Shannon McGrew

Immersive Experience: PASSPORT TO IRON CITY

Immersive Experience: PASSPORT TO IRON CITY

This past Tuesday, I had the chance to experience a new form of interactive entertainment in the form of a 2-hour immersive experience for the release of 20th Century Fox’s upcoming film, Alita: Battle Angel. ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL - PASSPORT TO IRON CITY allows guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the futuristic dystopian world from the upcoming film and become players in a large scale, interactive game in which you and your team are competing against others for the top prize.

VR Experience: RALPH BREAKS VR

VR Experience: RALPH BREAKS VR

This past year I’ve had a blast diving into the world of VR, but I had never done anything that felt like I was in an animated feature until last week when I experienced The Void’s RALPH BREAKS VR at the Glendale Galleria. If I ever wanted to know what being immersed in a cartoon was like, I have finally experienced it and it was one of the most fully immersive VR experiences I have done.

VR/Immersive Experience: CHAINED: A VICTORIAN NIGHTMARE

VR/Immersive Experience: CHAINED: A VICTORIAN NIGHTMARE

The last few years have seen a rise in virtual reality (VR) technology, especially in the landscape of immersive and interactive experiences. I’ve been incredibly lucky to experience a slew of VR experiences that ranged from DIY set-ups to the real-deal (outfitted with an Oculus headset, controllers, etc). Very few have blown me away, not for lack of trying but because I believe that the technology is still something people are learning. However, that all changed when I had the chance to check out MWM Immersive’s latest experience, CHAINED: A VICTORIAN NIGHTMARE.

Immersive Theatre: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL

Immersive Theatre: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL

It’s only been within the last 10 years that I watched HEATHERS for the first time. Ironically enough, my mom, who isn’t known for being the biggest fan of films that showcase excessive violence, was the one who showed me the movie. She herself is a fan of the film, and though it was my first time watching the cult-classic, I had known about its existence for quite some time. Recently, it was brought to my attention that a musical parody of HEATHERS existed and luckily for me, I didn’t have to look far to find a performance!

Immersive Theatre: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents BLOOD ALLEY CHRISTMAS

Immersive Theatre: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents BLOOD ALLEY CHRISTMAS

Society does a pretty good job of painting a picture of what the holiday’s should look like: an extravagant Christmas tree surrounded by gifts wrapped in shiny paper and large bows. Families in matching pajamas sit with smiles on their faces and cocoa in their mugs. It’s a beautiful image of fabricated perfection, but one that is far from the truth for most people. That’s not to say that there aren’t many who experience the joy that the holidays can bring, but behind all the bright lights, there are those who suffer. No show exemplifies that better than Zombie Joe’s BLOOD ALLEY CHRISTMAS.

Immersive Experience: URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR HAUNTED ATTRACTION

Immersive Experience: URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR HAUNTED ATTRACTION

Something I’ve come to learn since living in California is that Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without a Zombie Joe show and lo and behold, they are back once again with their newest rendition of URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR HAUNTED ATTRACTION. Not only does this experience include a phenomenal theatrical performance, but guests have the chance to walk through a darkened maze of confusion filled with the most depraved and horrifying creatures imaginable.

Interactive Experience: Delusion's THE BLUE BLADE

Interactive Experience: Delusion's THE BLUE BLADE

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the mid-city district of Los Angeles on a rather unusually cold and dreary evening. Upon arriving at the secret location, I made my way to a small outdoor seating area decked out with string lights and a fire pit ablaze and checked in for my designated appointment. Just as I gave the young woman my name, the skies opened up and rain poured down with thunder and lightning crashing all around us. A sudden storm had fallen upon Los Angeles which beautifully set the mood for what I was about to experience. A smile crept across my face as I stood in the rain and waited for Delusion’s THE BLUE BLADE to begin.

Immersive Experience: CreepLA Presents AWAKE

Immersive Experience: CreepLA Presents AWAKE

The first immersive event that I attended when I moved to California was Creep LA. Since then, I’ve been consistently blown away by their productions, whether it was their own rendition of the Aaron Mahnke’s LORE, based on the Amazon Prime series, or a dinner party with an eccentric and secretive family in THE WILLOWS, the creative endeavors that Creep LA and Just Fix It Productions go through to make an unsettling, albeit beautiful, experience is unparalleled. I say all this because their Halloween show AWAKE is, without a doubt, a tragically beautiful masterpiece and their strongest performance to date.

North Bend Film Fest Immersive Experience: THE ANNABELLE EXPERIENCE

North Bend Film Fest Immersive Experience: THE ANNABELLE EXPERIENCE

While attending the North Bend Film Festival last month, I had the chance to participate in The Annabellee Experience, a weekend long event where a select few would have the chance to meet with Annabellee in person. The following is my account of my experience which touches upon my meeting as well as the realization that this was not my first encounter with Annabellee.

North Bend Film Festival VR Review: Virtual Reality Program

North Bend Film Festival VR Review: Virtual Reality Program

Last month, while attending the North Bend Film Festival, I had the chance to immerse myself in a few upcoming VR Experiences sponsored by Altspace VR and Microsoft MR at the Campfire Lounge at North Bend Train Depot. Ranging from aliens to cults, there was something for everyone, and though I didn’t get the chance to experience all the VR offerings available, I did get to check out three, and as a whole, I was left rather impressed with the state of VR technology. Read on to learn more about my experiences and make sure to keep an eye out for these in the future!

