Knott’s Scary Farm- Tricks, Treats, and Halloween Scares

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Official Knott’s Scary Farm promotional photo

Knott’s Scary Farm is always one of the top haunts on the AHH list, and the 2017 season did not disappoint. This year’s Scary Farm offered guests two new mazes, an updated Trick or Treat, and the final Elvira: Mistress of the Dark show. In addition to the new attractions, attendees were given the opportunity to revisit classic attractions from previous years. Ok, let’s take this step by step, maze by maze.

THE MAZES

Dark Ride– Dark Ride was one of the two new mazes. This was my 2nd favorite maze. The theme is pretty straight forward. It’s modeled after an old carnival dark ride. In my opinion, this was an excellent theme choice. It’s something that seems obvious, but I haven’t seen almost anyone else try this concept. I loved almost everything about this it. It had colors, glowing elements, and mechanical wizards. You name it, it was probably in Dark Ride. This maze gave off a deep appreciation for the theme parks and rides of the past. It reminded me of everything I loved about going through the haunted house at the state fair.

Pumpkin Eater– Pumpkin Eater was the other new maze for 2017. Like Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater appealed to my nostalgia. If Dark Ride was an ode to theme parks of the past, Pumpkin Eater served as an ode to Halloweens of the past. I loved all of the jack o’ lantern motifs and the many different textures within the maze. There were so many wonderful classic Halloween elements. It was a delight being able to walk through the inside of a pumpkin right into a corn maze. If I had one complaint about Pumpkin Eater, it’s that I didn’t completely understand the story they were trying to convey. However, overall the maze was a win.

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Photo by Andy Shultz

Trick or Treat: Lights Out– I don’t have much to say about Trick or Treat. It was kind of fun being able to walk through the maze with a flashlight, but I liked the previous year’s maze better. I have to agree with my friend who felt that making everything so dark rendered all the creative details  insignificant.

Red Barn– This maze has consistently been my least favorite. I don’t hate it. In fact, I quite like the giant diseased horse. Still, the whole cannibal farm theme feels a bit uninspired.

Shadowlands– From my least favorite to my most favorite. Shadowlands is once again my number one. A big part of that is the Japanese theme. I have a strong interest in Japanese culture, particularly J-horror. I noticed a lot of cool stuff about Shadowlands. For example many of the classic youkai like Rokurokubi, (a very, very long necked woman) could be found within the maze. I definitely appreciated the designer’s commitment to historical accuracy.

Tooth Fairy– Tooth Fairy is another Knott’s staple. This maze is like your wort dentist trip times ten. Like Pumpkin Eater, Tooth Fairy has some wonderful textures. I particularly liked the walls that are made to look like gums. While I wouldn’t call Tooth Fairy one of my favorites, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

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The AHH Team- Photo by Brandon Scullion

Voodoo– Voodoo is another maze that stands out for me. I like these mazes with a heavy cultural aspect, and Voodoo provided it in spades. The maze guided you through all of the types of places associated with Louisiana voodoo. One highlight from this maze is the scene of a mechanical alligator being served a living man as a sacrifice.

Paranormal Inc.- The maze Paranormal Inc. is what occurs when an episode of Ghost Adventures goes terribly wrong. Like Dark Ride, Paranormal Inc. is so enjoyable because it contains many campy elements such as glowing lights and vibrating floors.

Special Ops: Infected– I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the opportunity to try this real life zombie shooting game.

THE SCARE ZONES

Fiesta de los Muertos– Once again, Fiesta de los Muertos provided all of the bright hues and sugar skulls associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

CarnEvil– I’m obsessed with anything circus or carnival themed, but even I think clowns are getting a bit overdone. For that reason, I wasn’t too excited about this scare zone.

The Hollow– The classic “Halloween” aesthetic pairs perfectly with the new maze, Pumpkin Eater. I liked this scare zone, because it contained some unique light up tree trunk props.

Ghost Town Streets– This was my favorite scare zone, because it had the best monsters. This was also probably the foggiest part of the park, and I love fog.

