6 Things You Should Know
About The VR Horror
By Angela Watercutter
There are few things scarier than insane-asylum horror. The creepy corridors, the twisted psychiatrists, the subtle sense that maybe the crazy one is you; it’s all just too much. But there’s one thing that could make it spookier: putting it all in virtual reality.
Director Guy Shelmerdine’s Catatonic does just that. The experience, currently making the rounds at South by Southwest events, straps you in a wheelchair and takes you on a five-minute tour of a 1950s mental institution, steering you through the psych ward and eventually into a chapel where you…well, where you die.
“As the story goes along the route becomes more and more disturbing,” Shelmerdine says. “There are some supernatural things that happen and then you end up basically being medicated to death and actually find peace.”
Sounds fun. And totally horrific. (If there’s one place the intense intimacy of VR should tread lightly, it’s horror, which is scary enough when you still have the ability to cover your eyes.) WIRED asked Shelmerdine, previously a commercial and music video director, how he came to make a horror film in VR and what surprises Catatonic has in store. Pro tip: Don’t blink or you’ll miss the masturbating guy.