Knott’s Scary Farm 50 Interview: Throwback Haunts, New Frights

Earlier than cinematic horrors ascended within the hang-out world, unique terrors impressed by basic lore sprung up at Knott’s Scary Farm. The haunted house occasion in Buena Park, CA was the first theme park on the West Coast to convey harvest and horror enjoyable to the state, later inspiring its neighbor parks to follow suit.

io9 lately attended the “Knott’s Scary Farm: Nightmares Revealed” occasion to study extra about the affect of the hang-out’s legacy on this 12 months’s manufacturing, and the way it’s persevering with to evolve alongside the horror neighborhood’s pleasure for terror. With three new mazes—two of that are rooted in Knott’s Scary Farm lore, The Chilling Chambers and Cinema Slasher—the Scary Farm group pays homage to frights featured all through the eras. To step into the way forward for immersive and interactive enjoyable, this 12 months they’re introducing a particular lantern for a style of gateway alternate actuality recreation (ARG) shenanigans, which can unlock particular moments all through the mazes and across the park.

Maze designers Daniel Miller and Gus Krueger chatted with us about what followers of the enduring Halloween occasion can anticipate to have a good time 50 years of scares.


io9: I’m very excited for the occasion. It’s the fiftieth anniversary this 12 months and I’ve to know the way that influences the brand new mazes being launched like Cinema Slasher and The Chilling Chambers.

Daniel Miller: I co-designed Cinema Slasher with Jon Prepare dinner, who was The Darkish Journey designer—that is changing it. We simply all love horror movies, we love them with a ardour. We needed to give you this haunted theater within the final 12 months it was open. So this proprietor, you recognize, he knew it was haunted and he knew he was bringing all these followers in. We go into the movie show and in by means of the display screen, into the scenes, exploring three totally different films which are primarily based on the slasher style. So we kinda brainstormed and mentioned what three films can be finest to symbolize? And shortly found that they really had a hyperlink to mazes that we did earlier than, like Trick ‘r Deal with which was sort of primarily based off Halloween. There’s additionally a slaughterhouse maze relies off of The Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath as properly. We felt like we had sufficient to point out that that is additionally an homage to our previous.

io9: How a lot of the story of every movie might be revealed earlier than visitors go into the maze? Will there be footage of the faux films projected?

Miller: Oh, undoubtedly—every little movie show truly has a clip and if you see that, you’re going to enter that and can expertise that room. It’s actually cool. And the ticket taker may even take you up entrance. It additionally sort of explains what you’re going into, so you will get a touch of what you’re seeing proper earlier than and the totally different really feel of every of those basic slasher films.

io9: Inform us extra about how the interactive lantern will come into play at Scary Farm, and what can we anticipate when it comes to the way it will improve the immersion on the occasion. Will we have to actively seek for spots it should have an effect on, or will it largely set off by itself whereas we’re strolling about?

Gus Krueger: You don’t have to look if you enter the sphere; some issues will solely be triggered when you’re within the perimeter of that discipline. A few of it should say, “hey, maintain doing that for 5 minutes”—or no matter. So relying on what we need to do, the lantern will do this for us. You’ll know, you’ll see it pulse like a heartbeat. Typically the guts beats quick, typically it beats gradual. We will do issues the place it’s similar to a sporadic random flicker. It’s been actually cool and I’ve been in a position to spearhead the venture domestically to work with you. There’s video games, areas the place they might be utilizing that expertise. Working with the opposite designers [on how it will affect their mazes] was nice. It was enjoyable to say, “Okay, you will have this tech functionality. What do you you need to see occur?”, and then take that and put all of it collectively. And naturally, I put a ton of stuff in my [maze]. It’s a enjoyable new expertise [and] a studying curve for all of us to see how that is going to return about. However the aim in Chilling Chambers is if you go go to these 4 outdated mazes, every one has its personal properties the lantern will do from there.

io9: I’m an enormous fan of interactive stuff, so I’m glad you’re going to lean into that, however I’m additionally a extremely large fan of unique horror mythology on the theme parks that take a lifetime of their very own. With Chilling Chambers, you’re taking us again by means of the historical past of Scary Farm. Can you inform us in regards to the totally different areas that followers might be seeing that honor the occasion’s previous? 

Krueger: In The Chilling Chambers, you’ll enter into the Keeper’s cathedral, and the Keeper is the one who has been overseeing this world the place the entire mazes go once they’re not at Scary Farm. So unbeknownst to all of us—all this time, the Okayeeper has been there in his cathedral. There’s portals will take you to those worlds from the previous. So if you go, you’re going to go to The Asylum, you’re going to go to The Doll Manufacturing unit, you’ll go to The Underground, which has been one which lots of people are like, “Oh, I keep in mind that.” [It] was a post-apocalyptic maze that we had within the late ‘90s and early 2000s. And then you definately’ll additionally go to the Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns. It was laborious actually deciding just some mazes to function right here, however you may solely achieve this a lot. However that mentioned, there’s nonetheless so many different mazes, so many different callbacks that we’re in a position to do in numerous ways in which you’ll discover out if you go to. However yeah, in all 4 of these mazes I discussed you’ll see no less than three rooms which are recreated. A few of them are pretty devoted to the [older version]. A few of them are new methods to see that and new ways in which envision it. They’re made for for followers which have seen it earlier than, but additionally followers who’ve by no means seen it earlier than. It’s for everybody.

io9: What had been your favourite characters to drag from the archive? Had been there some that the group actually wanted to incorporate?

Krueger: This maze I truly did design alongside Jon Prepare dinner and Ted Dougherty, so once we labored on it, the issues that had been slam dunks—no approach we might keep away from it, had been The Asylum and The Doll Manufacturing unit. I imply, if you see our polls, anytime we are saying: “Hey, what do folks need to see?” It’s at all times these two mazes up on the high. So there was by no means any query as as to if or not they’d be concerned. We every have our favorites, we every have little issues we’ve tried to attempt to discover methods to tribute in there. However these two mazes, far and away, had been by no means unsure.


Knott’s Scary Farm 50 unleashes its nightmares in Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm starting September 21 and working by means of October 31. You possibly can book tickets online.


Need extra io9 information? Try when to anticipate the most recent Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and every part you could learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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