[Haunt Review] KNOTT’S SCARY FARM (2022) Part 2

It’s the most wonderful time of the year here in Southern California. It’s officially the start of Haunt season. Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror NightsSix Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, and – now – Knott’s Scary Farm have all blasted open their doors. This means it is time to get our spoop on and wander the dark corridors of various mazes to get scared.

We promised you a second part to our overall Knott’s Scary Farm review and Craig is here to deliver. If you missed the first part of our Knott’s Scary Farm review, go HERE. In there, Sarah broke down all the mazes at the haunt this year. There was just so much stuff to write about that we had to split it up to keep your eyes from melting out of your skulls.

Now, without further adieu, Craig presents his breakdown of the shows that are playing at this year’s Knott’s Scary Farm and what to expect from each of the Scare Zones this year.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Conjurers – Dark Magic (Returning) Show

Description: The fog in Calico is thick. The screams of the denizens of the night echo all around. The only safe place to take refuge is in The Bird Cage Theatre. You know the place, right next to the Undertaker. It seems that with death no longer the end, the Undertaker has nearly been run out of business. Fortunately, in all his dealings with death and the afterlife, he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. Tricks will come in handy as he crosses over to the other side to show our still-living guests what he’s learned…

Craig’s Thoughts: Taking over the Bird Cage Theater for another year is another magic-based show.

The official press release promised something more story-centric with an Undertaker character being the lead/magician for the evening. Upon my visit, it was instead a magician named Zabrecky, which seemed more in line with past iterations of the show that offered a roster of rotating magicians.

Since I honestly do not know if we are dealing with a rotating roster, if the Undertaker concept is to appear at a later date, or if Zabrecky is going to be the house magician for the run, I will have to just review what I saw.

Zabrecky made for a fun, yet odd addition to the Bird Cage. His humor was subtle, a little bizarre, with a tint of the macabre, and yet he had a conviction that was infectious. His tricks were based upon close-up magic concepts and were fun to observe. Of particular interest was the seance he attempted to perform as his interactions with the two audience members during this portion was fantastic.

CONJURERS is always a welcome addition to the lineup of shows as it adds something a little different, yet nicely in line with the spooky atmosphere to the Scary Farm mix.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Puppet Up! – Uncensored (Returning) Show

Description: Returning nightly to Knott’s Scary Farm for the 2022 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.

Craig’s Thoughts: PUPPET UP! is back again and we, the audience, are in for a real treat. While the staging remains the same as last year, a newly recreated skit from Henson’s past body of work. This combined with the performance of Wendy at the end is enough of a reason for puppet lovers to watch as anyone should need.

Now obviously, since this is improvisationally based, the mileage of the main show varies based on the audience’s suggestions. The puppeteers do their best based upon what is yelled out, but some bits just tend to land better than others. While a skit involving puppets acting as furries can be amusing, they tend to strike more comic gold with outlandish suggestions like puppets performing a puppet show.

Thanks to the rotating lineup of improvisational games and the ever-changing audience suggestions, this is an infinitely repeatable show that is a must-see upon any visit to Knott’s Scary Farm.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Carnaval du Grotesque (Re-imagined) Show

Description: Located at the Calico Mine Stage, step right up and walk into the mystique and darkness of the malevolent “Le Magnifique Carnaval Du Grotesque.” A collection of death-defying feats and carnival acts that will delight your darkest desires and fill your senses with terror and delight.

Craig’s Thoughts: This is a returning show in name only as everything else has been re-imagined entirely. Immediately noticeable to the audience is not only the entirely new stage but also the Wheel of Death (Space Wheel) sitting just to the right of the rostrum. Both are eye-catching and do a magnificent job of drawing in a crowd of curious passersby.

The show starts with flames as two horror hosts, Thaddeus and Beatrice, take to the stage to guide us through the proceedings. After some banter that seems right out of The Addams Family, the two hosts introduce us to the Carnies of the Crypt (dance troupe), Lyra (hair hanging act), Prometheus (fire performer), Zenith (chair balance act), and Saturn (space wheel act) before things get underway. What follows is dancing, dark humor, and circus-style acrobatics that are sure to leave the audience in awe.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Ghost Town Streets

The fog rolls down the streets of Calico thick and dark, hiding the danger of what lurks within. Those who brave the main street of this western settlement soon come face to face with the angry victims of the witch’s curse. The transformed townsfolk lurk, run, scream, and (famously) slide at all who dare step foot into their no longer peaceful town.

