CRIMSON COVEN

Look, I know this is weird. A bunch of naked ladies in the middle of a forest dancing around a campfire chanting mysteriously all under the gaze of a blood moon. But let me provide some context. I made my experience based on the ending scene of The Witch (2015) directed by Robert Eggers.

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In this scene, the protagonist stumbles upon a coven of witches in the forest worshipping the Devil. Absolutely imbued with pure insanity, they end up levitating in the air in a very surreal and mythological experience.

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I was captivated by this scene when I first viewed it. The music, the lighting, everything about it was haunting yet beautiful at the same time. This got me thinking: how powerful are stories? On a surface, level, one would assume any story is just a made-up narrative, some people like it, others not so much. In my opinion, the beauty of stories, old and new, are the effects it has on people. What somebody feels or does with a story speaks wonders to how well a narrative fits into the zeitgeist of the time. For example, in the film, the cult following what was then the precursor to religious groups such as Satanism was fascinatingly represented because these are very old and ancient tales that still have relevance today. Whether or not dancing and screaming in the nude around a campfire at night with your best girlfriends have the capabilities of giving you the power of flight remains a mystery. However, what remains certain is the powerful influence it had on those people. Thrust into a dangerous and unfamiliar world, where many questions of the universe remained unanswered, they turned to fantasies and magical fairy tales of otherworldly beings, powerful gods, evil, and good. All for some comfort and security.

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In the film, the forest is bathed in a very soft white light from the moon. But in my VR experience, I decided to make the entire environment red. I wanted to portray it as a very evil space with cryptic implications. Plus, I'm a sucker for hard lighting. I got inspiration from another horror film called Mandy (2018) directed by Panos Cosmatos. In it, they describe the atmosphere as "crimson" and "primordial".

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In the experience/video, you will see a lone woman standing apart from the mass. She represents Anya Taylor-Joy's character in the film. A new member or a heretic? In the film, she is seen as a new "witch" being inducted into the club. But in my VR experience, I wanted to leave it open. Perhaps her young mind is coming to its senses and doesn't carry the same beliefs as the other more elderly witches - particularly the elder seen worshipping the blood moon atop the hill. These little details add a bit of a narrative element to my experience.

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The user awakens in an empty, broken, and creepy house in the middle of the woods. Eventually, they look around and see nothing. Then, the loud but distant chants of the coven attract the user to investigate. They venture deeper into the woods, following the noise, seeing the light, until they are in the presence of the witches. Enjoy!

[1] - VIDEO

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After some feedback from the BBB meeting, I decided to add some fog effects to my experience. It really helped with the horror aspect of the environment and played well in the scene. To top things off, I went to the asset store and downloaded some more prefabs to add like blood stains and different types of shrubs. Overall, I hope my experience portrays some sort of narrative just as well as it conveys a feeling of horror and mystery.

[2] - NEW VIDEO