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Have you noticed this? 2013 has been a fantastic year for horror movies, with films like Mama, Evil Dead, The Purge and The Conjuring. This makes it much more surprising, considering all of the above mentioned films have beat last year’s highest grossing pure horror movie Women in Black, or almost reached that number (The Conjuring will heat it really soon, due to it just being in release for only 4 days). If you were to look at Mama and Evil Dead, you would notice that both of them have a fresh rating. When you say that horror movies are review-proof, that can be true, but being critically acclaimed and well liked by critics everywhere can definitely give the film a boost. Even though this year has seen a fair share of horror movie disappointments, like Dark Skies, are horror movies the upcoming Hollywood favourite genre?
Let’s look at the past weekend’s horror movie opener, The Conjuring. It was critically acclaimed, receiving a 85% rotten tomatoes score, while also promising to be the scariest movie in a long time. Let’s face it. James Wan has enough experience to become a horror movie master- after directing past likes like Insidious (there is a sequel coming up this year) and Saw. The Conjuring is based on a true story, which is another benefit the film has. However, it reinvents concepts which many horror films have already done, so why does it stand out? The one answer would be simple- Make use of the the techniques which are needed (direction, camera techniques). This film also proved that in a age full of CGI, one can still create a 1970s horror film masterpiece. However you put it, marketing is definitely also sufficient. What was the end result? Highest grossing R-rated original horror film opening weekend, and also the winner of the box office of the weekend, despite it opening among 3 other films.
Another film, The Purge, just had it’s highest original R-rated horror film opening weekend record broken by The Conjuring, but two records broken simultaneously is definitely a good sign for the franchise. The Purge might not seem that scary, in terms of marketing, but it benefited from viral marketing, which includes websites which make this film seem realistic. Even though it suffers a rotten review, that isn’t enough to bring it down, thanks to it’s original concept (12 hours of NO law for people to kill each other without facing justice really sounds cool).
Evil Dead had the boost of being a remake of a past hit, but making it more gruesome and gory. Sam Raimi is also the producer (he directed the original), so why not watch it? Evil Dead also had it’s fair share of reasons, including audience anticipation. If you did not notice, this year’s horror movie hits are mostly R rated, which means America doesn’t want to see a mild natured horror movie anymore. They want to see something which is nerve-tingling, and gory.
Mama is the only PG-13 film covered on this list, and also benefited due to it’s producer Guillermo Del Toro’s name nearly attached in all of it’s marketing. It was gore-lacking, but benefited from being scary either. So what does all these success stories tell us?
Either the audience really love horror movies that much now, and it is becoming a trend to watch one, or that Hollywood is becoming more aware of what audience really deem suitable to be fit in the category “I want to watch”. Horror movies need to be scary to be a success, and trailers usually have to put in this angle in order for audience to be aware. If the film is like “The Last Exorcism Part II”, with silly looking trailers, audiences will know that despite it being a sequel to a well-received original, they do not go to a movie just because of it being a sequel, but due to it’s marketing.
Now, it just depends on the remaining horror movies the year has not seen yet. Insidious 2, You’re Next and Carrie seem like the only ones left this year, but at least 1 of them will beat last year’s highest grossing film. This is the comparison between 5 of this year’s highest grossing horror movies, VS last year’s.
The Woman in Black: $54,333,290
Paranormal Activity 4: $53,886,994
The Devil Inside: $53,261,944
The Possession: $49,130,154
The Purge: $64,087,030
Evil Dead: $54,239,856
The Conjuring: $47,391,738
Texas Chainsaw 3D: $34,341,945
Tell us what you think in the comments below. See you next time!