Clowncrew13As long and dark through our economic tunnel California has been, Native Angelenos have clung to the hope that when there is winter, sooner or later spring must follow.  And after that must come summer. And then eventually, fall.  And with fall would come to the seasonal push our economy can always count on: the bounty we reap each year from our region’s Halloween mazes.

We may no longer make anything in California, but we haven’t forgotten how to be scary. This, after all, is the state whose film executives green-lit most of the Saw films and The Hills Have Eyes reboot.  Come each Halloween, when the world wants to be scared, and scared by professionals, it arrives on our doorstep, saying “Take us to your creepy mazes and we shall reward you with our lurcher.”

But now, on top of everything we’ve been through, these hopes may be dashed as well.

At the peak of the Southern California Halloween pyramid has always stood Knott’s Scary Farm; the pinnacle of Halloween maze terror. It is not too much to say that if our hopes to turn the state around rest on our entertainment complex and the entertainment complex rests on the horror genre and the horror genre revolves around Halloween and the capital of Halloween is at Knott’s, then the entire economic security of tens of millions of Californians rides on Knott’s being able to throw together some world-class scary mazes. And so it is not too much to say that tens of millions of California children should get used to a world without schools, healthcare, police protection and where toxic waste is dumped directly into their lunch boxes after they read this first early review of this year’s offering at Knott’s.

A post on the indispensable Creepy LA blog, their correspondent filed a first review containing the following, deadly, dream destroying, devastating descriptions:

this year’s pre-Haunt buffet dinner had some surprising and alarming differences from previous years. To wit: Disposable plasticware instead of sturdy buffet dishes, bright normal lighting and no real decoration, no monsters, and a drastically reduced lineup of food options. (Not to mention the “collectible” Snoopy drink cups that we were given, rather than commemorative Haunt cups we got in the past.

For several previous years, there was a trend of having “hot chicks in costumes vaguely writhing in a cage in one room of every maze.” Apart from one woman with a feather-stick in Dominion of the Dead and a desultory go-go bit in Endgames, that phase of the Haunt mazes is over! No more gratuitous female stuff anymore.

It’s pretty much postapocalyptic MMA-meets-chop-‘em-up slaughterhouse horror… but even that is giving it a little too much credit.

Dominion of the Dead
This venerable old maze still puts on a good effort, but it no longer has any sexy decadence or very many scares in it. I’ll give it points for being quietly atmospheric, but it’s got that “played out” vibe from start to finish.