Congratulations to all of these outstanding escape rooms!
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Rotten Manor had incredible potential, but was one of the experiences I’ve had at a haunted attraction.
There were a few great actors, beautiful sets and some cool moments. The actress in the gingerbread house and the actor with the pig mask that did the countdown were awesome! The gingerbread house scene was actually my favorite moment in the entire event. The set, scents, props, lighting and actress were all top notch. The payoff of the oven was lacking though…we expected something, anything in that moment but nothing happened. The foam rooms were creative, but there could’ve been fewer. The dark tunnels and tight spaces moments were great the first few times but did get a bit overused. The facades were gorgeous!!! We did meet a few very competent and kind staff members that seemed passionate about the haunt and customer service.
However, Rotten Manor had some of the worst crowd control I’ve ever seen at a haunted attraction. I’ve seen crowds with similar energy at haunts like Haunted Hoochie or House of Shock except at those events the cast and crew are able to keep the crowd in check. Unfortunately this staff and cast didn’t have the same expertise.
A few moments really stood out as disappointing. I asked the staff member that let us into the trail what the rules of the haunt were and he replied, “There are no rules” which seemed to be the major issue. We had an actress say ,”sorry I broke character” and then continue to talk about how hot the guys in front of us were instead of scaring us. The guys in front of us on the trail managed to hide away in the crypt and proceed to jump out and attempt to scare my husband and I but no one stopped them even though we waited and tried to stay far behind them we’d catch up to them harassing actors or making what appeared to be tiktok videos on different sets (with actors watching them do it). One of the actors just blew directly in my face as a “scare”, which isn’t scary but probably going to lead to me catching a cold. Inside the manor an actor separated my husband and I, which we’ve seen done effectively in other haunts, however there was no purpose or payoff we just ended up not being able to enjoy the haunt together. It was so packed we were often standing around waiting to move, I stood trapped in an airbag for a really long time due to lack of purging the line properly. I had strangers grabbing me and running into me through the majority of the dark sections because we were crowded in the space and couldn’t see.
There was a large crowd out, so lines were long. It was mostly frustrating because the people in front of us chained smoked even while standing in front of the NO SMOKING sign. Security appeared to say something to them but instead of putting out their cigarette they passed it around and tried to finish it then lit up again as soon as he walked away. It seemed security didn’t want to eject anyone even if they clearly were breaking the rules.
Overall the haunt has massive potential, but lacks tremendously in skilled actors and an overall effective staff. It seems a bit of training might change this from a hot mess to one of the nation’s top haunts. Unfortunately at the moment they are just a hot mess.
New for 2019:
Wax Works – Mysterious lights and strange noises have begun to emanate from the eerie abandoned wax museum. The once prominent plastic surgeon, Dr. Augustus Scratch, has been seen tinkering at night and is now ready to show off his beautiful yet terrifying life-like masterpieces of hot molten wax and bloody flesh. It’s rumored that blood-curdling screams can be heard echoing through the halls of Wax Works as victims are horrifyingly submerged into a scorching hot cauldron of bubbling wax. Take a closer look at his gruesome works of art and try to escape his deadly grip or become the newest masterpiece to add to his collection.
Origins: The Curse of Calico – Pierce the veil of time and discover the secret of the evil fog that hangs over Knott’s Scary Farm in Origins: The Curse of Calico. Unearth the sinister paranormal activity that plagues the town as Sarah Marshall is put on trial for her suspected crimes of witchcraft. All will be unveiled when the Green Witch rises up and curses the townsfolk, transforming all who have accused her into a wicked horde of malicious creatures with an eternal quench for the living.
Puppet Up! Uncensored – Exclusively performing nightly at Knott’s Scary Farm for the 2019 season, Puppet Up! Uncensored is an outrageous, off –the-cuff live show featuring a combination of improvisational comedy and the magic of puppetry performed by a cast of world-class comedian puppeteers from The Jim Henson Company. Created by legendary puppeteer and award-winning director Brian Henson and directed by Patrick Bristow (Ellen, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Puppet Up! – Uncensored is no ordinary puppet show. In true uncensored form, the content is driven by audience suggestions and participation, topped with the zany antics and naughty shenanigans of the colorful and brazen puppet cast. Puppet Up! – Uncensored will be performed three times each night at Knott’s Scary Farm and is intended for mature audiences.
