Ghosts scare off gore for Halloween movies

Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:20pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After almost a decade in which torture films dominated the box office, horror movies are returning to ghostly thrills with a new slew of low-budget productions making big money for studios.

The success of 2009's "Paranormal Activity" - which was made for $15,000 and grossed more than $107 million at U.S. box offices - has fueled a thirst in audiences and movie studios for things that go bump in the night.

Halloween audiences previously gripped by the gory "Saw" franchise about a sadistic serial killer are flocking this season to see supernatural horrors, with "Sinister" and "Paranormal Activity 4" providing otherworldly scares for the spooky festivities.

The supernatural trend, with very little blood, started this year with "The Woman in Black" and "The Apparition", and will spill into 2013 with upcoming horror films including "Mama", "Evil Dead", "Carrie", and ghostly spoof "Scary Movie 5", which will parody "Paranormal Activity".

"It's a return to a more classic style of suspense," Henry Joost, who co-directed the third and fourth "Paranormal Activity" films with Ariel Schulman, told Reuters.

"When you've just been obliterated with gore, having it slammed in your face for a decade, you respond by seeking the opposite."

"Sinister", currently playing in U.S. movie theaters for Halloween-loving audiences, features an author (Ethan Hawke) who discovers home videos of mysterious murders and soon finds himself pursued by an otherworldly presence.

Director Scott Derrickson said audiences were drawn to bloodless supernatural horrors as a means to escape from news about wars and violent killings.   Continued...

A scene from the new Paramount Pictures horror film "Paranormal Activity 4" is pictured in this undated publicity photograph. REUTERS/Dean Hendler/2012 Paramount Pictures/All Rights Reserved/Handout