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Knott's Scary Farm 2015 Announcement Presentation!


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This week Knott’s had their annual Scary Farm announcement presentation where they announce new and returning mazes, scare zones, and shows. This event, which is open to annual passholders, is always fun and filled with surprises. It definitely gets you in the mood for Halloween! Check out our report below to get the scoop on what’s happening this year at Knott’s Scary Farm!

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As night began to fall, thousands of Knott’s passholders eagerly waited outside the Charles M. Schulz Theatre for the announcement presentation.

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Here’s a peek inside the theater.

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Once the doors opened, everyone rushed in to grab a seat.

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But the monsters were waiting for them!

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And there was nowhere to hide.

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Even the back of the theater was no safe-haven.

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Want to be friends?

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This monster kept exclaiming, “I don’t even work here!”

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If Prince Desmond and a rat had a baby, this is what it would look like.

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Once everyone found their seats the monsters waved goodbye and the show began.

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The host for the show was the one and only Jeff Tucker!

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Jeff was wheeled into the theater by two lovely ladies.

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Jeff is always hilarious. Knott’s is lucky to have this guy!

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On to the announcements! First up, the shows. The legendary Elvira returns this year in an all new show, Elvira’s Asylum.

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No show is more synonymous with Scary Farm than The Hanging. This year, the show returns as The Hanging - Straight Outta Calico.

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Next up, scare zones! This year there’s Fiesta de los Muertos...

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Carnevil...

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And the scare zone to end all scare zones - the one that started it all and remains the best - Ghost Town.

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It’s time to announce the mazes! YES!

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Pinocchio Unstrung returns with an all new Skeleton Key room.

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Black Magic (one of my personal favorites) is back as well with a new Skeleton Key room.

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Trick or Treat returns with a new potion room and attic scene.

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Forevermore will have a skeleton key room for the first time ever.

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Voodoo returns with a new skeleton key room and more scares.

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I loved Voodoo last year because it really immersed you in the environment, but my one critique was the lack of scares. Hopefully this year we get the best of both worlds!

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The Tooth Fairy, another maze that was very popular last year, returns with a new Skeleton Key room and an all-new ending!

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Haunt designer John Cooke came on stage to announce the return of Special Ops Infected.

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This year there are new guns that improve throughout the game - the more zombies you shoot, the better the gun becomes. Each gun also has a health meter, and if you lose your health you’ll have to find a re-spawn check-point to re-set your health and get back into the action.

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Yay for new guns!

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Speaking of guns, Gunslinger’s Grave is back!

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Creator Gus Krueger came on stage to announce that it’ll be madder, crazier, furrier (thanks to werewolves), and it will also have an all-new end scene.

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Brand new this year is The Dead of Winter! A Snow Queen avenges her family’s murder with an army of resurrected Viking warriors.

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The Dead of Winter will be unlike most mazes because they aren’t going to shy away from bright white light. The maze will have lots of contrast between dark and light. Also, the Snow Queen awaits you in a Skeleton Key room.

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The lights then dimmed and the ghost of Clementine (played by Jeff’s daughter) walked across the stage.

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The mine ride will be getting a Halloween overlay this year called My Bloody Clementine.

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The ride will utilize projection mapping to immerse you in the story.

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Designer Daniel Miller came on stage to announce some surprising news - there will be live talent in the ride this year!

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The last maze to be announced is another brand new maze - Paranormal Inc. In this maze a cast of ghost hunters from a TV show by the same name, Paranormal Inc, find exactly what they were looking for.

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The maze will be interactive with multiple branching story lines and it will have “high energy stunts unlike any you’ve ever seen in a maze.”

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All of a sudden one of the crew was dragged off stage by angry spirits. Jeff thought it was just a joke, so he told the rest of the crew “Good job” selling the maze concept. He instructed them to hang tight on stage while the show continued.

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TPR exclusive: Scary Farm will have green light this year!

