Welcome to The Pulse, your lifeline on media and pop culture. This is part 1 of a multi-part series ranking over 60 Knott’s Scary Farm mazes spanning 16 years. For the full introduction, please click here: https://www.thegrandgeekgathering.com/the-pulse-knotts-scary-farm-0
So all of that finally aside, let’s get to the list!
For part 1 of this special Halloween Haunt edition of The Pulse we will be counting down the bottom 22 mazes in my personal Haunt history. Now remember, this is entirely my own opinion and is in no way meant to be seen as an objective ranking of these mazes. As always I will give my thoughts on each entry, some I may have more to say about others be it good or bad. Normally I try and keep these to lists of 10, but given both the large amount of mazes and the rather..odd number of them, this first part will be super sized so we can ring in October with four proper top 10 lists counting down the rest of them.
And without further adieu…
The Definitive Ranking of Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt Mazes (2002-2018) #62-41
(Note: I have included pictures and logos to the best of my ability to provide them, some may not have been available at the time of this posting)
62. Lost Vegas in 3D (2006-2008)
Lost Vegas. I don’t even know where to begin with this maze. That’s part of the problem when you start from the bottom of the barrel, it really puts you into a negative mind state and makes pushing forward with a task like this somewhat..disheartening. But then you remember all the good mazes still to come and ya just push forward. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I don’t have anything nice to say about Lost Vegas in 3D. It was a terrible maze from its conception. Knott’s is no stranger to doing “good gone bad” sort of themes. Hell, the maze that this replaced was a “good gone bad” theme, but those all just..made sense to go that route with. Something like television sitcoms, fairy tales, and cartoons all are things from our childhood or are seen as something fun or innocent while often having shadows of something darker beneath them that just work when given that morbid Knott’s touch. Las Vegas though? I’m just struggling to see the thought process behind it. There’s nothing inherently scary about it or that could be given that sort of twist like say…Alice in Wonderland (ooooh spoilers for a much better maze on this list!). The attempts at dark humor really just fell flat. The only thing I can even half-compliment here are the strippers and (no offense ladies) Knott’s has done those much much better in other mazes too. What you’re left with is a maze that isn’t scary, isn’t funny and it replaced something that was much much much better at doing “good gone bad”. The 3D effect was weak, even compared to some of Knott’s passed attempts at it, it mostly resulted in a dimly lit maze covered in neon that feels vaguely Vegas-y. There was just nothing noteworthy about it, I honestly don’t think I can recall a single major showpiece. I remember a room with slot machines, because yeah it’s Vegas but bad. It’s..it’s just bad.
61. Dia de los Muertos (2009-2012)
Unlike the last entry on the list, I will preface by saying I actually do have something positive that I can say about the maze that took up the once sacred ground that Lost Vegas previously defiled. Dia de los Muertos, a maze focused on celebrating the Mexican “day of the dead” celebration, was a beautiful maze. The art design was absolutely top notch, the colors and usage of black lights really popped and gave some life to the maze. My issue with Dia de los Muertos comes in from the fact that they really couldn’t push boundaries with the maze. Dia de los Muertos is an incredibly important holiday in Hispanic culture and as such it was treated with the utmost respect when being adapted into a scarehouse. I have no objections to them giving the holiday the sort of reverence and respect that it deserves, my problem comes from the fact that if you need to tread that lightly when designing a maze intended to be scary..maybe don’t do the maze in the first place? Dia suffered many the same problems that Lost Vegas did, but rather than being a “good gone bad” themed maze that wasn’t scary nor really all that funny, it was just…pretty. There were some half-hearted efforts made to scare, I did like the incorporation of Mexican folklore such as La Llarona albeit very little was actually done with her (it wasn’t even until the maze’s second year I even realized it was supposed to be La Llarona). The animatronic chupacabra the maze had was also a major letdown, looking nothing like familiar depictions and being used for a very weak jump scare. Dia de los Muertos ran for three years and would be the last maze to use the bumper cars ring for its foundation, and while not quite the wet fart that Lost Vegas was, given that the location had previously housed a maze you will see much higher on this list, it is a disappointing end to its run. Knott’s wouldn’t completely abandon the idea of Dia de los Muertos at Haunt however as it would return in the future both as a scare zone (one that they actually did try and push some scares in), a dance party, and a weird mix between the two.
