Horror Virals: A New York State of Mind

If recent viral stunts are anything to go by, New York must be a mighty scary place to live at times. In what is becoming the capital for horror-based web video stunts, The Big Apple has been the key backdrop for recent YouTube hits Telekinetic Coffee Shop (for the cinema launch of Carrie) and Devil Baby Attack (for upcoming b-grader Devil’s Due). The pending launch of The Walking Dead in the US again put NYC in the supporting cast, with a chilling zombie invasion, rising from the city sewers.

Just walking along, minding your own business on a NYC street when…

The undead rise from below the streets!

In the “real” world, New York’s Metro Transport Authority (MTA) have been quick to criticise the “invasion”. In a stunt where street grates were lifted and filled with the “undead”, who grabbed at the ankles of passers-by, the concern was as likely one of real fear and community complaint as it was safety (of both the undead cast and the unsuspecting vicitims!)

According to reports yesterday in The New York Post, the NYPD is already on the case and investigating if the creative team responsible for the stunt applied for the appropriate permits to create and film the stunt. The agency has stated clearly that all appropriate permits were sought, but the controversy has played an interesting role in fueling mainstream discussion around the stunt and content, and driving eyes to the content.

The success and water-cooler conversation these videos generated have proven the value of contagious content, as a space to start conversations and interest in the shock horror category of scary films. Generating more that 3 million views since its launch last week, its clear that the fear and shock we see in those startled by the rise of the street-bound zombies offer strong emotional cues for audiences to share this fear and in turn, spread the video further across their network.

As content marketing continues to grow as a fundamental part of entertainment marketing, there’s no doubt that New York continues to be a cast member in a scary state of mind.

Watch your step…

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