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Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 40th Edition
Season Pass Podcast 2012 Report

Oct. 22, 2012

But before I get to that, let me share some quick thoughts on the other mazes, which I'm so happy to say include not a single dud this year.

Terror of London

I'm glad this maze is still in the mix as it's always been very scary, even during off years. And it brought the scary, as usual, with what I think are some new sequences? Some stuff with mad doctors that weren't there last year? Am I remembering that right? Anyway, I'll never tire of the "Olde London Towne's dark underbelly" vibe, with the fog, and the low-lit tavern, and the "houses of ill repute," and all that good stuff. (I'm currently reading "Dark Carnival," a biography of Tod Browning, and just finished the chapter about the making of London After Midnight, one of his lost Lon Chaney films, and I still hold out hope that a print will surface some day. More rambling than normal, I warned you, didn't I?)

Dia De Los Muertos

A maze I really wasn't fond of initially continues to get better and better as the years go by. Did Universal's diabolical La Llorona maze put some pressure on the KSF team to juice this even further? Perhaps. Whatever the reasons, this 3D maze felt scarier and better paced overall. And I still love the "hanging skeleton" room SO MUCH. The 3D gag is neither a great contribution, nor a great annoyance, so whatever.

Virus Z

Zombies. Done. I'm always down for anything to do with zombies. That said, Virus Z is feeling a tad second-class these days. Not that it looks bad, but compared to the real winners this year, some of the set design impressed me less than it once did. A minor quibble, though, because there are zombies up in this joint and I liked the female zombie waitress in the diner. A lot. (I have issues.) And the movie theater room is still a blast. Plus, there's a new "Carrie" coda before it's over, which is kind of random, but also really, really bloody, so what's not to like? (Have you seen the trailer for the 2013 remake, with Chloë Grace Moretz? Looks great!)

Uncle Bobo's Big Top of the Bizarre

Haunt's outright "comedy" maze is not the scariest by a long shot, but the evil clowns were really in the groove and we just had a lot of fun with this one. Honking horns, the crazy music, the 3D lighting and colors, the amped-up sensory assault all worked. Plus, you get farted on by an elephant. And, honestly, I do remember getting jolted hard more than once, so it does deliver on that level here and there.

Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse: Battle for Survival

I didn't love Endgames last year, but they moved it all the way across the park and it's like a brand-new maze this year, tighter and with even more of the sci-fi, dystopian tech-horror thing going on. As Jeff explained to us, one of the "40th Haunt" mandates to the maze designers was to get rid of as many of the dead-space (so to speak) transition hallways as possible, keep the scares coming one right after another. Endgames definitely benefited from some of this judicious trimming. Also, I don't recall much work done on the outside in 2011, so this new exterior was a very pleasant surprise.

Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse

This is another maze that, ahem, went under the knife, and WOW, what an improvement! We were really convinced that Slaughterhouse was on the way out, but no, it's back with a vengeance. Loud, nasty, meaty, bloody horror, the way mom used to make. Granted, we hit this maze much earlier in the evening than in prior years, so that helped a little, I'm sure. Also, with Windseeker temporarily grounded, we didn't have the distraction of bright, pretty lights twirling overhead, as was the case last year. But without question, Knott's most gorehound-focused maze is firing on all cylinders again. SO GROSS.

Dominion of the Dead

I missed a massive chunk of Haunts while living back East, so I never saw what is often called the best Haunt maze ever, Dominion of the Dead. This special revival was easily one of the best looking mazes of the year, if not among the scariest, and if gothic, vampiric horror is your bag, then you will eat this up. I loved the greyscale palette and the little hints of Dr. Caligari-esque surrealism throughout. Also, the cello player is one of my favorite details of this entire Haunt. Again, not super-scary, but drenched with atmosphere, which makes it a perfect companion piece to...


Hands down, this was our favorite maze last year, and it's just as awesome as ever, nightmarish phantasmagoria out the yin-yang. I didn't notice any major tweaks, and thank goodness, because it sure didn't need any. There's so much to enjoy in here, but I have to give special mention to the poor woman on the bed... that is a mental image I can't shake. Some day, I'd like to walk through Delirium with a Freudian psychologist and see how they react.

Fallout Shelter

This is the third year for Fallout Shelter and they made it better, a lot better, by just turning out some lights. It is dark, especially for the first half, and man, that is scary. Simple, but it works. You still got the big missiles, the mutant animals, and all the crazy peeps running around in there, and that's all righteous. (Still no radioactive bubbles anymore, though; bummer.) But this was one of the best mazes of the evening, completely unexpected.





© Robert Coker
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