and some creative scares. Everyone in the maze seems to be providing something towards the story and the finale doesn't go too overboard. However, I do wish the finale room and climax had a bigger "oh crap" moment. I gotta say I'm very impressed with that one and can't wait to go through it next year.
A+

- Paranormal Inc's new ending looks like it starts off promising but then it does nothing with that premise at all and just resorts to the ending it always had. I think I prefer the old ending from a scary standpoint, BUT I do like this one more from a storytelling standpoint. It's a toss up. I do want to comment that this maze is still rocking after all these years and I find that to be pretty amazing. Usually there's a lot of stuff broken or getting lazy with by now, but they're still all playing their part to make this a great maze. Maybe they could be more aggressive, it also was the first night, so who knows, but this is still way better at this many years in than it has any right to be! I think this has one more year left in it.
A-

- Shadowlands' new opening scene is preferable, in my opinion. I never thought the pre-shows worked and I'd rather it just get started and I think the new room is pretty beautiful. The rest of the maze still looks in top form, although I think this should probably be it's last year as something about it seems a bit more tired than usual. It's not something they could easily rebrand, like Paranormal Inc could easily be something different, but this will always be Shadowlands.
B

- The Red Barn... *sigh*, ya know I do like the new barker out front, good idea. It doesn't add much, but at least it's something. The rest... WHY OH WHY is this still around? It was garbage the first year and still is. Didn't see much that was new. Heard a few reports saying it looked unfinished... uh, no, this is how this maze has always been, just pure junk. Boring, bland, derivative, unscary and tiresome with an annoying soundtrack and annoying characters. Nobody has liked this maze, ever. So how has it even lasted 3 years? They should've buried it deep after year one and pretended it never happened like a few other KSF mazes. It's so sad that they keep this up, too, each year trying to give it new life of some sort. JUST STOP!
F

- Special Ops' new ending is pretty underwhelming. There isn't much to get excited about, unfortunately. However, the experience as a whole is still pretty cool and novel. I still say this is the most fun you'll probably ever have at a Haunt. And it looks like there's more zombies than ever. This needs to be rebranded completely. I definitely want the idea to stay, but the maze needs to go next year.
B+

- Trick or Treat was supposed to have new scares triggered by the light? Didn't see any. Look, I loved this maze when it debuted so many years ago, but this is now ridiculous. It's the same maze, and the flashlight gimmick is fun and all, but just end it. I feel like every year it just gets further and further away from it's original point of the whole Green Witch and Tricksters stuff also. I'll be sad to see it go, but it's time.
C

From what I can tell, they have better maze signs this year to tell you where the line starts AND how long the line is. How accurate that is is probably a whole different story but I'm glad to see they're trying.

Overall, I'm not too sad not to go this year. Looks like the same thing. One really good new maze, one super overrated new maze, last year's new mazes still good but not quite as good as before, some great classics, some old classics dwindling into sadness, and some old crappy mazes that just keep coming back -- this is the same thing year after year. For $42, you'll definitely get your money's worth especially if you hit some rides, but man, KSF sure needs to change things up."

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Good review!  I have a feeling I will end up agreeing with you on most or all of these.  How was the Canoe maze? (don't know if you'll get that reference)

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Oh man, I make sure to do the secret VIP mazes every year, didn't know we could talk about them here ;)

Alright everyone, be on the lookout for the secret mazes. There's 3-5 of them most years and only for those willing to seek them out. You gotta 1) find them 2) know the secret password.

The Canoe maze, the Yeti maze, and the Pirate maze are the longest running "VIP mazes." You won't see them on Youtube. Granted they are short, but probably the scariest 2 or 3 rooms you'll go through at KSF.

Let us know if you find them!

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I guess this is the first official review for 2018 by someone who actually went.

 

I went 9/29 as part of the Micechat event, which included daytime tours of two mazes, and a panel discussion.

The two mazes were Pumpkineater and Dark Ride, with unlimited pictures allowed throughout.

 

Dark Ride was shocking.  I went through that at least six times last year, and it seemed like such a long maze, and so massive at the time.  There is a point near the end where you see the same set from at least two angles, which makes the maze seem much larger than it is.  Yet in the lights on tour it looked so small.  The maze seemed so short.  This is not a knock on the house - anything but.  It goes to show how lighting and sound can make things seem so much larger and dramatic.  I also learned that the entire floor was built up and leveled.  This was not the case for some of the last houses in that theater.  The dark ride track on the floor is actually strips of metal.  Last year I was convinced it was some sort of shiny grip tape.  On the wall in the maintenance room is the actual floorplan for the Dark Ride maze.  I was able to take some excellent photos of it.

 

Pumpkineater seemed larger and longer during the lights on tour.  I was surprised at the level of detail that is missed at night.  They put a lot into this house.

 

The panel discussion had Garner Holt, who does so many of the animatronics for parks around the world.  Also present was John Waite, who was on the team that designed the original 1973 haunt, and 11 since.  

 

 

Now, for the haunt! 

The crowds were medium.  Wait times swelled to an hour+, so the Fright Lane pass is really a must for a weekend trip.  Fright Lane wait times were pretty much walk on.