60. Invasion Beneath (2011)
The Calico Mine Ride has a storied history at both Knott’s Berry Farm and Knott’s Scary Farm. I won’t go into the former, but the latter has seen some absolutely fantastic iterations of the ride. Along with the Timber Mountain Log Ride, this was always one of the first things you should be doing on any given trip to Haunt as the lines would grow to be several hours long later into the night. So why then is it’s 2011 incarnation so far down the list? A really weak and incoherent theme with poor effects, a lack of scares and just nothing really memorable about it. So the gist behind Invasion Beneath is an alien invasion from within the mines of Calico leads to an all out war with the special forces sent in to stop them. This was just such an out there theme and not in the good way I expect Knott’s to go with their off the wall concepts, and the execution was just so lacking. I think the prime example of this are how wasted several of the usual areas for iconic moments in this ride are. To sort of semi-spoil overlays I’ve yet to cover, we go from giant dragons lunging out of the fog, an enormous spider in her web to..basically a glorified laser light show and, and this is seriously only if I’m not completely misremembering and my mind made this up to at least give the theme something to it, a tunnel digging machine ala “The Core”. This was just a waste of prime Haunt real estate and given how few years were left for the Calico Mine Ride as a Haunt attraction it really was just a huge disappointment and really sad to look back on.
59. The Gunslinger’s Grave (2013-2014)/The Gunslinger’s Grave: A Blood Moon Rises (2015-2016)
There’s something to be said of Knott’s actually digging into the gritty realism of it’s old west roots and to really give a try at something not so supernatural for a maze theme and to even go so far as to incorporate indoor and outdoor moments that you usually don’t see with these sort of scare houses. I was skeptical of Gunslinger from its announcement. It really did seem to me that it would end up being something that just didn’t feel quite right for the sort of event Haunt was and..while I did, as always, go in with an open mind to the experience I was pretty much right on the money. The theming was pretty spot on, I’ll give them that. I did enjoy the use of the natural dirt paths of the area of Knott’s it inhabited and weaving in and out of doors was a pretty unique experience for a Scary Farm maze. It just didn’t really do anything for me. It wasn’t scary, the story of a left for dead gunslinger back for revenge makes for a decent cowboy flick and something like this could make for a cool experience at Knott’s proper, but it just didn’t fit into Scary Farm at all. They tried to rectify this a bit in its final two years, something Knott’s has started to do a bit more often lately to give a bit of new life to dying mazes, and while anyone that knows me knows how much I love werewolves, sticking werewolf masks and having an absolutely atrocious, rat-looking “werewolf” animatronic shoved into an already lackluster maze did not make A Blood Moon Rises succeed where Gunslinger’s Grave had already failed.
58. Mirror Mirror (2013)
I love when Knott’s is willing to experiment and try something new or out of the box, I really do. Some of my favorite mazes or Haunt attractions have been born of this willingness to push boundaries or try something no one else is or to adapt something to feel more at home at Haunt. So while Mirror Mirror does fall into the bottom five of this list, do know that it is done with a sense of respect that Knott’s at least tried. They absolutely failed at what they were trying to do, but I appreciate that they did it all the same. Mirror Mirror was a cool concept. You and a small group of friends or other individuals find yourselves locked inside of a hall of mirrors and have to find your way out. As you do you are stalked and harassed by various monsters and, at least if I am remembering correctly, the maze itself altered its path. In theory, this could have been a cool, intense experience. The reality of it, however, was just a big, disappointing mess. Lines would grow to be among the longest on any given night, capacity for the maze itself was small due to the nature of the experience, which meant those long lines also moved incredibly slow. Wandering around the maze as a monster would occasionally surprise you and slam on a false mirror quickly grew to be more annoying than scary. The real kicker though was the actual secret of the house. There was no finding your way out. You were locked inside a box full of mirrors and scare actors and made to wander around aimlessly for a predetermined amount of time, after which the exit would open and you would pretty much just effortlessly walk your way out. Having a maze at Haunt that was an actual maze proper is something that, prior to this, had only been attempted once before to less than success and that it failed again really should come as no surprise. There was a good idea within Mirror Mirror, but Knott’s just completely dropped the ball on using it. I think the only reason this managed to rank higher than Gunslinger, apart from the concept, is that my friends and I were lucky enough to be able to walk right into it while we were waiting for rope drop as they let early entry guests from the boo-fet (aka us) back into that area, so we were able to get on it without the ridiculous wait.