As always, the GHOST TOWN STREETS are pretty much the gold standard for monsters, fog, and darkness. This year feels much like previous years with a few new faces added to the mix. While I am not sure all of the additional monsters will land or prove effective for providing scares, it is always nice to see newly designed creatures running alongside the returning mob of monsters. Either way, this is a must-do for any visit to Scary Farm as one can practically feel the history oozing out of the street.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm


This brightly lit zone somehow still manages to provide a lot of good scares and memorable moments thanks to a dedicated cast. While the clown concept is certainly not new when it comes to haunts, here the jolly jesters turn from amusing to imposing on a dime. Honestly, using humor to scare is one of the greatest assets this zone has as the brightly colored props the horrifying harlequins use can be amusing from a distance, but terrifying when one finds it thrust in their face.

As a side note of sorts, brightly lit zones like this and Gore-ing 20’s often rise and fall on their cast or gimmicks, and luckily for us haunt fans, both excel in this realm. Since there are no props, fog machines, or major distractions to be found on this midway, the cast has to conspire together to bring the fright. In fact, I would make a case that just sitting in this zone provides nearly as much entertainment as walking through, just to see how the coterie of creepy clowns work together to execute scares.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

The Hollow

This year serves as the swan song for THE HOLLOW scare zone. In past years, this was a favorite hangout of mine thanks to a great cast, moody atmosphere, and advancing storyline at play. It also helped that this zone felt packed to the gills with scarecrows, witches, townspeople, and anthropomorphized animals serving as our scare actors.

On my runs through this zone this year, I was met with a talented, albeit thin cast. While in the past it seemed like this zone had more actors than one could believe, this year I went long stretches without running afoul of any creepy characters. The thing is, this is a big space, so the gaps feel very noticeable since there is so much larger of a footprint to fill up. I will always think fondly of those first few years of THE HOLLOW, thank the actors still performing here to this day, and look forward to whatever is coming next.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Forsaken Lake

The fog clings to the lake again this year, and again the waterlogged residents of FORSAKEN LAKE have risen from their graves. In the past, this Victorian-styled zone put an emphasis on melding music and scares to create a seemingly voodoo-styled experience. This idea was punctuated by nightly processionals in which a casket is somberly marched down the street to a funereal rendition of The Hearse Song.

On my walks through FORSAKEN LAKE this year, I was met with a cast that seems as if they are still finding their groove. Maybe it is just that the pathos used to shine through more, but so far I have yet to observe anyone rise above their costuming. The scares here are still as strong as I have ever seen, but as of this writing, I have yet to observe some of the character moments or tics that were so memorable in past years.

Courtesy Knott’s Scary Farm

Gore-ing 20’s

The bright lights and smooth tunes permeate the air around Memory Lane. Those looking for a hotsy-totsy time will quickly run afoul of no-good newsboys, menacing mobsters, fatal flappers, alarming apostles, and psychotic socialites all intent upon drawing us to their side. As the characters vie for our support, it becomes clear that the party we have stumbled upon is the last soiree any of these people ever attended, and now they are doomed to recreate the scene every evening.

Much like CARNEVIL, this zone operates in a very bright space, which means the actors have to be on their toes at all times. It helps that there are still fog machines, some minor props, and a swing band playing sweet melodies to serve as a major distraction to those choosing to wander down this thoroughfare. Even with all this additional help, the actors still give their roles very particular tics and are just as good at interacting as they are at scaring passersby.

Final Things to Keep in Mind

We’re going to repeat what we said in Part 1 of our review, so no one misses it. There are a couple of rule changes this year that everyone should keep in mind when attending Knott’s Scary Farm as management is trying to curtail issues earlier on. There is a chaperone policy that is in effect, but the newly implemented bag something is really the thing to keep in mind. If you have big pockets, just better to keep everything in there because big bags are a no-no. The official breakdown of the policies in place is below:

  • On Friday through Sunday, a chaperone policy is in place at Knott’s Scary Farm. Under the chaperone policy, all general park guests ages 17 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old to be admitted to the park. The chaperone must present a valid photo ID with date of birth. One chaperone may accompany no more than four guests ages 17 or younger per day.
  • Chaperones must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay. Guests ages 17 years old or younger who are found inside the park unaccompanied by a chaperone will be subject to ejection.
  • In addition, a bag policy is implemented for Knott’s Scary Farm. Guests will not be permitted to bring bags larger than 6.5” x 4.5” x 2” into the park, including purses, backpacks, or diaper. All bags will be searched prior to entry.

If you’re prepared ahead of time, it can create less headaches in the short and long term. Don’t want to go into the haunt already frustrated.

And that’s a wrap for Nightmarish Conjurings’ coverage of this year’s Knott’s Scary Farm. If you want to buy tickets, go HERE. Make sure you get the most out of this year’s haunting season, and make sure you say goodbye to DARK RIDETHE HOLLOWS, and PUMPKIN EATER.


One thought on “[Haunt Review] KNOTT’S SCARY FARM (2022) Part 2

  1. There is none better than Zabrecky for the role of undertaker magician. Knott’s chose well, and although I don’t do Scary Farm, I’ll come for such a quality entertainer as Zabrecky. Creepy, funny and weird!

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