Supposedly abandoned, this old building stood high and silent daring anyone strong enough to enter through the gates that have been "mysteriously" broken open while ignoring all of the "warning" signs.

Dr. Mangler and his staff spent years and years conducting bizarre and torturous experiments on the patients of the asylum. The doctor kept all of the patients locked up in heavy duty chambers and tied with chains, straight jackets and shackles.

Legend has it that the doctor and many members of his staff left the entire asylum without any warning or reason....leaving the crazed and violent patients locked up in the building. Through time, the patients, one by one, have discovered a way out of their chains and THIS is the situation that the guests of Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 2003 and 2004 walked right into...just as each of the patients let themselves out.....

Moving through the Entrance Gate, unlucky guests enter into the Sanitorium and into the Hall. Passing patient cells, the Boiler Room looms deep within the bowels of the Asylum. Guests then make their way through the K.Carpenter Clinic for Bulimic Research just before the padded cells of more patients. The electricity is running wild through the Electroshock Therapy Room just before the Dementia hall throwing guests into a visual panic. Next is the Lobotomy area witnessing the experimentation conducted by crazed pathologists while making way over to the Nurse's station. The Morgue is quite unsettling and if that wasn't enough, the Psyche-Ward has a great impact on guests finally about to lose it. Whispers fill the ears of the last bit of sanity while finishing off the tour in the Maximum Security Ward.

The Asylum was voted by YOU, the visitors of this website, the Maze of the Year, 2003 and 2004. This maze was the definition of creepy. This maze focused in on the fear of the mind. Due to the popularity of this maze, it has definitely earned a new home here in the Maze Tribute.

This incredible maze won the Maze of the Year TWO YEARS in a row (2003 and 2004). Since has been online, NO maze has won Maze of the Year two years in a row. We felt that it is definitely appropriate to put aside a tribute to this fantastic maze and go into a little detail as to why this maze won twice in row.
In the past several years on, some definite classics have won the title of Maze of the Year. In 2000, the Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns won when it was housed in the now defunct rollercoaster, Windjammer. It was the first year that the 3D effect was introduced to Knott’s Berry Farm which might have helped the maze to it’s success, but that couldn’t have been all. The size of the maze was enormous and the design was incredibly detailed mixed with the incredible monster talent. It made sense that the maze was the fan vote.

In 2001, Malice in Wunderland won Maze of the Year. The “Good Gone Bad” theme that Knott’s has utilized for years was defined in Malice. Again, the detail and artistry featured in this maze truly helped it to be a fan favorite. Also in 3D, Malice incorporated new “tricks” of the trade with ideas/concepts that had been featured in years past (the rock room, for example). Just as with Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns, the soundtrack was also rockin’ and was a fantastic touch to help this maze along and move it toward the fan favorite.

2002’s Maze of the Year was great due to the fact that in 2001, it was deemed one of the worst mazes in Halloween Haunt history: Curse of the Spider. The 2002 version of the maze featured tightly designed walkways that made visitors feel a bit claustrophobic. The maze was relocated to where the Haunted Shack was once home to and the overall “experience” was what voters seemed to lean toward to help their determination in deciding this to be the Maze of the Year.

The Asylum (on Stage Coach Lawn) in 2003 won the Maze of the Year and one of the main reasons had to have been the incredible design of the maze. The talent of the maze was absolutely crazed and the scenes in the maze were both disturbing and creepy in a way that only Knott’s could offer.

Now, the above mazes were the NEW mazes introduced in their perspective years. We were under the impression that the fans might be voting for mazes just because they were most impressed with the features only a new maze could offer, due to the fact that the scenes and characters were things new to the public eye. However, 2004 marked the breakthrough and proved us wrong.

What was about the 2004 Asylum to have fans vote for it as another Maze of the Year? Red Beard’s Revenge and Terrorvision were two outstanding mazes that were introduced in 2004, so how in the world could Asylum possibly win this prestigious title yet again? Let’s look into these questions and try to find the answers, shall we?

For starters, the following are just a few comments people shared about the Asylum on the Message Board:

“Asylum is the only maze that still gets me. sickest, scariest maze ever.”

“The Asylum - every guest I spoke to agreed....the Asylum is the BEST. ALL the monsters for the Asylum did awesome.”

“I think my favorite maze was the asylum...that was the first one we went on this last Wednesday, and at one part, it was so foggy you couldn't even see a couple of feet in front of you. we were wandering around, feeling the wall, trying to follow the lights on the ceiling. at one point I got within about a foot of a monster before I could see him, lol. I'm not sure if something was wrong or what but I've never seen a maze be that foggy was definitely cool though. Also the electric chair thing you walk by in line is awesome :]”

“I really thought Asylum was Kick A** on Sat the 23rd. It was a whole lot better on Saturday than on Friday.”

“My personal favorite maze was the Asylum.”

“You know that's how I felt too......I felt it was a great maze and all, but nothing about it really scared me as much as like the Asylum.”

“I’m sorry but I have to say maze of the year should one again go to Asylum.”

“I agree with you that the Asylum really was good this year. Not too much was changed but the little bit that was made a vast improvement over last year's incredible run.”

“THE ASYLUM!!!!!! Hands down the greatest maze this year at the haunt.”

“Asylum was the scariest to me.”

“Asylum is like totally numero uno, babe.”