57. The Witch’s Keep (2013-2014)
Knott’s Scary Farm celebrated it’s 40th anniversary in 2012 with the return of the iconic Green Witch character, a presence that would continue to be felt through the next several years at Haunt. In 2013, after a year’s hiatus, the Calico Mine Ride was once again repurposed for the season of screams. Originally advertised as a simple overlay, there actually was a bit more to The Witch’s Keep than Knott’s first let on. Granted, it wasn’t much more as gone were the scare actors we knew and loved. Instead we were given a somewhat moody ride through the Calico mines and given a bit of a history lesson on the lore of the event and the witch herself. It was still ultimately a simple overlay that lacked scares, but tying it into the lore of the event itself fit the resurgence of history the event was going through at the time in what would be some of its prime years. That combined with short wait times for what would normally be a packed attraction saves it from the very bottom of the list, but only just barely.
56. Temple of Sacrifice (2003-2005)
Knott’s really does know how to make the most with what they have. Building a series of mazes across a theme park that also has to function as such during the daylight hours when guests of all ages are abound is certainly no easy task. Sadly this reality has become more and more apparent as Cedar Fair has moved away from the elaborate facades and out in the open mazes that we once enjoyed in favor of simple signs or keeping most things backstage and away from impressionable young eyes. So deciding to incorporate a maze directly into the queue for one of the park’s more iconic attractions, the great fun for all ages coaster “Jaguar” was a pretty cool move to utilize some already greatly themed space without having to do too much to build upon that or put it all out in the open, though granted this was still years before Haunt had to start hiding its maze entrances from the public during the day. The downside to that, however is..well, you’re pretty much just walking through the line for Jaguar with some scare actors here and there. I think we only ever actually did this one once or twice, and to be honest I can’t recall too much of the theming beyond the normal aesthetics of the queue, which granted is a pretty nicely themed queue as far as things go. There may have been some extra skulls or skeletons and stuff like that, but Knott’s really did kinda phone it in on this one. So props to them for trying to squeeze out some extra Haunt experiences with the space that they had, even if the effort was a bit half-baked. You were also given the option to ride the roller coaster after making it through the line so, yeah, you really were just kinda waiting in line for a roller coaster instead of going through a maze.
55. The Evil Dead (2012)
So at last we come to our first overlay for the Timber Mountain Log Ride. As I touched on in my look at Invasion Beneath, the two first things you should hit on any given night at Haunt (at least at the time) were the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride. We’d typically, read: always, do the log ride first as it was generally better, got longer lines and was just a really great way to start the night, it was what set the mood and really let it sink in that we were at Haunt. Nowadays I don’t even bother, the mine ride doesn’t receive an overlay and the overlay the log ride has received while fun and fitting the holiday isn’t something I feel the need to rush to get on and I don’t mind catching it later in the night depending on the wait. It’s also something that they run during normal park hours. So, why the pseudo history lesson? Because The Evil Dead would be the last proper Haunt overlay the Timber Mountain Log Ride would ever receive. While it has been given an overlay the last few years starting in 2017, it is not a real Scary Farm attraction (but yes it is on this list). That means what was once host to some brilliant and thematic overlays with great scares, great use of sets and theming was a shameless plug for a remake/pseudo-sequel (that admittedly did end up being a pretty solid flick) that really didn’t feel right in the location. The use of scare actors, props and theming was incredibly sparse, mostly boiling down to a replica of the much less visually impressive Necronomicon from the remake and an Ash look alike wielding a chainsaw and splattering “blood” on riders as they ascend the final lift hill. To send out what to me was not only my first real Haunt experience but something that kicked off the event every single year for me on such a weak theme and a shameless advertisement was insulting.