SDCC Activation: THE MR. MERCEDES Experience

SDCC Activation: THE MR. MERCEDES Experience

Within the past year or so, studios have been working overtime to allow fans the chance to immerse themselves in the world of their creations. We've seen everything from It's Neibolt House to the complex sci-fi world of Ready Player One. However, while attending San Diego Comic-Con, I had the chance to step inside the world of one of my favorite television shows, MR. MERCEDES, based on the detective trilogy from horror master Stephen King. 

Immersive Pop-Up Event: The InkHole for THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

Immersive Pop-Up Event: The InkHole for THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

If you were to tell me a few weeks ago that I would be attending a secret speakeasy pop-up, hosted by a slew of R-rated puppets, I would have laughed. Fast forward to yesterday where I found myself in the heart of Hollywood outside an establishment called, The InkHole. I'm sure you are wondering, what do puppets have to do with any of this, well, I'm here to blow your mind, because what I was about to experience was a pop-up in conjunction with the upcoming comedy THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

Immersive Theater: After Hours Theater Company Presents ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

Immersive Theater: After Hours Theater Company Presents ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

One of the reasons why I love living near Los Angeles is because of the amount of different immersive and theatrical performances that I get to attend. Recently I had the opportunity to check out After Hours Theater Company’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST - a perfect blend of immersion and theatrics adapted by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey.

Immersive Theaters: Force of Nature Productions Presents 7

Immersive Theaters: Force of Nature Productions Presents 7

If there is one theme that I love seeing presented, whether in live performances, movies, or television, it would have to be that of the 7 deadly sins. When I heard that Force of Nature Productions would be doing a show based around this theme, I was beyond thrilled. 

Immersive Theater: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents THE DEMENTIA VOTE

Immersive Theater: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents THE DEMENTIA VOTE

This past weekend I had the chance to attend THE DEMENTIA VOTE, directed by Brandon Slezak and written by David Dickens, at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. The show, which is drenched in political satire, centers around Bruce, an elderly, senile man who finds himself wrapped up in a high stakes political election. 

Immersive Experience: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group Presents MONSTERS COME OUT AT NIGHT

Immersive Experience: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group Presents MONSTERS COME OUT AT NIGHT

For the latest show at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, guests had the chance to come face to face with their monsters they keep hidden. MONSTERS COME OUT AT NIGHT is directed by Zombie Joe himself and challenges us to “bravely face and conquer the physical, mental, and spiritual monsters, entities, and poltergeists that stalk us from their shadows” (ZJU press release). As someone who attends most shows put on by Zombie Joe Underground Theatre, this one in particular left me smiling as I clutched a gifted white rose. 

Immersive Experience: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group Presents F*CKED UP EASTER EGG HUNT

Immersive Experience: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group Presents F*CKED UP EASTER EGG HUNT

I remember growing up as a kid and the joy that accompanied Easter Egg hunts. My mom would place plastic eggs hidden throughout the house filled with candy that my brother and I would have to search for, eventually leading us to a giant Easter basket filled with goodies. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone on an Easter egg hunt, so when Zombie Joe’s announced that they would be doing a F*CKED UP EASTER EGG HUNT, I knew I was in for a treat - and that it would be nothing like what I had experienced as a kid. 

Immersive Experience: They Played Productions Presents CAPTIVATED

Immersive Experience: They Played Productions Presents CAPTIVATED

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a pizza party and meet up with some new friends to discuss our lives and catch up. Everything on the surface seemed fine, there was light chatter, snacks, discussions on books and our jobs, and laughter which filled the air. However, there was a noticeable discomfort from our host, Victoria, when an old friend of hers named Ely arrived with his new girlfriend, Justine. From that moment on, the attending guests get swept up into the narrative of who Justine is and the horrifying circumstance surrounding her story.  

Immersive Experience: SAFEHOUSE '77

Immersive Experience: SAFEHOUSE '77

It’s 1977 and I’ve been invited to a party in Los Angeles that is hosted by sisters Sharon and Connie. We’re told that it’ll be a night of fun, with drinking, games, and discussions about the Equal Rights Amendment which is so very close to passing. As the night progresses, and the alcohol loosens everyone up, you start to notice some tension between the hosts and their friends, along with secret whispering behind closed doors. You find yourself at a crossroads: do you continue to mingle with the guests, pushing aside any notions that something could be off, or do you investigate and learn the truth of what this party really is? 

Immersive Theater: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents LOVECRAFT'S CTHULHU

Immersive Theater: Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Presents LOVECRAFT'S CTHULHU

When it comes to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, it’s been notoriously difficult to adapt the cosmic horror stories outside of his writing. There have been many who have tried and many who have failed, but tucked away you can find some shining stars such as Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator (1985) or the 2005 silent film, The Call of Cthulhu. When it comes to live performances, they’re are a slew that have made a name for themselves such as “Re-Animator: The Musical” or Puppeteers for Fears “Cthulhu: The Musical”.