Saturday, August 31, 2019

From The Department Of Terrible Ideas: The Interactive Haunted House Movie

Earlier this month the news broke that film director Alexandre Aja and Amblin Entertainment are allegedly teaming up for a brand new project. 

Aja's the fair-to-middling director who brought us such films as High TensionThe Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors and this summer's Crawl.

Amblin was founded by none other than Steven Spielberg, along with producers Frank Marshall and current Star Wars ruiner Kathleen Kennedy. The studio's output is legendary, as it brought us some of the biggest movies ever, such as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the Back To The Future trilogy, The Color PurpleGremlins I & II, the Jurassic Park franchise, Saving Private Ryan, the Men In Black films and dozens more.

These two entities came up with an idea that will either revolutionize the way we watch movies, or turn out to be an unqualified disaster.

Aja and Amblin want to make the world's very first "Interactive Haunted House Movie." According to them, the film would feature a branched narrative, and at various intervals the audience would use an app on their cell phones to vote for what the characters should do next. That means each audience would see a slightly different version of the film, one with a customized plot, ending and even runtime.


It's 2019. The slack jawed general public doesn't need the theater giving them permission to whip out their goddamned cell phones all through a f*cking movie! They do that enough already right now, thank you very much!

I don't know what Aja and Papaw Spielberg are smokin' over in Hollywood, but this is an idea that was surely spawned in the lowest depths of Hell.

I know what you're thinking. "But Bob, how could this be a bad idea? It's only for one movie." Uh-huh. That's how it starts. If you tell the audience it's OK to whip out their beacon-like phones in the middle of a pitch black theater , it's a given they'll think it's acceptable to do it ALL the time. Before you know it the theater will just stop dimming the lights altogether so the audience can see their phones better while they diddle with them throughout the whole movie.

It seems like every few years someone comes up with some ill-advised, asinine idea like this to "enhance" the movie-going experience. Remember the The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure? It was the brainchild of Kenn Viselmann (whoever that is), who encouraged audiences to sing along with the characters, shout at the screen and even get up and dance in the aisles during his movie. Oy gevalt.

Fortunately this ghastly idea died a swift (and I hope painful) death, as The Oogieloves grossed a paltry $1 million dollars, against its $20 million budget! And it opened on 2,160 screens! 

And then there's Cinepolis, the Mexican theater chain that installed goddamned playgrounds in their theaters, so kids can climb around on them "before the movie starts." Yeah. I'm sure that's the plan. But what happens when little Aiden and Bella throw a hissy fit because they don't want to get off the slide when the movie starts?

As I said, fortunately this idea is a disease that hasn't yet spread across the border. I swear to you all right now that if any American theater ever adopts this idea, I will burn the f*cking place to the ground, and then salt the Earth so nothing ever grows there again.

Why do people keep trying to come up with these preposterous ideas? In every case, the originators always say their idiotic concept will "enhance the movie-going experience." Hey, I've got an idea to enhance the experience turn off your phone, sit quietly in your seat and WATCH THE GODDAMNED MOVIE! And if you can't do any of those things, then stay the hell home where you belong.

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