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Official Knott’s Scary Farm promotional photo

THE SHOWS

The Hanging– I didn’t care for The Hanging. The stunts were exceptional, but the show was way too frantic. The writing felt like it was trying to cram the top 100 pop culture moments of the year into about 30 minutes. I can see why people might enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark– I couldn’t think of a better sendoff to the “Queen of Halloween”. Elvira was as vivacious as ever, and her dancers were equally impressive. The show had some priceless moments like Elvira recreating that famous Flashdance sequence. I was so happy I got to see her final show at Knott’s.

Overall, my Knott’s experience was well worth the price of admission. Knott’s has been one of the few attractions that I feel is consistently outdoing themselves. I always tell those who are short on money/time and want the best Halloween experience for their dollar to go to Knott’s Scary Farm. That advice still stands.

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“Ghost and Legends” Coming to The Queen Mary

October is officially here! And that means we’re in the middle of haunt season! Now, no stranger to Haunts and ghosts, the Queen Mary made an announcement this week when it revealed its new year round attraction, “Ghost and Legends.”

Per the official press release for the Queen Mary:

“The Queen Mary, dubbed one of the top 10 most haunted places on Earth by Time Magazine, is pleased to unveil the newly-intensified and re-inspired Ghost and Legends, opening to the public on Friday, October 20. Offered year-round, thrill seekers and scare enthusiasts are invited to board the haunted RMS Queen Mary to test their fears in the world’s largest interactive and fully immersive haunted attraction. Experience the spirit legends of the Queen Mary first-hand with all-new special effects, cutting-edge technology and, of course, the chance to encounter paranormal activity for a one-of-a-kind, spine-chilling, fun time.”

Brian Luallen, Director of Entertainment Events, for The Queen Mary, stated:
““The new Ghosts and Legends offers guests an entirely different level of the traditional haunted experience. We crafted terrifying original stories and characters based the ship’s well-known paranormal tales and hot-spots onboard the Queen Mary to create a truly thrilling, immersive, and unique encounter.”

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is already considered to be one the premier haunt events of the Halloween season. The addition of “Ghost and Legends” appears to be taking them to a whole new level of haunt entertainment. With the attraction being year round, the ship is about to get a whole lot busier and more exciting!

The press release ended with the best part: the attraction is only $15 for adults and $12 for children:

“Ghost and Legends haunted experience aboard the Queen Mary will open on Friday, October 20 at 11 a.m. The year-round attraction will be open daily and runs every 30 minutes starting at 11 a.m., accommodating up to 30 guests per experience. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children and are available at http://www.queenmary.com/tickets/. For more information, including hours or to purchase tickets online, please visit queenmary.com”

The team here at All Hallows’ Haunts are already big fans of Dark Harbor. Now, with “Ghost and Legends,” Queen Mary will become a place we will frequent more often throughout the year.

Be sure to follow us here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Dark Harbor, Ghosts and Legends and other Halloween, Horror and Haunt events in Southern California.

(Cover photo courtesy of the Queen Mary.)

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils Chef

Midsummer Scream Tickets on Sale Now!

Midsummer-Scream-2017_Postcard-696x1024Alright all you Halloween, horror, and haunt enthusiasts! Tickets are now on sale for Midsummer Scream, the biggest Halloween festival of the year. In case you’re unfamiliar with Midsummer Scream, it’s a summertime extravaganza dedicated to Halloween and haunts. Many of the California based haunts and theme parks, including Knott’s, Universal Studios, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, made their official Halloween announcements at Midsummer Scream.

Theme Park Adventure (@TPAMagazine), the co-creators of Midsummer Scream, have announced some of the lineup for this year’s event that includes the Decayed Brigade, Zombie Joe’s Underground, Return Home Podcast, Force of Nature Productions, Mudd The Magnificent, and many more to be announced.

They also announced the return of the Hall of Shadows, Midsummer Scream’s own scarezone which features numerous mini-haunts.

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For you party ghouls, this year’s party will be hosted aboard the Queen Mary by Dark Harbor’s Sinister Circus!

