This past week, Knott’s Berry Farm hosted a special event for its Season Passholders, lifting the veil and shedding light on every aspect of Scary Farm 2016 that fans can look forward to experiencing very soon!
Hosted by the always-exuberant Jeff Tucker, the Knott’s Scary Farm event was pure spectacle from beginning to end, starting with the massive Charles M. Schulz Theatre filling with fog before monsters of all shapes and sizes crept into the audience, snarling and lunging at excited guests and members of the media. A soundtrack of Scary Farm music from years and mazes past played loudly as some 2,000 fans – some who had waited more than 10 hours to be first in line – spilled into the theatre. Once everyone was in, lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and the show began.
We, along with a ton of other folks, live-streamed the hour-long presentation. Click here if you’d like to watch; it’s the entire show – shortly after we started broadcasting, we switched from WiFi to LTE, and the quality/stability of the stream improved and stayed solid for the duration.
Knott’s rolled out every last detail of Scary Farm 2016 quickly and with much fanfare, along with Knott’s Design Specialists Jon Cooke, Daniel Miller and Gus Krueger, who took to the stage as the audience cheered and applauded. It was really fantastic to see the team together again in the spotlight to talk about Haunt; this was exactly what fans have been waiting for – us included.
Of particular interest to me was further discussion of this year’s Skeleton Key Rooms, which Knott’s first revealed this summer during Midsummer Scream. One of the stand-alone attractions this year utilizes augmented reality (“AR”) – it’s name is Visions. For lack of a better definition, it’s the same type of technology that players encounter with Pokemon GO; guests will look at a real environment around them through a device such as a tablet or iPad, and animated “happenings” will take place in real-time before their very eyes. The theme of Visions is based on the story of Sarah Marshall, who was tried as a witch. Scary Farm visitors will use “Phantom Finder” hardware to look at artifacts surrounding the woman – and spookiness will abound, through the magic of AR. Since Pokemon GO made its debut, I have been very interested in the future of AR, as it pertains to theme parks and attractions. Getting to see this technology in use in Visions at Knott’s is the one thing I am most excited about for this year’s Scary Farm event.
One of the most exciting aspects of Scary Farm 2016 to me is that Infected hs moved and we get Camp Snoopy back as a brand-new scare zone called The Hollow, which features the Headless Horseman and goblins and ghouls appropriate to that theme! It’s going to be great to have that quadrant of the park back, and I imagine it will help with guest flow/over-crowded backstage areas where most of the mazes now are. Having CS back will create a good people suck, and I cannot wait to see the newly-themed scare zone in all of its glory.
The Red Barn is a new maze that will be found in the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town. This maze is going to be gritty, ultra-violent and just pure in-your-face nastiness; the kind of design that Daniel Miller thrives on, and his partner in crime on this project, Gus Krueger, is also ready for blood. Red Barn feels like it’s going to be the reincarnation of Slaughterhouse, one of the longest-running mazes in Haunt history. At the end of the day, it’ll be fun to simply enjoy the gore-soaked rooms of this new collaboration between Gus and Daniel.
Speaking of gore – The Hanging returns this year (duh), and Knott’s is already firing good-natured shots across Disney’s bow, as the name of this year’s stunt spectacular is Finding Gory! I enjoy The Hanging; it’s always just crass, ridiculously violent, and you know what I like most about it? Knott’s doesn’t shy away from making heinous jokes or poking fun at issues that some may deem politically incorrect. I have huge respect for Knott’s and the team for having the balls to strive for offensive and outrageous with The Hanging each year – whiners and complainers be damned. This will also be the first year the new stage in Calico is used; I am very curious to see how it all works out – we’ll be there, soon enough!
Elvira will be back once again with a new show called Danse Macabre; she wasn’t part of the preview show, which was a bit surprising. That said, word on the street is that Elvira is slowing down and putting the brakes on; it wouldn’t surprise us if this is her final year at the Scary Farm. She obviously is a legendary part of Haunt history – but it does seem that her stage presence becomes shorter and shorter each season. I’d rather see her call it quits while fans are still into it than become a pale reflection of what she once was, you know? We’ll definitely see Danse Macabre this year; if anything, just to make sure we can say we saw it if she happens to retire after this season.
The rest of the show brought great entertainment – some really impressive set changes, live Japanese drums (COME ON! JAPANESE DRUMS!) and really great delivery by not only Tucker, but each of the designers as well – obviously rehearsed, but it all came off really well. This was by far, the best Scary Farm preview event to date, and it left fans cheering – rightfully so.
I love the creative drive and the unique themes found at Knott’s Scary Farm. This year’s lineup is a bit left-field and features a lot of really interesting components. I’m honestly really looking forward to it; more so than the past couple of years, to be honest. It’s got so many wild cards in play this year, I’m genuinely excited to see what works and what maybe doesn’t. It’s going to be a year filled with surprises at Knott’s, that’s for sure; the enthusiasm was almost tangible during and after the Scary Farm preview event.