54. Beowulf: Labyrinth into Darkness (2007)/The Labyrinth (2008-2010)
Speaking of shameless advertisements and movie tie-ins, we get the next two entries on our list! Now while I will give credit to Knott’s for dropping the movie tie-in after Beowulf: Labyrinth into Darkness’s first year, I still have to question its presence in the first place. Robert Zemeckis’s Beowulf was an..interesting film, making use of the motion capture techniques that we would also see in his adaptation of The Polar Express and then later on in A Christmas Carol. It was an uncanny valley effect that would be far more fitting Knott’s Scary Farm than the maze we ended up getting. I just never felt like this had any business being at Haunt. Beowulf was far from a horror movie, it was based on an epic poem and the only thing that was I suppose marginally scary about the story was Grendel..kinda? The move to a more generic, dark fantasy sort of maze in its final few years was at least an improvement in that it wasn’t attached to a film property so out of place at a horror themed event, but given that the Grendel animatronic/suit actor was one of the few well done scares in the original it’s honestly kind of a toss up. The sets were nice and there was a pretty cool golem that would see some reuse in later Haunt mazes, but it just never seemed like a good fit for Scary Farm. It also really overstayed its welcome, four years was just way too long to keep this thing around.
53. The Grudge 2 (2006-2007)
I don’t like The Grudge films. This isn’t even a “remake bad” sort of dislike, I wasn’t especially fond of Ju-On either. So that combined with my own distaste for corporate tie-ins at my Haunt event (save that stuff for Universal) is why what is generally regarded as a fantastic maze by many (it even won Maze of the Year on Ultimate Haunt back in 2006) is so far down the list. I did forewarn that this was my personal opinion and trust me this is far from the only controversial opinion you’ll see on here. So yeah, The Grudge 2, a movie tie-in maze so well received we were stuck with it for two years in a row. The only other direct movie tie-in maze we had that stuck around for more than its initial year was Quarantine, one I just up and avoided entirely because I just really didn’t care. So yeah, there was a lot of hair in this maze, meowing little boy ghosts, gurgling girl ghosts, a face attached to a hair snake animatronic and, it was a well put together maze, it felt pretty accurate to the source material, I just don’t care for the source material and I don’t care for the movie tie-in stuff. Does that warrant it placing so low on this list? Sure, it’s my list, why not? I go to Knott’s for original ideas and stories, not to walk through a condensed version of a movie, save that for Hollywood.
52. Special Ops: Infected (2014-2019)
This is probably going to be the most controversial placement on this list, I guarantee it. People seem to love this maze and it has stuck around for five years and for the last few of those years it has taken up one of the best locations for Haunt mazes and had ridiculous wait times. In its inaugural year, Special Ops was an absolute mess. You had to rush over to receive a reservation time that you would need to return at in order to sit and wait around before you eventually got into the maze after waiting around for far longer than the experience was ultimately worth. That said, that first year was probably my favorite incarnation of the maze. There were two different paths you could be assigned. You were ordered around by a squad leader, you shot at zombies, did tasks as assigned, it was a fun one-off experience and is a great example of Knott’s trying new things. I do believe the move to a standard line rather than the reservation system was the right call to make, even if it ended up with a maze that would generally be the longest single line on any given night at the park. There were some cool set pieces in later incarnations, such as zombies rushing a subway train, but I was just over it after the first couple of years. This year is going to be its sixth year at the event, and thankfully its last, and that is a really long run for a maze given that most don’t make it passed three. And as I said, it was eating up some prime real estate where some absolutely legendary mazes once stood and it just felt wasted on what was ultimately a gimmicky maze designed to a different sort of crowd.
