Kevin's Trip Report - Knotts' Halloween Haunt

Knott's Berry Farm: It's not just Universal Orlando packing them in with a Halloween event. Kevin braves the mass of humanity at Knott's Halloween Haunt to bring you this review and trip report.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted October 18, 2002 at 12:36 PM
(I just got back from a short trip to the LA area, where I visited Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios and the Halloween event at Knott's. I have so much to say about each that I am creating a different thread on each so everybody's complaints will have more of a flow.)

First off, I must say that the scariest thing I saw all night was the $8 we had to pay to park. That was almost as ridiculous as the $41 they wanted for six hours of entertainment!

So we entered and immediately were surrounded by the sounds of screaming girls. This made us all just a little frightened as we tried to work our way through the heavy smoke. We felt cocky as several ghouls who tried to scare us failed.

Then we saw the line for Ghostrider. Right then and there I realized there probably wouldn't be any rides in my future. And I was right. I wanted badly to ride Xcelerator but that line was horrendous and it didn't seem to be moving. Does this ride have only one train?

So we focused on the houses for the time being. We bought our 3-D glasses and headed into Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns in 3-D. We LOVED this maze! We were so entranced by the 3-D effects that all of us were surprised by a clown at one point or another.

We quickly headed to a few other mazes - Lore of the Vampire, The Inquisition and The Underground - and walked right into all of them since they weren't along the main drag. After the third one we soon realized that the non-3-D ones weren't all that different. We could usually see someone lurking to scare us, or could expect when a corner or crevice seemed suspicious. While all were professionally executed, we felt a monotony setting in so we checked out the show schedule.

We had already seen Beyond Bizarre with that guy from the circus freak episode of "The X-Files." (He was the jigsaw-puzzle-tattooed guy.) That show wasn't so thrilling so we didn't have much hope for Ed Alonzo's Ghouls Gone Wild as we headed into the theater.

We were wrong. While Ed was okay when he played the dorky magician, halfway through he turned into some total cheeseball, but he reverted right back. Beyond the magic, though, were a group of EXTREMELY talented singers and dancers who were really the meat of the show. Clearly their portion of the show was not created just for the Haunt since it was THAT professional and it really wasn't very Halloweeny. One clever number with the men in straight jackets was about as "ghoulish" as it got. Still, this was a good show that was far better than most theme park shows.

Then we caught The Hanging. Now, I KNOW this was created solely for the Haunt, so its professional execution (excuse the pun) makes it THAT much more amazing. There had to be at least a hundred costume changes in this show, which lasted about thirty minutes and never dragged. Everything was good, from the pre-recorded voices to the actors to the choreography to the script. The audience's favorite line seemed to be a joke about Osama bin Laden hiding out somewhere all by himself and someone suggested they look in California Adventure: "No one goes there!"

In fact, my favorite part was the OTHER Disney reference. Freddy Krueger mentions his "imagination" when suddenly several Disney characters - Snow White is the one I remember - pop up onstage and start shaking little tassled wands about, just like in Fantasmic. The funny part was that behind them were several horror movie killers, like Freddy and Jason and Michael Myers doing the same exact thing. It may not sound funny, but seeing someone like Freddy flicking that moronic wand about (which I always thought was so lame in Fantasmic) just KILLED me!

Anyhow, The Hanging skewers everybody, sometimes literally. And it is QUITE raunchy, with both blood and innuendos flying. I won't tell who the hanging victim was, but I sure wish it had been the "Can you hear me now? Good!" guy! As far as I'm concerned, they killed him WAY too quickly. They could have left him onstage to torture every few seconds and I would have attended the Haunt EVERY night of its existence!

Then we saw Putz's Prank Party. Whatever! We had more fun having pre-show screaming contests with the ghouls than we did watching the show. The actors were all fine and were having fun, but the magic trick was so lame that you could actually see the lights shining off the mirrors you weren't supposed to see!

We left a couple hours early since we were getting up early for Disneyland/DCA the next day or we probably would have braved the lines for the Log Ride or the Calico Mine Ride just to see how haunted rides worked. We also wanted desperately to check out Malice in Wunderland since it was also 3-D, but that line was atrocious. In fact, EVERY line for the houses in the main T of the park were horrendous beyond belief. The lines for two very distant mazes actually met at one point, which was a treat for anyone who wasn't in either line.

And that is my biggest complaint about the Haunt. We were very much enjoying ourselves when we were on the far side of the park, but when we were where the majority of the entertainment was, we were mostly irritated.

We all agreed that had we paid the full $41 we would have found us some Knotts honchos and put more than just a little scare into them! Fortunately we used the Burger King coupons and got in for $25. Still, this was a Thursday night and it was early in the season. I can't imagine this place on a Saturday or closer to Halloween. So I feel we didn't really get $25 worth out of our experience either. A couple rides and a couple more mazes and we would have been happy. But, as professional and creative as the event was, we probably won't return for quite some time. Probably not until the Haunt covers the entire month of October.

