If you had been at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., around 3 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, you would have seen some notable film folk taking part in some notably odd activities. Like what? Like Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood chasing a masked, hooded figure down one of the hotel’s corridors. Or Insidious franchise writer Leigh Whannell poking around the supposedly ghost-filled basement of a concert hall in hopes of finding a magic-show audience member who’d vanished into thin air while on stage earlier that night. Both Wood and Whannell were taking part in what was described as an “immersive horror game” offered to attendees at this year’s terror-tale-themed Stanley Film Festival.
“It’s basically a narrative that’s taking place in and around the festival that you are a part of,” explained Wood, a founder of the horror indie company SpectreVision. “[There is] a wristband that indicates to the architects of the game that they are allowed to infringe upon your personal space. Last year, I came back to my room and all the lightbulbs had been changed to black lights and there were symbols written all over the walls. This year, I think they’re amping it up a little bit.”