51. Halloween Hootenany (2017-Present)
So after several years without a reason to go on the Timber Mountain Log Ride during Haunt we are finally treated with a new overlay, and one that isn’t a shameless marketing tool. Halloween Hootenany is a genuinely fun overlay. The original music written for it by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies is catchy and fun, there’s some great gags, the (at the time) newly refurbished log ride was absolutely gorgeous with all new sets and animatronics. So why is it so low on the list? While I am all for celebrating the spirit of Halloween and this is a great way to do so, it’s just not a Haunt overlay. The whole thing runs as is, music and all, during normal park hours, there’s no addition of scare actors after dark to add to the experience. It’s fun to catch towards the end of the night if you’ve nothing else to do and the line’s pretty short (or if it’s the last thing you do and there’s still a wait), but while I would always make sure to catch the log ride first thing to ring in the new year as it were, I just don’t really care if I make it on this or not.
50. Sleepy Hollow Mountain (2010-2011)
This was actually a theme I remember being pretty excited for. The imposing horseman standout outside the first lift hill set the mood right. But the theme really just kinda fell flat. That horseman was about as Sleepy Hollow as Sleepy Hollow mountain got. I just don’t feel like there was really enough to do with the concept beyond that when it came time to actually theme the ride. It’s definitely not the weakest theme the log ride’s ever had, and at least there were scare actors, but it just doesn’t hold up to the far better themes that came before it.
49. Cornstalkers (2008-2011)
Cornstalkers could have been really good, and it’s a theme that Knott’s did sort of revisit many years later to much better effect. Being hunted through bland and uninteresting rows of corn by twisted scarecrows was just so..dull. I really don’t have a ton to say here, I don’t remember too much about the maze, nothing about it stood out to me as either good or bad, it was just..there. Again, Knott’s would revisit aspects of this theme again and they were executed much much better the second time around.
48. My Bloody Clementine (2015)
My Bloody Clementine would be the last time Knott’s attempted an overlay for the Calico Mine Ride for the Haunt season. Much like The Witch’s Keep, the overlay did not feature any scare actors. Instead it relied on music, lighting and projection effects to tell its story. The most memorable aspect of the attraction, by far, was the rendition of “My Darling Clementine” that would play during the queue for the ride. It was a much darker tune, telling the story of a young girl that was drowned in the mines near her home. The ride itself featured her vengeful spirit haunting the mine and used projections to decent effect to present the angry spirit tormenting riders. Again, lacking in any real scares this doesn’t really warrant a place higher on the list, but as far as “overlay only” Haunt attractions go it wasn’t all that bad, and I did genuinely enjoy the somber and dark twist on “My Darling Clementine” that played before getting on the train. Sadly I’ve been entirely unable to find that audio online anywhere and I’ve done my digging to find it.
47. The Dead of Winter (2015)/The Dead of Winter: Revenge of the Wendigo (2016)
So you’re designing a haunted attraction meant to scare and startle park visitors. What’s the first thing you shouldn’t do? Color it bright white and turn all of the lights on. Seen by many as a bit of a jab towards Disney’s Frozen, The Dead of Winter is set in a..Norwegian (maybe?) style village and surrounding areas and, as I said, was very brightly lit and colored almost entirely white. It made it very difficult to actually scare and surprise guests, the theme was fairly weak and the story basically non-existent, it just did not work for Haunt. Its second incarnation strengthened its theme a bit by adding a central antagonist in the titular Wendigo, dimmed the lights a touch and added some blood here and there to contrast with all of the white snow. It was certainly a better take on it, but lack of interest from fans ended the maze’s run (and for the better) after only two years at the event. The biggest pluses were a cool effect where you walk over a frozen lake with bodies underneath it, and of course the fact that the entire building was air conditioned which made those hot California autumn nights a bit more tolerable.
