2005:The Year of Hype
Well 2006 is upon us and 2005 is behind us,and along with it's exit went a record. A record set for the most overhyped horror movies in one year.2005 Brought us many horror films,but it also brought us alot of hype as well.Now when I talk about hype,I mean the huge whirlwhind of anticipation that is created via word of mouth by a horror film. People see the trailers,posters,previews,get the ultimate scoop,etc on a horror film,and pass the information on. Before you know it,a huge buzz is surrouding a particular horror film.So lets examine how the hype machine worked for and against us in 2005. Six films specifically recieved Level A hype.This is where a studio bombards us with ads all over tv for a lengthy period of time,to promote their latest horror flick. Six Horror Pictures fell under this category in 2005."Boogeyman","Constantine","The Amityville Horror","White Noise","House of Wax",and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose".
Jennifer Carpenter in "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
Of these 6,3 were labeled as good horror movies (House of Wax,The Exorcism of Emily Rose,The Amityville Horror), and the other 3 flatout sucked (Constantine,Boogeyman,White Noise). Now of course not everyone agrees, and there are going to be some who actually enjoyed these three films just like there are going to be those who hated the 3 films I labeled as good horror movies,but from a majority standpoint of horror movie fans,"Constantine","White Noise",and "Boogeyman" were all hype,and no action."Constantine" lets face it didn't really have much of a chance due to the wooden acting of Keanu Reeves. His non-emotional,robotic deliveries of dialogue may be perfect for a shade sporting badass in "The Matrix",but they really sunk "Constantine".
Then there was "White Noise" which the ads just kept on coming for this one. There were even specials hitting the tele discussing EVP,eletronic voice phenomena.While "White Noise" did make a killing at the box office,reviews and opinions from horror movie fans alike weren't positive.The film which was pawned off as a chilling,frightening look at a widower who makes a critical mistake in trying to contact his dead wife,turned out to be a very tame thriller which offered little to no scares for most horror film fans.
Let's also not forget about the fact that most of the film was utterly boring, and that ever so intriguing ending which someone just seemed to pull out of thin air.
Last but certainly not least is "Boogeyman",the Barry Watson headlined horror pic about the mythical spook wreaking havoc on a young mans life.
Barry Watson in Sony Screen Gems "Boogeyman"
It's honestly very hard to find anyone who has anything positive to say about this movie. In fact,I would say that compared to last years uber hyped up movies that fell flat "White Noise" and "Constantine", "Boogeyman" sits in a class of it's own.Like "White Noise", it cashed in immensely in it's opening weekend, falling just under a million dollars short of making back it's entire budget in 3 days. But once again bad reviews and major dislike by horror movie fans pretty much made it a waste. But if it sucked so badly,how did it manage to make nearly 20 million in one weekend? The answer lies in what this article is all about...hype. The flashy ads,and voiceovers created alot of hype for this movie,which got moviegoers to come out in full force to support the film.
Unfortunately most of them (myself included) walked out of the theater saying..."That was it?". What had been advertised as a creepy,terrifying,horror film about the legendary ghoul "The Boogeyman",was in all actuality,a borefest filled with loud sounds,and gloomy visuals.When the Boogeyman finally does show up on screen,he mimics that of a CGI burn victim as opposed to the creepy,cloak sporting ghoul we've all come to fear as children. Now that we've seen examples of how hype disappointed us last year,lets look at some of the good stuff hype gave us in 05'.Three horror pictures recieved level A hype when it came to studios getting the message out,and they were "House of Wax","The Amityville Horror",and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose".
"House of Wax" you would expect to recieve a huge push from Warner Brothers to create massive hype for the movie.After all it featured the latest WB crop of teen actors,hottie Elisha Cuthbert who staked her claim with most guys in "The Girl Next Door",and of course,the one and only Paris Hilton.
Paris Hilton in Warner Brothers "House of Wax"
Now it's obvious that someone like Paris wasn't going to be a part of a film that wasn't going to get a huge advertising push by the studio."House of Wax" tv spots were plastered all over television,"House of Wax" posters were plastered all over buses,and a bunch of free pre-screenings were held in major cities to create more buzz before the film opened two days later.
"House of Wax" ended up profiting ok from all of the buzz, and horror movie fans in general liked the film for the mindless slasher with some amazing sets that it was.The film took in nearly half it's budget in it's opening weekend, and while we can't be sure of how many people showed up to actually see the movie,as opposed to those who showed up just to see Paris Hilton get a pipe through the head,we can be sure that the film had a strong positive attitude directed at it by fans of the slasher subgenre.
Then there was "The Amityville Horror" which was a remake of the 1979 horror classic where demons drove a man to kill his family inside their Long Island home,and the process begins to repeat itself with the houses new tenants.The film created alot of buzz mainly because of the casting of Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George. This film was already disliked by many horror fans including myself since it was a remake and were seeing too many of those from Hollywood nowadays,especially when it comes to our beloved classics.The film came close to living up to it's hype,and while it wasn't the absolutely terrifying horror picture it was advertised as,it was still a solid remake with many eerie scenes lumped into an almost 2 hour horror flick.
Lastly rounding out the hype machine was "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". Based on a true story in which a priest stood trial as a result of a girls death during her exorcism,"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" followed a girl named Emily who became posessed by demonic spirits while away at college. She was later exorcised by a priest but died during the process upon which a trial was called to prove the priest to be guilty of negligent homicide.You could say this film already had it's own built in hype machine since this is a pretty well known case that this film was based on. The television ads only served to put more steam behind the film and inform a broader audience of it's existence.It actually ended up being a break even horror film with horror movie fans,some labeling it as boring,while others labeled it as a good religious horror/thriller,which challenged peoples faith.
Tom Wilkinson in Sony's "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
One things for sure,the films hype certainly created a huge faith based debate between alot of people regardless of whether they saw the film or not.
So what have we learned from all of this? Is hype a good thing or a bad thing? Well it seemed that the hype for the horror movies released early in the year was just that...hype.With the movies lacking the tools needed to live up to that hype. But as we went deeper into 2005,the horror films that were heavily advertised came much closer to living up to expectations. Another thing highly noticeable in all of this is the original horror films we expected so much from didn't deliver...i.e. "White Noise" & "Boogeyman". While two remakes "The Amityville Horror",and "House of Wax",were much more well recieved. But did we really expect much from "Boogeyman" and "White Noise"? Or did the hype machine trick us into expecting alot from these films? Should we have seen past the flashy editing and photography to notice that nothing important or for that matter,scary was going to happen at all in either of these movies?
Should we have seen past the cool looking cgi effects in "Constantine", and been more leary of Keanus track record in anything outside of "The Matrix" trilogy?
Maybe we should have,but most of us slapped down our cash anyways,and were sorely disappointed.Maybe one day we will unravel the mysteries of the hype machine,and see through it's smokescreen of flashy editing and creepy sound effects that it uses to promote subpar horror pictures. The more of us that do,the smaller the box office intake will shrink for shallow horror films like "White Noise" and "Boogeyman",that are all flash and no substance.
Then maybe Hollywood will give horror fans more of the true,hardcore stuff we so rightfully deserve.