Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Call (The First Interactive horror movie in theaters...wait say what?)

Well you probably all heard about this little gimmicky horror movie from the coverage last week. If you didn't head over to Dread Central or Horror Squad for more info.

Basically 13th Street Films (a company based out of Germany) is promoting the first interactive horror film where a theater-goer gets a call from the protagonist and he or she helps the final girl make decisions in the movie in real time.

Read this:

The first interactive horror movie in the world where the audience is able to communicate with the protagonist. A film controlled by a member of the audience, thus blurring the boundaries between game and film. Language recognition software transforms the participant's answers via mobile phone into specific instructions. A specially developed software then processes these commands and launches an appropriate follow-up scene.

The dialogue between the movie's main actress and an audience member leads to a different film - and outcome - every time: sometimes with a happy end, sometimes with a more gruesome one. To participate in the adventure, audience members submit their mobile phone numbers to a speed dial code when they buy their tickets.

The moment the female protagonist takes out her phone to call someone who might be able to help her, the film's controlling software contacts one of the submitted mobile phone numbers. Once the viewer picks up, he hears the actress's voice - who tells him she would be lost without him. He has to help her escape by choosing a path through the old, rundown sanatorium.

Furthermore, he also decides whether she should help other victims to flee the scene - and every single choice shapes her fate: it's a matter of life and death.

OK, got all that? Now check out the trailer.

Hmmmm interesting in that "this is sooo gonna be abused" sorta way. It's not the first to do a choose your own adventure sorta thing. Interactive DVDs have been out for a while...hell even porn DVDs have "various interactivity". This prompts a few questions.

Sure, I think Germans would follow the instructions to the tee. Maybe even the Brits, Aussies and Canadians too would participate in an orderly way. But give an American the option to fuck up would be victim in a horror movie and it can only turn out completely fucked up. I think it would turn out to be a disaster where we'd get some jabroni mess up the movie for everybody else. We'd get exchanges like this.

Final Girl: "Go up or down?"
American jabroni phone counterpart: "Take off your top and let me see your titties"

Final Girl:
"Help or flee"
American jabroni phone counterpart: "Fuck him, get the fuck out of their girl and run for your life! Get me 6 pack of Bud if you can."

See? We can't get anything nice. It would turn into a complete mockery. Imagine the douchebag asshole getting chosen or Ms. Joanna Moviegoer making all the wrong decisions. You'd get tons of people yelling at you what to do. It would be mad chaos I tell you. People running around in the theater and the worst thing that would come out of this would be......

Everybody's phone would turned on during the movie!!!!

Can you imagine?

OK maybe I'm being a little down on us Americans but you know how it is. Even during a regular horror movie, people be yelling shit at the screen. And what happens if your suggestions after the movie in a bad way? Can it actually do that? Can you get her killed? Wouldn't you want that outcome instead of a daring escape?

So this leads to whether or not your advice actually affects the story in anyway. How many different outcomes could their be in such a interactive movie? Lots of questions on this.

You gotta love horror genre because it's a pure testing ground for all that is movie gimmicks. Like William Castle's "Percepto" vision where seats "tingled" while watching The Tingler or the advent of 3-D which turned that invention into mainstreaminess, horror is the testing ground of these ideas. Horror movies always embraced the 3D where the other genres (other than sci-fi) thought it had no real value.

So, horror minions....could this actually work? What do you all think?


  1. It's could be chaos,
    one of my readers suggested to use phones the same way 3d-glasses are used in theaters, instead of using peoples own phone.

    13th Street is a sisterchannel of SyFy by the way, owned by Universal.

    The idea is awesome :)

  2. I remember back in the mid-90s, when the interactive movie Mr. Payback came out in theaters. I happen to be in Orlando when it was playing at one of the interactive theaters airing it and decided to check it out because the premise sounded cool but also because I remembered the lead (Billy Warlock) from Society. It sounded better on paper than the final product, but a horror concept like in your post seems like it would be fun to try. Just gotta try to find an asshat-less theater if you do try it out.