REVIEW: Forevermore 2013 Knott’s Scary Farm

One of the most highly anticipated new mazes of the 2013 season at Knott’s Scary Farm was Forevermore. In this maze, guests entered the twisted world of the “Forevermore Killer”, an individual who has used the writings of Edgar Allan Poe as thematic templates to his brutal and shocking murders, creating hellish crime scenes for all to see, thanks to the interest of the media, who reports on his every move…

Designed by veteran Halloween Haunt designer Brooke Walters, Forevermore was an instant hot topic for Scary Farm fans everywhere when the new maze was announced this past summer at a media/fan event hosted in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. Brooke, who has a knack for often integrating fact into her fictitious maze themes, carefully created a very sinister, dark experience for Haunt 2013 by using various Edgar Allan Poe stories as crime scene material, including The Tell-Tale HeartThe Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Masque of the Red Death. And I have to say, Brooke absolutely knocked it out of the ballpark this year; her design was incredible and continues the truly great line of mazes that she has created for the Scary Farm in recent years, including Trick Or Treat and Terror of London.

FOREVERMORE_2013_5280While the basis of the theme is rooted in the works of Poe, the maze is a modern-day experience – a twist that draws the younger and older Haunt fans in to the story on different levels. Brooke did do a great job setting up the story of Forevermore with the clever use of “news footage” that was played in the queue; the anchor was played by fellow Haunt designer Gus Krueger (Gunslinger’s Grave, The Witch’s Keep) – fun fan trivia that had those in the know grinning as he recounted the grisly murders by the Forevermore Killer.

The story was further cemented by visual imagery at the very beginning of the maze – snapshots representing the Poe tales of terror yet to come, which we thought was brilliant. All too often, the storyline of haunted attractions are lost and muddied; not the case with Forevermore this year, which we applaud – great effort and execution on Brooke’s part! As we stepped into the maze, there was no question of its story or theme.

FOREVERMORE_2013_5294Forevermore was an aesthetically stunning maze. Its art direction and fantastic creation throughout the build and propping phases really carried through, making it one of the most elaborate and detailed mazes we’ve ever seen at Halloween Haunt. That’s no fluke; Brooke has consistently taken the Haunt experience and raised the bar in design over the years, creating a legacy of Scary Farm productions that she should be very proud of. The fans and industry insiders absolutely are aware of Brooke’s attention to detail. This isn’t to say that the other designers at Knott’s are any less creative or thorough in their maze executions. There’s just a magical something in the design of her mazes that tell people it’s one of Brooke’s – and that is a really special quality to have.

Even as each scene in Forevermore was themed to a different Poe story, the entire experience flowed smoothly and cohesively together, as guests followed hot on the trail of the deranged murderer. The palette of the maze was dark – no bright colors, and very bleak. With the exception of a few bright light accent moments, Forevermore was literally and figuratively dim, much the same as another Walters classic, The Doll Factory. While there was certainly graphic violence throughout the maze, the gore was more “realistic” as opposed to over the top and in-your-face. The use of red show lighting throughout Forevermore was also one of the common design threads of the maze which we thought was a really cool touch as well.

FOREVERMORE_2013_5351The soundtrack put together for Forevermore was very, very strong; a combination of sinister-sounding music and newly-recorded voice tracks. The voice tracks were of the Forevermore Killer reciting lines from the various Edgar Allan Poe tales he’d used to create horrific scenes of violence. Another great use of audio in Forevermore was in the maze’s finale scene, the Red Clock club, where music and talent combined to give guests one mass scare from all directions, which we thought was a perfect touch! Hands-down, Forevermore is the strongest Halloween Haunt soundtrack we have heard in a while, and so we want to give huge kudos to Brooke for incorporating such a complete soundscape into the maze and sound guru Adam Hankinson for a completely brilliant mix. Once in a while, a Haunt soundtrack comes along that really leaves a lasting impression because it’s up and beyond what we’d normally expect; Forevermore’s audio is definitely in that elite category!

There was a scene in the 2013 version of Forevermore (we hope and assume it will return in coming years) that stopped us in our tracks; a true “wow” moment. I’m speaking of the Pit and the Pendulum portion of the maze that takes place inside a large water storage tank. Out of the shadows, a massive scythe-like pendulum swings, accented by the sound of its metal slicing through the air just feet above guests’ heads! The visual was great. To further badassify the scene, guests walked over real water on a metal grating plank walkway! Again, this was one of those special “holy crap!” moments that fans love so much at Knott’s Scary Farm – absolutely perfect!

FOREVERMORE_2013_5324Forevermore’s cast and crew were more than comfortable in their new home for 2013; you could tell they were very excited to be there and totally worked it every time we passed through! Each person did his/her job and helped set the mood, working in perfect concert with the amazing environment of each room/area of the maze. Props to the Forevermore team, and everyone involved in bringing this new Halloween Haunt maze to life at Knott’s Scary Farm! We look forward to seeing its return in 2014!

Are you a fan of Forevermore? What was your favorite part of the maze? Sound off below and share in the discussion with your fellow TPAers! We want to know what you thought of Brooke’s newest maze at Haunt!

– Rick West

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