“Sleigh: Christmas Mourning” was a live, original horror/holiday murder mystery that debuted December 19th, 2015 – slated as a one night only event. Written and directed by Brendan McWhirk, this untraditionally festive, interactive experience invited attendees to be trapped inside of a two hour Christmas-themed scary movie, where they’re the star.
Guests were invited to dress in all black, and attend to the fictional setting of The Winterwood funeral parlor, where they mourned the loss of famous Santa Claus impersonator Kristopher Clausen. Clausen’s body was found days before, disfigured beyond recognition, slain by a figure disguised in a twisted elf mask. Our story followed Kristopher’s daughter Holly Clausen (Kailey Ruel) as she yearns to discover the identity of her father’s killer. That answer comes with a high price, which Holly discovers when the funeral's most ghastly uninvited entity begins picking off guests, one by one.
Seven designated title suspects were mixed in with the live audience, each with a background and a motive of their own. Through watching acts 1-3 of the show unfold, interacting with the characters on intermission, visiting clue stations and inspecting a conspiracy board, guests were then asked to fill out a ballot with their "killer guess" entailing who they thought the identity of the murderer was and why. Once the ballots were submitted, the final act (ACT 4) was shown as a mini-film (pre-recorded weeks ahead of the play) via DVD. When the guilty party was at last revealed, the attendee who solved the mystery most correctly was deemed our winner.
Inspired by the Scream franchise, Sleigh: Christmas Mourning plays with classic horror tropes/cliches, serving as the ultimate homage to the late Wes Craven. By introducing "The Rules of a Christmas Movie" the iconic tale of Sidney Prescott is reimagined in this comical Christmas bloodbath that kept party-goers on their toes until the very last twist.
Art Direction: George Comatas
Director: Brendan McWhirk
Editor: Hannah Rand
Illustrator: Kat Tarlowski
Writer: Brendan McWhirk