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Knott’s Scary Farm returns this year with 11 haunted attractions, 3 scare zones, and over 1,000 monsters roaming each night. Two new mazes were revealed this year, The Dead of Winter and Paranormal Inc. The returning mazes for this year include Pinocchio Unstrung, Forevermore, Black Magic, Gunslinger’s Grave, Trick or Treat, Voodoo, and The Tooth Fairy. Added frights return in the Calico Mine Ride as the all-new, My Bloody Clementine makes its debut this year as well.

The Dead of Winter

The newly added maze was announced at Scare LA this year and had many people questioning which direction they would take their choice in the “frozen” snow queen theme. Their dark version of a vicious snow queen seemed to have a slight resemblance to familiar characters from the popular “Frozen” movie. Unlike the singing Disney character, the morbid and evil queen’s victims could be seen bloody and frozen into the walls or in ice-covered coffins.

Paranormal Inc.

Paranormal Inc. - Photo by Rocio Maciel

Paranormal Inc. – Photo by Rocio Maciel

This new maze tells the story of ghost hunters investigating a mental hospital where patients had been tortured by doctors. The maze started off with something that looks like it would be a skeleton key room with a larger crowd. A TV clip introduced part of the story and was interrupted by smog and monsters, while a floating ghost flew over our heads in the pitch-dark room, introducing two different entry ways to the maze. Keys being hit on an old typewriter, an empty wheelchair rocking back and forth were just a few of the minor details of this maze that ultimately added to the story of a creepy paranormal presence.

My Bloody Clementine

With subtle changes added in to the Calico Mine Ride, most scares were mechanically engineered and fell weak. I was hoping for more scares from real live people but the lack of may be due to the possible dangers involved. Perhaps my dislike for it may also be due to the fact that there were parts of the ride and show that were difficult to view from my seat. While there seems to be potential with the overlay of mechanical and live scares on rides, I’m not sure that Calico Mine Ride would be the best choice for next year.

The Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy - Photo by Rocio Maciel

Tooth Fairy – Photo by Rocio Maciel

All of your dental nightmares have been captured and placed into a daunting six minute journey. The maze walks you through the tale of a demented tooth fairy who captures children at night to torture and keep them in her world. The skeleton key room began with a frightened young boy in his bedroom searching for his brother. Lightning strikes and the room begins to shake as the young boy is grabbed by a monstrous hand, into a darkened door, of which we begin to explore. This maze uses various images and elements of texture and construction to give you an uneasy eerie feeling. In pitch black areas, you can feel yourself brushing up against furry walls while in others you’re being forced to squat or bend down in order to fit through victim’s cages. Nearing the end, walls become composed of

Voodoo: Order of the Serpent

This returning maze still stood as a favorite of the night. The maze takes you through the foggy swamps of a Louisiana bayou filled with plenty of twists and turns. The unique structure of the maze made it more difficult to navigate, leaving you to turn to the hosts to point you in the right direction. The maze was extended from last year and the set design was impeccable, setting a new standard of quality for Halloween haunts. If this maze is any indication of the direction Knott’s will be taking their future haunts, it would offer some stiff competition for other contenders.

Elvira’s Asylum

Elvira's Asylum- Photo by Rocio Maciel

Elvira’s Asylum- Photo by Rocio Maciel

The Mistress of the Dark returns to Knott’s this year with a brand new show. Similar to last year, the show featured comedy and great acts by dancers. Elvira looked great as she performed a variety of fun song renditions. While the performers and dance routines were great, Elvira’s interaction with the audience fell short this year.

The original Halloween haunt seems to be dialing up the frights with every passing year and this year proved to be no exception. We have seen the evolution of Knott’s with their storytelling and maze creations and now we are beginning to see the potential for improved set design. If Knott’s continues at the speed it’s going now, I think they will be reaching their full potential soon. I can’t wait to see what spooks await for us next year.

Knott’s Scary Farm is currently underway through October 31. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.