The Hanging at Knott’s Scary Farm is an institution in Halloween theme park shows. The show has run since 1977, and has run as a spoof on pop culture since 1989. This year, amid much controversy from other Halloween events, Knott’s and the Hanging is sticking by their guns (and rope) and pushing on with the show as they’ve done it for the past 25 years. While other theme park haunted events are scaling back, The Hanging is pushing forward, being just as controversial, violent and fun as ever before.
For those who have never seen it, The Hanging follows the Lawman who hangs those in pop culture who have just been getting on everyone’s nerves. Quite frankly, those who deserve it. How they get there, and why they hang people change every year…but it’s not really important. The important thing is that the show is full of celebrity parodies, song parodies and dick jokes.
This year is no different as the Lawman is out to hang some celebrities. However, the Agents of SHIELD were monitoring the show to check just how offensive they got. If the show was too offensive, they were going to shut it down, just like any good branch of the government would do. Of course, that didn’t really stop anyone, as they just ripped right into a blood soaked parody of Disney’s Frozen.
Video-Do you want to have a Hanging?
This year the show hit home in more than a few ways. While the show had fake monitors, trying to shut down the show, other shows in the area weren’t so lucky.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, their Bill&Ted Show was left completely off the list this year. Last year, the park came under heavy fire after an online blogger called the show homophobic.
It did not go unnoticed in The Hanging at Knott’s
Universal Hollywood wasn’t the only theme park haunt that was under fire this year. Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Howl O Scream removed severed heads from their annual event. The reason? A local paper ran the picture of the severed heads on their front page, prompting angry letters to the paper that called the paper insensitive to the beheadings being carried out by terrorist group ISIS. Busch Gardens took a preemptive strike, and removed the heads not only from it’s Virginia park, but also the Tampa park.
Most recently, Universal Orlando removed it’s “Sacrifice” show from the Blood Bayou scare zone at their annual Halloween Horror Nights.
The park didn’t say whether or not it was due to a complaint, only that it was due to a “creative decision”. It’s worth noting that Knott’s Scary Farm has a Voodoo haunted house this year, which also does a human sacrifice in the maze.
It’s not an uncommon problem. Theme parks face a variety of controversial problems every year from offending one group or another. One year a group of “Pro-Romney” supporters were successful in getting a rap battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama banned because they claimed it would “swing the votes in an unfair way”. Really? A Halloween show full of half naked dancers and dick jokes would have a huge impact on the way voters would vote for President? Other groups have gotten asylum houses removed, claiming that they portrayed mental illness poorly.
Knott’s isn’t immune to protesters either, as a group who calls the scare zone based on the Dia De Los Muertos sacrilegious is trying to get a protest together to stop it. Never mind the fact that thousands of festivals involving haunted houses, and actors scaring people happen every November 1st all around the country.
Is society becoming too sensitive for Halloween? Theme Park events are painted in a precarious position as the Halloween events are gory, and not meant for kids. However, they also have to walk a line in order to maintain guests and a positive image the rest of the year.
Halloween events, by their very nature, are scary, bloody and at times offensive. In a lot of ways, that’s what Halloween is all about, being scary, bloody and offensive. Want proof? Just look at the costumes at your local Halloween party, or watch the movies that will be number one at the box office right around that time. And why do Halloween events at theme parks exist? To scare the hell out of us! Guests pay a ticket, usually separate of a theme park ticket, and in most cases it’s plastered all over the park that this event is not intended for kids, families or anyone not looking for a huge Halloween celebration.
Knott’s gets it. Despite what other parks do, and even despite some of the protests they may get, Knott’s is dedicated to giving the people a hanging!
It appears that the blogger from Vice is at it again. In an article entitled “An Amusement park wrote a terrible play to make fun of me”, the blogger flatters himself by saying that Knott’s wrote The Hanging, just to make fun of him. That the entire goal of the show, which has been riffing on pop culture for over 20 years, was to make it a point that he was uptight. Well, aren’t we full of ourselves?
The author then calls for a boycott of the Hanging, much like he did for Bill And Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. The crime of the show? And we quote, “being shitty”. He calls out a reference to Joan Rivers in the show, then goes on to describe an even classier joke that Howard Stern told at her funeral as not only being funnier, but also more tasteful.
Are you kidding? Did this guy just go to Knott’s Scary Farm because he heard they made a slight reference to him? Certainly would appear that way.
Knott’s never claims The Hanging is classy, or even good. They just claim it’s a show that is beating on pop culture from the past year. It isn’t very classy, and it does tackle topics in a joking manner that maybe it shouldn’t. Who cares?
The simple way to show that you don’t like something is to not go.
Being tasteful, classy or even good is not a requirement for a show or even website. If it were, the blogger at Vice (and us for that matter) would have been shut down a long time ago.
We reached out to Knott’s to respond to this ridiculous story, and at the time of publication, they have not gotten back to us.
Let’s hope Knott’s, and the Lawman, does what they do best and flips a big middle finger, and keeps on moving. We can’t honestly be at a point where people take the antics of a silly Halloween show, that aims to piss people off, so seriously that they want everything that doesn’t fit their standards, shut down.
If we are at the point where we have to shut down every show and every haunt that might offend someone, just because they don’t find it funny or good…then Halloween and haunts as we know them are in danger.