Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Most Terrifying Film You Will Ever Experience

I suppose I should ease off from being jazzed at every new bit of marketing for the Evil Dead remake but when it all looks so good, how can I help myself? The poster was just released and, thanks to the unabashed boast that it sports, it's just plain awesome. I love that they're coming right out and hyping this movie to the moon.

One, it implies a certain level of confidence in the product, which is reassuring. Two, the kind of hyperbole that this poster traffics in is the kind of hucksterism that used to be commonplace in selling horror films but has sadly fallen out of fashion since the early '80s or so.

Horror films used to be sold on the promise that they would be an endurance test for the audience, that a film would fry viewers nerves to a crisp, that it would physically rip the screams from their throats. You know, that sort of thing. And that brand of ballyhoo wasn't just reserved for William Castle-type stuff or drive-in fare, either.

Check out this trailer for David Cronenberg's The Brood:

"A Film So Terrifying It Will Devastate You Totally!" Holy Shit! Now that's a bold claim! Why horror films stopped getting sold in such a winning manner, I don't know but I sure am glad to see The Evil Dead bringing a little bit of old school audacity back to horror marketing.


knobgobbler said...

It's silly but as much as I love that sort of carnival barker's promise in older films, when it shows up for newer films I find myself jumping to conclusions. Their admission that they intend to try to scare me automatically sets the bar higher and my expectations lower.
Dumb of me, I know.

Jeff Allard said...

Not dumb at all, Knob - when you've been jaded by decades of watching too often disappointing horror films, it's easy to not be impressed by hyperbolic ad promises. Still, I personally get a kick out of them.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, it will be about actually living up to that tag line. I think the reason they stopped marketing horror this way is because it's very difficult to tow the line once you've said something like that. It's a bit like writing checks your arse can't cash. They did it with "The Descent" and that film had absolutely nothing going for it except some well placed endorsements. I have lost all my faith in Hollywood to be able to live up the hype machine once they've tossed it into overdrive. I hope I'm not right about Evil Dead. But, I have to admit, I'm going into it ready to hate it.

Jeff Allard said...

Personally, if I really thought I'd hate a movie, I'd just skip it. Chances are no matter how good it was it wouldn't be able to overcome that much animosity.

As for The Descent, I may not be as high on it as some but I liked it just fine and certainly it seems to have a pretty pristine reputation - even within the hardcore horror community - so I wouldn't say it has "absolutely nothing going for it" but then, no film is loved by all.

As for hype in general, I think you're right about why horror films stopped being marketed with old-school hyperbole - that if a film didn't live up to being "the ultimate experience in terror" or whatever it was sold as, then it'd be called out. But everything is so subjective, it hardly matters what claims are attached to a movie - people are always going to disagree about it one way or the other - and I think that kind of marketing bluster only adds to the fun of following the genre.