reprint from April '08
My good pal Eric Dee Snider and I were recently enjoying some Instant Messenger banter, and our main topic of conversation was this: Why are studios and distributors so damn scared of their own horror movies? Sure, I know the obvious answer: Of all the rotten movies released in one calendar year, a good portion of 'em will be horror movies -- because horror movies often represent the best low-overhead investment for a production company that's looking to earn a quick buck. Yes, a lot more potentially profitable than a comedy, a drama or (dear god) a low-budget action flick.
So if you KNOW you just finished post-production on a real stinkeroo, of course you'll want to "hide" it from the press for as long as possible. But here's what annoys me: Nowadays the distributors don't seem to have even the slightest clue as to what they're looking at. Case in point: This weekend's The Ruins, which (if measured on its own merits and its specific intentions) is a pretty damn effective horror movie -- so why did DreamWorks / Paramount refuse to screen it for the professional movie nerds? OK, to be fair, there was a press/promo screening at 9pm on April 3 -- but that means they're screening the flick THREE HOURS before it opens?