Comparisons to Classics in Modern Horror Film Marketing

In both formal and informal marketing efforts, modern horror films are often compared to classic horror films. It’s not uncommon to see statements that a new horror film, for example, "evokes" or "is the scariest film since" a classic like The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973) or The Shining (Kubrick, 1980). But do these comparisons ultimately help or hurt modern horror films? And how, specifically, do these comparisons contribute to marketing efforts that are effective (or not)? I think the role of factors such as hype and viewer expectation may be particularly interesting to consider.

  • I think this is a good topic. I expect the comparisons to the classics will form certain expectation for the audiences, and failing to do so would hurt the sale. It would also be important to examine the cases of success and failure in such marketing and what contributed to the results. – idleric 6 years ago
  • As you mentioned comparisons to classics are marketing tools to inspire hype so at what point does it become ineffective? It would be neat to find examples or modern horror advertised in this way and review two case studies where audiences felt completely differently about the films themselves. Does claiming something is "like" a classic become diluted the more it's said or just when audiences respond negatively to the claim? Has these kid of claims ruined any third party rating or review sites? – Slaidey 6 years ago
  • Amazing idea! Might also be interesting to throw in a couple of examples when horror films claim to be "like nothing you've seen before!" for comparison and see how they've succeeded. For example, I think the marketing for Paranormal Activity (although not an entirely new concept at the time) really played on the idea that the film was the scariest thing anyone will ever see, with those videos of audience reactions in the cinema. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 6 years ago
  • I think the shifting of subgenres in horror provides an interesting counterpoint to go against the need to compare the old with the new. There will always inherently be comparisons, but Saw and Rosemary's Baby are two completely different types of horror, and even looking at the box office takeover Paranormal Activity had against Saw, there's less of a comparison of content and more so a comparison of what audiences want to see. – SarahKnauf 6 years ago

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