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I know that I speak for the whole All Hallows’ Haunts team when I say last year’s Midsummer Scream was not just the best Halloween convention we had been to, but it was the best overall convention that any of us had ever attended. We can’t wait for July when Midsummer Scream returns!!!

Midsummer Scream takes place Saturday July 29th and Sunday July 30th, 2017 at the Long Beach convention center. Tickets are on sale and can be bought at MidsummerScream.org . You can also follow them on Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, and Instagram: @MidsummerScream.

Be sure to follow All Hallows’ Haunts here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Midsummer Scream as more announcements are made.

(Midsummer Scream Poster by Midsummer Scream.)

 

Reign of Terror 2016 Review

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So last night I hit up Reign of Terror haunted house in Thousand Oaks. It’s my second year in a row attending. Reign of Terror is a gigantic haunt featuring 95 individual rooms. There are eight different themes including a Victorian haunted house, a creepy circus, and an insane asylum.

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I have a big appreciation for ROT, because it offers the classic haunted house experience for a fair price. I think when people envision a haunted house in their mind, they’re picturing something like Reign of Terror. ROT relies on detailed props, sets, and costumes. The actors go all out to provide a fun experience for guests, and the animatronics are top notch.

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Unlike other haunts, ROT isn’t trying to push boundaries or tell an elaborate story. Instead, it offers good old fashioned Halloween fun. It might not appeal to those who demand a certain level of intensity from their haunts. Still, Reign of Terror has a lot to offer. Those who appreciate the artistry of production design, will definitely adore it. ROT doesn’t cut any corners. I’d also recommend it to those who feel they aren’t getting enough bang for their buck from other Halloween events.

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I think Reign of Terror could use a few more actors, other than that I have no complaints. I’d recommend getting a VIP ticket. It’s only $10 more, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy. I’d compare Reign of Terror to a vintage Halloween decoration. It’s like a cute cardboard ghost in that evokes nostalgia and possesses a unique charm all its own. It’ll have you pining for the crisp Autumn nights of your childhood.

Tickets and times can be found on the official Reign of Terror website. All photo credits belong to ROT. 

http://www.rothauntedhouse.com/

Knott’s Makes a Big Announcement!

Well folks, the Halloween season is approaching fast. In less than two weeks, it’ll be time for the Midsummer Scream Convention, followed by ScareLA. To tide us over, Knott’s Scary Farm has released the names of the returning Scare Zones and a short trailer. Back for 2016 are Ghost Town Streets, Fiesta de los Muertos, and CarnEVIL.

Ghost Town Streets is a literal ghost town. This scare zone mixes the aesthetic of old Western films, with the mysterious allure of the supernatural. Did someone say High Plains Drifter?

Fiesta de los Muertos is a favorite of mine. The brightly colored sugar skulls and fun atmosphere are a perfect complement to the brooding, unwavering finality of death.

CarnEVIL is your standard spooky freakshow, in the tradition of Mr. Dark’s Carnival. I’m a sucker for anything with a macabre circus theme. This one never disappoints.

Be sure to check back with us, for more updates regarding Knott’s Scary Farm and the 2016 Halloween season.

 

Why We Missed Alone

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Hello fellow haunt enthusiasts, Alone has just ended and regretfully we did not attend. The tickets for the event were set at $85, and that’s out of our price range. (Keep in mind you can do Knott’s for half that!) We love that haunts are generating so much revenue, but we still can’t justify the expense.We understand that Alone offers a unique experience, that might require an extra expense, but it’s just too much for us working class weirdos to afford.

We were all very sad to have to skip it. We’ve heard good things about Alone. We saw some of what it has to offer at Scare LA, and we’ve been dying to know more. Despite it being so high priced, the event sold out immediately. We wanted to provide our readers with more information on this haunt phenomena, so we reached out to the creative forces behind the “existential haunting”. We tried several methods of contacting them, and at this time we have received no response.

We realize that part of Alone’s appeal is that it is shrouded in mystery. They reveal very little regarding the nature of the events they put on. Even the location of the haunt is kept secret until the last minute. However, we’re still hoping  to hear back so that we can keep you informed.

How do you feel about the  price? Anyone attend Alone?  Let us know in the comments below!