 

Trick or Treat (B-): Surprisingly, this was good.  By no means a must-see.  The flashlights are programmed to flicker throughout most of the house, so it gives you a chance to shine them everywhere.  And when you take the time to do that, the house really works well.  It sure is time for this one to go. 

 

Paranormal (A): The first scene has been greatly abbreviated.  Big time.  Also for my run most of the projection effects were not working.  There was a scene in the middle of the house where the actors was pulled up into a shaft by an unknown force - not sure if that's happening anymore but it wasn't during my run.  However, there is a big surprise ending that I think works great.  If the projections and the shaft scare was still there, would have been an A+.

 

Pumpkineater (B+): I liked this better than last year.  The lights on walkthru gave me a better appreciation of it.  An all around good house.

 

Shadowlands (B-): I loved this house in its first year.  As did Black Magic in it's follow up years, this has lost a bit of shine.  There's some new things at the end to freshen it up.

 

Special Ops (C-): Same old same old.  Time to go.

 

Red Barn (D-): Really time for this to go.  It was just OK from the start.  Has always felt like a mashup of Cornstalkers & Slaughterhouse.

 

Dark Ride (A++): Still as good as ever.

 

Dark Entities (B+): This was by no means a bad house, it's clearly liked by many people.  It just doesn't do much for me.  It's so far and away better than past alien-type houses at Knotts, but nowhere near the quality of Depths or Dark Ride or Paranormal.  The sets are beautiful - all built from wood.  The story is easy to follow.  The teleportation to and from the ship is well done.  It's the first time I can remember Knotts doing a house where the end is a variation of the start.  Aside form those good things, it's a one trick pony, with not much variation.  

 

The Depths (A++):  Wow!  This one has everything, plus the kitchen sink.  I cannot mention anything without giving away huge spoilers.  Suffice it to say there are things in this one that you haven't seen at Knotts before.  One I have not seen anywhere, and I've been to so many haunts around the country.  There are also several memorable effects from past years brought back here.  It's a LONG house and has several themes going on.  This may be the best house Knotts has ever done, and that's saying a lot.

 

 

The shows:

The Hanging once again made fun of PC, and this year wisely had zero political commentary.  The female hangman is gone.  Language was surprisingly uncensored.  S-bombs abound and it's the first year I remember the C-word being used (slightly covered by a British accent).  There were gasps from females in the audience... While it wasn't a great show, it's still so important to me that this type of show remain, and as offensive as ever.  Three people were in the noose, but only one hanged.

 

Hacks took over the big theater.  And I don't get it.  The headliner theater had an improv troupe.  Really.  We went from a huge production show in one form or another to an improv troupe.  Is the show good?  It's ok.  But nothing you can't see at any $8 improv show near you.  There was no reason this couldn't have been in the Birdcage Theater or smaller venue. 

 

There was a magic show in the Birdcage Theater.  This was very good.  Although they advertise three names, there is only one performer.  Which one depends on what week you are attending.  These are not big stage shows, so no vanishing of animals.  This is comedy parlor magic, and it impressed the packed audience.  I think this is the best of all the shows being offered.

 

 

Overall:

With Hang Time being part of the ride offerings, this was a very good year.  Knotts house quality has never been higher.  In my opinion, we have the three best houses of all time, all in the same year: Dark Ride, Depths, and Paranormal.  If they next year replaced Trick or Treat, Red Barn and Special ops with things near that quality.....jeez.  The shows have stumbled a bit.  I hope they can get something solid into the big theater next year, because Hacks doesn't hack it. 

 

So let me take a step back and look at HHN Hollywood vs Knotts.  If I had to recommend one park vs the other for someone who is coming from out of state and has been to neither, which one would it be?  Assume they have only one free night.  Both events had a good year, so how do they compare?  In my opinion, I'd recommend Knotts hands down.  Before calling me a hater, look at it from an overall value.  The show quality and variety at Knotts is waaaaaay better.  The rides you get are way better.  The food is way better.  The crowds are way better, and if you hit a slammed night, Knotts has the better Fastpass for the buck, with no limit to house and ride entries.  So that's a win in the Knotts column for everything except the houses and zones, so let's talk about those.

 

The scarezones to me are a toss up.  HHN has the excellent Holidayz in Hell, and Knotts has, well, all of it's zones.  They are different experiences, with Knotts having the sliders and in your face scares.   I don't see a clear winner here.  So what about the houses?  I think Knotts is a clear winner here.  It's not about IP vs originals.  The current crop of HHN houses are still plagued with black hallways.  At Knotts these are all but absent.  There's something to see the whole way through.  Paranormal, Dark Ride, Depths - these are HHN quality any day of the week.  While I am tired of Special Ops, HHN has nothing even close to it.  Probably the strongest unique thing that HHN has going for it is the Terror Tram.  We are sick of it, but everyone I talk to in Orlando desperately wants to do Hollywood's tram some day.  And it's really easy to ding Knotts for the 5 year old houses (I certainly ding it for that), but remember I'm talking about what I'd tell someone who has never been to either event. 

