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Short Film Spotlight: Fear, Inc.

Fear, Inc.

How scared do you REALLY want to be?

This is a question I found myself pondering this past Halloween season, when a new haunted attraction called Dead of Night sprang up in my area.

Unlike any ‘haunted house’ I’ve ever been to, Dead of Night required guests to sign a waiver before entering, and the laundry list of things on the list included everything from ‘there will be physical contact between you and the actors’ to ‘you may be restrained, gagged, sensory deprived or humiliated.’ The words ‘sexual violence’ even appeared on there.

While it’s likely that the waiver was nothing more than a William Castle-inspired marketing gimmick, a way for the haunt to separate itself from all the others, I must admit that I never stepped foot inside and experienced it for myself.

Why not, you ask? Because, if I’m being honest, it just didn’t sound safe, and it sure didn’t sound fun. Though I’m a big fan of haunted attractions, and though I love being scared, I just couldn’t bring myself to take part in this particular one, and instead chose to spend the season hitting up the local haunts that I partake in every year. The ones that are familiar. The ones that I know are safe.

If you’re asking me, the fun of both horror movies and haunted attractions is that they allow you to experience terror from a safe distance; we know that we won’t actually get hurt, or be put into any real danger, and so it’s a thrill to experience just a tiny slice of that fear. Do I really want to encounter a demonic entity in a haunted hotel or be chased through a cornfield by a masked maniac wielding a chainsaw? Of course not. But inside the confines of a haunted attraction, or on a TV set or movie screen, it’s an absolute blast to experience traumatic events such as those. That’s what the whole horror genre is all about, at the end of day; providing you with a safe outlet to experience really horrific shit.

Though I often complain upon exiting haunted attractions that they’re never as scary as I’d like them to be, the truth of the matter – which I didn’t even realize until I refused to attend one that finally promised to deliver all the things I always wished such attractions would deliver – is that I really don’t want to be as scared as I always thought I wanted to be.

Ya see, I like the safety of knowing what to expect, and knowing that the performers are never going to go too far in their attempts to make me scream like a little girl, and that’s what makes haunted attractions fun for me. They’re extensions of the horror movie experience, allowing you to become a part of the movies, while at the same time still giving you that safe distance from danger.

But that’s just my (long-winded) answer to the question. What is yours? Do you enjoy the safety of knowing that actors at haunted attractions can’t actually make physical contact with you, or would you like to attend one that pushes the boundaries, and requires you to sign a waiver before stepping inside?

These are questions I would love to hear your answers to, but first I’d like you to check out a pretty original new short film, which inspired this discussion…

With so many short horror films hitting the net every single week, it’s very easy for even the best of them to get buried, and slip under the radars of us horror fans. In this new feature here on Halloween Love, we shine the spotlight on the abbreviated gems that we come across, so you never miss another one that’s worth not missing. Sound good? Then let’s proceed!

First up for you today is a four-minute short called Fear, Inc., which was written by Luke Barnett and directed by Vincent Masciale. In it, a young couple returns home from a haunted attraction, which the man found to be fun, but not exactly scary. Demanding an experience that will really make him shit his pants, he finds himself on the website for a company called Fear, Inc., which promises to elevate the terror to a whole new level. And boy does it ever.

Check out Fear, Inc. below, which is currently being turned into a feature length film, and then leave us a comment and let us know your answer to the question that I posed at the top of this post!

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If you don't get enough of me here on Halloween Love, you can also find me on Dread Central, iHorror and Shock Till You Drop. Contact me via john@halloweenlove.com.
  • Jesse Kimmel-Freeman

    Did you talk to anyone that did sign the waiver or was that part of the waiver- we don’t speak of it.

  • John Squires

    Nobody I know went to it, so I never did hear any reviews about how it went. Though I can only assume everyone survived unscathed, because no news stories indicated otherwise!

  • Neitowl

    Love the video and the idea of a movie from it but in answer to the question- absolutely NO way would I sign a waiver like that to go into a haunted house. You can be scared intensely if the haunted house and it’s “actors” are great at what they do and the entire set up is just right. I don’t go to them to be abused or touched in anyway. If I ever went into one where any of the “actors” put their hands on me, well lets just say they’d be hurting
    ;) LOL