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EDITORIAL RAMBLINGS: The State Of Today’s Horror Industry

Decades have past since I fell in love with the horror genre. The first time I sat wide-eyed watching the original A Nightmare On Elm Street back in 1984, I was hooked.

Back in the 80’s and early 90’s things were much different. The was no CGI, no low cost cameras for any wannabe film maker to shoot a quality film, no VOD, no ITunes, no Amazon, and no RedBox. Back in these days things were shot on much more expensive film. The film cost money, developing the film cost money, and editing it cost money. You also had to have more than an ounce of technical savvy to even have an image exposed properly on the film. Every year there were just a handful of genre titles released. There was only so much money to go around at the studios, so projects had to be hand picked and the quality of the story and film makers had to be there. They had to entrust one in order to create a quality product. That’s not to say bad choices weren’t made; not all of these were of said quality, but most were better than what we  currently see popping up in digital media today. But back then someone else besides the film maker had to believe in the project, whether it was rich parents, investors, or some other party to open their wallets to make a film production happen.

98% shown are not worth a dime

Today you can purchase an inexpensive HD camera (even a $5000 camera is inexpensive compared to the costs of productions decades ago) and you can shoot whatever you want. This is amazing, inspiring, and great for aspiring film makers. The bad thing is, these aspiring film makers can go out, make a subpar or even a downright unwatchable film, and distributors will pick it up. Why? Because today digital distribution is an inexpensive business, a fraction of the cost of what it was back in the day. All they have to do is create some cool looking and deceiving artwork and us horror fans will drop down the bucks it costs to watch it.

Now I have no problems with new film makers going out there and creating projects to hone their craft, to become a better film maker, to learn the ropes, to learn from their mistakes. But should horror fans get sucked in to the fancy artwork, shell out money for someone’s practice project? No. That’s why there is YouTube, Vimeo, and a million other free video services for these film makers to get feedback on their projects. But some distributors will snatch it up and rob us of some cash to watch it.

This is the trending rule we are seeing. Grab any horror title from RedBox that you haven’t heard of before and watch it, you’ll know what I mean. After watching it read viewer reviews on RedBox and you’ll see that the masses agree. Sure there are exceptions to this rule. I, in fact, have seen some great first films from film makers, yes low budget but they have been original and entertaining. I just wish the distribution companies would use better judgement before acquiring properties that are not worth paying a dime for. But they know horror fans are extreme, we’ll watch anything if it looks good. So they exploit that.

Any film made should be seen, that’s my opinion, however having people pay $3.99 or even $1.20 at RedBox for an unwatchable film is unfair.

There’s so many genre films flooding the market that it’s hard to tell what’s going to be good or not. What films to get excited for. Reading critics reviews are deceiving too, due to the fact that most bloggers will “PAD” a review so they will not lose their freebies from the distribution companies, which is sad. I’ve seen some pretty exaggerated review quotes on some very bad films. You may say that was just my opinion of a film, yes this is true. But if a film maker can’t even cut together shots properly, or form a competent sequence, then it’s not just me. If a reviewer will look over these fundamentals on making a film, they shouldn’t be writing reviews. I made films for awhile, I got out of making them because it’s fucking hard work, and I believed my product was not worth charging someone to watch them. I never charged a dime. I always made them available free. I knew where I stood in the game.

With the current system of distribution, there will never be another Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, or Eli Roth, because amazing talents like these will get caught up in the shuffle, they will blend in with the sophomoric directors that are saturating the genre and this is sad.

Our most popular content on the site is our Retro Reviews and there’s certainly a reason. Readers remember the good old days, being excited about a certain title to hit the theaters, or rushing to the video store the day of a title’s release to snatch it up before anyone else.

It’s good to see that aspiring film makers being able to create the projects they want to make, but on the flip side, it leaves the true horror fans unenthusiastic and jaded about the quantity of titles being thrown at us.

This is just my opinion. A passionate and honest one.

What are your opinions on the subject?

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Chad Armstrong

President/Co-Owner at LC Films
Chad Armstrong is a writer/producer/director who was born and raised in Long Beach CA. In 2009 he relocated to Alabama where he founded LeglessCorpse, a site dedicated to independent horror films, and soon after created the indie horror distribution company LeglessCorpse Films (currently known as LC Films). Not only is he co-owner of and LC Films he is also President of the newly formed Back Aisle Video label. Chad's most recent feature film is Deimosimine, and currently in development on the feature film Blood Dancers 2: Full Moon.