When I was 17, I got my first job as a Park Services attendant at Knott’s Scary Farm. Which was a nice way of saying I picked up trash and cleaned the bathrooms. Knott’s had just finished setting up for their annual Halloween Haunt including mazes, scare zones, and haunted decorations. I walked back to Crew’s Nest, which is the employee cafeteria, around closing time. As I passed the Ghost Town jail, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, I turned around and saw a giant shadow, and I screamed.
I didn’t know then, but Knott’s has cats that live in the theme park to combat any mice that might be crawling around. The shadow was a cat on a ledge walking by the light. Even before opening, Knott’s Scary Farm already scared the life out of me.
Now it’s your turn to join the fearful fun. Starting tonight, September 19, you can enjoy all the screams that the mazes have to offer. You have until November 2, so there are no excuses! Bring your friends, family, or anyone who will keep you safe. The mazes are going to be extra immersive this year – maybe more than you would like!
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!
Behind the Haunted Curtain
I spoke with Eric Nix and Jon Asperin, who are two masterminds behind the mazes. Going into this interview, I wanted to know what it takes to bring Southern California’s first haunted theme park to life. Thanks Eric and Jon!
Visit the Knott’s Scary Farm Website for details on the 2019 attractions!
1. What are some new mazes coming to Knott’s Scary Farm?
“This year we have Wax Works and Origins: The Curse of Calico. Wax Works follows the story of a deranged surgeon who creates gruesome masterpieces of wax and human flesh. Origins: The Curse of Calico tells the story of the town of Calico and Sarah Marshall, who moments before being sentenced to death for witchcraft, spewed out a horrible curse on the townsfolk – transforming them into beasts.“
2. What are the new ways that technology is being used to create an immersive maze? (laser guns, 3D glasses, etc.)
“We approach technology as another tool in our arsenal. We never start with technology and try and force it into a maze. We let the design guide our use of it. We love to approach our mazes with the guest experience in mind first and foremost. Our approach focuses on a certain mood, atmosphere, emotion, and of course, the scare for guest. We try to find ways that can support those memorable moments as seamless and natural as possible without taking away from the experience or our storyline. The wonderful thing about a Knott’s Scary Farm is that we have an entire team of talented folks that create most of the incredible technology in-house. Allowing us to provide a one-of-a-kind and scene-specific scare for our guests.”
“We also receive support from vendors with the new technology that offered each year. From efficiency to execution, we rely on technology heavily to assist us in achieving a world-class event. We do this through video projections, intelligent lighting design, special effects, audio design, realistic painting, carpentry, wardrobe/make-up, and incredible talent. The technology allows all our departments that help bring a vision to life and create these imaginary and frightening worlds that guests can lose themselves in. We love taking risks and understand that although some of the technology is for a certain effect, our team enjoys experimenting and pushing the boundaries of some of the technology. Thus, creating magical moments that you can only find at Knott’s Scary Farm.”
3. What goes into the pre-production of creating maze themes and their production?
“Without giving away too much in the process, it’s sort of like creating a book. From authors, writers, illustrators, and editors – it takes a team to create each of our mazes and all the production that goes behind it. Our entire team relies on each other to work in unison so that a top-quality “story” can be shared.“
“Like any great story, we switch our hat to storytellers and start with an idea and story. From collaborative meetings to simple life inspirations, our team usually finds these ideas to spark the start of a world and an overview of its story we want to tell. Our work environment is full of passionate people that are not afraid to take risks and love what they do. With all this passion and creativity, it’s easy to dive deep into the stories and really dig into our inner horror nerd. It’s these moments where the passion that we have helps us unlock our imagination to come up with unique maze themes that guests enjoy. In that process, the stories build up the pages it needs that allow our production teams to dive in and bring the story to life in the form of a maze.“
4. What makes the Knott’s Scary Farm scare season original from any others?
“Aside from being the first-ever Halloween event at a theme park, we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see our event grow over the years. That has allowed us to create original content. We create worlds where the creatures have their own languages, their distinct smells, and a backstory. They are worlds that we create that bring a richness and quality that is really hard to find anywhere else. We have a team that works around the clock, 365 days a year, brainstorming new nightmares and experiences for our guests. The entire team here is excited that our creations become our own “Intellectual Properties” that we celebrate, believe in, and take great pride in. We also have such a very passionate Scary Farm community that calls Knott’s their home. Their support and love for the event push us to try and outdo ourselves year after year. Having our community and the desire to up the ante every year allows us to push boundaries and take risks that others might not. We deliver a unique and high caliber event you can only find at Knott’s Scary Farm.“