Knott’s Scary Farm vs. Universal Studios’ Horror Nights

Skyler Lamar ‘19, staff writer

It’s October which means it is the spookiest time of year—college application season! Oh right, and it is close to Halloween. October means horror movies, scary stories, lots of candy, and amusement parks. Many amusement parks spice it up and bring out the scares by putting up scary decorations, making scary mazes that are based off of our worst fears, using lots of fog and lighting effects, and having spooky monsters and ghouls walking around in order to make it a nightmare at every turn. Some people love them and go for the thrill of it, while others would not go there for a million dollars, but either way, scary amusement parks and scary events always spark a conversation around this time of year. I thought that it would be a great idea to go to Knotts’ Scary Farm and Horror Nights at Warner Bros. Studios to see the differences in how Knott’s’ Berry Farm and Warner Bros. Studios fight to make Halloween time one you will never forget.

The Knotts Berry Farm experience was a special one because with my sister, I was able to go behind the scenes to where all the makeup and costumes happen almost two hours before the horror commenced. She partnered up with Hot Topic and we got to see how everything happens and even get in early along with other social media people. This was my first time at Knotts Scary Farm, and I was very nervous, but getting to see how it all happened and even getting to take pictures with some of the monsters somewhat made me less frightened. One of the men who worked there said that the maximum time a person spends in hair and makeup is 20 minutes. It makes sense since there are about 1,000 monsters. I also got to hear from a creator named Gus Kruger of one of the new mazes called “Dark Entities”. When asked how the whole process occurs, he said, “It all starts with an idea, and for me it’s just ‘what story do you want to tell?’”. The story is that people were exploring a black hole that turned out to have something a lot more sinister than they were expecting—an extraterrestrial mutation. I went through the maze, and I was more fascinated then scared. The makeup and special effects were so cool, and I have always somewhat liked sci-fi. After walking around while no one but a group of us were there, we were let into a “Pre-scare zone” 45 minutes early where monsters were already out and four mazes were open. We also got the “Fright & Fast Lane” bracelets where we got to go in a shorter line or front of the line for all mazes and most rides. The event is officially from 7pm to 1 or 2 am. There were nine mazes, and I went into five of them, and they were all very fun even though my sister and I were holding onto each other for dear life the whole time. Other than “Dark Entities,” I went through “Paranormal Inc.,” “Dark Ride,” “Shadowlands : Lie by the sword Die by the sword,” and “Pumpkin Eater.” “Dark Ride” was the scariest because it was centered around a circus, and deep down, we all have a small fear of clowns, and trust me— there were a lot. All in all, if you have never gone, I would highly recommend going in the future even if you are hesitant. It is somewhat scary and makes you uneasy, but after getting scared, you just want to laugh about it. Plus, being with close friends or family makes it even more fun. If you like scary things and getting scared but not quite to the point of Universal Studios, which is the scariest in L.A. from what I’ve heard, Knott’s Scary Farm is a great idea.

Four days later, since my sister also works with Warner Bros., they sent her and a guest, which was me, to their Halloween event at the Warner Bros. backlot called “Horror Made Here : A Festival Of Frights”. We got to go as the Press two days before it was officially opened to the public. The style of the whole thing was a sinister carnival. There was one ride called “Devil Drop,” “The Exorcist : Forbidden Screening,” and four mazes. There was music, places to eat, an arcade that had old games like the one in “IT”, and some scary clowns and characters walking around, maybe around 20. The four mazes are called “IT Knows What Scares You,” “Escape From Arkham Asylum,” “The Conjuring Universe,” and “Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake.” I did all of these things, and they were all super fun and unsettling in a spooky way. The “IT” maze was the only one that seriously scared me. They even had a replica of the IT house that looked so real! I really liked “The Exorcist” screening because it took place in a “haunted church” which was just a church set but it was still very scary. We watched about 10 minutes of the movie and whenever something would happen on screen, it would happen in the church. The best one in my opinion was “Nightmare From Camp Crystal Lake,” which was a crossover between Jason and Freddy Krueger. We were actually driven to a secluded part of the backlot that was in a forest type of setting with lots of trees, and we had to walk on a trail where campers and Jason would pop out to even get to the actual maze. It felt very immersive and well done. If you are a person who does not really like scary things, I would highly recommend this because it is not as scary as Knott’s and not as scary of an atmosphere. Even though I personally love scary movies, things like this are totally out of my comfort zone but I do not regret doing it and would do it again!