46. Virus Z (2010-2011)/Virus Z feat. Carrie (2012)
So you might be mistaken in thinking that I don’t like zombies given how low both this zombie-centric maze and the zombie shoot ’em up Special Ops are in my rankings. I do like zombies, I just don’t find them particularly good fodder for a Haunted attraction like you get from Knott’s. Virus Z was notable for having an awesome facade, featuring a fenced in quarantine zone and an overturned car. You proceed through to a corpse filled school bus and into a high school gym that was being used as a shelter/evacuation zone. Thematically it worked well enough, it did feel like you were proceeding through a zombie outbreak, but I don’t really find zombies scary and that carried over to the scareactors who mostly shambled about and occasionally lunged at you. The maze really just didn’t do it for me. I know it’s a bit of a weak critique, but given the high pedigree of many of the mazes higher on this list that did work for me, a maze just not clicking for me is gonna end up pretty low on the rankings. Shoehorning in the remake of Carrie for the finale in the maze’s final year also really soured me on it. It felt like it was done solely because, “hey this maze ends in a high school gym, let’s cash in on this upcoming movie and put two things that don’t belong together, together!”
45. Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse (2011-2013)
Another sort of experimental maze, Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse, allowed viewers online at home to observe guests as they proceeded through certain sections of the attraction. I actually would love to see this idea expanded with live feeds of various scarezones and mazes made available online during Haunt for people to watch and enjoy on the nights they can’t make it out to the fog. I know I’d be on there as often as I could. I know this is sort of a recurring thing where I talk about a theme not really working for Haunt and I feel I should probably touch on that a bit. I don’t want it to come across as me thinking only actual horror themes or tropes can make for a good Haunt attraction or experience and I do applaud originality and trying out different ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. Certain themes do obviously lend themselves better to the event given their roots in the genre already while others have their work cut out for them. Sometimes it does end up working as you will see later on in the countdown. Sometimes, as was the case with Lost Vegas, it just doesn’t pan out. Endgames is sort of in the middle there. I feel that a post-apocalyptic setting can work out just fine for a Scary Farm maze, it’s not even entirely new ground for Knott’s as they have done the concept successfully in the past. However, a gladiatorial focused post-apocalyptic theme doesn’t quite work out as well as we saw with Endgames. It was just never really able to provide any sense of dread or scares, it was honestly more of a “badass” feeling than anything else. There were some cool sets and animatronics (the golem from Labyrinth makes a reappearance and there was a pretty cool vehicle/drill machine if I remember right). The scareactors were badass mutated warriors that feel like something out of Mad Max and the Omega Man or something. Thunderdome just isn’t scary and having an attraction themed around it was more “that’s cool” than anything else.
44. Lockdown: The Asylum (2009-2010)
So this entry is probably going to be a bit of a spoiler given its direct ties to a maze much, much higher on this list. So while I will go into significantly more detail when that entry comes up, just for the sake of context, know that Lockdown: The Asylum was the direct followup to a maze I hold very near and dear to my heart. That will also tell you why it ended up being such a huge disappointment to me, to the point that it’s almost the polar opposite end of the list from its predecessor. It just felt like a really “off” transition. We go from a rundown, haunted and incredibly disturbing mental institution to..basically a riot in a federal prison. It honestly felt more like riding on the coattails of one of the most successful mazes in Haunt history and tagging “The Asylum” onto the name set expectations incredibly too high. There are certainly elements of Lockdown that I enjoyed. I think the facade along with the siren and loudspeakers set the tone perfectly well for the sort of high energy, riot in progress that the maze was going for. And that is something that Lockdown was at least successful with, it did feel like a prison where the prisoners had take over. Whether you find that compelling or scary or not is going to fall on you, it personally didn’t for me. If left to stand on its own merits, it wasn’t a bad maze, but it set itself up to compare to an absolute juggernaut and it just could not fill those shoes. Were this a standalone maze that didn’t try and lure you in with promises of something it wasn’t even close to in theme, setting, tone or style would it rank higher? Honestly, probably. But as something advertising itself as the followup to 2003’s The Asylum, I have to knockoff some points because few mazes ever disappointed me as much as Lockdown: The Asylum did.