Shadow Lands – A fulfilling life ensures a souls safe passage into eternity but what happens to the souls of soldiers slain in battle? Enter the hair-raising Shadow Lands maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory. Guests will embark on a quest through a sacred shrine, an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadow lands.
PARANORMAL, INC. – The Haunting of Hayden Hill: Paranormal Inc. maze once again reopens its doors to those brave enough to uncover an eerie and supernatural adventure. Guests investigate a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
Special Ops: Infected – Enlist to fight the zombie apocalypse in an all-out war against the undead in the interactive experience, Special Ops: Infected. Armed with specially designed laser guns, brave groups of guests embark on a mission of navigating through the city in a quest to find the infection cure. Take your last shot at saving mankind as this heart-stopping attraction is going out with a bang of new surprises, including two brand-new show scenes and characters for its final year at Knott’s Scary Farm.
Pumpkin Eater – Survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in the Pumpkin Eater maze. The notorious creature is on the prowl hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath, all who enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the way out.
Dark Ride – Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel carnie folk still linger in the shadows in Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos. The carnival has become a refuge for freaks and carnies. Now those shunned performers have created a dark world of terror which they plan to unleash on those who enter. Dark Ride will lead brave visitors through a treacherous path and into the bowels of a long- neglected attraction, as sinister shadows and horrifying scenes cast the gloom over the once pleasant ride. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, being helplessly trapped inside an abandoned carnival ride without a way out. New for 2019, Dark Ride will be debuting a brand-new ending show scene where guests can walk through the rides attached Gift Shop and come face to face with Smiley Sam and Baby Fool.
The Depths – A heavy fog drapes over an abandoned port village where ancient creatures lurk inside the pitch-black underground caves hidden below the seaside shores. The Nightwatch Mining Crew has mysteriously disappeared and village rumors point to the eerie tunnels the town sits upon. Myths of the terrifying horrors that lurk within the cave have often been whispered but never confirmed. Did the crew meet their demise at the hand of vicious creatures that live within the cave? Journey into the ominous caverns to discover if the superstitions revolving around the cave is true or not. But be warned all who have entered have never resurfaced.
Dark Entities – Teleport beyond earth into a realm where the darkness is absolute. In the depths of space, a lone station faces terror beyond all imagination. An extraterrestrial mutation has invaded the station, and it’s on the prowl for new hosts. The unearthly inhabitants’ force increases as it feeds on its unwilling victims. Escape the dark entities before its deathly force eliminates all living form aboard the station. There’s nowhere to escape when time is running out!
Halloween Hootenanny – The residents of the Timber Mountain Log Ride celebrate the Halloween Hootenanny which adds a seasonal twist to a park favorite. Mysterious creatures of Timber Mountain
that live out in the woods and caverns join the citizens as they honor the season at the Halloween Hootenanny. The ride’s interior features unexpected surprises as guests venture past the Calico Coffin Creeper band, the town’s green witch and splash down Skull Mountain through a labyrinth of jack-o- lanterns.
Knott’s Scary Farm is far more than a collection of haunted attractions. Every night monsters spill out onto the streets and turn theme park midways into murderous scare zones. From the world famous Ghost Town Streets to the Boardwalk area filled with evil clowns, there’s nowhere to hide in Knott’s Scary Farm.
Ghost Town Streets is the original and largest, most terrifying scare zone that started it all. Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, and beware the notoriously startling sliders, who lunge from fog-filled corners of the land.
On the Boardwalk, deviant clowns crave your undying attention in the CARNEVIL scare zone.
The Hollow scare zone will terrorize guests as the Witches of the Hollow along with their armies of creatures have risen once again to battle with the Witch Hunter.
The Lake underneath Silver Bullet recedes to reveal the Forsaken Lake scare zone, where gothic creatures ravaged by the dark and murky waters wander from their crypts preying on unsuspecting visitors, looking for victims to drag back to their watery graves.