Following the event, I had the opportunity to interview several members of the Knott’s management team as well as Scary Farm designers; that video is at the bottom of this story and is the first 4K video TPA has ever produced – exciting times all around, wouldn’t you say?
Halloween is definitely underway! There is a chill in the air and the excitement is mounting! It’s just about time; we’re definitely ready! Huge thanks and kudos to the Knott’s team for putting on such a great presentation and for giving us the opportunity to hold interviews afterward. Good, good stuff!
- Rick West
Below is all of the maze, scare zone and entertainment information released about this year’s Scary Farm event:
Knott’s Scary Farm, the largest and most haunting Halloween event in Southern California, has unveiled the 13 haunted attractions that will terrify guests when the event returns for 24 horrifying nights, September 22 – October 31.
Four all-new nightmarish haunted attractions will debut this year; each featuring unearthly surprises, ghoulish monsters and frightening legends that come to life as you step inside.
Black Ops: Infected (New for 2016): Armed with cutting edge laser guns, brave guests will face off against hordes of zombies in the groundbreaking all-new Black Ops: Infected interactive maze. Small units of guests will battle the zombie apocalypse through blood soaked city streets and an underground sewer system crawling with nearly one hundred ravenous zombies. The high tech innovative experience thrusts guests into the middle of a live-action video game complete with live actors, real time scoring system, kill streak rewards system and interactive targets, including a juggernaut boss zombie. The new attraction is one of the largest mazes ever created in Knott’s Scary Farm history so form your squad and put your zombie apocalypse survival skills to the test in this action packed, one-of-a-kind experience.
Shadow Lands (New for 2016): A fulfilling life ensures a soul safe passage into eternity, but what happens to the souls of soldiers slain in battle? Enter the hair-raising Shadow Lands maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory. Guests will embark on a quest through a sacred shrine, an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadow lands.
Red Barn (New for 2016): Take a trip to a blood-soaked barn filled with carnivorous animals seeking to prey on human flesh in the Red Barn gore maze. Legend has it the farmer who owns the barn was transformed into a heinous creature that sends his sadistic sons to ensure his legacy. None dare enter the barn, for those who enter never escape.
The Hollow (New for 2016): From within the fog, the legendary Headless Horseman and his army of the undead are ready to unleash a reign of terror in the newest scare zone, The Hollow. Guests entering the frightful 6-acre area will be terrorized by the souls of fallen soldiers and local farmers that have escaped their shallow graves.
Standalone Skeleton Key Rooms (New for 2016): For the first time, Knott’s Scary Farm will feature standalone Skeleton Key Rooms that are independent from mazes. The four Skeleton Key Rooms will each feature a unique story and theme delivering unparalleled scares, interactive secrets and terrifying surprises:
Visions: Guests must investigate the Green Witch Museum in Ghost Town where it is not the building that is haunted, but the various items contained within. Using a Phantom Finder augmented reality device, guests will be able to identify and witness paranormal activity connected to items from the Sarah Marshall Witch Trial.
ZOZO: People from all over the world claim to have been visited by the demon ZOZO after a spirit board session. Is the demonic entity known as ZOZO real or are spirit boards just a myth?
Slasher: Guests are invited to step into an 80s’ slasher horror film. The masked Angel Maker Killer is on the loose. Every lead has run cold and that’s when you step into the picture. Will you become his next victim?
Prey: Navigate a hay maze full of dead ends with only a faulty lantern as your guide. You are not alone. Mutant beasts are lurking around every corner.
Back by popular demand, Elvira, the legendary Mistress of the Dark, returns to Knott’s Scary Farm in a spectacular all new show, Elvira’s Danse Macabre, featuring insane dance and comedy performances. The one of a kind performance from the Queen of Halloween will transport guests to a masquerade ball full of music, dance and humor. Knott’s Scary Farm will be the exclusive home of Elvira this Halloween season.
PARANORMAL, INC. – The Haunting of Hayden Hill: Last year’s groundbreaking Paranormal Inc. maze will return to Knott’s Scary Farm this year. Featuring high flying aerial stunts and scares, guests investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
The Dead of Winter: Revenge of the Wendigo – Deep in the frozen tundra, the realm of a treacherous snow queen has been usurped by her evil minion, the horrific wendigo. She may be dead, but her evil spell hasn’t been lifted: The dead cannibals have risen from their snowy graves as hungry creatures feast on the surrounding villages. During the chaos, the queen’s prized possession, the horrific wendigo, has seized control of her throne, ready to prey upon any unsuspecting visitors who enter the borders of its icy domain.
Trick-or-Treat: Take a brave step forward and ring the witch’s doorbell…trick or treat, which will it be? After surviving her grisly welcome, wander into the Green Witch’s never before seen potion room and bewitched attic. But don’t leave too soon; you’re the special guest at the Green Witch’s deadly dinner party where she and her menacing Tricksters await your arrival.
