By Kayla Caldwell
I always forget how good Knott’s Scary Farm is. That’s a pretty solid summary of my time checking out Knott’s Scary Farm 2019. But I’m guessing my editors want a little bit more than that - so here we go.
We started the night by making a beeline to The Depths, which, to be honest, I wasn’t super psyched about. Of course, that’s probably because I was envisioning some Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea-esque horror versus the mining nightmare it actually is. Either way, I was super wrong and it was a strong start to the season.
Not only did I entertain my friends by screaming my way through the maze, but the visuals were stunning! Knott’s takes the sets and theatrics of mazes so seriously. They really create each world they want you to walk through. The mazes are truly works of art.
Nowhere was that more evident than in one of the new mazes this year, Wax Works. I didn’t find it to be the scariest of the mazes - though I definitely got “got” at least a few times inside. But, it’s honestly mesmerizing. Unfortunately, thanks to my not-so-steady hand and dominant flight reflex, only one of the photos I took isn’t completely blurry. But it’s a damn cool photo.
I could’ve walked through Wax Works a hundred times. It was just so cool to look at. But I didn’t. Because I was on a schedule and that included seeing all of the mazes, and not just setting up camp in one. I did, however, manage to hit Origins: The Curse of Calico twice. And with good reason.
Now, any friend of mine knows my obsession with witches. That was always my go-to Halloween costume, and I read all about the Salem witch trials. And let’s not talk about how many times I’ve seen Hocus Pocus. So if you’re telling me you’ve got a maze about a witch who goes on trial, is put to death, and then RISES to seek revenge on her detractors? Hell, yes. I am there.
And Origins did not disappoint. From the special effects to the decor to the scare actors - I couldn’t get enough. It was the perfect combination of terrifying and titillating. My best advice for enjoying this maze is just to keep your eyes peeled. You really don’t want to miss a thing.
Dark Ride was spectacular, as per usual. After hearing the team talk about the work they put into this ride at Midsummer Scream, it was great to see the sound effects and special touches in person. Of course, you can only observe so much when clowns and other misfits are scaring the bejesus out of you.
Forsaken Lake was one of my favorite scare zones. The vintage costumes are to die for (See what I did there?) and the makeup is stop-to-take-a-photo-even-though-you’re-scared impeccable. I’d like to decorate my apartment with pieces from this set.
Of course, The Hollow and Ghost Town Streets are fun, too. I know I’m just tickled each year at getting to see the bride. I can’t explain it. It just thrills me. And the Knott’s Scary Farm sliders? Yeah, they’ll never not be amazing. They get you every time!
Dark Entities was a bit of a hit and a miss for me. Though - to be fair - I really couldn’t care less about space. So I’m kind of setting them up for a loss. But, I will say, that the addition of the elevator shaft scene was a pretty cool way to kick things off.
To get back to the positive, I just find Pumpkin Eater to be so darling. It’s like if you could theme a haunted attraction maze as simply “Halloween,” Pumpkin Eater would be it. It’s such an immersive, creepy little fairytale world, and I would fully live in it. Whenever this haunt retires, I would happily take props from it to make my home the nightmarish fairytale of my dreams.
Speaking of retiring, this is the last year for both Shadow Lands and Special Ops: Infected. I’m more upset about one of those than the other. Shadow Lands is beautifully done. From the music to the sets to the bungie-jumping terrors that get me EVERY TIME, it will be missed.
Special Ops, on the other hand, is, for me, like literally walking into a nightmare. Laser tag stresses me the hell out, so imagine how I feel entering a game of laser tag where it’s head shots only, and your competitors are zombies who have no problem getting all up in your face and growling.
I have very little memory of this maze, because it is a blur, because I basically ran through it. Although, I imagine, that’s a credit to the designers in and of itself. Moving on, CarnEVIL was as creepy, sassy, and uncomfortable as expected. It’s a skill to be able to scare someone who has not only seen you, but locked eyes with you and watched you the entire time. And they were able to do that to me.
Paranormal Inc. is another favorite of mine. I love the little show in the beginning that sets your heart racing and splits everyone up. The chaos of it all is thrilling.
And speaking of thrilling chaos, the Puppet Up! Uncensored show is absolutely ridiculous - but in the best way. It’s such a unique experience, getting to see, not only the finished product on the big screens, but also the behind-the-scenes drama and pressure of the puppeteers.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a show with Brian Henson himself like we did - well, let’s just say, he’s a legend for a reason. That man is quick on his feet and hilarious. I’m usually more into the mazes than the shows when it comes to horror events, but this one is not to be missed. It’d cost you the big bucks if you wanted to see something like this at Henson Studios.
Another year into the fog, and once again, Knott’s has defended its place as one of my favorite haunts of the season. Let’s see if I can manage to wait until next year before I venture back.