“The Asylum = A
(One of the best all time mazes and themes haunt has to offer, a must to do at knotts halloween haunt)”

“I went to Haunt this last Saturday (10/16) and while I was waiting in line for the Asylum, the blackouts kept shouting "Please do not touch the monsters!" It must be pretty bad this year if they have to do that in the line, and it wasn't just one guy, it was EVERYBODY.”

“The Asylum - Great maze, excellent Talent, as usual! Inside the maze, a LOT had changed (layout) but it was mostly for the best.”

“The Asylum-Seeing the set-up for this maze, I was expecting a let down, but honestly, I was VERY impressed by the talent.”

“I know this maze rocks, so creepy and scary… it’s the best.”

“My friend got lost in the mirror section it was freakin hilarious.”

“Just when I thought that I don't get (really) scared anymore, along comes this year's Asylum. The "electricution introduction" was one of my Haunt highlights thus far. And the maze itself..what a creepy vibe. About halfway into it, I began to suspect that the talent may very well be insane as well.”

“I think The Asylum truly shows some of the best talent of the Haunt. Awesome job to ALL you monsters that work the Asylum. I can't wait to meet you again this year!”

“Yeah Asylum is one of those mazes that freaks you out, but you love anyways. I HATE (but in a way, love) the part where the enclosed hallway of the maze suddenly spreads out to a big room with beds around you. You feel so out in the open and a target for a monster to scare you. I always get uncomfortable at that part. The Asylum rules!”

“Asylum was ridiculous. That's the only maze that still gets me. And I love how everyone in that maze makes me their number one target because they know how much I hate it.”

“Yes the Asylum was great... but I couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that the guy in the electric chair was frying, even though the switch was on "OFF" lol. I know its suppose to be like that... but still!”

“The Asylum, this is going to be one of scary farms most famous and popular mazes for a long, long time I tell you, it was back this year tucked away in behind Ghostrider, with all of these doctors in white coats guiding you to your fears, it truly was the highlight of the night, getting my vote for maze of the year. The talent in the asylum is some of the best with the high energy and "stalking their pray" scare tactics. Wooo, it rocked and scared me good too!”

Again, the above quotes are just a few of what we obtained in October of 2004. We have a couple theories about this year’s Asylum and what made it work. We’re not too sure if the new location made much of a difference although, the line (with the electrocution addition) might have certainly made a feeling of creepiness to guests approaching the Asylum.

One of the above quotes stuck out in our minds with regard to another theory as to why the Asylum was great. The quote regarding the black outs asking guests not to touch the monsters is very interesting. In fact, when we went through, line control personnel were telling us the same things.

One of the main problems Knott’s Scary Farm suffers from with regard to fan ‘complaints’ is the lack of talent in the mazes as the month grows on. One of the reasons talent leaves a maze is due to the fact that working the event is far more difficult than one may initially think. Every year, it’s no secret that Haunt Monsters obtain injuries from guests who are either drunk, drugged or simply carry out violent reactions while being scared. Now although this is a theory and our personal opinion, perhaps a larger percentage of talent were safer due to the fact that blackouts and line control were reminding guests not to touch the monsters. Since the talent may have been more safe, fewer of the talent quit the event altogether throughout the month. Now, this is not to say that talent of the Asylum did not get hit, pushed or shoved by guests, because we know that they did, but perhaps, violence was a tad bit less because of these reminders from the black outs and line control? Just a thought.

We do know that the lighting was different in the Asylum compared to how it was in 2003. Another theory might be that the lighting set a creepier mood to not quite be able to focus on “hiding spots” that can be easily seen in other mazes.

The overall theme of the Asylum is perhaps one of the creepiest overall in Halloween Haunt history. Baits Motel and early versions of Uncle Ernie’s Madhouse presented the same type of vibe that the Asylum carries. It is a fair assessment to state that walking up to the front entrance alone is threatening.

What about the talent? The Asylum in 2004 was filled with returning maze talent that already carried solid experience as to how to scare guests. Further, when we went through during our mid-month trip, EVERY single talent that was located in the maze was in their ‘spots’ and even further, in-character. Unfortunately, other mazes that we went through during the same evening had very few talent and were WAY out of character. The Asylum was one of the only areas in the park aside from the Scare Zones where everyone was in character.

Overall, to win Maze of the Year is NOT all about the theme, nor is it all about being the ‘new’ maze of the year and it is not just about the talent either. It seems to be more about the overall experience. Some of the mazes at the event is packed full of veteran talent and they are still not up to par and obviously the new mazes are where it’s always at either.

Every maze at the Halloween Haunt has something to offer guests. This commentary is not about trying to belittle other mazes or take away from their special features. This is about trying to take a look at a maze that has broken a record and has now made it’s way into being one of the great Halloween Haunt mazes of all time.

Our hats go off to the designers, construction crews, talent, black outs, line control, captains and managers of the Asylum 2004. You each put something in as a unit to make the maze what it is. It really goes to show that if a group of people go into something that they all are passionate about and have the same goal, something unique can happen. It’s not necessarily about who are what does better, it’s more about one simple thing that you each seemed to focus on; Something that seems to be lacking in other areas of the park. You each focused on THE main thing that Halloween Haunt is all about:

The Guests.

Thank you for making an incredible experience for all of us and we are certainly lucky for being able to witness an amazing maze such as the Asylum. Click on the links below to view some pictures from both the 2003 Asylum and the 2004 Asylum and see for yourself...some of the truly creeped out scenes and characters that made the Asylum your vote for the 2003 and 2004 Maze of the Year.