Knott's Halloween Haunt History

An inevitable aspect of having a website in existence for a decade and a half* is that it accumulates an enormous amount of material. Although it's nice to have a huge backlog, the articles are not necessarily convenient to access. Yes, they are categorized and tagged; failing that, there's always the search engine. But who's really wants to go on a deep dive, sifting through archives for ancient relics of information? Such as, to take one example, myriad articles about the annual Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Haunt?

We mention Knott's Scary Farm because we have covered it more than other Halloween Theme Parks (Halloween Horror Nights did not even exist back when we started). There is a multitude of reviews, interviews, and videos buried by time, and we wanted to excavate those treasures and put them on display. With that in mind, we started collating and synthesizing the material, adding it to our page devoted to Knott's Halloween Haunt, where it was more likely to be seen and possibly used as a reference source.

Good idea, but...we didn't realize quite how much material there was. When the text passed 13,000 words (with five years still to cover), the page started timing out when we tried to save changes, and we began to wonder whether anyone could be reasonably expected to scroll through that many paragraphs - not to mention the question of lengthy load time caused by numerous photographs and videos embedded.

Our solution? We're going to restrict our Knott's Haunt page to annual highlights, pinpointing the best attractions and any major changes that took place. The rest of the material will be divided up into a serialized sequence of articles examining the haunt in detail, year by year.

This may seem redundant; after all, the old reviews still reside in the archive. The difference is that the new series will provide a (hopefully interesting) historical perspective. For example, back in 2009, Knott's one-room scare experience based on The Stepfather resembled nothing more than a lame last-minute knockoff. From today's perspective, it looks like a precursor to the Skeleton Key Rooms that Knott's introduced in 2013 (with much better results). Also, The Stepfather experience was the last example of Knott's creating an attraction based on a film; Universal Studios Hollywood had pretty much cornered that market by the end of the decade.

With much of the text already written, and photos and videos already selected, we plan to publish the series on a regular basis, hopefully once a day - but no promises. We'll start slow, with a look back to Knott's Berry Farm's 2004 Halloween Haunt. Enjoy!

Footnote:

  • Yes, Hollywood Gothique launched way back in 2004.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.