Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New horror out on DVD this week... and a bit of a rant.

There's only two horror releases this week: there's the big, box-office juggernaut, "Resident Evil: Extinction" and "Solstice", from Daniel Myrick, one of the directors of "The Blair Witch Project".

Daniel Myrick didn't do much after "Blair Witch" came out. In fact, wasn't there an urban legend that he just took the millions he made off "Blair Witch" and said 'F it, I'm out!', then spent the next few years in a stupor? Either that's what he did... or what everyone else would've done. Either way, after a "break" from making movies, he's been busy with straight to DVD releases since 2006, including: "The Strand", "Believers", "The Objective" and, the DVD being released today, "Solstice". A side note, the other director of "Blair Witch", Eduardo Sanchez, had a similar "break" from making movies, then came out with "Altered" in 2006, the straight to DVD film about the group of hicks who abduct the same alien that abducted them fifteen years earlier... and it wasn't that bad. Maybe it was Eduardo that spent that decade in a stupor? Seriously, what were they doing for almost 10 years? Regardless, Myrick managed to recruit a few decent B (maybe C) listers, such as Shawn Ashmore from "X-Men", Hilarie Burton from "One Tree Hill" and, none other than R. Lee Ermey, from the new "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" series and "Full Metal Jacket". "Solstice" takes place less than a year after Megan lost her twin sister to suicide and her and her college-bound friends take one last road trip to the family home out on the Louisiana bayou. That's where a handsome local teaches them the Creole spell of the summer solstice, they try to resurrect the sister's spirit, deadly results follow.

Then, there's "Resident Evil: Extinction", the third film based on the hugely successful video game franchise. It was written and produced by Paul W.S. Anderson, the guy who wrote and directed the first one, then wrote and produced the second one. Anderson's the guy behind the "Mortal Kombat" movies, as well as the "AVP" movies. This genre is sort of his "thing". It was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who's done lots of TV and music video's... and "Highlander", "Highlander II: The Quickening" and "Ricochet", check out his imdb listing, he's all over the map. In any case, I'm betting that most of you have probably seen "Resident Evil: Extinction", if not... it's exactly what you'd expect. Milla Jovovich showing off her acting "ability" as she's wearing next to nothing, while saying next to nothing... there's zombie's, deaths, explosions, bio-organic weapons... you know, the usual. What's really impressive, though, is the marketing behind this beast. They pulled out all the stops. From a detailed online presence and massive advertising campaign, to mobile media and contests, they're milking this every step of the way. Check out the website, here, for starters. Let's be honest, "Resident Evil: Extinction" is not a classic, the whole franchise bundled together isn't anything special, but Sony Pictures could fart out a fourth film and have it break $100 Million (combining domestic and international, of course). The reason being, "Resident Evil" is a franchise and they know exactly how to exploit that. Franchise's are what Hollywood is looking for because they're the easiest way for them to make money, not necessarily now... but in the years to come. (I may have to go into further depth on this in another post, but for now, trust me). So, if you're going to pick this movie up, take a good look at all the marketing surrounding it. If they did a good job on one thing, it's the marketing campaign. Now, low-budget filmmakers aren't going to be able to compete when it comes to mass media advertising, such as TV, outdoor advertising, radio, etc... but where you can compete is online. So many low-budget filmmakers just stop once they've finished post-production and think, what now? What now? Market it, get the word out. I've seen some great websites developed for low-budget films and, come one, almost everyone has a skinny, pastey friend who will make a decent site for a couple of 7-11 hotdogs and a case of Bud. With a little creativity, you can create some serious buzz... you may not make $150 Million at the box office, but maybe enough to make another movie.

Wow, that was a long rambling post for just two DVD releases... anyhow, here they are:

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