If you visited Kilo Lounge last month for Halloween, you would have found yourself spooked out as we transformed the currently-unoccupied 6th & 7th floors of the building into a creepy, bloodstained lair with the help of the team at Imaginator Studios. This was the first time ever that Kilo did Halloween on such a scale, and the two nights of ghoulish festivities rounded off with parties at the lounge, on the 8th floor, that lasted all night long.
The story for the evening went a little something like this: royal Eastern Javanese courtier Radin Satri Mangkujiwo seeks eternal life and pays for it with acts of incest, the massacre of newborn infants, blood sacrifices of animals, torture, murder, and cruelty on an unimaginable scale. He awakes from this centuries-old oblivion and finds himself in a strange room, with thumping beats emanating from the ceiling…
“What is this place? Where am I?”
“Don’t you remember, dear? We are here because it is near our nourishment. Above us is a place where people come to revel and make merry. A place where myself and my sisters can easily find blood to feast on when men fall asleep in a drunken stupor. A place patronised by many beautiful ladies of society, and when intoxicated, you can impregnate them so as to consume their babies. Your pantry of newborns is just below us. With this place we have found our perfect nest in which we can exist to the end of time…”
Surely such twisted nightmares don’t come naturally to many of us, so we spoke to the set designers at Imaginator Studios and NEVER to find out a little bit more. One of their team members is actually trained in Interior Design, which gives them the technical skill to create their outrageous designs. Why the shift to set design, then? “You still work with spaces, but it’s shorter in time span, more creative, and more hands-on, which was what we liked.”
That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges working on Kilo Lounge’s Halloween. “We were given the project only three weeks before the actual day, so we had a very short time to come up with the concept, the sourcing of talents, costuming, drawing, production, finding the materials, working out the budget, and engineering the installation,” they say. “It was physically challenging as well: the 6th & 7th floors which had no air-conditioning, so we were breathing in fumes and thinner. But we took the job because Kilo gave us complete creative control to do whatever we wanted to.”
So Imaginator Studios and NEVER took this opportunity to do things that wouldn’t normally have been allowed in other places. Singapore, being a Southeast Asian country, and despite its modern, first-world lifestyle, still adheres to certain superstitions and beliefs that we simply don’t breach. Imaginator Studios went against the grain, however, and we had no qualms with that.
“We decided to go into old local folklore, and local superstitions, things that most people think shouldn’t be messed with. The scent of frangipani flowers, for example, is supposed to signal the presence of a spirit. We also took on subjects that aren’t often discussed — things like, rape, incest, massacres — that were over-the-top and creepy.”
It might be surprising to note that the team isn’t a big fan of horror or gore movies, yet they found themselves so immersed in the story that they were creating that they’re thinking of even making a movie out of it. There were some serious scares, however, and they said they often needed company when returning to the building site at night.
“Knowing the story, and knowing the kind of creepy drawings and objects there were in the place, made it quite twisted, even though we were the ones who created it.”
The set was filled with everything from ‘baby corpses’, worship altars with melted wax candles, a throne of skulls, a rape bed, chains dangling from the ceiling, blood-spattered curtains, and the occasional haunting, long-locked lady in white. The Kilo team roped in our staff and some of our friends to dress up and play gruesome characters in the creepy space, while our iconic cargo lift was plastered with posters of eerie, missing children, and the lights were turned off for a spooky ride up to the unknown. Guests had to make their way through the maze-like confines of the 6th & 7th floors before they were allowed into the party on the 8th floor.
Do Imaginator Studios and NEVER keep any items from the elaborate sets they design, then? And how does it feel seeing their months of hard work torn down overnight, once the event is over?
“We try not to keep anything, because storage is a big issue. Only the small or expensive things, maybe — we kept some skulls and the wax candles. We don’t hoard, and there isn’t really a sentimental value to the things we’ve created. It’s actually more about knowing how much money has gone into creating something, but you get used to it.”
That doesn’t stop other people from trying to get their own keepsakes — and more. “There are always people trying to steal our props. We once made these massive, 2.5m-long spiders, and this drunk guy tried to steal one. We’ve even had people peeing on our props — we’ve seen it all!”
It was incredible to see the space so transformed, even for such a short duration. We had an amazing time during Halloween, and saw some really fancy, creative costumes that added to the crazy atmosphere of the night. We hope everyone had fun, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.
For more images from the night, visit here.
We’ve also had Halloween captured in plenty of GIF action; visit here for more.
If you came dressed in your scary best for Halloween, you just might have won yourself a drink on us. Visit the Facebook album here and find out if you’ve made the cut.