 

 

 

 

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I am making this post mainly for Orlando HHN folks who may never make it out to Knotts.

 

The purpose is to give you a flavor of some cutting edge stuff that Knotts does.  It's not intended to be a comparison between Knotts and HHN Orlando.  Maybe it will help urge you to come out here someday and try it.

It is presented in Spoiler format so as not to ruin this year for California folks.  If you are planning on going to Knotts this year, DO NOT READ

 

 



Maze: The Depths

Room: The Swamp

Effect: You are wandering waist-deep in a swamp, unable to see into it.  Creatures swim around you and attach from the depths.

How they do it: Room is filled with haze (light fog that is not so thick as to obscure vision).  A green laser is used to create a flat plane at waist height.  This looks like the surface of the swamp.  The fog swirls on this surface creating an amazing look.  The laser is bright enough such that you cannot see below this plane at all.  Scareactors are dressed in creature costumes complete with a dorsal fin on top of the head.  They can crouch such that only the fin emerges above the laser.  They "swim around" and dart under.  Their claws can emerge inches from you.  They can lunge at you from any angle.  And when they sink back down, they literally disappear.  It is so highly effective because the laser creates a sharp green line on the actor that looks like the surface of the bog.  This is THE best room at Knotts this year.  Breathtaking.

Why it is unique:  this has never been done in this way at HHN, and while I've seen a very generic done elsewhere in the US, this version is the tops.  If HHN did this (and there's no reason they couldn't), everyone would be talking endlessly about it.

 

Maze: The Depths

Room: Entering the ship

Effect: You enter a pirate ship, and while you are in it, the entire room rocks back and forth

Why it is unique: HHN has done sliding floors and tilting walls, but I have never seen them do a tilting room.  This is not unique for the industry (Knotts did it a few years ago in another maze), but it's a very cool thing to experience.

 

Maze: The Depths

Room: Squid attack

Effect: before entering the pirate ship you walk through a room undergoing a full animatronic squid attack.

How they do it: They again use a laser plane (this time blue) to create a water level.  This time you walk on a bridge above the water.  In the center of the room is a massive squid animatronic (just the body).  They use a projection for the eyes (similar to Buzz Lightyear's face at WDW).  The tentacles are all sticking out of the water all around you, and they are thrashing in all directions.  Each of these is an independent animatronic.  

Why it is unique: This is the biggest animatronic I've seen used pretty much anywhere.

 

Maze: Paranormal Inc

Room: Opening Sequence

Effect: Mini show (abbreviated for 2018) where you are attending a TV taping of a ghost hunter reality show.  Live actor interacts with on-screen actors (similar to F&F pre show).  It culminates in the room coming alive and a demon girl appearing and flying overhead.  Separators fall from the ceiling, diving everyone into two groups.  Each group enters the maze proper from a different entrance.  First 20% of the house is a completely different experience depending on which side of the room you are on.

Why it is unique: Sure, we've seen groups divided before, but not like this.  You never see a 3 minute show in a theme park maze.  It was ground breaking then and remains so today, albeit abbreviated this year.

 

Maze: Paranormal Inc

Room: After Squeeze tunnel

Effect: Throughout the maze you have been traversing a spirit ridden asylum, attacked from all sides by the spirits.  The maze is very dark.  There is a squeeze tunnel, which last year represented you passing from life to somewhere else.  In 2018, when you emerge from the tunnel you find yourself in a brightly lit room - plunged back to when the asylum was operating.  Time period music plays, and a nurse welcomes you.  

Why it is unique: The squeeze tunnel envelopes you even above your head.  You have no vision at all.  I normally hate squeeze tunnels, but this one makes an especially effective transition.  You exit and just stop - not really knowing where you are or what to do or where to go.  Disorientation this effective is not seen too often anymore.  

 

Maze: Dark Entities

Room: Teleportation

Effect: You walk through a portal where the effect is you are teleported from Earth to a space station.  Later you come back through what is supposed to be the same portal.

How they do it: Remember the laser plane from The Depths?  This is a vertical plane (red laser).  The fog is thicker, and creates the illusion of a translucent portal.  If you put your hand through, you will see a sharp laser line on your flesh.  In addition to the visual representation of the portal, a powerful vibrating device is under the raised floor.  You legs literally shake as you walk through the portal.  The combination of these is highly effective.

Why it is unique: Any other place would have just used an air blast to represent teleportation.  This was absolutely unique.

 

Maze: Special ops

The entire maze is a giant laser tag.  

Why it is unique: HHN has never had one.  Some would argue that is a very good thing.  I think they would love to do one, but it reduces the hourly capacity to nothing.  Many haunts in the country have a zombie paintball or zombie laser tag.  This is one of the few turned into an entire house.

 

Maze: Almost every maze in 2018

Effect: PUPPETS and ANIMATRONICS

This is NOT unique to Knotts.  HHN has been getting into this in the past few years.  But Knotts has had giant animatronics in their mazes for many, many years but they have evolved.  Some of these stand 12 feet tall.  They are every bit as good as the Poltergeist animatronics.  These are a must-see in the same way HHN has made them a must see.

 

 

 

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