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Well, another year at Knotts' Scary Farm has come to a close (for me).

This is my 35th year attending Knotts (I feel so old right now!), but this was a great SF year (IMHO).

Did almost the whole package this year (Pre-Scare Meal, Fright Lane & Skeleton Key). Can't do the Spin 'n Heave rides any more, so the Fast Lane pass is not for me.

Anyways to the review.

Food was good & plentiful, although I think if I could get the Pre-Scare entry with no meal (I'd just as soon buy the regular Knott's Chicken Dinner with metal silverware - hate plastic!), I'd go for it. Skip the corn-on-the-cob, as it tasted like it had been boiled for about 30 days.

Entry seemed easier this year, security check had plenty of personnel on. One tech bumped my wife in the head with the metal detector, and the security chief pulled him aside and gave him an stern earful for it, after apologizing to my wife.

They do need to explain the FrightLane/Skeleton Key a little better. Nobody told us where to redeem these. We finally saw other guests with them and we had to ask them. That should be something that comes up when they scan your tickets, and you should either get them at that time, or they should explain or give you a sheet of paper or something....

As to the Skeleton Key, I was only impressed by two of the rooms that had it. The seance room in "Black Magic" was quite cool and some of the people with us who didn't get to see it were very jealous. Gunslinger's staff informed us that their SK room was down when we visited, but they did politely ask us to come back later. Dominion of the Damned's SK room was a neat idea and did explain the theme of the maze. The other SK rooms....didn't get much from 'em nor would I have noticed if they weren't there.

IMHO, the FrightLane pass is worth every penny. We walked past about 800 people (rough guess) at "Mirror Mirror", and we were glad we did, 'cuz if I'd waited that long for that maze, I'd have not been a happy camper. Long lines at Trick or Treat, Dominion, Endgames, etc. were all bypassed with a wave of the wristband....

Shows:

Elvira was....Elvira. Still the Queen of Halloween, she does what she's always done, and she does it well. Did notice at the end that she was rather out of breath, even forgetting the name of the dance group backing her up (Academy of Villains). Nice to see "The Breather" in the video montage....For those of you who're born after her old "Movie Macabre" show went off, go get a video somewhere.

Loved the "Carny Trash", although I'm a fan of Aye Jaye, having seen him at the Magic Castle many times.

Curse me for a fool, but we didn't get to see "Possessed". We nearly got into one show, then ran out of time & energy (see the getting old comment above).

Mazes (in order of IMHO preference);

Black Magic - Great maze, lots of detail. I love magic in general, so this was a great one. Wish I'd had more time to stop and look around. Loved this one's SK room!
Dominion of the Damned - Lots of detail, a few good scares, but pretty much a new rehab of the old 1990's "<enter noun> of the Damned".
Forevermore - Again lots of detail, very hard working crew, some even followed us from room to room.
Gunslinger's Grave - Nice maze, lots of detail, lots of characters, seemed like they were rushing us through.
Trick-or-Treat - Same as last year, but nice. As I'd seen it before, I managed to look more at the detail instead of looking for scares.
Pinocchio Unstrung - Same as last year.
Mirror, Mirror - Neat concept, but way too low capacity for Scary Farm. They were also having tech problems. Looong line.
Endgames - Time for this one to go.
Delirium - Never really did get the point of this one. Time to go.
Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse - Pack it in, Uncle Willy. You've been in the smoker too long.
The Witch's Keep - very very very limited theming.

I don't do Trapped. Sorry, but some of the stuff I've heard in past reviews sets my claustrophobia off. Skipped the Log Flume as well. No theming.

Monsters in the street were really working hard on Saturday night. Lots of chasing young girls at high speed for long distances. Fun to watch but if you make me spill my funnel cake, you have to die. Them's the rules.

Great year, great entertainment. I've been to Universal & Six Flags, but Knotts' will always be #1 for me.
 

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I did the Haunt around the 15th, kept it short and didn't stay too long (about three and a half hours), but that was because the evening went really well. My buddy and I did about six walk-throughs, and somehow kept finding the ones that had no lines to speak of. As a result we probably only spent an hour total standing in line the whole evening. The whole rest of the time was enjoyment. A lot of fun. We decided to split when we couldn't find walk-throughs with short wait times. Seemed like the park slowly filled up as the night went on.

I've noticed a change in their design plan over the years. The Haunt is not as "big" a show as it was...the big constructions and big effects are fewer. There seem to be a few more people supervising and a few less actors scaring. As a result, the whole scene is a lot less "chaotic" than I remember it being, say, 20 years ago. It was a good deal CRAZIER then! But now, it seems better-run, and easier to enjoy. A bit of a trade-off, I figure.
 

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First time I went to Knott's Scary Farm was 1979 for the press preview. I've been a solid fan ever since. A definite regret I had leaving California was the fact that I never got to play a costumed monster at Haunt. I played a monster at Queen Mary for three years -- I was even a member of the first sliding team that performed there -- and here in Florida I've performed as a monster at Universal Studios Orlando during Halloween Horror Nights and twice we've done Rose's Haunted Graveyard. But there was nothing like Knott's. And I used to love Elvira's shock and rock review shows. She took the show over from Wolfman Jack, who did the shows in the 1970s. In fact, he was the headliner for the 79 press show I mentioned. One day I'll get back to California. And when I do...well, I still have my sliding pads, so who knows?
 
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