Dark Corner’s Mule is a virtual reality attraction that commanded attention from across the room at VR On The Lot, an industry summit held at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood this week. A shiny, white casket was positioned upon a platform, surrounded by a black marble wall adorned with flowers, such as one might find in a mausoleum.
Before you get in the coffin, where you’ll sit slightly reclined like a Dracula waking up after a long nap, you’ll be asked if you prefer a burial or a cremation. I always choose the burial, given the option, just in case some necromancer comes along to raise a skeleton army, or the zombie apocalypse occurs. Wouldn’t want to miss out on that by being a pile of ashes. But what follows is something more than a horror experience. It’s a bizarre, slightly outlandish cautionary tale that unfolds with all the crassness of a Tarantino or Guy Ritchie film. You’re naked. Your flaccid penis is clearly visible (even if you happen to not have one of those in real life). You’re in a rundown motel. Your raccoon-eyeliner companion is trying to slap you awake, her bare breasts in your face. And you’re dying.
You’re a drug mule, as the name might have implied, and it looks like you’ve used a little too much of your own stash. The coffin rumbles as you seize uncontrollably. You’ll go through the motions of death without agency, from the paramedics, to the morgue to your own funeral. There are a few surprises along the way that we won’t spoil, of course, and there’s a lot of gore and a fair amount of nudity.
Dark Corner was founded by Guy Shelmerdine, who directed Mule and who previously brought us Catatonic, both live-action offerings. Catatonic puts the viewer in a wheelchair equipped with a vibrating pack that enhances the ride through a deranged and horrifying hospital. Watching people experience Catatonic from the real world is fascinating, to say the least. Despite the fact that viewers know they’re not in a hospital, but surrounded by colleagues in Los Angeles, they still gasp, shriek and put up their hands to fend off unseen terrors.
Shelmerdine tells VRScout that though his latest experiences have been unsettling, they’re not specifically a horror studio:
Dark Corner’s mission is to continue developing and producing the most innovative narrative content available in VR. Our focus is not horror exclusively, but stories that are dark, provocative, and memorable above all. We are partnering with like-minded filmmakers around the world to create original IP that will take audiences into thrilling and uncharted territory with each new release. Currently our focus is on live action filmmaking because we are responding to the fans of Catatonic and Mule who seem hungry for that style of great original storytelling.
If you’re into this kind of thing, be sure to get your tickets for our VRScout Haunted Mansion on October 27th.