From Anonymous
Posted October 18, 2002 at 3:30 PM
Hi Kevin,

Sorry to hear you didn't feel like staying for the entire evening. Did you have a chance to walk through any of the "Scare Zones", or did you only focus on those few mazes?

Also, for the record, the choreography for the Ed Alonzo show dancers is strictly for that show, and the dancers were all auditioned separately for this show. When Haunt ends, they will be released. So, it makes their performance even that much more impressive.

I would like to say that Halloween Haunt is THE innovator in Haunted theme park attractions, so I highly recommend that everyone check it out. Perhaps because of your experience with other haunted houses etc, you are just a bit jaded when it comes to the scare potential at Knotts.

But, thanks for the review!

From Kevin Baxter
Posted October 19, 2002 at 12:43 AM
I haven't really been to many haunted house type things. Like I said, I thought they were professional, but not really all that different except for the 3-D.

The scare zones were fine, but we were three giants walking through there so we didn't get many scares thrown in our direction. Plus, we weren't acting all petrified and those were the people they seemed to focus on.

Posted October 19, 2002 at 10:35 AM
What's up Kev?
I can definitely see your complaints about the lines. Here's a little tip to make things easier for you. There is a Pre-Haunt buffet that you have to make reservations for. The food isn't that bad, but the best part about it is they let you in a half-hour before the rest of the public.

We went on Saturday the 12th. We ran straight to Xcelerator and we were on the second car out. We walked straight into Clowns. Great maze (oh by the way, to that Bronco fan clown at the very end who was talkin' smack to me, [I was wearing my Junior Seau jersey] WHO'S IN FIRST PLACE NOW CLOWNY CLOWN?! WHO'S IN FIRST PLACE?! YEAH BABY, YEAHHHHH!!!). Sorry about that.

Anyways, we then went to Curse of the Spiders. Waited about 10 minutes. Awsome maze. It had a little Haunted Mansion feel to it. Then we hit Malice. Waited about 15 minutes. Man, I was really trippin' off of the swirly thingy at the end. Must have been the magic cookies that I brought along. By the way there is one part in that maze where the giant Alice is, where you can only see the lower half of her body. If you look under her dress there are two big crabs in her crotch area!! I don't know who's more sick in the head, me for looking, or them for putting the crabs there. We'll call it a tie. I also loved the evil-looking caterpillar with the HUGE glass bong. I offered him a cookie, but he didn't say nothing. Maybe he was stuck?

We then hit Lore of the Vampire which was alright. Aliens was next. They changed around the first part. It was really budget. It was PVC pipe framing with white trash bags that were ripped all over the place. It was better when it was all dark with strobe lights. But halfway through it was classic Aliens. I love that spinning tunnel at the end, couldn't stop laughing. Oh yeah, at the entrance there was this alien who reminded me of that teacher in Ferris Beuler's(sp?) Day Off. He was really funny. "Booo...Booo...did I scare you?...I put a lot of effort into that...booo...booo. It was a great contrast to the other monsters in the park. After Aliens I looked at my watch. It was 8:00. For the rest of the night the lines were loooong. Two of my friends that went with my group had never ridden Ghostrider, so I felt it was my duty to wait in the two hour line. But the smiles on their faces when we got off was worth it. After GR we hit Hollywood Horror Hotel (or something like that). That is a really cool maze. I love the Poltergeist scene. After that we spent a little time checkin' out some booties. We left a midnight with smiles on our faces (and a few phone numbers). So the trick is to get in early by eating at the buffet, but, shhh! Don't tell anyone.

From Anonymous
Posted October 19, 2002 at 2:56 PM
Kevin I think if you stayed until closing you would have gotten your money's worth! You would be AMAZED at how much you can do during the last hour!

I went last Sunday night and I was told it was a sell out and we did 9 of the 11 mazes, saw 2 shows (I thought Ed Alonzo was hilarious and Zamora was awesome), went on one ride, and even got funnel cakes (a good 45 min wait).

From Kevin Baxter
Posted October 20, 2002 at 2:18 AM
I am sure it would slow down in the last hour, but we had to get up. And we weren't super thrilled about any other mazes except Malice and the Alien one. Haunted houses just aren't really my thing, I guess. Still, if I could have done those two mazes, the two haunted rides, Ghostrider and Xcelerator, I would have been very happy. It still wouldn't have been worth $41 though.

From Henry Harris
Posted October 20, 2002 at 10:29 PM
did anyone play games? Or look at the prizes? Knotts brought in some cheezy prizes for the games.

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