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It’s that time of year where ghosts, goblins, and scary movies finally get their moment in the spotlight (moonlight?), so naturally, SYFY WIRE decided to send their biggest scaredy-cat (me!) to the I Like Scary Movies experience in Los Angeles. Luckily, creator Maximillian gave me a private tour of the exhibit and filled me in on some of the coolest details of each section of the experience.
First of all, the warehouse where the exhibit is housed in Downtown Los Angeles is beautiful. High ceilings and wide-open areas give the experience a more communal feel — something that was missing when I visited the first iteration earlier in the year when the exhibit was in a different venue. Now, every aspect of the space is used in the experience, including the waiting room, which features a coffin that was actually purchased from a funeral home (!!!); talk about authentic. Maximillian said the coffin and other items throughout the experience actually give visitors moments to think and contemplate ideas like death and fear — ideas that we so often attempt to avoid.
I Like Scary Movies is set up by film, giving visitors the opportunity to not only insert themselves into scenes from their favorites but also view art installations inspired by them. The first is The Shining and a room with giant letters spelling REDRUM, dripping with blood, and featuring a progression of axes through doors on the ceiling. (I also enjoyed the fact that if you take a selfie from the opposite side, the letters spell MURDER!) The next room feels creepily claustrophobic, with the iconic pattern of the film lining every part of the room with those twins prominently centered.
What becomes increasingly evident as I moved through the experience is what a big fan Maximillian is and how lovingly he crafted the various rooms. He took joy in showing me tiny little details that a casual fan might miss but would make a die-hard giddy. Plus, who doesn't just love a giant skin chair, amirite?
As we moved through the Nightmare on Elm Street room, where I got to chill under the giant glove of Freddy and touch some of the squishy flesh bits on the wall (not as gross as it sounds), we got to what might be my favorite room: IT.
Now, I do not like clowns and everything about the IT room is terrifying but it's there we encountered another one of those moments Maximillian mentioned in the beginning — a moment to see how these are more than just movies, but ways to examine our own fears. In the IT room, there is a place for visitors to write down a fear and pin it to the wall. These range from silly fears like LAX (preach!) to the fear of dying alone. Maybe you don't like that sort of existential crisis with your casual entertainment, but I do!
The Beetlejuice room has the very best selfie opportunities. There are multiple ways to have your body severed for a photo. Plus, if you lie down in the grave, you'll get an extra creepy shock. This room is where Maximillian told me perhaps the most delightful story of the day. I Like Scary Movies has brought people across generations together to enjoy these movies. Some are experiencing them for the first time, and others know every detail. But one young Beetlejuice fan went above and beyond by bringing her own prop for the experience. She created an actual Handbook for the Recently Deceased for her photo op and then gifted it to I Like Scary Movies. The book was so popular as a prop that it actually started falling apart and another one had to be made.
Finally, we entered the Friday the 13th section of the exhibit. It was in the recreation of Camp Crystal Lake where I got to discuss with Maximillian how fan art and the creativity of fans inspired his ideas for the experience, which in a way became his very own fan art contribution. And that was the perfect note to leave on.
The I Like Scary Movies exhibit, featuring films brought to you by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, will be in Los Angeles through November 17. Check out more photos from our visit to the exhibit below!