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Suddenly a gang of monsters dragged a giant sleigh on stage.

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The Green Witch hopped off and greeted the crowd.

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She then introduced the Deadly Seven, a group of seven characters based on the seven deadly sins, who will roam the park and terrorize guests.

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The Deadly Seven then broke free of their cages and grabbed the remaining Paranormal Inc. crew members.

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The crew was dragged off-stage, presumably to meet their doom!

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Jeff, with Clementine by his side, then concluded the show by saying, “I hope you will join us for Knott’s Scary Farm, Sept 24 - Oct. 31st! See you in the fog!”

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And into the fog they went!

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Once outside, members of the media were greeted with an awesome reception.

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And this is Knott’s, so you know they pulled out all the stops with the food.

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Nom nom nom.

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These ice sculptures are a tradition at Knott’s media events! They’re all so fun!

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They really take pride in what they do at Knott’s. Spooky food-characters adorned the buffet tables.

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Mmm, wine!

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Lots of small tables were set up for people to eat and drink at. These centerpieces were at each table.

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Who invited monsters to this celebration?

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We got to speak with the creative team behind Scary Farm. Julie Owens and Jeff Tucker let us know about this year’s Hanging show, which will be interactive. The audience can participate on their smart phone, and that will change the direction the show goes.

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Lara Hanneman talked to us about The Dead of Winter. The maze will be kept really cold to simulate Winter!

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John Cooke told us about how Voodoo was a beautiful maze, but he wanted to add the “down and dirty scary haunted house” aspect to it. He also felt the Voodoo theme was really broad, so he wanted to narrow it down by focusing the maze on summoning the Serpent Goddess.

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Daniel Miller mentioned that in the My Bloody Clementine Mine Ride overlay there will be video mapping effects used throughout the ride, so they’re actually going to be adding video to several sections of the ride that don’t normally have video, in addition to the live actors and props. Gus Krueger is really excited about the contrast in The Dead of Winter and the fact that they’re attempting to use bright white rooms instead of the typical darkness and shadows that most people expect. He said he, “doesn’t want anyone to go in there and get what they expect.” Sounds good to me! He also mentioned that there is going to be a snow effect in the maze, and that a mirror maze has been incorporated into the maze.

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Spears loves monsters!

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TPR loves dessert!

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All of the desserts were over the top.

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So cool!

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How can you pick just one?

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A Halloween cupcake in August reminds you that Scary Farm is just around the bend.

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We can’t wait! With so many great new additions, and so many returning favorites, this year is sure to be a hit! Knott’s Scary Farm runs Sept. 24 - Oct. 31 ... don’t miss it! Thanks to Knott’s for putting on such a great event, and thanks to you for checking out our report!

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I am so sad that I am not working in LA this October! It's been 2 years since I've been to Knott's Haunt. Perhaps next year. On the plus side I do get to go to Lagoon and Kings Dominion. I will have to book an extra flight out to LA next year for sure. I hope the new mazes and the Calico Mine Train overlay are a hit. I will love to see them the next time I visit. The new Skeleton Key Rooms are always a plus and I found them quite entertaining two years ago when I was there. Great TR! It looks like Haunt is gonna be awesome this year!

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The mine ride overlay sounds awesome, I've never been to Knotts Scary Farm but it seems like this event always continues to re-invent itself over the years. The Skelteon key rooms concept seems really cool.

 

They're fun, but to me, I personally just wanted to go into the rest of the maze! The vignettes take too long to develop IMO. It's a great concept though.

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The mine ride overlay sounds awesome, I've never been to Knotts Scary Farm but it seems like this event always continues to re-invent itself over the years. The Skelteon key rooms concept seems really cool.

 

They're fun, but to me, I personally just wanted to go into the rest of the maze! The vignettes take too long to develop IMO. It's a great concept though.

At least it gives something for the people who pay for the upcharge to look forward to. I give them credit for doing it. I don't think any of the other haunts that have a fast pass system do anything like this, do they?

