To help celebrate the DVD/Blu-ray release of Paranormal Activity 3, Paramount recently held a contest in which two contest winners would be flown out to LA to attend a special viewing of the film at the house in which it was filmed. The winners were picked based on trivia knowledge of the franchise and, in this instance, were flown in from Michigan. They were treated to an almost private viewing of the film, dinner and a few special “guests”.
Since the house had already been gussied up for the occasion we were asked if we wanted to come along and check it out. PA3 is my favorite film in the franchise and I felt that the house lent the film a lot of personality so it was kind of a no-brainer to attend.
Hit the jump for a breakdown along with some photos and video. My companion and I are picked up at my apartment via towncar. The new owners of the house are understandably cagey about giving out the exact location of the place so it’s probably good practice that they weren’t just emailing the address around or handing out directions.
At 630PM on a Friday night it takes almost an hour to reach our destination. But when we do, it’s clearly marked. Toby, under his sheet, stands in the driveway awaiting us.
We beat the contest winners there and are shown around the house by our hosts. It’s one of the few film locations I’ve visited that appears almost identical in real life when compared to its presentation onscreen. Aside from a few minor touches, it’s virtually the same. At least to my eyes.
We head out into the backyard, which houses a tent similar to the one the girls use in the film. Of course now it’s embellished with floodlights and a character that may seem familiar to you from the end of the film.
We head back inside and find Oren Peli and his girlfriend waiting for us. We talk for a bit (and stare at the food spread that awaits us (I’m starving). The contest winners arrive soon thereafter, not knowing quite what to make of the whole experience. They seemed really nice, just a bit overwhelmed and a little shy.
Now that they’re here we can finally eat. We all sit down at the kitchen table and help ourselves to some delicious burgers and sandwiches. I dutifully, and briefly, prod Oren for details about Paranormal Activity 4, but the dude is a steel trap when it comes to his development projects so I got absolutely zero new info. He’s a super nice guy, he just knows how to play the cards close to the chest, which is probably a wise idea. In fact, the only thing he was willing to go on record about was his hatred for pickles and vegetables in general. See, our catered burgers all had pickles on them. And Oren really can’t abide them. So much so that it’s not even enough to just take the pickles off. He won’t eat anything that once had a pickle on it. I almost felt bad that he limited himself to mac and cheese as I chowed down on three cheeseburgers.
After dinner we head upstairs. I’d done some snooping up there earlier – including turning off the lights in the bathroom and saying “Bloody Mary” three times* – but this time we all take turns checking out Toby’s little closet* – which still has some of that creepy writing on the walls.
We finally sit down to watch the movie in the upstairs loft featured prominently in the film. The screen is set up where the tea sat in he movie was placed. Toby’s closet is just to the left of it and Teddy Ruxpin keeps a dutiful eye on us as we watch the movie.
Paranormal Activity 3 has plenty of scares on its own, but the experience was slightly augmented by our “guests”. About 1/3rd of the way through the film, Toby’s closet door SLAMMED shut – generating a scream from just about everyone in the room. The aquarium in the corner made noises in time with the aquarium in the film and stuff “flew” at us during the appropriate sections of the film. At one point, Toby’s symbol appeared in the etch-o-sketch on the desk.
Sadly, my personal “no cell-phone policy” was in effect. I didn’t feel like ruining the movie for everyone else, so I didn’t get any of that on tape. You’ll have to use your imagination.
After the film I said goodbye to the house, as I’ll likely never be there again. On our way out I ask one of our hosts if the owners have ever seen PA3. “No way.” Probably a wise choice. If this film can keep people awake after watching it in their own apartments, imagine the effect it would have on an actual resident of the house!
* you can see this in the video below. I use the word “see” loosely – most of the video is pretty d*amn dark (with a few light spots). It’s a compendium of some cool moments in the evening that aren’t featured in the photos above, so you should check it out regardless.
Paranormal Activity 3 is now out on DVD and Blu-ray. It features a director’s cut that I prefer to the theatrical version.
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