Krampus is a mix between immersive theatre and the haunted house: a man has been brutally murdered in a small village. It is rumoured that it is the Krampus, a being who comes to kill people who do not respect the Christmas spirit. The village conducts the investigation in the middle of the night!
The pitch sounds good but the experience in itself is sometimes disappointing.
The experience :
We have an appointment in front of a church in the historic centre of Lima: a car drives us in front of former embassies. We wait for… almost an hour between two poles. The experience begins: for nearly 2h30, we will follow Veinti and his sister, who are trying to find out if it is the Krampus who came back to murder a poor man in the village.
All the audience runs from building to building, meeting characters (who almost all die after 20 minutes) who tell us about the Krampus and his henchmen. We are chased most of the time by evil beings, but we quickly understand that they will never attack us. Half of the village is dead and Veinti has no way of beating the Krampus. He ends up (with what little of his family he had left) being killed.
What we liked :
The place and the costumes:
The houses are very impressive: the space is huge, with 5 buildings, courtyards and gardens! The costumes of the Krampus and his evil spirits are very impressive and realistic. One is more than two metres long and perched on stilts!
What disappointed us:
The absence of fear:
Which is very unfortunate since it is supposed to be the heart of the experience! There are moments of jolt when a spirit springs out of the window, moments of fear during the first chases, but it only works the first few times… The mechanics used are the same throughout the whole experience. A few moments remain impressive, however, when Veinti’s lover wears a veil of mourning and you understand that she is actually possessed, she is frightening!
The lack of security:
The many pursuit scenes take place in the dark, in semi-abandoned buildings with irregular floors, steps that you can’t see… The thirty or so spectators are rushing into very small spaces. We know there will eventually be an accident!
Our lack of role as an audience:
Here the spectator is useless. The play could go on without him, it wouldn’t make much difference. Sometimes we have a role as villagers who go in search of the Krampus, sometimes we are an invisible audience: what would 30 people do in a house at 5am watching a brother fight with his sister?
Our participation is very confusing, and we never really know what we should do. As a result, during the final scene, the sister is trapped and calls us for help, we did not understand if we were supposed to do something or not. Doubtful, no one moves.
Length and repetitive effects:
The experience lasts almost 3 hours, and if the first moments create an atmosphere and expectations, the rest is very disappointing: repetitive, long, not very coherent…
The learning :
Just because you create a good set design worthy of the greatest horror films doesn’t mean you’ll succeed in creating an engaging atmosphere! On the one hand, the mechanics must be diversified to continuously inspire fear, on the other hand, it is necessary to give a real role to the public to create an intense immersion. Running him everywhere, all the time, is not enough.
More infos :
Krampus was assembled in Lima, Peru, by Historias teams from Media Noches.
The experiment was held from February to April 2019
You can find more information and their next programming on their facebook page