Today’s video of the day is a fun new flavor: interactive video! It’s a Halloween special, built around Dreams in the Witch House: A Lovecraftian Rock Opera, brought to us by The Vinyl Geek, Eric Callero, host of Vinyl Rewind. After the video’s introduction, the viewer gets choices as to how to proceed through the story. As you work your way through the story, you encounter Lovecraft himself, Keziah Mason (played by Alaine Kashian, who gave Keziah a surprise twist for this project), Brown Jenkin, and mad metal guitarist Doug Blair from W.A.S.P., among others. It’s hilarious and terrifically entertaining.
In an interview with SCIFI.radio, Callero explained, “I’m not the first to do that [interactive video on YouTube]. There was a famous Australian pizza company that made an interactive ad. That got a lot of attention. Mike [Dalager, the producer of Dreams in the Witch House] approached me via YouTube, saying, ‘Hey, check out these cool things I made! We should do something with them!’
“I really gravitated toward the H.P. Lovecraft idea, and my idea was maybe I could do something for Halloween. I was afraid it was too pedestrian; was it going to be seen as lame? But Mike was like, ‘YEAH! LET’S DO IT!’
“I realized it was going to be too long as a single video, about 20 minutes, for most people on YouTube. There are people who watch longer, but I know my audience, and I see the attention seems to drop off after about 10 minutes. So, I thought, what if I make it like a choose-your-own-adventure? It killed two birds with one stone; I’d been wanting to do something like that and it would keep people engaged. Growing up, I loved those [choose your own] books. I’d cheat at them. I’d keep one finger in the pages, and I’d go, ‘Oh, I don’t like that ending,’ and go back. I also grew up loving the adventure game series, which they don’t make a lot of any more. Lucas Arts was really good with them, and so was Sierra: Day of the Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, Monkey Island. I love those games where you have to think about stuff. I didn’t put any puzzles in this. That would be a lot harder; you can’t keep any inventory on YouTube. It’s almost a video game in a way, a throwback to the ‘90s full-motion video games that we saw a lot of.”
The final scene (assuming you make it that far) is, well, I don’t want to spoil it, but you’ll love it. Dalager, talking about how the scene came together, added, “What I love about Lovecraft fans, well, most of them, the majority of them, is that they have a sense of humor. If we could make this feel like a Roger Corman moment, everybody wins …we were down to the wire at Theater Banshee, shooting the finale, and I was like, ‘We’ve got 15 minutes left, guys! The rental’s up.’ So we had to figure out how to approach the whole Brown Jenkin thing. Really that whole combat moment was shot in about 15 minutes.”
So, Lovecraft fans, put on your sense of humor and prepare to go on an adventure! Be warned: the interactive only works on a computer; it will not work correctly on mobile devices. Callero says he’s working on a different version for mobile viewing.
Stay tuned to SCIFI.radio for more from the folks at Dreams in the Witch House, and the Vinyl Geek! We’ve got goodies to give away and lots more behind-the-scenes to share!
SCIFI.radio is listener supported sci-fi geek culture radio, and operates almost exclusively via the generous contributions of our fans via our Patreon campaign. If you like, you can also use our tip jar and send us a little something to help support the many fine creatives that make this station possible.