BOX OFFICE SUCCESS
The horror genre has always had a passionate following. When you think about it, there are websites (including this one), blogs, books and festivals all dedicated to it. There aren't many other genres that can claim the same level of love and loyalty. Science fiction maybe – and there's a bit of a comic book fanboy obsession going on right now too come to think of it. Yet it has always – and still is – an area of film that has been looked down upon from an industry (and critical) perspective. Horror films are rarely in the mix when it comes to accolades and awards.
Admittedly the genre did go through something of a dry spell between the mid 80's to the mid 90's. But for the last 20 years or so it seems as if the genre has been on the rise. Big actors are appearing in genre pics, mainstream critics are taking them more seriously, TV adaptations of horror movies are commonplace – and perhaps most importantly for the future of the genre, they are making shit loads of money.
2016 is a prime example of just how profitable horror movies can be (and usually are at the box office). When you take a step back, it has been a fantastic year for horror at the cinema. All seven major genre releases so far (The Purge, Lights out, Don't Breathe, Blair Witch, The Conjuring 2, 10 Cloverfield Lane,The Shallows) have all been huge successes. The cost of making these six movies stands at around just over $95m and they have taken somewhere in the region of $783m worldwide. They've also (generally) actually been very decent films too.
It all goes to show that audiences love horror movies. Sure, most of the people who are going to see these movies are not die hard horror buffs like you or I. They're not keenly following the genre and checking out dozens of indies etc but that isn't the point. Box office horror is a big attraction to mainstream audiences. If you are a film-maker, you can create something very cheaply and go on to make millions (Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity) and from a production perspective horror films rarely cost a lot of money to make as they do not need the expensive effects of blockbuster flicks. And neither do they have to worry about paying Tom Cruise fifty million quid or whatever for starring in it.
The success of the horror genre amongst today's audiences is especially noticeable when you compare it to other films that have been released this year. A few weeks ago, the screenwriter Douglas J. Eboch wrote a post about how sequels and reboots are failing to hit the mark from a financial perspective. Look at a film like The Huntsman:Winter's War for instance. It's estimated that it cost around $115m to make the film. Domestically it took just under $50m but managed to turn in a profit due to worldwide sales (around $160m). A decent profit but a gamble nevertheless. How about the 'eagerly anticipated Zoolander 2? That star studded cast list came at a cost of $50m and guess what? The film barely made that back in worldwide sales. The truth is that most films released at the cinema turn in a profit due to worldwide sales. But the fact of the matter is that horror movies are so important from a financial perspective because they require a small outlay and the potential for huge returns.
I'll finish my ramble on this point by telling you the statistics for the Saw Franchise.
7 movies made at an estimated cost of $67m.
Total worldwide sales...$882m.
In other, more alarming news, there appears to be a weird trend happening right now of people dressing up as clowns and scaring people. It started out as a series of sinister events in South Carolina, where there were reports of several people dressed as clowns trying to lure children into the woods. Initially, there were rumours that the whole thing was as PR stunt (albeit done in poor taste) linked to the release of Rob Zombie's '31'. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not the case. Sightings of people dressed as clowns started to spread across the US and over the last week or two, has made its way to the UK. I think the overriding feeling I have about all of this is; how pathetic. Dressing up on Halloween and going trick or treating is one thing but terrorising people on the street and outside schools etc is another thing all together. It's all rather sad really. It's all very 'Purge' like and although I am a fan of those movies, any translation of that into real life events is not something anyone – even horror fans – are going to be supporting. The reaction to it by the press and frightened parents only seems to have exacerbated the problem as well. At least shops selling clown masks will have made a few bob out of it though I guess.
Website wise we have seen a glut of solid films released recently. Hangman and The Windmill Massacre are both worth catching if you can – but make a special effort to track down a copy of the excellent Mexican suspense-horror Honeymoon (Luna de Miel). It's one of those that may have gone unnoticed by many but it's definitely worth a look.
The second part of our My Favourite Horror Movie series continues and we've had some really interesting choices - from The Haunting to Carnival of Souls to Suspiria. Maybe (hopefully) some of them may make you keen to revisit some of these older titles or if you aren't as old as me – watch them for the first time!
We're also less than a couple of weeks away from the new series of The Walking Dead. I wasn't one of those people venting at their screens after the finale of the last episode. I'm fine with a good cliffhanger and am excited (nervous!!) about seeing who it is who gets to meet 'Lucille' in the first episode of series 7. As usual, we will be resuming our You've got Walking Dead on You blog to give our take on what goes on.
I hope you all have a great Halloween and that your streets stay 'clown free' over the next few weeks.