Do you like scary movies? Fans of ‘80s horror can experience the ultimate interactive art installation in Los Angeles starting April 4 by stepping into iconic moments from THE SHINING, BEETLEJUICE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, THE LOST BOYS and STEPHEN KING’S IT with I Like Scary Movies.
I have already seen this thing, and it’s insane. Essentially, I Like Scary Movies is the ultimate photo-op zone for fans who wish to be immersed in artistic and literal interpretations of their favorite dark fantasy worlds.
I was lucky to be able to get a private tour of the experience, still in progress, alongside Kevin Williamson (writer/producer of the SCREAM franchise, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and TV’s DAWSON’S CREEK, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, etc.), Bryan Fuller (TV producer/writer of such shows as AMERICAN GODS, HANNIBAL, PUSHING DAISIES, and STAR TREK: VOYAGER and DISCOVERY), and the mastermind behind the project, Maximillian.
We had a blast.
“What I wanted to do with I Like Scary Movies was celebrate these five horror titles in a new kind of way, and have fans dive into these worlds in a different way than they have before,” Maximillian tells IT CAME FROM… “It’s very different than a haunt or a sort of walk-through maze like you would see during Halloween time. There’s nobody in costume coming out and scaring you.”
In the SHINING experience, you walk by giant REDRUM/MURDER letters to get to a giant room covered wall-to-wall with the iconic Overlook Hotel carpet pattern. There, sit on an oversized Big Wheel or pose by the camouflaged Grady sisters (“Come and play with us, Danny…”), then step into the infamous bathtub at Room 237, stick your head through the snow-walled window on the Overlook exterior, and witness a static wave of blood coming out of the elevator made of thousands of red Room 237 keychains.
Yep, that’s just the first section within several rooms. Walking through I Like Scary Movies can take up to 90 minutes to move through the entire installation.
“It’s a different type of experience where you can exist in this space that is inspired by these movies and just really soak it up, take photos, video, take your time, and really have your cool photo ops with some of your favorite things from your favorite movies,” says Maximillian.
The IT experience lures visitors through a rotating tunnel of razor-sharp teeth into the mouth of Pennywise the Clown. Inside is a recreation of the demonic creature’s sewer space, stacked to the ceiling with toys, red balloons and the children who “float” from the 2017 film. If you share your worst fears on the wall, you may walk away with a collectible I Like Scary Movies penny.
Ever wish you could dive into the world of BEETLEJUICE? The I Like Scary Movies installation has fabricated a number of spots, including the “Here lies Betelgeuse” graveyard from the film’s oversized miniature, Dante’s Inferno Room, the famous netherworld “waiting room” and its cast of characters, and a wild sandworm sculpture. In addition to hanging out on the specially designed waiting room couch, I got to jump into an American Gothic-inspired, black-and-white foam pit with Williamson and Fuller alongside Maximillian. It was silly and amazing.
I also got to play with the giant Freddie Krueger glove in a dark, atmospheric boiler room straight out of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. You can bend the massive finger-knives and feel the sticky latex of Freddie’s burn-scarred digits. The room has the smell of cinnamon pumped into it for enhanced effect, and other rooms also feature olfactory prompts here and there, providing for a rounded sensory experience. There is also a creepy Freddy “throne” room populated by the pained faces of his victims pushing in and out of the surrounding walls. Because, why not?
The LOST BOYS section incorporates the “You’re one of us, Michael!” hanging-below-the-train-tracks scene alongside the film’s dense vampire lair and giant versions of the Chinese food take-out boxes, spilled over and crawling with worms. Yes, you can jump in and pose with the giant worms. Or are you just hallucinating?
An experiential artist, Maximilian is perhaps best known for assembling interactive movie tie-in events, such as 2007’s shipwrecked, half-scale rendition of the Black Pearl from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN for fans to walk through at Comic-Con. “I have sort of made my mark with creating fantastical installations to promote movies, and really getting fans involved in bringing the movies to life in the real world,” he explains. Through his Ultra Productions for over close to two decades he has helped to bring sets, props and moments from such films as THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, THE MUMMY, ANT-MAN, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE to life.
Of the multiple fabrications created exclusively for the I Like Scary Movies experience, Maximillian singles out the giant Freddy glove as the biggest challenge to pull off.
“I brought in several different people that do their best work, like a metalsmith to do the great metal work to the special effects/latex makeup lady,” he says. “To really get those types of people all together, to have it handed off to different people to do their thing, was a huge challenge — and to make sure that it was sound, that people can interact with it. And, hopefully, it’ll hold up.”
A longtime horror fan himself, Maximillian singles out PHANTASM and THE EXORCIST as two films that really “freaked me out” and provided fountains of inspiration.
“I still remember that silver ball going through the hallway, drilling into people’s foreheads. I can still see that,” he says with a gleam in his eye, recalling the first time he stayed up late to watch PHANTASM on TV. “And THE EXORCIST really rocked me as a kid. I had a lot of nightmares about that movie growing up. But it inspired me at a really early age to create haunted house-type mazes every year in my backyard from when I was elementary and junior high school, just developing these cool things in my own house. We were known as the Halloween house in the neighborhood.”
Aiming to provide a fun and not very scary experience, Maximillian says he hopes people will celebrate this uncanny opportunity to relive their favorite movie moments.
“It’s a deep creative dive into these movies that we have grown to love and we have grown up with, and it’s a chance for them to enjoy them in a different way than they have before,” he concludes. “We can also celebrate horror 365 days a year. And that’s what I hope that people get out of this.”
Based in Los Angeles at The Desmond building on 5514 Wilshire Blvd., I Like Scary Movies runs from April 4, 2019 to June 16, 2019. CLICK HERE for tickets and info.
UPDATE: I attended the gala preview of I Like Scary Movies alongside my pals Katie Featherston, Erin Karpluk and Lon Strickland. It was quite an experience. See how it all came together in the below photo gallery…
Then, check out more of my celebrity and filmmaker interviews HERE.