Fear-good hit of the summer: how did horror become a year-long box office slayer?

the Guardian | 7/15/2019 | Steve Rose

Climate change is affecting everything, even cinema. It used to be that horror movies were for winter, when the nights were drawing in and summer blockbusters were in hibernation. Now the genre is a year-round proposition. It used to be that you released your horror movie in Halloween and called it something like Halloween. Now you can release a horror movie in midsummer, and call it … Midsommar.

In the past few months, we’ve been getting more than a horror movie a week. In UK cinemas you currently have the choice of Midsommar, Child’s Play, In Fabric, Brightburn and – joining them this week – Annabelle Comes Home and The Dead Don’t Die, with Welsh folk-horror tale Gwen coming on Friday. And there is a whole summer of horror yet to come. It’s enough to make you want to stay in and watch Stranger Things.

Anxiety - Times - Reason - Sequels - Reboots

You could put all this down to global cultural anxiety about the unprecedentedly scary times we live in, but the reason is probably more prosaic than that. Sequels and reboots are crashing and burning this year: Men in Black International, Godzilla, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, The Lego Movie 2, and many more. Grown-up drama has abandoned the multiplexes for television, and comedies aren’t doing all that well, either. But horror is still something we like to congregate in darkened rooms to watch. Horror movies are now like the undergrowth on the forest floor: when the big trees fall they are always there, ready to move in and take advantage. Not all of them will be hits but, being cheap to make with potentially huge profits, they don’t need to be.

The studios know this. The Conjuring, out of which the Annabelle series was spun, was also a July hit. Annabelle Creation also came out in August. Likewise, Paramount reportedly...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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