Monday, April 8, 2013

Rules and Exceptions: Marketing screams.

It's the second Monday in April and the box-office champ for new releases over the weekend looks like Evil Dead with $26 million. Though that's not blockbuster territory, on a reported $14 million production budget, that number means a healthy profit without much effort. Exactly the niche this kind of movie is meant to fill. So yes, Evil Dead will rise again, just give it a year or two.

While taking in the past weekend's business, it occurred to me that horror movie posters are all fairly predictable. It's usually maniac, victim or preferred instrument of destruction. As a rule, it seems that faces obscured by disguise, distortion or damage are most in vogue.

The Rule. What horror movie fan doesn't think of a crazed homicidal killer when they see a goalie mask? If it works it becomes a rule and the rule repeats - masked and damaged faces sell horror. Here are three 2013 releases following the rule.

The Purge from Universal on May 31st, You're Next from Lionsgate on August 23rd and Carrie from Sony/MGM on October 18th.

Yes, Evil Dead had a "face" rule poster too. This one was for a foreign release poster. (Honest, it's Evil Dead).

The Exception. You gotta love when someone breaks the rules. This one skips the face rule and instills fear by aiming right for your childhood nightmares. Remember that tree in the backyard and the crazy shadows it cast in the wind and the rain and the moonlight? Well it's back to grab you right out of bed.

Mr. Jones. Preferred Content, see it at its April 19th screening at the Tribecca Film festival.

Ok, now along with being afraid to go to a Hockey game, I've probably just screwed you up on the whole "let's take a walk through the park in the moonlight" thing. Blame it on the rule breakers. Just don't get out of bed if the limbs of your backyard tree are knocking against the window.

Thanks to the studios for the poster art and thanks to for access to great poster downloads. 

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