It’s 3-D Week here at MTV, but just because we’re celebrating the game changing film format doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten some of the other unconventional ways to enjoy a movie experience. Over the years, there have been some brilliant and some not-so-brilliant but no less ambitious attempts to change the way that the public views a movie, whether that’s at a local cinema, in the comfort of your own home or somewhere else entirely.
After the jump, we’ve listed some of the most memorable moviegoing fads that have come and gone over the years — some of which are still in practice today.
Smell-O-Vision: Leading off with a technique that most assuredly is not in practice today, Smell-O-Vision was a method for delivering unique scents during a movie, with the intent of getting the viewer to actually smell what’s happening along with the cast. The technique was invented by Hans Laube and utilized for 1960’s “Scent of Mystery,” but moviegoers widely panned the practice due to obnoxious noises and delays in the scents coming to their noses. That was the end of Smell-O-Vision, which is too bad — it could have worked really well with “Scent of a Woman.”
4-D Film: In most cases, you won’t find a theater outfitted with 4-D capabilities right around the corner from your home, unless you’re near a theme park. In 4-D screenings, viewers watch a movie in a theater that’s equipped with physical effects, like weather changes and vibrations, that are intended to draw you inside of the film. These screenings typically take place in theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios. In many ways, 4-D is similar to Smell-O-Vision — physically involving, just not quite as stinky.
D-BOX: Like 4-D, D-BOX is a way for film enthusiasts to feel the viewing experience, not just see it. D-BOX is sort of the Rumble Pack of moviegoing, designed to provide motion feedback while watching a movie. Some select theaters across the country have been outfitted with D-BOX seats, so it’s a somewhat more accessible experience than 4-D. You can also bring the D-BOX experience to your home theater, as several movie studios have started supporting the technology by adding motion codes to Blu-ray titles.
Drive-In Theaters: Who needs a sticky, frequently used theater chair when you can watch a movie from the front seat of your car? Drive-in theaters are less common than they were in the 1950s and 1960s, though they’re still in use in certain areas. While the moviegoing experience isn’t necessarily enhanced in the drive-in format, there’s a lot to be said for the drive-in’s usefulness as a first date, a fun family outing or just a pure shot of nostalgia.
Digital Distribution: If there’s any way of watching a movie that actually rivals the 3-D experience in terms of popularity, it’s digital distribution. Most film fanatics have been purchasing VHS, DVD and Blu-ray since the technology has become available, but downloading content from iTunes, your Cable provider or any other number of ways has become an easier and more affordable option for many viewers. It’s unclear how digital distribution will effect the future of physical moviegoing experiences, but for my money, there’s nothing like watching a big budget epic on the big screen, just as the movie gods intended.
Tell us what you think in the comments and on Twitter!