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Creepy VR Films Coming to Fantastic Fest Next Month

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The Austin-based film festival will be premiering VR content for the first time.

As with many other film festivals, including Sundance and Tribeca, virtual reality has been slowly solidifying its position into festival programs. Now we can add one more film festival to the list — but be warned, these immersive films won’t be for the faint of heart.

For the first time, virtual reality will be making its debut at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas September 22-29. As one of the largest genre film festivals in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy and sci-fi, the week long festival will be featuring three immersive experiences.

Fantastic Fest has partnered with Los Angeles VR studio Dark Corner to curate the VR program, also appropriately named Dark Corner, and will include the world premiere of Dark Corner founder Guy Shelmerdine’s eagerly-anticipated Mule. The VR premiere is coming from the same team that wrecked our senses with their 360° hospital thriller Catatonic, so we can expect some good scares from this one.

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As Shelmerdine’s follow up to Catatonic, Mule will be a dark, emotional, fast-paced ride that catapults you through the frantic last moments of one very unfortunate man’s life and beyond. The world premiere of Mule will also see the unveiling of a new custom-designed installation piece tied to the film’s plot and is promised to be a bigger and more terrifying than the famous Catatonic wheelchairs we have seen quite often when scouting the VR circuit of conferences.

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Mule was filmed on Dark Corner’s custom-designed 360º camera rig, which features Sony A7Sii cameras and was created in partnership with Radiant Images in Los Angeles. The visual effects and 360º elements were crafted by the team at The Mill, Los Angeles. The sound design and score were crafted by Dražen Bošnjak from Q Department who previously collaborated on the VR mix and design for 20th Century Fox’s The Martian VR experience. The VR sound is powered by Mach 1, Bošnjak’s proprietary spatial sound software.

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In addition to showcasing Mule, Dark Corner at Fantastic Fest will also let you experience Catatonic directed by Guy Shelmerdine and Burlap, directed by Justin Denton.

Burlap is a two-part horror experience created by Justin Denton, currently Creative Technical Director at Here Be Dragons. It exists as both a traditional 2D short film and an immersive VR experience, which enhance and complement each other. The piece tells the story of a disturbed killer who zeroes in on an unlucky babysitter to help complete the creation of his secret “masterpiece.” Audiences can watch the short film, then step inside the story with Burlap: Reflections, where they will experience the killer’s obsession firsthand in VR.

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About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.