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L.A. Times quantifies Paranormal Inc. maze at Knott’s

The Los Angeles Times takes a walk through Paranormal Inc. at the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt, which opens next week, and declares the new attraction to be the best traditional maze ever seen at Knotts Scary Farm.

We share reporter Brady MacDonald’s enthusiasm for Paranormal Inc., which sounds like an exciting blend of branching story lines and interactive elements, but we to pinpoint a distinction he overlooks regarding the competition between Knott’s Berry Farm and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood:

The difference between Knott’s Halloween Haunt and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights has always come down to quantity versus quality.

There is an element of truth to this: Knott’s has more attractions, and Universal Studios Hollywood has more money to spend on sets and makeup. However, MacDonald misses an important point.

As good as Halloween Horror Nights is, it tends to provide the same kind of scare over and over. Whatever film or franchise the maze is based on, you can bet that when you walk into a room, you will see some kind of effect designed to distract your attention (e.g., a chair rocked by an unseen hand), while a monster emerges from a door on the periphery of your field of vision, backed by strobe light.

Though Knotts Scary Farm cannot match Universal dollar for dollar in production value, the Halloween Haunt provides a satisfying blend of scares every year: some shocking, some funny, some colorful, some ethereal, and some mesmerizing.

The word for this is not quantity. It is variety.

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.