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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Season of Fear

The season is upon us, fellow Wavers. The Wave-inatrix was just talking about film genre conventions, and her timing was perfect because what does October always bring movie fans? A variety of horror and thriller movies to kick off the creepy season.
The question is, which one will get us into those seats with flashy trailers that give away the whole movie, and which ones will deliver the goods to keep you entertained?

It’s a great time to watch studios competing for those coveted 18-34 adult dollars, and they’re all competing with the promise of a scare and a thrill. Similar to writing that eye-catching, totally original script, what does each Halloween fright flick do differently? If your script was put into a sea of other thriller films, or into happy waters filled with other romantic comedies, how does your script stand out from the pack?

The Wave-inatrix pointed out tried and true conventions of different genres, but this is a great time to see how different conventions can be twisted and exploited to give their genre another layer. After all, it’s how your movie differs from the pack that gets it noticed. While some of this might tie into how different movies are marketed, at the end of the day, the film itself needs to hold up to the scrutiny. Some do, and some definitely don’t.

BLAIR WITCH PROJECT did. Terrific, and really a great example of early internet marketing, the film itself told a story (a classic horror story) with a documentary style and perspective.

SHAUN OF THE DEAD, a brilliant twist on the classic zombie pic. (Seriously, this is a must see for all of you looking to subvert a genre.)

SAW: Maybe the first one did it. I personally have never found that any of these films bring something new to the genre. But, consecutive box office success proves I might not know what I’m talking about.

SKINWALKERS came and went. Did anyone see it? Wonder what they did wrong that it needed to be released mid-August? That's like the studio trying to dump the Christmas flop SURVIVING CHRISTMAS in late October. It's a sure sign that something isn't good enough to stand up to the seasonal competition.

Any way you slice ‘em and dice ‘em, these October fright pics are always a great time to see which films will rise to the occasion. Will yours?

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