The 'Chained' Experience Reimagines 'A Christmas Carol' as a Living VR Nightmare

The classic story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is already pretty nightmarish when you think about it, even though it ends happily ever after with Ebenezer Scrooge as a changed man. There have been countless adaptations of the story over the past 175 years, but now there is a virtual reality experience that places you inside the terrifying tale in a completely new and scary way.


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Chained: A Victorian Nightmare is described as an “immersive theater VR adaptation” of the familiar story, where one person (you) are given an Oculus Rift headset and guided through a built environment that is augmented by the presence of a motion capture actor. The actor wears a mo-cap suit and headgear to play the four ghosts in the experience and act as a guide, but there are also virtual ghosts and other elements throughout that you encounter during the 20-minute single player adventure. “I think of the characters almost like the best costumes you could possibly have,” the actor Michael Bates told Joan E. Solsman of CNET in an interview after she got to experience Chained for herself. “You start living in a completely different body.” 


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It’s the combination of set design, motion capture, and virtual reality that make Chained an event unlike most haunts that you’re probably familiar with, and the creator Justin Denton thinks it could be a game-changer for those who experience it. “I’m excited to, hopefully, have people say I’ve really pushed the boundaries of what it can do,” he told CNET. The basics/story of Chained doesn’t change, but each person who reserved a $40 ticket for the five-week LA run will experience something slightly different depending on how they choose to interact with the actor and the space. Tickets are currently sold out at the time this article was written, but CNET reports that the creators hope to add more dates and expand the program in the near future.


Aaron Sims Creative


Aaron Sims Creative