This past month, it was announced that a new installation was coming to Los Angeles which blew the minds of horror fans everywhere. I LIKE SCARY MOVIES is an interactive art installation which celebrates famous horror films such as IT, The Shining, The Lost Boys, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Beetlejuice and will allow fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in this one-of-a-kind multi-sensory installation.
I LIKE SCARY MOVIES is scheduled to open in Los Angeles on April 4, and in anticipation of its debut, I had the chance to speak with creator Maximillian about his newest immersive experience, his love for horror films and haunted attractions, and what fans can expect from this massive horror experience.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today Maximillian! I can’t tell you how excited we are for I LIKE SCARY MOVIES. To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?
Maximillian: Thank you! I created Ultra Productions nearly 20 years ago and the idea for it was that I really wanted to create immersive experiences for fans. I would work with all the major studios and we would basically come up with creative ways to get new attention for their movies. We would come up with really creative, off-the-wall stuff to involve fans for a brand-new movie and to celebrate that movie.
We’ve done Comic-Con for nearly 15 years or so, which has been an amazing thing that we’ve done every year. To give you an idea, with Comic-Con in particular, we were working there when everything was just inside the convention center and nothing was outside in the streets. I was the first producer to do anything outside of the convention center and we had some good meetings about it afterwards because I kind of kept this little stunt I was doing a secret and Comic-Con was like “Uh, what is going on??” (laughs). After that, the flood gates opened and now we do a lot of really great things on the outside. Comic-Con is a big, big thing for us in terms of doing all kinds of immersive stuff for fans which is such a fantastic place to be.
We also do big, large-scale stunts. We did a huge thing for La La Land and Wonder Woman where I suspended aerial dancers off of City Hall here in Downtown LA to celebrate La La Land and we did a big light drone stunt for Wonder Woman with 300 light drones in the sky with her silhouette all live to the music of the film. It was pretty fantastic and when the director, Patty Jenkins, is there and starts crying because it was such a moving experience you know you’ve done something cool. That was just a really neat experience for me. It’s never the same thing twice and it’s always something new and that’s kind of the world I live in – celebrating movies – and that’s what kind of brought us to I LIKE SCARY MOVIES.
This event definitely has people talking and the excitement is growing rapidly. Can you tell us a little bit about how this project came to be?
Maximillian: I approached Warner Bros. with the idea that I wanted to take these five movies, and I was very specific about wanting these five titles and have it span and touch every aspect of the horror genre. I approached them with these five titles in particular because I wanted the throwback slasher of Elm Street, the 80’s vampires with The Lost Boys, I wanted the Tim Burton fans with Beetlejuice, I wanted classic horror with The Shining, and the current blockbuster horror with IT. I came to them and said this is a one-stop shop for our people, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. I just asked them if they would let me play with their movies and just do it a little bit different.
I’m a big fan of haunted attractions but what I wanted to do was have it outside of the Halloween season, I wanted it to be something that celebrates horror movies, in particular, year round. When I approached Warner Bros. I told them I wanted to do something that was more like an interactive art installation, something that isn’t your standard Halloween scare maze, which again I love, but I feel like we can celebrate and interpret these movies over and over again. 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. Thankfully, Warner Bros. got what I wanted to do and they accepted it with open arms and allowed me to remix the content and mash it up a little and really explode certain plot points that I find interesting and have it be a different take on the movies that everyone has grown to love and obsess over.
My day job is I’m an interior designer so I feel like I get the best of both worlds because I love exploring haunts but then I’m super fascinated with the design and the amount of work that goes into making attractions such as this.
MC: You and I are the same when we go into these haunts and we might get a scare or two but it’s very rare because we are usually so fixated on how things are made and lit that it ends up pulling a lot of the focus. It’s funny because a lot of the frustration for me with the haunts is that you have to keep moving so much. I want to stop and I want to touch and I want to take pictures and I want to dissect it and that’s what I LIKE SCARY MOVIES is going to do for those types of people like you and I. We can stand in that space, we can hang out in that space, we can take photos in that space, we can touch things in that space. We can really just take it in.
I recently saw a video that showed a giant Freddy Krueger glove and I was like HOLY SHIT, that thing is massive! Can you talk a little bit about that and the work that is going into creating such a massive piece?
Maximillian: The Freddy glove, in particular, is a really good example of how I’m trying to do something differently. It’s not just about creating a giant Freddy glove, because I think anyone can create a giant Freddy glove, but what I wanted to do was I wanted it to be truly interactive. I pulled together some incredible people that do metalsmith work, leather work, special effects latex skin work. I’ve got about 5 different entities working on the glove only and that’s kind of how we are doing a lot of the installation. I’m pulling in a lot of people that I’ve connected with that are super uber talented in the things that they do. This is not a one-stop shop kind of thing where I’m just having one person sort of create a bunch of stuff to my design, I’m actually pulling in people to have them do what they do best. I feel like the fans are going to feel that especially if it’s built in such a way.
With the Freddy glove, the fingers are going to be handmade and they are going to have hydraulics on them and the blades are going to be 5′ long a piece. When fans go underneath Freddy’s palm they will be able to touch the palm of his hand, feel that slimy burnt skin, touch the pads on his fingers, and pull those knives around their body. They can interact with it, they can feel it, they can feel the aluminium and the steel. The glove plates are steel and the blades are going to be aluminium that are going to be anodized with that copper tinting to it. Fans will be able to pull those knives around them in any way they want, all four of those knives will move and then when they are released they just slowly go back into place again. It’s going to be set into an oversized version of the furnace in his boiler room with some projected fire elements and lighting to really set that tone.
The Freddy glove, in particular, is something, I don’t know if you can tell, that I’m really excited about (laughs). It’s going to truly be an art piece and that’s what I wanted this to be. I feel like these movies have stuck with us for so many years and they continue to resonate and they continue to excite people. I feel like we can celebrate these movies and bring them to life in different ways so that’s one of the ways I’m doing it with Elm Street and with this giant Freddy glove. I just think people are going to dig it.
The show opens in April and it was just announced today that the experience will be extended in Los Angeles through June 16th. What happens after that? Is it going to be traveling to different cities?
Maximillian: The plan is to definitely take it on the road but really my focus now is Los Angeles and taking care of the fans here and really immersing ourselves with everyone here. This is my home, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I want to just live here right now and just be present with these guys and see what they feel and see where it goes from there. [Ultimately], the plan is definitely to take it to other people and other parts of the country.
Last but not least, as a fan of Warner Bros. and their films, I’m also a massive fan of their Halloween event, HORROR MADE HERE. Since you are doing this project with Warner Bros., do you think I LIKE SCARY MOVIES will have a tie-in with HORROR MADE HERE or will it just be a separate entity?
Maximillian: Right now it’s completely separate. I know those guys at Warner Bros. very well and during the process of developing I LIKE SCARY MOVIES, we were talking to them a lot because they were also wondering how this would fit in with what they are doing. They realized very quickly after I started to describe this creatively that this was a very, very different thing than what they are doing there on the lot. We may do some crossover at some point but the thing that’s great is that they were extremely excited about the fact that it was very different. That’s also what really got Warner Bros. to just go with it because we’ve never done this before and we don’t know if anybody has actually done it before in this way. You never know what’s going to happen, but for right now it is totally a different, separate thing.
I LIKE SCARY MOVIES will open in Los Angeles on April 4th and run until June 16th, 2019. Tickets are only $39 and can be purchased HERE. For more information please visit www.ilikescarymoviesexperience.com.