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The mine ride overlay sounds awesome, I've never been to Knotts Scary Farm but it seems like this event always continues to re-invent itself over the years. The Skelteon key rooms concept seems really cool.

 

They're fun, but to me, I personally just wanted to go into the rest of the maze! The vignettes take too long to develop IMO. It's a great concept though.

At least it gives something for the people who pay for the upcharge to look forward to. I give them credit for doing it. I don't think any of the other haunts that have a fast pass system do anything like this, do they?

 

Agreed. Universal blows with their front of the line pass. One-time use and it costs like $100 extra. Knott's gives unlimited front of line all night long, abuse it until you can't possibly go through another haunt! PLUS you get an extra, super-awesome, interactive, secret, exclusive scene! All for less than a single-night, non-front-of-line ticket to HHN.

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USH had VIP exclusive things in the past, but that's all I can think of.

 

I agree it's a great concept that adds value. This is a much better way to "upcharge" people than trapped (I'm not a fan of those 'interactive' haunts that make you do dumb stuff.

 

They're definitely fun and totally worth the price IMO, my critique is totally just "over analyzing" theme park nerd types of complaining.

I'm just personally not a huge fan of too much "show" in a haunt. I like good scenery, lots of quick scares, and quick vignettes/FX/scenes that you see in passing and don't have to wait for to fully develop. I like it to flow naturally without the "hold on, wait here and wait for this scene to unfold for the payoff..."

 

You'll definitely still enjoy them if you pay for the skeleton key!

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USH had VIP exclusive things in the past, but that's all I can think of.!

 

For about double the price of admission plus front of line. Also they did away with that this year and instead increased prices across the board elsewhere. Comcast is really showing they're in charge of the brand now.

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I've been to Haunt every year that I can remember, and I do think the skeleton key thing is a cool idea. I'd be interested in trying it out this year, but seeing as it's already pulling teeth to get my gf to go to Haunt, we'll probably have to skip it.

 

The interesting thing though with it last year is that I usually go on slower nights, and most mazes had little to no waits, and the people with skeleton keys/Fright Lane, ended up waiting a lot longer than the regular guests...kinda defeating the purpose of Fright Lane at least.

 

I had high hopes for Haunt last year, especially after seeing the Haunt presentation, and year after year, it hasn't lived up to my expectations; though I did enjoy a few things from last year. The problem is there are more and more LA Halloween events year after year that are raising the bar (ALONE, Delusion, the Evil Twin Studio group, Blackout, etc) not to mention Universal keeps bringing it year after year so it's hard not to compare what Knott's brings to the table. I still go every year, but as more of a tradition now more than anything else. I can't remember the last time I really got a good "scare" inside any of their mazes.

 

I'm glad to see Special Ops is coming back and is being improved upon. That was one of my favorite parts of Haunt last year. I have mixed feelings about them not attempting Trapped again. The concept was always great but executing that successfully in a theme park just never worked right over the last few years, and I think they finally realized that and knew that space would be better suited for an actual maze.

 

Like most on here, I'm most looking forward to them bringing the actual talent back inside the mine ride, and the new effects sound promising. Glad to see them re-imagining Voodoo a bit as well. That maze was on Universal theming quality last year but severely lacked scares and was really short.

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The mine ride overlay sounds awesome, I've never been to Knotts Scary Farm but it seems like this event always continues to re-invent itself over the years. The Skelteon key rooms concept seems really cool.

 

They're fun, but to me, I personally just wanted to go into the rest of the maze! The vignettes take too long to develop IMO. It's a great concept though.

At least it gives something for the people who pay for the upcharge to look forward to. I give them credit for doing it. I don't think any of the other haunts that have a fast pass system do anything like this, do they?

From what I've heard, Worlds of Fun and Knott's came up with the idea together (and WoF actually announced theirs first!) But both parks do them with different purposes.

 

Also, is anyone else surprised to hear NOTHING about an Iron Reef overlay?

