Knott’s Berry Farm will add five new mazes for Halloween Haunt 2012, including an up-charge VIP maze that promises to substantially increase the scare-quotient from years past.
The 40th annual Knott’s Scary Farm will start on Sept. 21 and run on select nights through Oct. 31.
The granddaddy of Halloween events will feature 13 mazes and four scare zones scattered throughout the Buena Park theme park.
As part of the 40th anniversary celebration, Knott’s entertainment supervisor Jeff Tucker promises higher quality mazes with more scares and better set decorations.
New Knott’s mazes for 2012:
> Trapped -- The VIP maze, a first for Knott’s, will allow up to six visitors through at a time, promising an uptick in the frequency and intensity of scares. Pre-sale reservations will be available, with $60 tickets sold online in advance and the price jumping to $75 for walk-ups on the day of the event. At least one member of the party must be 17 or older. Visitors will be issued a specific start time for the maze and access to a VIP waiting area. (Located in the Laser Tag area)
> Evil Dead -- Based on the 2013 remake of the classic horror movie, the maze takes visitors through the woods to a deserted cabin where a horde of demons unleashed from the “Book of the Dead” await. (Located in the Timber Mountain Log Ride)
> Dominion of the Dead -- The revamped version of the late 1990s vampire maze returns with visitors entering the shadowy world of the undead. The tour through the twisted museum of irresistible art and music will include three sections: the Gallery of the Damned, the Dark Courtyard and the Inner Sanctum. The off-kilter art and statues will come to life as visitors proceed through the museum. (Located backstage near Ghostrider, replacing Lockdown: The Asylum)
> Pinocchio Unstrung -- Pinocchio embarks on a wild killing spree after the Blue Fairy denies him his final wish. An army of murderous marionettes seeks the flesh of maze visitors to cover Pinocchio’s twisted, wooden body. (Located inside Wilderness Dance Hall, replacing the Doll Factory)
> Trick-Or-Treat -- The terror-filled maze takes visitors inside a witch’s house on Halloween night. For a fee, visitors will get a mask, souvenirs and candy at stations throughout the queue in another first for Knott’s. You can tour the maze without paying for the up-charge candy option. (Located backstage near Ghostrider)
Reviews of returning mazes:
> Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse -- A post-apocalyptic arena where gladiators battle to the death for the entertainment of the rich and powerful. The best new maze of 2011 was also the top maze of the night with a great theme and plenty of good scares. The 2012 maze will offer a newly-expanded arena area. (Backstage near Ghostrider.)
> Terror of London -- Featuring Jack the Ripper and Dr. Jekyll. Great scenery, a solid back story and plenty of atmospheric talent keeps this outstanding maze near the top for the third year in a row. The perfect prototype for future Haunt mazes. The 2012 maze will feature more “historically accurate” murder scenes. (Mystery Lodge)
> Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse -- A deranged butcher runs a barbecue restaurant. Returning to form after a dip last season, this 2008 maze could be easily elevated and refreshed with a stronger back story and a central villain. The 2012 maze promises more rooms and more blood. (Near main gate)
> Virus Z -- Replicates a small town overrun by infected cannibals, zombies and bloodthirsty corpses. Haunt’s best themed maze missed out on a lot of potential scares. Maybe the monsters were on a break. Strong characters and a concise back story make Virus Z the perfect blueprint for future Haunt mazes. The 2012 maze adds a new “Carrie” finale based on the 2013 movie remake, with “1,000 gallons of blood.” (Fiesta Plaza)
> Fallout Shelter -- Where the insane residents haven’t seen the sun since the Atomic Age. Several good jolts from a high-energy crew of toxic mutants. An excellent example of Haunt’s indistinguishable and interchangeable themes. The 2012 maze will up the toxic ooze ante. (Near Reflection Lake)
> Delirium -- A wasteland along the blurry line between nightmare and insanity. The ambiguous and hazy drug trip dreamscape theme lacked a coherent storyline. More in-your-face stares than scares in this disappointing new maze. The 2012 maze will add a new Pillar of Souls area. (Ghostrider warehouse)
> Dia de los Muertos in 3-D -- Featuring a Day of the Dead theme. The sleepy maze remains light on scares and near the bottom for another year. No mas, por favor. The 2012 maze will add a new Chamber of Snakes. (At the bumper cars)
> Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre in 3-D -- Clowns run amok in a vaudevillian setting. Another precipitous year-over-year drop can be blamed on the relentless scatological humor: Clowns vomiting in toilets and hiding in Porta Potties. It’s time to flush this maze. (Under Xcelerator)
The Calico Mine Train will not be receiving a full theme overlay, instead offering a lighter Haunt theme inside.
Also this year, Knott’s plans to bring back the “Midnight Witch Hanging” from the 1980s in addition to “The Hanging” pop-culture comedy revue that has been a mainstay at Haunt in recent years.
Haunt dates for 2012: Sept. 21-22 and 27-30 and Oct. 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28 and 30-31.