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Articles & Advice

Have a Horrible Holiday

Horror Equity Fund discusses the relationship between Horror and the Holidays.

'Twas the night after X-mas and all through the house…  bodies and corpses were starting to mount...

Most people don’t think of Horror when they think winter Holidays, but there are those fans who cannot wait for the seasonal frights that come along with Santa Claus, and Rudolph.

You don’t have to look much further than 1894 when Chapman & Hall published Charles Dicken’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL where the penny-pinching Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, each more frightening than the last, to know that holidays and horror have often gone hand in hand.

As a modern screenwriter, the winter vacation time offers a special kind of holiday gift.  Today more than ever, there is intense pressure for writers to find a hook that allows the producer to elevate their product above the noise.  That’s why producers are more interested in previously existing IP or a marketing hook because that gives them a built-in audience.

Is there anything in the world that is more identifiable than the winter holidays? The holiday season is a marketing juggernaut.  A fact that Hollywood has embraced starting with short adaptations of the Dicken’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1913) to A Nightmare on 34th Street (2017).  There has been an association between the season and Horror that has been frighteningly fun and profitable.

Love it or hate it the horror genre is the highest return on investment (ROI) segment in entertainment, and generally requires a lower budget entry into production – for example, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was produced for a used car price of $15,000, and went on to amass close to $200 MILLIONS worldwide.  The last installment of the franchise, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: The Ghost Dimension, is set during the holidays and while not the blockbuster returns of its progenitor the film still made close to 8 times its budget worldwide. 

According to IMDB there have been twenty-five Horror/Holidays themed movies release in the last three years.

So, why this special relationship?  Why is Horror so prevalent during the holidays?  Why bring fear into the season of peace on earth, and good will toward men?

The cathartic experience of sitting through a Horror film is akin to a rollercoaster ride.  The mind KNOWS that you’re safe, but the “fight or flight” instinct screams, “You’re going to DIE!” 

When we watch a frightening movie at this time of year, the warm fuzzy feeling that surrounds us also covers the opposite emotions hiding just under the surface. The adrenalin that happens when we are scared, replicates that feeling of risk, of danger.  When the killer leaps out of the closet and our hearts lodge in our throats our minds try to tell us that we’re okay, we’re safe, but our bodies react to the threat…  the killer is going to get us. 

In the safety of a dark theater, or seated on our couch and streaming, we get to face that uneasy feeling that the world isn’t such a safe and happy place.  We can face the Krampus, the evil killer, the Gremlin and ultimately both confirm our fears AND overcome them. We survive, we triumph, and unlike the victims on screen we get to walk away unharmed.

Utilizing the season offers a unique opportunity for the writer to create projects that appeal to the rabid Horror fan and piggybacks onto the marketing boost from the holidays. Not to use a dirty word, but EXPLOIT the holidays, and not just Christmas, but Hanukkah, Kwanza, the Winter Solstice, Diwali, even Festivus.

Exploit the history, tradition, and setting of the season to tell your story. Invite the audience to cuddle under the warm embrace of a cozy fire and a thick winter blanket, and then -  WHAM – send them hiding beneath the covers. They will emerge all the better for having survived.

When you’ve written your Horror/Holiday script – let us know at Horror Equity Fund (HEF). At HEF we want to bring Access, Participation, and Profits to fans, content creators and investors.  With us you can be a shareholder in Horror – If you want to learn more visit www.StartEngine.com/Horror-Equity-Fund

Horror Equity Fund was founded by Marlon Schulman and Brian Herskowitz.  The company provides Access, Participation, and Profits for fans, content creators, and investors by focusing on the highest return on investment segment in the entertainment industry - Horror. 
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