‘Campfire Creepers’ Delivers Classic ’80s Horror in VR, Now Available on Oculus Rift & Gear VR

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Campfire Creepers is a live-action, 360 anthology series inspired by iconic 1980s horror shows Tales from the Crypt (1989), Creepshow (1982), and the creations of Wes Craven. The first two episodes are now available for both Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.

The first two episodes of Campfire Creepers—’Midnight March’ and ‘The Skull of Sam’—make their debut at the Tribeca Film Festival this week, and are also now available via the Dark Corner app for Rift and Gear VR. The Dark Corner app is free, and promises to deliver horror, suspense, and sci-fi content “from some of the world’s most visionary filmmakers.”

Campfire Creepers was co-created by Oculus and Future Lighthouse, and directed by famous horror director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, High Tension, Horns). Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame stars as the antagonist in the first episode ‘The Skull of Sam’.

image courtesy Future Lighthouse

Director Alexandre Aja says in a recent Oculus blog post that Englund “brought this kind of mentorship, where he kind of blessed us with his presence. He brought that flavor of classic horror that we like so much. Beyond the fact that he was perfect for the part, he really brought something else—like a post-modern feel to the piece that created that effect that I wanted that I loved so much growing up watching Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt. For my first VR piece, I couldn’t imagine someone better than Robert.”

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The first two episodes of Campfire Creepers are free, and clock in around 10-15 minutes a piece. As early steps into the 360 medium, they suffer some technical issues such as low bit rate, relatively low resolution, and some conflicts with how the 3D objects are presented in near-field scenes. The quality of the writing and classic ’80s feel are definitely on point, and there are also some genuinely innovative ways Aja directs action to the user, making it an overall enjoyable experience – video quality notwithstanding.

Aja has already started a non-VR feature film, although he “really want[s] to come back to VR because we can improve so much—because there is so much to be invented.” It’s uncertain how many episodes are left in the show’s first season, or if Aja will be returning for more episodes in the future.

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  • impurekind

    For these to really work, imo, they need to be in high resolution and stereoscopic 3D. Without that I’m not really interested in viewing them in VR because any 360 videos I’ve watched thus far have just been crap in terms of resolution and immersion–they really don’t sell what’s so great about VR as far as I’m concerned.

    • That is sad to hear since I was just heading to try it out myself. But I agree with you, if you can push at least an 8K stereo format with Ambisonic audio, why bother, especially if you have cult horror director and a cult actor being part of it. I don’t know what their budget was, but $5000-$6000 gets you the decent Insta360 Pro.

      • impurekind

        To be fair, I think all the original source material will be shot in a high quality, it’s just the way it’s being output on/to the headset that is the problem. I expect, least I hope, that running the exact same thing on a future VR headset will look a whole lot better. If not then that’s just crazy.

  • gothicvillas

    I honestly dont know why they even bother with non stereoscopic 2d wrap arounds

    • impurekind

      They’re definitely in stereoscopic 3D from what I can tell, but it’s the other areas where they are lacking–see my “review” below.

  • Lucidfeuer

    We should do a moratorium on 360° videos: they simply do not work in today’s state of software. It’s a waste of great direction and idea, at least until they’re finally one of those many goddamn vapowared 360° per-region (or pixel) video buffering.

    We always refuse to do it, even in pre-rendered stereo (and that’s the best option since it correctly warps and projects the “map”).

  • Eddie Barsh

    I’m not gonna bitch too much because were so early into VR so were still learning as we go but I really truly do appreciate what they’re trying to do! Hopefully they bring this to PSVR where I can get a chance to watch this! I have used the YouTubeVR catalog to watch 360 videos and they have been amazing to say the least so I’m looking forward to this very much!

  • Ragbone

    Windows 8 or newer…

  • Well finally took a look at it and even downloaded it to see if it may have been a streaming issue in its quality, and it isn’t very good even then. I think this was 2K by 2K with way too much compression, and I found the stereo offset and rotation to be off as well. I didn’t find the audio that compelling, but this could be due to the app wrapper and could be better on another platform (I was using the Rift) and it does state it has 3D audio. I also didn’t think there was a need for the basic CG as in
    ———————————-
    SPOILER ALERT ON
    the army ants, and they should have done some in field testing of Robert Englund hands, as they didn’t quite match up in 3D space.
    SPOILER ALERT OFF
    ————————————–
    Plot wise it was average, with some forced FPV that didn’t add anything and seemed more like they were experimenting or made for a younger audience that may not have much experience with 360 content. Sadly with so many examples of good 360 video out there, it is a shame this was less than average, or even needed to be in 360 since it did not enhance the story.

    As a side-note, I had created this 4K x 4K stereo 360 video using the Unreal 360 plug-in & modifying one of the demo scenes (below). It took awhile to render these frames and then using ffmpeg to compile and turn into an over/under stereo frame. It was only a test, but even at 4K, the results in sharpness is much better than many sensors used to capture video and as mentioned in a reply to another comment, there are a few cameras capable of capturing stereo 8K, but I have found 6K (1.5K per quadrant) stereo pair to be good trade-off and is more important to worry about optics, sensors and compression, which appears that the quality was lower in these sensors by the amount of chroma bleed and noise in the darker scenes. I also noticed a few camera edge stitching as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PxYmzlnUvo (It is better to download it or make sure you have a fat pipe if you view this at is highest resolution. Also let me know if you would be interested in seeing this whole demo in 4K stereo 360. Now that I have a couple of years now working with Unreal’s ‘sequencer’ (and better workstation) it might be fun to do (in my spare time :/)