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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

October 13, 2023 | 5 min read

Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon of American Horror Story fame, the short wields classic horror devices to tempt consumers into trying its spicy spectral treats.

In a spooky turn of events on Friday the 13th, Burger King has unveiled a haunting Halloween campaign, ‘The Call,’ to presage the arrival of two seasonal menu items: the Ghost Pepper Whopper and Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries.

The 60-second horror short follows a woman who is terrorized by an anonymous caller. They deliver the oblique but foreboding message, “It’s back; it’s coming for you.”

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After relentless torment, she gives in and tries the Ghost Pepper Whopper and Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries, which leaves her possessed and looking for the curse’s next victim. Horror movie buffs may recognize this trope from films like ‘The Ring,’ ‘One Missed Call’ and so on.

“For years, Burger King has brought our guests exciting and delicious ways to celebrate Halloween. We are always looking for new ways to make spooky season even more fun and memorable,” commented Zahra Nurani, vice-president of marketing communications for Burger King North America. “Our horror brand film is the perfect example of this and brings these menu innovations to life in a unique and creative way while also engaging our fans in some playful fun - will you answer the call?”

The short was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, known for The Current War, his Sundance Grand Jury-winning indie film ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’ and Emmy-nominated work on ‘American Horror Story: Coven.’

“I love short films and I love horror, so I jumped at the chance to team up with Burger King and Dentsu Creative on the Ghost Pepper Whopper Halloween campaign,” said Gomez-Rejon. “I had a blast revisiting the genre for the first time since my [American Horror Story] days, and directing a horror short starring the Ghost Pepper Whopper.”

Creatives behind the campaign tell The Drum that the commercial was shot in California, on the same set location as ‘Jeepers Creepers.’ It was so remote that a snake wrangler was required on standby in the event that snakes show up. Meanwhile, the car featured was also used in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’

The campaign was created in partnership with Burger King’s agency partner, Dentsu Creative, Burger King and production company Wild Gift Content.

“Horror as a genre has incredible ability to flex,” added Dentsu Creative associate creative director Andrew Pattee. “It can be dialed up to pure terror and dialed down to fun campiness. Alfonso’s a master at giving a wink of camp while leaning into the classic horror tropes we all love.”

Beginning tomorow morning, consumers are dared to answer the same cursed call IRL. After visiting and providing their name and phone number, the brand will send them their own personalized spooky phone call.

The short film premiers today across YouTube streaming channels and across select movie theaters.

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Creative agency: Dentsu Creative

Production company: Wild Gift Content

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