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not to mention Universal keeps bringing it year after year

 

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You...you've been to and seen Uni's lineup the past, oh, I dunno, 4 YEARS IN A ROW, right?! I've sworn off of Uni until they get rid of Walking Dead. It's pathetic.

 

Knott's may reuse their mazes but they don't have the budget to go brand new every year. Universal repeats the same crap, Knott's at least gives new scares, Skeleton Key rooms, and WAYYYYYYY more bang for your buck. They also didn't pansy out on The Hanging like Uni did with Bill & Ted. That alone is enough reason for me to not give them my money.

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^This!

 

I have been sorely disappointed with USHs Halloween offerings for several years now. For reasons you have mentioned as well as others. IMO their event is not worth the general admission compared to the other events. It's been pretty much the same old same old since 2012. Personally, I think Knott's has been out doing them for a while now. This year will make 2 years since I have had the pleasure of going to an LA halloween event. The last time I was there I went to 3. Haunt, Dark Harbor, & HHN. I always get VIP as I hate the lines, but all in all I thought USH was the most expensive upgrade and least worth the money.

 

Whenever anyone of my friends out there ask me about which event to go to. For the last 5 or so years, I have told them that Knott's is the best as far as I'm concerned.

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Personally, I don't get what all the hate for HHN is about? In my opinion, I feel that Scary Farm has been on a downward spiral for the last 5 years, while HHN has been on the rise. Just look at Scary Farm's maze lineup... There are only 11 mazes this year down from 13 a few years ago, "Carnevil" is so bright with all of the stringed lights above your head that it's not even a legitimate scare zone, the costumes at Scary Farm are so low budget when compared to HHN, Scary Farm doesn't even theme Timber Mountain Log ride anymore, and Scary Farm seems to only cater to pre- teenagers these days. And I'm not the only one who believes this as last year HHN sold out of tickets about 65% of the nights, while Knotts has to introduce a "Scary Farm season pass" (which is cheaper than a one night ticket to HHN) just so they can fill the gates. I mean I remember about 10 years ago when Scary Farm tickets used to constantly sell out, but now they can't even reach capacity even WITH a bunch of scary farm season pass holders going every night.

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^No hate man, and I appreciate your opinion. However, I respectfully disagree and think that the last time I was there it felt like Universal was just phoning it in. I don't think that I was even startled once. And the removal of Bill & Ted has left a very sour taste in many ex-patrons mouths. I always go VIP to these events and USH falls dramatically short with the single front of line pass. While the paranormal backlot adventure is fun, it is the equivalent of maybe 3 Skeleton Key rooms. I am usually done with the park and ready to leave before 10pm. Even if I wanted to go revisit a maze, I would have to wait in a 2ish hour line. And I don't do that. Where as at Knott's, I can revisit the houses at will if I want, there are more shows, and I can hit up the Skeleton Key rooms again if I want. And the Special Ops adventure is quite the unique time, not to mention very entertaining and at times jumpy. I think that for the value, Knott's is a much better deal. If I only have one night while I am in town working, I am going to spend my money where I feel I am going to get the most value for it. And as for me, that would have to be Knott's.

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My experience at universal hhn last year was a disaster. They did indeed phone it in. The operations were terrible. None of the posted line wait times were accurate, off by as much as an hour or more. With the exception of American werewolf, the mazes were heavily recycled. AVP was a huge dissapointment, as far as the set design goes. Not using the parks venues, such as the waterworld stage, for an event is poor planning. Even if it was just for a musical act, that would at least be something for the crowds. Their integration of gate a into the regular line was really poorly done. I can only hope they manage to run Fast and Furious part of the tram, in addition to terror tram just for crowd control.

 

Knotts at least uses almost every corner of the park. And how is it that knotts can do two night time shows and universal can do zero? Universal, at least this year has a dance show, but that is pretty creatively bankrupt. I would rather seee Beetlejuice brought back.

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