The ongoing adventures of Scott Weinberg, a friendly yet annoyingly opinionated guy who does nothing but watch movies and then write about them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Too Shocking My Ass


If there's one thing I hate more than PG-13 horror movies, it's horror movies that employ Bullshit Marketing. I get that you have to mega-hype your movie if you want the gorehounds to search your title out over the thousands of other options, but sometimes the B.S. gets pretty freakin' thick. Case in point: The "After Dark Horror Fest" titles -- or as I like to call them "the movies that Lionsgate purchased with the full intention of jettisoning them directly onto the DVD market, but got a few delusions when Courtney Solomon and his After Dark banner got involved." But that probably wouldn't fit as well on a DVD cover, now would it?

The "official" After Dark titles are The Abandoned, Dark Ride, The Gravedancers, The Hamiltons, Penny Dreadful, Reincarnation, Unrest, and Wicked Little Things. (With Hood of Horror and The Tripper as "sorta" AD titles.) So check out this trailer and then come back for the rest of my nerd-rant.

"Too graphic, too shocking, too disturbing" to warrant a normal theatrical release? Oh my god, puh-leeze. Any three random minutes from Saw 2 is more disturbing than what's on display in these AD titles. Talk about an aggressively misleading advertising campaign. The only reason these movies don't get a traditional (even limited) theatrical release is because no one, aside from a few small genre freaks, is liable to look at the newspaper and say "Hey, yyyyeah, let's all pile into the car and see Penny Dreadful, starring Rachel Miner and Mimi Rogers." I've seen five of the eight AD flicks, and I think the reason they can't get even a limited release is ... they kinda stink. (And yet, somehow, the mega-snoozer The Abandoned, DID get released! It opened in 1,000 theaters, grossed less than $1.5 million, and vanished in less than a week. Lesson learned.)

I think it's awesome that Lionsgate gives the little horrors a shot (it really was a whole lot of fun "discovering" The Gravedancers) and I guess I have to give them credit for mounting a cleverly effective ad campaign for this fistful of generally flaccid fear flicks. But don't fleece the fans. These movies weren't kept out of theaters because of shocking content; they were left out of theaters for boring content.

1 comment:

Meg said...

I love horror films but I've been finding lately that the movies marketed as horror are really the roller coasters of the movie biz. Their job is to keep you guessing and try and get you to loose your lunch. Because I'm not a big gross person (I almost did throw up during Saw III) I feel that it's about time to just give up on one of my favorite genres. So, I'm not even sure that the "genre freaks" would spend the $8.75 on a ticket for a lot of these.