Imagine for a minute a demon is possessing you. You close your eyes and a husky, smoky voice whispers, "It'll be over soon, don't fight too hard." The darkness envelops you, and after a few seconds, you open your eyes. As soon as you do, you're confronted with the image of a young boy, contorting his body and breaking his bones. You're scared, so you shut your eyes, and the eerie voice returns, lulling you back into the darkness.
Don't worry, it's not real and you won't really get possessed. With Cinemax's new horror show Outcast debuting this Friday, the team wanted to create an equally thrilling experience for fans ahead of the premiere. Cinemax teamed up with marketing agency Campfire, a division of SapientNitro, to create a next-level trailer which uses immersive virtual audio and eye-tracking software to make fans feel as if they're really under the spell of demon.
"We wanted to really get across how scary this show was," Mike Monello, Campfire chief creative officer, told Adweek. "We really thought about trying to create something that was as scary when your eyes are open as when they are closed to really put you in the mind space of the characters in the show who really can't escape this horror."
Outcast, from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, tells the story of a young man who has been living with a demon for most of his life. As he grows older he befriends a preacher to help him break free from this demon and finally live a normal life. Along the way, he encounters others like him and runs into some scary demon-filled situations, which viewers get a taste of in the immersive trailer experience.
Fans looking to get the full experience can visit PossessionBegins.com, plug in some headphones and turn on their webcams. All they need to do to start the experience is close their eyes and the demons voice kicks in. The eye-tracking software is able to detect when the viewer closes his or her eyes, which triggers the audio portion of the experience. As soon as the viewer opens their eyes, the software senses that as well and begins to play some of the frightening visual clips from the show.
"It's such an unusual way to experience a story and people have been properly frightened. It was interesting to be able to exploit that virtual 3-D audio to create a sense of place inside and really play on the theater of the imagination," Monello added.
Be warned, if the idea of a creepy possessed child hitting his head against a wall freaks you out, or if you scare easily, you might not want to watch this alone, and if you're prone to screaming during scary movies, maybe don't test this out at the office. Just take a peak at the trailer first to get an idea of what you're in for.