Fear Lab – ‘Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension’ at Taste of Soul

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This Saturday at Los Angeles’ Taste of Soul convention, Fear Lab brought Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension to the event. For those who do not know, the Paranormal Activity is a supernatural horror franchise based on a family haunted by a demonic entity. Producer Jason Blum has gone on record saying that this will be the last film in the franchise to not grind it into the ground.

I have never watched any of the movies in their entirety, but have on multiple occasions watched scenes and jumped up from a horizontal state. Also I will not confirm nor deny any added paranoia to things that move or make sounds in the night thanks to said scenes. It’s not like one night a flash light shined a terrifying silouhette through my bedroom window and I immediately grabbed a bat, turned on the lights, and slammed my back against the wall.

I digress, the Fear Lab has been making its rounds to promote the movie. Fear chasers are first photographed then connected to a heart rate monitor and a blood pressure monitor before being asked to stand up against a vertical medical gurney, then finally are subjected to a fear inducer. The fear is induced through visual and audio sensory stimulation via a large high definition monitor and beats headphones. There are three sections, the first being visual, the second audio, the third is sensory overload. The graphics and sounds are truly creepy. Afterwards you are given a physical copy of your picture and the option to have a digital copy sent to you.

The sights and sounds are truly creepy, however the experience itself is not as scary as the movies tend to be. I feel the experience was not as cohecive as it could’ve been. The sound and sights were in sync, however they did not have the right synergy. I believe the large screen, say 46″- 55″, did not have the full encompassing effect I believe they were trying to achieve. Nor did the vital monitors really play a part in the experience. I did see my results, and the only sense it gave me was that I should eat less sodium. Lastly, the receiving of a physical print out of a picture is always great, but what would have made it better would have been to get a reaction shot (especially if it was a night vision shot) of the user being scared during the show.

It had all the right stuff to make a terrifying experience; the content, the equipment, and the enthusiastic staff, but it just did not come together. I believe the disconnect came from the complete spatial awareness of being able to escape. This might start to sound psychotic and a little overly thought out, but hear me out (and give me credit if you decide to use any of these ideas). Rather than large televisions, opt for an enclosed VR-like headset. The experience does not have to be a VR experience, however if the users turn their head they should still only see the images; basically not be able to look away. Secondly, incorporate the vital monitors into the experience; let users hear their heart rate, better yet let them see it in a little window, let them watch their vitals as they are entrapped by terrifying images and engulfed by the blood chilling sounds and their own racing heart rate.

Overall it was a fun experience, but I would not say it is worth more than a 10-15 minute wait in line. It has the right stuff, but it just needs to be put together properly to really give the same effect the movie does, if not take it a step further.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension closes out the franchise in theaters October 23rd, 2015.

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