43. Cavern of Lost Souls (2005-2006)
So, full disclosure, I don’t honestly remember too much of this particular overlay for the Calico Mine Ride. This was still really early on in my Haunt years, I believe this was only the second overlay I had ever seen for the ride and aspects of the two do sort of blur together. Now, given where that particular overlay ended up on this list, that’s definitely not points against Cavern of Lost Souls, honestly that probably ends up more in its favor if nothing else. Now I do seem to recall the “glory hole” being filled with tormented souls welling out of it, I could be mistaken on what the center piece of the ride was for this particular version of it. Again, not a lot really comes to mind when I think back on this one, I’m sure it used a lot of the haunted mine ride mainstays from heavy use of fog, skeletons and ghosts propped up throughout the caverns, great use of lighting and music. While I may be able to recall specific details more on some of the overlays lower on this list, they were honestly pretty negative details that I could recall so that alone warrants this a spot higher than them. If nothing else, it reminds me of what was my first Calico Mine Ride overlay so it secures itself a spot not quite at the bottom of the ranking.
42. Killer Clown Kollege (2007-2008)
Clowns and clown themed mazes have a long and storied history at Knott’s Scary Farm. Some have been better than others.They have ranged in tone from completely over the top and goofy to darker and more sinister takes on the concept. The first of these mazes to appear on this ranking falls into the former category. Nestled in behind Xcelerator, Killer Clown Kollege (not Killer Klown Kollege, for..obvious reasons) came after a year’s hiatus from the event’s previous clown maze (one we’ll get to a bit later on) and was a mostly welcome return to the iconic horror trope. Whereas its predecessor, Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns in 3D, focused more on a traditional carnival theme, Killer Clown Kollege opted for (no points for guessing) a sort of frat/clown school take on the concept. Kudos to the team for giving the clowns a break for a year and coming back with something that wasn’t just quite more of the same, just doing an evil circus theme over and over again would certainly drive the concept into the ground and there is at least a bit of room to experiment with the killer clown concept. I don’t really have much negative to say about the maze, it really only places as low as it does because, well, something had to take the spot and the other clown mazes were better fits higher up on the list and I just kinda liked everything else more than it. There were some fun gags, that’s sort of a running theme with the clown mazes, a lot of visual humor and puns. Bright colors used effectively, fantastic use of props and costumes for camouflage. I do pretty distinctly remember the facade, going into what I believe was meant to be a clown frat house (no points for guessing their Greek letter), as well as the music that played, which I swear thinking back on it was taken from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, so it gets some points for making me think of that. In all it was a perfectly fine maze. Other mazes had and would do the clown thing much better, but it had fun with the concept and it’s never not a joy to walk through. Some of the best talent at Haunt has always been the clowns, they know how to have a good time.
41. Pyromaniax (2007-2009)
Finally we come to the final entry for part 1 and we’re rounding things off with another overlay for the Timber Mountain Log Ride. This was actually a pretty decent concept for the ride. A group of hillbillies mix a little something toxic and radioactive into their moonshine and carnage ensues. Fantastic use of smoke machines to give the ride that “on fire” feel the designers were going for with the theme and a really cool set piece involving a fire rescue helicopter are probably the standout effects of Pyromaniax. The attraction featured mutated hillbillies and zombified firemen spread throughout delivering some classic log ride scares. Pyromaniax had a solid three year run as the last really decent overlay for the Timber Mountain Log Ride and while I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as what came before it, it was a solid and entertaining concept that was executed fairly well.
And that is going to wrap up part 1 of our 5 part series counting down 62 mazes from Haunt history. Thank you for everyone that stuck it through this far, next month’s lists will be proper 10 item lists as we work our way all the way down to my number one Knott’s Scary Farm maze of all time, but until then…I’ll see you in the fog.