Horror in my Kickstarter? It’s more Likely than you Think.
It was an unusually warm day for October when David came to me, bloody eyed and shivering from fever. His hands were cramped in a claw-like fashion, likely from writing one too many blog posts. “I can’t do it,” he admitted in that moment of weakness, “I can’t write another one. I need your help.”
So this is my guest post. I will need to remain anonymous as I’m about to blow the lid off on one of the most shocking secrets of the kickstarter community to date. Before you read any further, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a story of betrayal, fraud and, yes, even murder. Clutch your pearls.
Click below the line to read more about this scandal!
(Fund The Wardenclyffe Horror!)
The scandal is that I haven’t been asked to do this sooner.
So the month of October is here and Halloween is on the horizon, provided you’re not reading this in the future. Either way I thought I’d get in the spirit of the season and talk about the horror movie genre, specifically how it’s dying literally before our eyes and what we we can do to fix it. All in the next five hundred words or so.
At some point horror movies became about what franchise to release for Halloween and eating up whatever was the current fad before moving on to the next one. For some quick examples we’ve been through Found Footage, Torture Porn, Hillbilly Cannibal, Slasher (Old Classic!), and on and on. You’ll notice they also slip in a new type each Halloween season to see if it’ll catch on as the next franchise. I’m not knocking the quality of whatever’s trending but I can’t help but feel we’re seeing a recession of the budgets for the films themselves, and a slide in how many big title ones get produced in a year. The genre no longer seems to demand much funding.
And that’s the sticking point for me. I’m not going to say that the genre itself is ever going to die (though there’s opportunity for some undead jokes here), but where’s the love? I’d like to think we’re one decent-budget success away from bringing the greenlight back into our neck of the woods but actually getting that money is difficult enough. Guillermo del Toro (of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy fame) set out to make an ‘At The Mountains of Madness’ feature a while back. Awesome, right? Sadly he met funding difficulties with Warner Bro’s because they felt the story needed a love interest and happy ending. Not sure why that was a problem for Mr. del Toro, we all know Lovecraft was fond of writing both of these things. At least James Cameron and Tom Cruise will tell the story right, the way it was meant to be told.
Of course, you don’t need a high budget for a good horror movie. I’d be first in line to state this to be true, a limited budget can force the kind of creative decisions that provide the scenes we all remember fondly. Sometimes too much money often translates into ‘Let’s constantly show the monster in CGI!’ Which is a shame because we all know the old adage, “In Horror, often what is unseen is far more effective than what is.” That’s a famous quote I made up just now, since clearly I’m the first to come across this idea.
I’m only using the budget thing as a barometer for Hollywood’s opinion on the genre. If comic book movies can make it in this crazy world perhaps it’s time to give Lovecraft a chance. Do we need to put a guy in tights to get a movie with Cthulhu in it? (Probably.)
So is the sky falling here? Yes, yes it is. And if you have any doubt, take a moment to imagine I’m providing a graph here that proves my point. If you still feel you can argue with me, you’re lacking imagination.
Okay, so how do we fix this? Simple. Kickstarter and the power of crowd funding, of course. And I’m not just saying this because the blog is about kickstarting and I need to tie it all in somehow or David won’t post this. If you wander the film section of Kickstarter long enough you’ll eventually come across some pretentious director talking about how the industry is changing and crowd funding is the future, blah blah blah, and they really need your money for their completed film with a signed deal and real actors, so what exactly do they need my money for? That’s right Hotel Noir, I’m calling you out. Time to step up and answer some pressing questions. Like, is Malin Akerman really that sweet? She looks like a sweetheart. Which is funny cause I didn’t really care for her when she first hit the scene, but now I can’t even really remember why.
Anyway, they’re right in that the industry IS changing, and nobody really knows what to do about it yet. But a crowd funding model is useful in that is removes dependence on the typical suits that ask for Lovecraftian stories with happy endings. And while we haven’t seen the kind of money raised for a triple A budget movie yet, we have seen enough for what Hollywood calls “indie” films. Short of a crowd funding apocalypse, we’re only going to see more foot traffic and the ceiling for what’s capable of being raised will only…raise.
Kickstarter has shown the video game industry that there’s still a demand for things that publishers had long deemed “dead,” (cough, turn-based rpgs, cough) so why not see if it can do the same for Hollywood? The genre certainly has it’s fans. We’ve got magazines, conventions, even a Wardenclyffe comic named after it. We’re living in an age of streaming digital content, so let’s see some scary good stuff come out of this Kickstarter phenomenon.
And I’d like to take a moment to speak to all the horror movie projects that are (or have been) on Kickstarter. You guys are awesome. Not just for taking the plunge for this wonderful genre but also for not punching any holes in my argument with all your real world experiences. This is a call to arms! Let’s Kickstart a genre.
If I may suggest a good first step, throw some of your money at this project and we’ll get an awesome movie out of it some day. I hear the film rights are still available so somebody better get cracking.
I think you’re making the same basic mistake that people do when they say that “music these days is worse than [insert the years you were in high school and/or college].” You’re looking at the most visible material and generalizing the whole genre.
You’re absolutely correct that mainstream American horror is bland, neutered, serialized, and usually pretty bad. However, I think horror movies are doing just fine under the radar. Movies like “Behind the Mask”, and “Splinter” show that great horror movies can be made with small budgets. And outside of America, horror is thriving. Look at France, which has given us “High Tension”, “Frontiere(s)”, “inside”, and “Martyrs”. Japan has taken splatter horror to places that really only Japan could with movies like “Tokyo Gore Police” and “Machine Girl”. The nordic countries have given us the great Nazi Zombie movie “Dead Snow” and the Santa-is-an-evil-monster movie “Rare Exports”. Horror has never looked better, once you dig under the surface.
I think you’re right to call for people to support smaller productions, whether through direct funding on Kickstarter, or just looking for the movies online. There is a glut of horror movies, it’s just that people don’t always know they’re out there.
You say everything is fine, it’s just hidden away from prying eyes. Under the radar, requiring some digging. Sounds like a healthy enough situation for an entertainment medium to me.
That said, ‘Behind the Mask’ is worth a watch for any horror fan out there.
Oh, I’m not suggesting that it’s the ideal. I would certainly like to see more movies like “Splinter” and “Behind the Mask” playing on the big screen and raking in the millions that “Saw 15” and “Paranormal Activity 23” are making
When I said “fine”, I meant creatively, not financially. I’m saying that there ARE good, original horror movies being made, they’re just not showing in the multiplex. Which I think is fundamentally different from “At some point horror movies became about what franchise to release for Halloween and eating up whatever was the current fad before moving on to the next one.” That is true of mainstream horror movies, not horror movies as a whole.
Wes Craven killed the horror genre.