Fantastic Fest added a VR horror program this year

first_imgIt’s almost time for Fantastic Fest, the multimedia festival held in Austin, Texas founded 12 years ago. Originally, the festival began as a celebration of genre film (your horror, science fiction, fantasy, and almost unbearably weird indies), but it has expanded to become a festival about a lot of things. This year, for instance, Tim Burton will be bringing his adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to the festival, which is a young adult novel series adapted to film. Fantastic Fest 2016 takes place this September 22 to 29, and will include virtual reality programming for the first time.VR has become a welcome sideshow to some of the world’s biggest film festivals in the past year, and Fantastic Fest is striding into that forum with three programs by a Los Angeles based VR company called Dark Corner, founded by director Guy Shelmerdine.“We’re incredibly excited to be an integral part of Fantastic Fest and share our experiences with their global audience,” said Dark Corner founder Guy Shelmerdine. “These films represent unforgettable journeys that are intended to push the boundaries of what 360º immersive storytelling can be. We cannot wait to unleash them.” Shelmerdine first hit the VR scene last year at SXSW with Catatonic, a horror VR experience that he made after being unimpressed with a lot of VR experiences that existed. Catatonic was a short where the user was given a VR headset and sat in a wheelchair that would vibrate to correspond with some of the terrain and jump scares in the short film. You might remember Catatonic scaring a bunch of horror fans who tried it out at the Stanley Film Festival last year:The whole Catatonic experience is now available for your smartphone through the Vrse app or online (Click here). You’ll be missing the thrill of having a set strapped to your face while a wheelchair vibrates like it’s moving, but you can get the idea of why horror VR is such an intimate and frightening experience.This year, Shelmerdine is back with a whole new company (Dark Corner) who will present three VR experiences for festival attendees. The centerpiece of Dark Corner’s presentation is Shelmerdine’s newest VR concoction called Mule. All we know is the description: “an emotional, fast-paced hell-ride that catapults the viewer through the final shocking moments of a man’s life (and beyond).”Guessing from the title, I’d suspect we’re going to be placed in the POV of a drug smuggler, which should be at the very least as (if not more) disturbing than “Perspective; Chapter I: The Party,” that Sundance sensation about sexual assault from 2015 (made by a different company, but very notable for how emotionally disturbing it was).If you missed out on Catatonic during last year’s festival tour and didn’t get the “full” experience from your smartphone, the good ol’ vibrating wheelchair will be back at Fantastic Fest this year to make sure you have an opportunity to view it properly.Finally, the third VR presentation is another horror short called Burlap. This one is a two-part horror experience created by Justin Denton, currently Creative Technical Director at Here Be Dragons. It’s in two parts so you can experience the short film and then go back and re-live the events as a different character in VR. Burlap is about a disturbed killer who zeroes in on an unlucky babysitter to help complete the creation of his secret “masterpiece.” Watch the short film and fear for the babysitter, then step inside the story with Burlap: Reflections, where they will experience the killer’s obsession firsthand in VR. Where will your sympathies lie? (here’s hoping they remain with the poor babysitter).This year’s Fantastic Fest VR program will also be the world premiere of Dark Corner as a VR filmmaking company focusing on the gamer experience. Basically, the success of Catatonic has spawned a new company for VR horror thrill rides. Which are so much more effective than jump scares! If you genuinely like being frightened, make sure to strap some headsets to that face of yours come Fantastic Fest.last_img

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