One reason why you see so many ghost and found footage movies at your local multiplex is that they’re incredibly cheap to produce. Paranormal Activity cost $15,000 to make, made $193 million worldwide and gave Paramount Pictures another horror franchise.
The studio realized how profitable cheap horror films could be back in 1980 when it jumped on the slasher bandwagon and distributed Friday The 13th, a $500,000 Halloween knock-off that made over $100 million and led to a seemingly endless series of sequels and clones.
They’d had considerably less success with Prophecy, a 1979 monster movie whose elaborate sets and special effects caused the budget to balloon to $12 million. As effects budgets began to skyrocket while future classics like The Thing went belly up commercially, it became clear that we were going to be seeing a lot more of Jason Voorhees and far fewer original monsters.
Based on the SyFy Channel’s output or, God forbid, the 2011 remake of The Thing, you could be forgiven for thinking there aren’t any decent monster films outside of Aliens, The Fly and Starship Troopers.
In which case, read on….
10. The Tingler
Starring Vincent Price, The Tingler is your typical story about an organism that attaches to the spine in moments of terror and can only be released by screaming. To ensure audience participation in the movie, director William Castle devised “Percepto”, the gimmick where war surplus motors were attached to random seats, causing them to vibrate at key moments during the film.
In the scene where Percepto was most obviously used, the screen goes black and Price tells the audience, “Do not panic….but scream! Scream for your lives! The Tingler is loose in this theatre! Keep screaming!”
Not only is The Tingler a terrific example of a fun horror picture, it’s also a communal experience, something that’s been lost in this era of VOD. If you ever get the opportunity to see it on the big screen, with the gimmick intact and fake medical personnel stationed in the lobby, cancel your plans and attend.