The Tooth Fairy: This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.
Voodoo – Order of the Serpent: The haunting legend of Papa Legba continues as guests follow him on his foreboding journey to conjure the serpent demon goddess in the outskirts of New Orleans. Trudge cautiously through the cursed swamps of the Deep South, where creatures search the murky bogs for their next bloody sacrifice and demons curse the innocent with Voodoo hexes.
The Gunslinger’s Grave: A Blood Moon Rises: Deadly howls and a full blood moon mark your impending doom as werewolves overrun the crime stricken old west town. Walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path of retribution against the Skinwalkers.
The Deadly 7, a sadistic crew of terrifying monsters representing each of the seven deadly sins, return to the fog of Knott’s Scary Farm this year. Together they prowl the darkest corners of Scary Farm’s midways and scare zones serving their master, The Green Witch.
The Hanging: Finding Gory – A live stage show in Calico Square irreverently looks back at the year’s pop culture with killer comedy. Notorious for its special effects, pyrotechnics and high-flying stunts, The Hanging is a no-holds-barred assault on pop culture’s most infamous moments of the past year. A must see parody!
160 Acres of Scare Zones
Knott’s Scary Farm is far more than a collection of haunted attractions. Every night monsters spill out onto the streets and turn theme park midways into murderous scare zones. From the world famous Ghost Town Streets to the Boardwalk area filled with evil clowns, there’s nowhere to hide in Knott’s Scary Farm.
Ghost Town Streets is the original and largest, most terrifying scare zone that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, while the notoriously startling sliders, lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land. Fiesta De Los Muertos fuses dance music, colorful costumes, and larger than life stilt walkers in a dance party scare zone. It’s the ultimate late night celebration of Dia de los Muertos. On the Boardwalk, clowns crave your undying attention in the CarnEVIL scare zone. New this season, the Hollow scare zone will terrorize guests as the ominous Headless horseman prowls the fog-filled streets along with his army of the undead, treacherously blending into the shadowy night as they frighten all whom they encounter.
Knott’s Scary Farm Pass & Admission
- The Knott’s Scary Farm Pass returns in 2016 and offers unlimited visits to all 24 event nights. Current 2016 Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passholders can purchase the pass at the limited time price of $75, now through Sept. 18 (while supplies last, plus applicable fees); the general public can purchase the pass for $85, now through Sept. 18 (while supplies last, plus fees). All Season Long Parking is valid for Knott’s Scary Farm nights.
- Single night tickets are $40 – $52 depending on the event night when purchased online (plus applicable fees). Knott’s Season Passholders receive discounts on single night tickets when purchasing online. Tickets purchased at least 24 hours in advance at the theme park ticket booths are $49 for all nights, and day-of-event tickets purchased at the ticket booths are $72.
- Fright Lane with Skeleton Key offers unlimited priority access to all mazes and unlocks ONE time access to all four standalone Skeleton Key Rooms filled with unnerving terrors, interactive secrets and exclusive scenes. Guests will also receive a commemorative lanyard and collectible keychain. Fright Lane with Skeleton Key passes start at $75. (Separate theme park admission required, and not included.
- Combo Tickets, offering admission and Fright Lane with Skeleton Key are an especially great value offering savings of up to $37, versus purchasing each item separately at the ticket booths.
- Fast Lane offers unlimited priority access to many of Knott’s world-class coasters starting at $70 per person. Fast Lane is valid during regular Knott’s Berry Farm operation and for Knott’s Scary Farm operation on the date of intended use. (separate theme park admission required, and not included)
- Boo-fet dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant and Spurs Chophouse invites guests to feed the beast before Knott’s Scary Farm opens each night. Meals include a collectible 2016 souvenir cup, which includes unlimited complimentary refills on the event night and $0.99 refills for the rest of the 2016 season. After dinner, enjoy early entry into Knott’s Scary Farm a few minutes before it opens to other mortals. Boo-fet dinner is $27.99 +tax when purchased online and $32.99 +tax when purchased at the door. (Separate theme park admission required, and not included)
- Knott’s Scary Farm parking is $20 per vehicle and can be purchased online (plus applicable taxes and fees) or at the parking booth upon arrival. All Season Long Parking is valid for Knott’s Scary Farm nights.
Knott’s Scary Farm has welcomed millions of visitors over the past 43 years and has become an institution in the Southern California theme park landscape. This year, the event returns September 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 October 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Knott’s Scary Farm is open 7:00pm – 1:00am select Thursdays, Sundays, and Halloween Night and 7:00pm – 2:00am Fridays and Saturdays. With more than 1,000 monsters roaming the park and lurking in the fog – whatever you’re imagining, it’s here…
For more information on Knott’s Scary Farm, including admission, park hours and events, visit knottsscaryfarm.com or download the Knott’s Berry Farm app for your smart phone. Join the scary conversation by using #ScaryFarm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.