Knott’s Berry Farm was the first to do the haunted event in a theme park, and do it big. Since 1973 Knotts Berry Farms has transformed into Knots Scary Farms every fall for some of the most hair raising frights in the industry. They pushed the envelope in the haunt industry when many other theme parks were afraid to open it. They had some of the most iconic names in horror like Elvira, and some of the oddest choices for a haunt like Weird Al. But for the 40th anniversary of Knotts Halloween Haunt, the park is pushing the envelope yet again, and this time…leave the kids at home.
Knott’s Scary Farm has been openly talking about their plans for haunt this year. From some of the returning houses, to even the new ones, they don’t follow the rest of the industry and keep everything a closely guarded secret. However, for the past few days on their official Facebook and Twitter pages the haunt giant has been teasing that they’re about to do something big. Something that other parks like Universal Orlando has only talked about. The news came across Twitter earlier tonight:
Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 2012 Update:
Trapped – The VIP Maze
Trapped will be for ages 17 and over only. No one under 17 will be admitted without a Parent or Guardian. And you’ll have to sign a waiver to even get in.
When we said it was going to be scary, we meant it.
The new maze Trapped will be a VIP Maze and will be for adults (or those 17 and up) only. What does this mean? All you teenagers better beg mom and dad to take you in, otherwise you’re going to miss out. It also means that Knotts is going to have, for the first time in park history, an upcharge house…a house that you have to pay to get into after you pay to get into the event.
While this concept is a new one to Southern California, it’s been a proven success in Florida. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights revealed in 2010 that they had always talked about, and even had a concept drawn for an “Extreme House” that would only have admittance for those 18 and up. While no details had ever been given, it was speculated that gorier images, touching and possible nudity would be featured in a house. Nudity isn’t anything new for haunts, quite a few independently run haunted houses feature naked models providing the scares, it’s a completely different monster when you’re talking a family friendly theme park.
While Universal Orlando was contemplating it, rival haunt Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa said “To Hell with it” and decided to do their own upcharge house. “Alone” promised to be a descent into the depths of madness as you tried to escape the house as you walk in…Alone. The cost for admittance was around $25-35 dollars, with admission to Howl O Scream. A total of four people could enter the house, or you could choose to do it…Alone. The first year the park offered Alone, if you did it…Alone…you got a cool T-shirt. If you went with friends, you had the satisfaction of walking through a house without the trademark conga line of people walking through. In addition the park added to the hype by making you sign a waiver, saying that you would not hold Busch Gardens responsible if you were hurt, or had a heart attack (something along those lines). They even provided you with a safe word that you could scream out and be escorted out should things get too intense. The hype machine worked, and not only did the house sell out, but people actually opted out of the experience (that they just paid a lot of money for in addition to admission) by using the safe word.
Last year Busch Gardens brought back Alone, without the free T-shirts and with a larger price tag. Nothing about the house really changed (though the advertising promised an “amped up” finale) and word had it that the house didn’t sell out as often as it had the prior year. Still, the experience is rumored to come back again, though nothing has been confirmed.
Just like Busch Gardens Tampa, Knotts is going most likely going to sell reservations to the house. Each person will get a time they have to go into, and they will be escorted in…never to be seen from again….or not on that side of the house anyway. Also like Busch, Knotts will more than likely put a lot of specialty scares into the house. One such feature of Alone was an “Elevator” that took you down in the darkness, and an expanding hallway…both effects that had to be reset after each use. Unlike Busch, Knotts is going a different route, and not only limiting the amount of people in the house at once, and charging for that privilege, but they are putting a minimum age limit on the house. So it has everyone asking the question…what will be in there?
Will there be escalated violence? Will the actors be allowed to touch you? Or will there be nudity? That’s a question that Knotts isn’t going to answer, in fact you’re probably going to have to answer it yourself. Halloween Haunt opens September 21st and runs through Halloween.