Festival of Fear Tour Haunt Review – Knott’s Scary Farm

The time had come for Rex and the Beast to experience for the first time the nation's largest Halloween haunted attraction, Knott's Berry Farm Haunt.  We arrived to the Knott's Berry Farm Resort via our brand new Ford Focus rental car.  The lobby of the resort was decorated nicely for the haunt, complete with skeleton bellboys who looked like they would have fit in perfectly with the queue of Tower of Terror at Disney Studios.  To our surprise, the resort had our reservation perfectly in place, which was quite an accomplishment considering we were combining a variety of packages for the Haunt.  Naturally, we made our way to the nearest Red Lobster before turning in for the night. 

After waking up and doing a quick 3 hour trip to the park to ride the classics, we decided to run over to a local arcade attraction called Nickel Nickel.  This arcade, which was rather large, used nickels for the games instead of quarters.  I rediscovered that I (the beast) suck at 80's games like Frogger and Popeye while Rex was racking up the high scores.  Anyway, back to resort we went to begin our frightful evening. 

It all started with the pre-scare buffet.  The resort offered as part of a package the opportunity to eat a buffet meal in the resort courtyard before entering the Haunt.  This was a nice touch and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Smiley and Hollywood, two scareactors, were keeping the guests laughing and having a good time.  They were serving the famous Mrs. Knott's fried chicken, so things were good.  Another bonus was the opportunity to get into the Haunt 30 minutes before anyone else, which is exactly what we did.

As soon as we stepped in the Haunt, we noticed something that would amaze us all night long.  A ton of scareactors.  There must be double the scareactors roaming the streets of Knott's Scary Farm as opposed to Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream.  They have a rather famous scare gimmick; kneepads with metal accessories that provide quite a "shocking" moment when they slide at your feet.  The Scarezones, which were called The Gauntlet, Carnevil, and Ghosttown, were not so much telling a story as they were just invested with scareactors.  Add to that some of the most intense fog we have ever seen, and you have a great, creepy environment.  There really was no rest for the weary at Knott's.  Even in the queue's of the attractions, scareactors would be hiding behind soda machines, etc.  They were simply everywhere.

It was time for us to experience what we had come for – the 13 houses (mazes) of the Haunt.  Here are very quick reviews of each maze:

Pyromaniax
Probably our favorite haunt of the night.  This was part of the Log Flume (which in itself is an incredible and spooky ride) which made the experience so much fun.  Live scareactors were strategically stationed throughout the ride to scare you.  Obviously, not as much detail or storyline was introduced because of the limitations of it being a ride.  Nevertheless, this one works.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  9 out of 10 stars

Black Widow's Cavern
Yet another haunt embedded in a ride, this time the ol' classic Calico Mine Ride.  This is another favorite ride of mine during the day, and it turned out to be a great haunt at night.  Spiders is the theme, but once again live scareactors made this one great.  It was kind of like a haunted hayride.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  8.5 out of 10 stars

Club Blood
One of the most disappointing houses of the night.  A great idea and a great traditional theme, but it fell short at almost every level.  The only cool scene was the humans in dry-lock bags being used for blood.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  5 out of 10 stars.

The Doll Factory
Great masks, great concept.  Not enough punch and not enough utilization of a great theme. 

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  6.5 out of 10 stars

The Slaughterhouse
This theme is just overused these days.  Hanging meat always has somewhat of a creepy feel about it, but The Slaughterhouse was dry and bland.  Two cool aspects:  The scareactors were wearing custom-made aprons and at the end of the maze you go through a meat grinder from a "first person" perspective, which was cool.  Unfortunately, most people probably missed the effect.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  6 out of 10 stars

Quarantine
This maze was the surprise of the night.  A great house with a great and unique concept.  Something weird has happened in an apartment complex, some kind of virus, and the government has taken their hands out of the mess.  What is left is scene after scene of walking through people's apartments and witnessing the carnage at hand.  We loved it!

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  8 out of 10 stars

Alien Annihilation
We are still trying to process this haunt.  This was a 3-D haunt as well as a maze that allowed you to take in a laser gun (at an additional cost of course).  The "targets" were useless, as were the guns really, but to the scareactors credit, they would react when you shot them.  But, that is about it for this haunt.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  6.5 out of 10 stars

Labyrinth
Pretty good stuff.  Another great concept and pulled off pretty well.  Good props, good detail, good fun.  Not a lot of scares, but I don't think they were really going for that.  A good overall house.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  7 out of 10 stars

Cornstalkers
In order to avoid being too harsh, we will review this haunt very briefly.  A complete waste of 5 minutes.  Just a straight line through corn. 

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  3 out of 10 stars

Terror of London
Very close to Pyromaniax and Black Widow's Cavern for the best maze of the night.  Great detail, a good story, excellent vignettes, and wonderful special effects.  There is a super creepy scene of a girl with her chest open and heart still beating through the use of electrodes (similar to Day of the Dead).  Captures the feel nicely of 19th century London.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  8.5 out of 10 stars

Lockdown: The Asylum
What this maze did well was to create the appearance of confusion.  Other than that, nothing too great.  There was a nice gas chamber scene with a big scary dude in there. 

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  6.5 out of 10 stars

Uncle Bobo's Big Top of the Bizarre
A 3-D maze with nothing new to offer to the clown/carnevil theme.

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  6 out of 10 stars

Dia de los Muertos:  Day of the Dead
This one was fun with some cool Mexican elements, including a great graveyard scene.  Good detail and creep factor. 

RexandtheBeast.com Rating:  7 out of 10 stars

On to the shows.  Wow, did they suck.  To be fair, we only saw two. and ony walked out of one!  The Hanging was Knott's attempt at Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but it just couldn't live up to the standard set by Universal.  Not bad, just too long and too many punches to the face and kicks to the privates.  Bloodlust was the real disappointment with just absolutely no fun or coolness involved at all.  Boring music selections, boring dance numbers, stupid jokes, and lifeless talent.  We lasted about 10 minutes on this one.

But, who cares?  Shows are not really why we go to Haunts. So, Knott's Scary Farm gets major credit for lots of hard working scareactors who are literally all over the park.  The houses are good and fun, with the real highlights being the haunts that are also rides.  A few duds, but for the most part good stuff.  We had a great time and will definitely be back.  Does this top Halloween Horror Nights as the Haunted Theme Park standard?  Don't think so.  It is certainly special though and does some unique things, like the package offers, pre-scare buffet, and overall creepiness in the park.  We had a blast!

Rex's Overall Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

The Beast's Overall Rating:  8 out of 10 stars

RexandtheBeast.com Overall Rating:  8 out of 10 stars

 

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