Haunted House Movies Need To Stop Doing This
Haunted house movies are classic horror movies. Like other subgenres, they follow a straightforward format. Slasher films usually involve a killer who stalks and murders a series of defiant teenagers; Monster films typically focus on one or more characters fighting against the monster; Haunted house films have an ominous spirit scaring and sometimes possessing those who live in the house. Another thing haunted house films do wrong is to use “inspired by true stories” as a selling point.
It is easy to see that a haunted movie is about to start as soon as the words “based upon true events” or the “inspire by real events” appear on the screen. Haunted house movies are one of the most popular subgenres in horror. The silent film The Cat and the Canary (1927) was the first known haunted house movie. This film depicts a haunted house story: A family is haunted in a decaying home by a mysterious being. This sub-genre became very popular and is still being made nearly 100 years later. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940), The House on Haunted Hill (59), The Amityville Horror (79), and, perhaps most importantly, Poltergeist (1982) are some of the best-known haunted-house films. The film inspired a series and a remake in 2015.
Poltergeists scared audiences all over the globe in the 80s. This was not a silly slasher or monster movie; it was based on real events—Poltergeists based upon the 1958 events at the Herrmann house. James Herrmann, a man, received a concern call from his wife on February 3, 1958. She stated that she and her children were hearing strange noises upstairs. The family discovered bottles of various substances, including Holy Water, when they began to investigate. The family began to find more items every day and hired a priest to summon evil spirits. Between February 3rd to March 10th, there were approximately 70 reports of strange activities in the house.
In the 1980s, Poltergeist was a great idea. It was an innovative and fresh idea. This tactic is still used to scare audiences in films like The Conjuring and The Haunting of Connecticut. This sub-genre doesn’t have to be used anymore. Even though the films are based on fiction, audiences devour every Marvel or superhero film. People don’t love Ant-Man because of the realistic storyline of a man who shrinks to the size of an ant and is a superhero; they love it because it’s entertaining. This is something the creators of Haunted House films should use to their advantage to make entertaining and scary movies, even if they are completely fictional.
The conjuring movie is the most loved haunted house franchise of the 2010s. James Wan directed the film, and Carey W. Hayes wrote the script. The film tells the story of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their real-life reports were the inspiration for The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror. The Warrens visit the Perron family’s house in Rhode Island, where they witnessed increasingly frightening events in 1971. Two other movies were inspired by the film, including The Conjuring: How The Devil Made Me Do it, released in June. Annabelle: Creation (2014) is a prequel to the franchise.
Studio marketers often use the “true tale” angle in trailers, posters, and news releases to increase the story’s terror. The trailer should highlight the fact that the movie is true or at least some facts, and it sets the mood for the viewer before the film even begins. This can lead to a slippery slope. A trailer that claims something is true might make audiences more interested in the movie as a documentary rather than a film for entertainment.
This is evident in many films, including The Blair Witch Project. The marketing campaign for the movie was intended to convince people that the footage was genuine found footage and that the whole film was true. The film was later released, but it was revealed that it wasn’t based on any real event. Movies can also be in trouble because directors Ruggero Deodato and Cannibal Holocaust were so realistic.
You might ask, “Why to break something that isn’t broken?” Slasher movies have used the same tropes over decades. Why shouldn’t haunted houses films use them? The difference between monster and slasher films is that they are fiction-based, and the audience understands that. The film can still be enjoyed as it is, a fun movie. Horror movies still use various methods to scare audiences. It loses its originality and impact when movies are based on true events.