The Hanging – The Citizens of Calico face their toughest foes yet, the censors, in this live stage show that looks back at the year’s pop culture with some killer comedy. Notorious for its special effects and high- flying stunts, The Hanging is a no holds barred assault on pop culture’s most infamous moments of the past year. A must see parody!
CONJURE – Magic and Mirth in the Birdcage Theatre – The Bird Cage Theatre will once again become the home of comedy and magic. Join award-winning magicians and Fox’s Masters of Illusion regulars as they take the stage to amaze and amuse. Witness magicians front and center as they perform on select nights.
AWAKEN THE DEAD – A non-stop DJ dance party has taken over Fiesta Village, where guests can jam with candy skull go-go dancers and dance to music so popular it’s sure to Awaken the Dead.
Growing up in the midwest hayrides and tractors were a bit more commonplace, but the idea of a haunted hayride in the middle of Los Angeles is unique. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is located in Griffith Park near the old zoo area. The hayride, dark maze and trick or treat area are the three main haunted attractions at the event. There are also food vendors, psychics, entertainment and a creepy carousel.
LA Haunted Hayride is a fun event, however 2017 was not their strongest year. The clown theme was interesting enough, but not very original. I liked their use of the old zoo area and incorporating the animals. The oversized marionettes were fun. The guy on the motorcycle looked cool. Overall the hayride didn’t deliver those stunning staged scenes I have come to expect from this event. This year it seemed a bit lighter on actors and the scares seemed to be focussed primarily on jumping on the wagon or stalking guests a little too long along a sparsely decorated path.
The House of Shadows maze is a dark maze with a handful of actors that work very hard at jump scares. It’s a fun place to get lost with your friends. There are a few dimly lit scenes within and some writing on the walls to “help” you to the correct path. There was a half deflated airbag effect that was less than effective. It isn’t the scariest or prettiest maze I’ve seen, but the idea of getting lost in an actual maze is quite fun.
Trick or Treat was the only attraction that made me put away my camera specifically saying “no lights, photos, videos, snapchat, instagram, etc while inside”. I wondered if that was so the poor quality of the attraction wouldn’t get plastered all over social media. It was a lot of fun the last time I did it…actually one of my favorite things in Los Angeles because of the creativity of trick or treating at the homes of different creatures. This year the set looked like it needed some touchups, the actors weren’t behind their doors to answer the knocking and there was no candy for the trick or treaters. It was a series of awkward moments where we would knock on a door and wait, then an actor may or may not appear to try and do some sort of jump scare that we were literally standing around waiting for. It seems to have lost motivation for Trick or Treat when they removed the Trick or Treating element from the attraction.
Overall this year was disappointing, but I still look forward to seeing what they do next year. I hope it is a fun theme and they reignite that spark of creativity that I have enjoyed so much from them in the past years.
Factory of Terror is a good standard haunted attraction. It makes a lot of top haunt lists, but I wouldn’t say it’s really worth a special trip. It’s got some great visual moments and really elaborate puppets, set and tech at points and then there are large sections lacking creativity.
I did enjoy the mirror maze and some of the moving floor and wall effects. I felt the use of vertigo tunnels and airbags was excessive and ineffective. There were A LOT of very loud sounds throughout that eventually became less of a jump scare and more of a headache.
Factory of Terror claims to be one of the longest haunted houses so we expected much more, but it was simply multiple small haunts. One of the most frustrating things about the event was the theming inside each walkthrough. It was very difficult to figure out what was going on because they were divided up as if to have distinct themes but once inside each maze seemed to change within itself as if they didn’t really know what story they were telling. Stronger theming within each maze could help the actors make stronger character choices.
There were a handful of very talented actors, but overall most had no idea what they were doing. It really felt that they lacked proper training. One entire walkthrough was basically growling. The maze with the large gargoyles in front had some of the best actors and one incredibly unprofessional actor (the first scare when you walk in) was literally playing on her cell phone and looked up annoyed when we stared at her waiting for her to do something and then waved at us as if to say, “move along, stop bothering me.”
Overall Factory Of Terror seemed to be run by nice people that have a passion for haunting, but need some tweaking and the actors need training. If you’re in the area definitely check it out, but I wouldn’t drive far out of your way to see it.