Paranormal Activity producer believes in real-life terror
FOR six years, horror fans have wondered what the scary supernatural entity in the Paranormal Activity movie franchise is, but as they get their answer with the final film, ghosts could be cast aside for horrors rooted in reality.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, which opened last weekend in the United States just in time to entice the Halloween revellers (it opened in Singapore yesterday), concludes the tale that began in 2009 with Katie and Micah, a couple who are stalked at home by a supernatural entity.
Paranormal Activity, a found-footage, or pseudo documentary style, horror film made for around US$15,000 (S$21,000) and acquired by Paramount Pictures, revolutionised the horror movie genre after grossing US$193 million worldwide.
Katie's possession by a demon named Toby led to four more films and a spin-off, and brought a slew of ghost-centric micro-budget movies, replacing the gory fare that dominated horror in the 2000s, such as Saw and Eli Roth's Hostel.
"Horror has been more supernatural than bloody, and I think that had a lot to do with Paranormal Activity," franchise producer Jason Blum told Reuters in an interview.
But as Paranormal Activity wraps up with Ghost Dimension, Blum believes horror may be taking a more psychological and human turn.
The producer suggested that his 2013 movie The Purge, about a society in which all crime is legal for 12 hours, may usher in an era of psychological horror that humans can inflict on each other. The Purge will see a third instalment next year, while this summer's The Gift and The Visit, all produced by Blum, served up real-life fright.
Horror has not quite given up the ghost yet, and neither has Blum, whose production company Blumhouse Productions leads the way in making horror movies on tiny budgets that turn big profits and use new distribution models.
Since 2009's Paranormal Activity, Blum has produced more than 30 films in the horror genre.
Blum's found-footage horror The Gallows, made for US$100,000, has grossed US$23 million in North America since July. The producer has numerous projects leading into next year that find scares in the supernatural, such as Ouija 2 and Amityville: The Awakening.
"There's an appetite for more scary movies every year," Blum said. "There's a real market for hardcore fans - not millions, but hundreds of thousands - and there are new distribution avenues to get to them."
Paramount will release Ghost Dimension on-demand just 17 days after its release in cinemas rather than the usual three to six months.
Studios are flocking to work with Blum, as are veteran directors experimenting with the micro-budget format.
"He's succeeded so many times, (the studios) feel like he's seeing things the audience will enjoy that they're not seeing," said M. Night Shyamalan of 1999's The Sixth Sense fame, whose summer release The Visit was made for US$5 million and topped US$63 million at the box office.