Horror movie fans are known for their love of immersive “haunts”: special exhibits of events that pay tribute to their favorite films while letting the fans in on a bit of the scary action. That’s the thinking behind , a pop-up interactive art installation that just opened in Los Angeles.
is the brainchild of “experiential” artist Maximillian Castillo (who goes by Maximillian), well-known for his interactive immersive creations, like a installation or a walk-through for San Diego Comic-Con.
He’s also a horror movie buff, and the current exhibit—housed in the historic art deco building The Desmond, along LA’s Miracle Mile—draws inspiration from five films in particular: , and .
“I wanted to do something that was more like an interactive art installation, something that isn’t your standard Halloween scare maze, which I love, but I feel like we can celebrate and interpret these movies over and over again,” Castillo said in an interview. “Other than going through a walk-through maze once a year during Halloween, there’s really no other way to really enjoy these movies and dive deeper into the content of these films and these worlds.”
At the entrance, visitors find themselves in ‘s “redrum” hedges, moving to subsequent rooms from there. Also from : Castillo’s interpretation of the famous scene showing a torrent of blood pouring out of The Overlook’s elevator—the bloodstream is made from strands of red movie tickets—and a chance to sink into the hotel’s signature carpeting after posing on a replica of Danny’s tricycle. Freddy Krueger’s “throne” is here, plus several set pieces from : you can stick your feet in a shark’s mouth while lounging on a chair, for instance, like the sea diver ghost in the film.
The most compelling is the installation for . Castillo created a creepy Pennywise teepee out of children’s toys and other similar found objects, with several models of the killer clown’s nightmare-inducing toothy maw, large enough for visitors to stick their head inside. But it’s the hanging strings of paper boats (reminiscent of little Georgie, whose disappearance sets off the events in ) that set this feature apart. It’s a truly artistic piece, creating a winding path leading to the sewer lair, as lighting creates caustic patterns on the floor to mimic the flow of water.
All the installations provide ample opportunity for visitors to snap pictures of themselves and their friends in their favorite horror scenarios: posing in a coffin in Pennywise’s underground sewer lair, perhaps, or hanging from the Santa Clara train tracks from It’s interactive art ready-made for the Instagram era, and makes for a fun afternoon diversion. But the experience won’t come cheap. Tickets are $39 each.
should remain at The Desmond through June 16, before Castillo (hopefully) takes his scare-fest on the road.