Slasher vs Paranormal: Which sells best ?


Have you ever caught yourself being confused, when asked about your favorite horror movie? Saw , for instance, is a horror film, but so is Paranormal Activity. But is it alright to compare those two, as in which one was better? Probably, not. Even though they lie under the ‘Horror Film’ umbrella, they represent different genres. Saw is a slasher film, based on gore and gruesome images, where blood and physical torture are irreplaceable. It is a film that will make you shiver with disgust.

On the other hand, Paranormal Activity, belongs – surprise, surprise – to the metaphysical, psychological horror genre, where the sound , the darkness and just a hint of demonic presences are enough to make the viewer shiver.

It is a different kind of shiver, though. It is the shiver that will keep you awake staring at the door, in case it suddenly starts squeaking.

But after all, is it the brutal bloodshed or the silent spectral haunting that wins at this battle?

Based on the let-the-numbers-talk theory, the oscar goes to the invisible boogeyman. The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity are symbolic examples of how a very low-budget film can achieve a multi-million revenue target. Likewise, the very recent The Conjuring highlights this money-making phenomenon.

A hypothetical list, would put those three – maybe The Grudge, The Ring and The Others also – in the top ranking. According to the let-the-numbers-talk theory, a film that cost a few thousands of dollars and ended up making over a hundred millions, certainly couldn’t be low in the success ladder. The $15,000 production budget used to create Paranormal Activity engendered a $193,000,000 trend. As for The Blair Witch Project a worldwide gross of $249,000,000 was generated from merely $60,000.

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To all fairness, some splatter horror movies have managed to secure a decent spot in this hypothetical list. Saw and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are two ideal cases. Their production budgets, $1,2 million for the first and $9,5 million for the latter, were higher than the above ghost-loving films – well, of course, apparently all those gallons of blood must have cost a fortune – but, still, their profits did justice to these investments. The Scream-masked murders appear to be quite rewarding, as well. Wes Craven‘s baby took roughly about $14 million to generate $174 million.

From the financial perspective, the ghost in the attic prevails, indicating that it is the most profitable source if used correctly. Slash movies have to be very special to create a trend and become successful. There needs to be a limit to the level of gore they promote, because the risk of crossing the line of the “acceptable” is very high. When they do cross the line, they instantly become a joke.

When it comes to posthumous fame, slash films become “twisted disgust” and the metaphysical ones “gripping horror”.


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