A veteran horror director is using virtual reality (VR) for a new immersive experience inspired by ‘90s cult anthologies like Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow. The first episode of Campfire Creepers recently made its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and two episodes are now available to watch with the Dark Corner app for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
Director Alexandre Aja, best knows for films like The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, had never worked with VR before, but quickly became enamored with the new medium. “As a director, I’m always looking for immersion,” he told Variety. “VR may be the tool we have been dreaming about for so long.”
The series is about a group of kids around a campfire telling stories, but each of the first two episodes is very different. The Skull of Sam is about a camp counselor who’s been captured by a psychopath, who’s played by none other than Robert Englund. Midnight March is about a bullied kid who transforms into a terrifying monster.
Aja has been a fan of Freddie Kruger for years and jumped at the chance to work with Englund, as he detailed in a blog post at Occulus. “He also brought this kind of mentorship, where he kind of blessed us with his presence. He brought that flavor of classic horror that we like so much,” said Aja. “Beyond the fact that he was perfect for the part, he really brought something else — like a post-modern feel to the piece.”
The project began in 2017 with the VR startup Future Lighthouse, and Dark Corner and Oculus soon came on board. Aja told Engadget that one of his inspirations was Katheryn Bigelow’s 1995 film Strange Days. “It’s the best use of VR … just the way it’s shot, the experience of running around in the beginning, and jumping from a window,” he said. “I’ve always been very interested in all kinds of immersive storytelling.”
The first two episodes of Campfire Creepers are free, but there’s been no word on how many will comprise the full series. “All storytelling started around the campfire,” said Aja.