Below is a review of Horror Rewind, a collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox, The Great Company, and the creators of Delusion. We also provide two videos: the first providing a short teaser of the experience, and the second providing a thorough, albeit edited, walkthrough of the experience. Please read the review and watch one or both videos!
Article by Cristen Brinkerhoff; Videos filmed by Kevin Hsu and Tim Redman; Editing by Jon Kobryn; Cover photo by Taylor Winters.
When you’re a kid, you start out brave to the point of recklessness, running headlong into danger because you haven’t yet learned what scares you. Then, one day, shapes start to form in dark corners, your eyes catch movement in a porcelain doll, you swear you hear the groans of the dead echoing down an alleyway. We’ve all experienced it. Those bumps in the night, the irrational fears that made us hide under our covers and screw our eyes shut tight just waiting for cold hands to grasp at our ankles. What changed? When did you, as a child, go from reckless abandon to fear of the unknown and unreal? Maybe there’s a better question: when did you see your first scary movie?
Now that we’re all grown up, we had the chance to relive the chills of our youth at 20th Century Fox’s Horror Rewind, a one-weekend-only free immersive event in downtown Los Angeles. It was a loving homage to four classics of the horror genre built around clever marketing for the production houses’ special edition DVD releases with digital cover art by Orlando Arocena. But Horror Rewind read far more like a labor of love than an attempt to move product.
The films (Carrie, 28 Days Later, The Hills Have Eyes, and The Fly) are a mix of classic and modern era, and the scenes played out as an homage to all four. Horror Rewind implemented a similar blend of tried and true scare techniques coupled with exciting immersive innovations from the team behind Delusion, one of Los Angeles’ preeminent and well-loved immersive theater companies. Using Jon Braver’s, Delusion’s creator, considerable skill, Fox was able to re-create these frightful and iconic films. Dedicated actors played out a cohesive narrative wherein you and your group are unwitting guests at a macabre art installation that is far beyond expectations. Inside, innocent victims have been transformed into grotesque embodiments of horror’s past; escape, or you’ll end up in their shoes. Beautiful sets, well-executed stunts, and the requisite scares made Horror Rewind a nostalgia trip that was a true highlight of the Halloween season. This was not your standard “haunted house;” it was electrified with fond memory and appreciation for the genre that brought it to life.
Perhaps most importantly, pop-up immersive events like this represent a welcome shift in marketing for the creative community. While Fox (in collaboration with creative studio The Great Company) could have arranged for a three-day store front to sell their re-releases, they instead curated a free, site-specific, and audience-catered experience that ensured a memorable result. It’s a sign that an evolution is taking place; companies that formerly relied on ad time and email blasts can now appeal to their audience through legitimate, tangible art that feels personal. Our childhood memories bought to life, a physical journey taken with friends with an option to take a piece of it home in a blu-ray box when it’s over; what better way to appeal to one’s audience?
Horror Rewind is hopefully one of the first in a coming wave of sponsored-theatre that allows local artists to use their gifts to expand the formerly small universe of an established brand. This feels like the future, this feels like the way our community can grow and adapt, and that is far from scary.
If you would like to buy the art featured in these videos, please check out the full collection here.