Friday, October 4, 2013

Knott's Halloween Haunt

My sister convinced me to go the Knott's Halloween Haunt with her this year, which features thousands of actors dressed as monsters to provide chills and thrills plus 12 different themed mazes. This is, of course, in addition to the rides, shows, and other attractions. I don't like people jumping out and scaring me. I'm skittish and easily startled. I did surprisingly well and went through all the mazes except for one that cost extra money to go through because my sister shelled out the extra $60 to get front of the line passes. Totally worth it!

The Good

* The Forevermore maze was one of my favorites because it was based off the magnificent and timeless works of Edgar Allan Poe. A murderer kills people in the manner of his favorite Poe stories, ranging from The Cask of Amontillado to Rue Morgue to The Telltale Heart. In the line, videos of news stories detailing the notorious actions of the murderer are on display. In some rooms, an ominous, an ominous voice recited the poems that were the focus of the room. It just added to the creepy atmosphere. Even the bird masked people were kind of creepy. One even threatened to peck my eyes out. The tableau were people are tarred, feathered, and posed on a table was the crowning moment of the maze. Some minor disappointments were the Masque of the Red Death room where zombies danced unenthusiastically with bad techno music (the video is actually much better than what I saw) and the Cask of Amontillado where no one was getting bricked up.

* The End Games maze is a cross between Hellraiser and Mad Max. The loud metal music got annoying after a while, but the gory visuals made it worth it. It's probably the bloodiest maze at the park. The giant creatures in cages plus the stone giant at the end were amazing. The detail on them and the obvious care that went into making them was unparalleled. This maze has the best ambiance. Even the metal music contributed to it and the set was probably the best crafted one.

* Trick or Treat is a fun maze that features a twisted version of childhood Halloween. There's the witches, deranged trick or treaters, creepy clowns, a macabre dinner part of corpses, and a general atmosphere of Halloween. I found it charming and fun. It was the first maze of the night and I was really tense, so this one got me to loosen up and enjoy the sights and sounds of Halloween.

* Dominion of the Damned is a vampire themed maze that shows the regal, cultured version of vampires. Although the actors mostly looked snooty and aloof, the set of the maze and the music are what made it for me. At the beginning, a charming Renfield tries to feed us to his carnivorous plants, but is foiled by his angry master. We then go into the house, adorned with beautiful paintings and playing ominous music. My favorite room is the one with the living statues. One stays still until you pass her and then lunges at you like you blinked at a weeping angel. The coffin room has a change of music from purely instrumental to mournfully operatic and had some good scares. I like when I don't know where the person is going to come from instead of seeing them coming from a mile away.

* Delirium was another well done maze. The disgusting mouth huge creature thing when you walk in sets the tone. The hallway where the walls come in on you and billow around you built suspense as to what was beyond that wall. I love the tableaus with the children and the bugs or the monster under the bed. The sounds were awesome: the buzzing flies, the garbled speaking, the discordant music, and the sinister whispers.

The Bad

* Most of the makeup and masks were just not very well done. When you get up close, it ruins the illusion. The darkness of the park and the mazes helped, but didn't obscure the fact that the masks look super fake and most of the makeup isn't very detailed. The actors tend to lose interest in you after the initial scare and that also affects the illusion. I like the actors that are in character all the time and creep after you even after the jump scare.

* Mirror Mirror is a maze entirely comprised of mirrors. It's much smaller than all of the other mazes and only has 2 actors in it. The mirrors were cool, but not very disorienting. The actors just walked around ominously and I just didn't find them scary. This video was much better in that the actors actually interacted with the public, not like when I went. Halfway through the maze, the lights turned strobe, which again looked kind of cool in the mirrors but was not in any way scary. The line was quite long because only one party goes in at a time and the walk through wasn't worth the wait. It also didn't help that the most annoying group of high schoolers were behind us pushing, shoving, and generally being extremely annoying.

* The Witch's Keep is the Calico Mine ride with a few witch themed props thrown in with narration. Boring and also not worth the wait. It was nice to sit down for a while after being on my feet all day though.

* Gunslinger's Grave wasn't scary at all. Judging by the title, I thought it was going to be outlaw zombies or some such thing. Alas, it was just random cowboys walking around and demanding my purse. I just said no and went on my way. There were no monsters and the maze as a whole was disappointing. The only part I liked was the saloon style Mad World played on the piano.

* Uncle Willy's BBQ Slaughterhouse was a maze I was excited for because I enjoy bloody stories of cannibalism. The maze didn't deliver. It wasn't bloody; it wasn't scary; and the body props looked extremely fake.

What are your favorite Halloween theme park events? Any favorite mazes or shows?

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