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Knott’s Scary Farm returns for the 2023 season with even more reason to scare up the night. It’s the event’s 50th anniversary of thrills and chills! This year’s lineup digs up nostalgia for long-time fans and brings new ones up to speed on the legacy of this enchanting Halloween tradition. Featuring 10 frightening mazes. This includes 3 new mazes and 7 returning from the previous season. 5 sinister scare zones. 4 hair-raising shows. Along with exclusive merchandise and themed food and drinks. We’ll get right into the juicy meat.
The Chilling Chambers is a love letter tribute to mazes long since dead and buried. Or are they? You can’t keep a good concept down. This new maze stitches together the best of the past. The mausoleum, rows of coffins, and catacombs are the keys to transition between various themed environments. Everything from an asylum, metropolitan entertainment district, circus, chapel, doll factory, and graveyard uses props, sets, and music filled with nods and references to old favorites from the 50-year history of the event. An excellent choice for those who like a variety of themes in one walk-through.
Although The Keeper is a newly designed character specifically created for the anniversary, he only appears on video screens as a painting and stained glass window. That’s not a problem. It’s disconcerting not to have a live performer portraying The Keeper at the beginning or even the graveyard finale. Chilling Chambers is sure to open a floodgate of memories for those who roamed the original mazes.
Cinema Slasher is the surprise favorite amongst the new maze offerings. The concept is simple enough and nostalgic in its own right as far as slasher movie genres go. However, the execution of the final product really exceeded many somber expectations after its public announcement. The entrance takes advantage of the movie palace design, bringing guests straight into a lobby of movie posters and concessions before walking into the projected screen and into the set of the screening slasher movie.
The effect has been done before, but not to this magnitude of glee. The audience is caught in a movie marathon of the fictitious slasher film franchise. The standard horror movie setting is all here from suburban house, lakeside camp, and a slaughterhouse. Each movie theme is connected by the movie theater screening and back rooms. A mischievous camera monster also appears to be stalking you along the way. Cinema Slasher is a definite must-do not to be missed.
Room 13 expands the Goreing-20’s theme of the adjacent scare zone and Blind Tiger Jazz Band. The new maze occupied a previously unused location under the Beary-Tales Dark Ride and was a virtual reality experience at one point. A green glowing drink called the Devil’s Elixir is turning consumers into… not themselves. Follow the path of disaster from the hidden speakeasy of the Blind Tiger, into a hotel, and down it’s basement corridors. The art deco is certainly appealing design along with clever visuals such as a compressed elevator and boiler room. The high rise scaffolding is well accomplished. Would love it more with the sounds of traffic congestion.
Bloodline 1842 brings the war of vampires and monster hunters in a Neo-Victorian steampunk battleground. 2023 does away with the interactive gun element. A blessing as now the line moves faster, the gimmick slowed the show timing, and the guns were more of a distraction than an enhancement. The rooms where the guns were distributed and collected have been boarded up. Unfortunate they were not incorporated more into the pathway or received additional set design. The audio still directs guests to shoot at non-existent targets. Finger guns will have to do.
Dark Entities calls upon help from an alien outbreak on a space station deep in outer space. One of the darkest walk-throughs in the park thanks to the emergency nature of the story allowing alien hosts to disappear in hidden corners. The gore and alien mutation ups the dangerous threat the rescue team could be facing.
Wax Works leads patrons on a journey of creation. The building materials being beeswax and live human models. How would you be displayed?
The Depths takes explorers deep beneath the earth’s crust and ocean waters. Other worldly environments and creatures lay dead ahead. The mine shaft scene in the beginning has improved since its debut with effective infinity mirrors to complete the sense of being miles underground. The sunken city with the layer of green layers is most effective when there’s enough fog. The Kraken and shark attack are still impressive show pieces.
Mesmer disorients its audience into a mind without thought. Accessing an open canvas of illusions to play with the mind. The hypnotist incorporating the circus theme from the nearby CarnEVIL scare zone. An enticing funhouse of chills.
Origins: The Curse of Calico uncovers the trail, hunt, and rise of the Green Witch. The citizens of Calico demands justice from the witch’s wicked ways. The witch hunt follows a courtroom, jail house, vault, school house, funeral home, and a hideout throughout the town.
The Grimoire opens its unholy pages at a campsite hurtling its readers into the journey of the book through time. An evil presence awaits those who read from the book. From the trenches of war to a quiet home, and back to a clubhouse. The book seems to come to life to claim its victims.
The Hanging: Uncancelled has been resurrected from the 2019 season with new humble abode at the Wagon Camp Theatre, respectfully. An appropriate location as the abundantly warned offensive show is contained within an outdoor show space. The Lawman and the Hangman return to dishonorably crown the most offensive individual of the year. Meanwhile poking fun at the current times with stunts, adult humor, and pyrotechnics. This is a welcome return to form that really helps fill out the entertainment roster for the seasonal event.
Music, Monsters, & Mayhem brings back the live song and dance productions to the Walter Knott Theater. The Green Witch summons a master of ceremonies to embody past hosts of the Knott’s Scary Farm event as a tribute to the event’s 50th anniversary. Amusing portrayals of Sinister Seymour, Wolfman Jack, Dr. Cleaver, and even Elvira provide a meaningful throwback to the theater these hosts played. The soulful singers and captivating choreography play fun roles to the themes of Ghost Town, London, dolls, voo doo, and the underworld. The finale dance routine will have the audience needing a shower to cool off.
Dr. Cleaver Returns to the Bird Cage Theatre in Ghost Town. The doctor orders up adult humor, handy assistants, and a cut throat magic act within a 15 minute run time.
Le Magnifique Carnaval du Grotesque showcase performers in death-defying feats of terror and mystique. This year’s show is different and better than ever from its debut season. A clown now presides and joins the stage. The dance group delightfully gets more time in the spotlight. Acts of amusement include an entrancing aerial pole dance, fire play, and a wheel of death.
The Blind Tiger Red Hot Jazz Band and the Tiger Tale Dancers also perform over the Gore-ing ’20s scare zone, beside the Walter Knott Theater. The live performers play and dance to their hearts content enticing onlookers to join in. This surprisingly fun addition rings up the joy in this corner of the park. Whereas this entertainment offering lists showtimes on the official Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app, processions in the Forsaken Lake and The Gauntlet scare zones are happenstance. Long-time guests often people watch for entertainment in scare zones like Ghost Town and CarnEVIL.
Into the Fog Art Exhibit return with new inspired art displays by local artists. Prints and original pieces are available for purchase.
Scare Zones and Atmosphere
The 50th anniversary celebration of Knott’s Scary Farm is open on select nights now until October 31, 2023. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday hours are 7 pm to 1 am. Friday and Saturday hours are 7 pm to 2 am. Be sure to check the official website for chaperone and bag policy. Tickets start at $60 depending on selected evenings and depending on Fast Lane, parking, hotel, and other packages.