Before campers were checking into Freeform’s “Dead of Summer,” the grounds of Camp Stillwater came to life in early June as Los Angeles’ Great Horror Campout — an overnight horror experience — underwent a makeover after partnering with the series.
The Great Horror Campout, in its fourth year, drops scary movie fans in the middle of their own overnight thriller as they solve puzzles, complete obstacles and scour large areas in scavenger hunts. If you’re tough enough to survive the night and complete your tasks — while battling off more than your fair share of monsters and demons — you just might be crowned Hellmaster, which brings with it some pretty intense bragging rights.
The 2016 version of the campout featured some large-scale changes compared to previous incarnations though, as the creators behind the event looked to fully integrate “Dead of Summer” into the proceedings.
“We’ve actually engrained the fabric of their show with our show,” Ten Thirty One Productions CEO Melissa Carbone explains to Zap2it. “And we’ve never done that before. All of our content has always been original content, original characters, original narrative.”
In fact, the campout has gone so far as to never let other brands become part of the event. However, as Carbone continues, “This was such a perfect fit, there was no reason not to do it.”
That fit allowed campers to spend the night in Camp Stillwater and experience some of the thrills and chills those tuning into the show may see unfold throughout the first season.
“It’s been very collaborative. We’ve been working with Freeform directly on a lot of the concepts,” Carbone says. “They let us read scripts, so we could pull things from there.”
What it resulted in was a mix of challenging, scary and, well, fun. The event ended up being a mashup of classic Great Horror Campout scares and “Dead of Summer”-inspired challenges that create a pretty memorable night — especially if you come ready and willing to have fun with a large group of friends.
Between being yelled at by demons to complete a military-esque obstacle course to navigating a maze while escaping capture by a chupacabra, the Great Horror Campout had something for just about every type of scary movie fan — there was even a challenge where your horror film trivia knowledge came in handy.
Of course, if you managed to survive the night’s Hell Hunt long enough to sleep, that didn’t last long. In typical scary movie — and Great Horror Campout — tradition, ghosts and goblins were out in force to keep you up for as many hours as possible.
In the end, the “Dead of Summer”-inspired Great Horror Campout is, more or less, exactly what the event should be. It’s a night of unique fun and while it may not be the horrible cacophony of terror the liability waver you’ll have to sign indicates, it’ll still be worth your time.
Plus, after working so well with “Dead of Summer,” there’s no telling who the campout will partner with next. However, the possibilities do point to an exciting new way of experiencing horror on TT.
“I’m actually beyond stoked that horror TV is becoming so big because it gives me more to watch, personally,” Carbone says. “If a show is this good of a fit, I’d love to partner with them.”
“Dead of Summer” premieres Tuesday, June 28, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. You can keep up to date on the next Great Horror Campout on their website.