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It's the Booze Talkin', Can Indie Horror Follow Success of It Follows?

The big news this past box office weekend is certainly the huge success of FURIOUS 7, and I for one am thrilled about it. Yet for horror fans, there is something equally exciting happening. After suffering through a number of mediocre to downright awful studio attempts at genre, a little film called IT FOLLOWS is making a nice chunk of change. This low budget feature written and directed by David Robert Mitchell has managed to earn an incredible 95% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as find an audience looking for a little suspense. In other words, it can be done. A movie without a big name director or actors and actresses fresh from The CW has managed to create serious buzz in the industry.

For many horror fans, the major releases generally consist of found footage frights or recycled, PG-13 ghostly entities. This means lots of boo scares, loud music and too much CGI. As I’ve vented in this very column a few times before, it is ridiculous that we have to search for truly creepy scares on VOD or wait until they run on Netflix or RedBox. That is not to say that every single VOD or straight-to-DVD release is good, in fact, much of it is absolute garbage. Still, you’d think the good ones would somehow not be relegated to watching at home without the fun of a group of people cheering it on.

I’d rather not continue to rail against movies like OUIJA or ANNABELLE today, I’ve done this far too often. So let’s look at some of the recent releases that have been relegated to a tiny theatrical release (if they are lucky) and then VOD. Many consider THE BABADOOK to be one of the best recent horror films, and I am one of them. You also have DEAD SNOW 2: RED VS. DEAD, STARRY EYES, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT and so many more. Perhaps studios are afraid to release an unknown director’s feature film because of the distribution cost or what have you. We all know that they tend to jump on a trend and keep it going as long as they possibly can. Yet with original horror and a good (cheap) marketing campaign, you can certainly make a decent amount opening weekend - bad horror flicks do it all the time.

And now we have IT FOLLOWS. With a very tiny release, the little thriller that could managed to find an audience and expand to a pretty big release thanks to super positive word of mouth. Certainly there are a few who did not appreciate its dreamy tone - I did. But the fact that it was able to expand as it has and make serious money is incredible. And more importantly, it gives me hope that some of these smaller titles that we may not have seen beforehand could very well connect with audiences at your local cineplex. Instead of limiting itself to the cool little arthouse theatre downtown that not everybody has - we are lucky here in Los Angeles because we have quite a few of them - maybe this will open the doors for new voices.

Aside from IT FOLLOWS, there are a couple of movies that I’m looking forward to that I’ve yet to catch up on. Filmmaker Ted Geoghegan has the very, very promising WE ARE STILL HERE which has garnered a ton of great word of mouth from festivals. Let’s get this flick on a thousand or so screens and give it a chance. I’ve heard great things about SPRING which is currently available on VOD as of March 20th. It’s a shame that many will be relegated to watching it at home. Maybe we need to have a couple more success stories before we simply see rehashes, remakes, sequels that fail to generate much more than screams because the music is too loud.

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but will we see more success stories follow IT FOLLOWS? I for one hope so. There is a ton of room in the genre for original material. Or stories that have been done before yet with an interesting twist. And many of these stories are being told and they are relegated to VOD. F*ck it, we are always going to have crappy horror flicks and many of them we will probably go see in droves. But it is sure as hell inspiring when something comes out that once again reminds us that there are original and exciting filmmakers out there with stories to tell. And to see their scary tales played out with an audience on a Friday night? As a horror fan I can’t think of anything better than that.

Extra Tidbit: What Indie Horror feature are you looking forward to? Hell, I've even got a little cameo in Jose Prendes THE DIVINE TRAGEDIES so I have to give that one a shout-out!!
Source: AITH

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