Tuesday, January 1, 2013
The State of All Things Horror
I like to take the first post of the year to reflect back on the year that was and forward at the one that lays ahead. Unlike most of my personal new year's resolutions (I am going to lose four pant sizes this year), the goals posted here actually have a chance at coming to fruition.
This wasn't just a banner year for horror, it was a tremendous year for movies in general Within the genre, fans saw a number of overseas films make a splash, thanks to increased attention online and the omnipresent video-on-demand opportunity provided by iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and more. Titles like The Loved Ones, REC 3 and Sleep Tight got more press and notoriety than they would have a scant few years ago. Stateside the production company Blumhouse productions continued to milk their formula that brought big returns on small investments, following up on last year's surprise hit Insidious with Sinister, one of the few horror films aimed at at an adult audience, and one hell of a creepy success. The indies continued to be the place where smart horror found a home, as IFC Midnight and Magnet put out a slate of strong releases, including Ti West's comedic ghost story The Innkeepers and Oscar Winner Barry Levinson's foray into horror films with environmental fright flick The Bay.
What gives me the most pause though is how great a year it was for movies as a whole. The list of top tier movies schedules and availability haven't allowed me to see humbles me and fill up many best of lists: CLOUD ATLAS, THE MASTER, LINCOLN, AMOUR, HOLY ROLLERS among them. On the plus side, Rian Johnson made the case that time travel doesn't need to make one's head explode in the thoroughly enjoyable LOOPER (my wife's favorite film since In Brugues). Tarantino is seven for seven with DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE RAID: REDEMPTION has made it impossible to do anything but scoff at lesser, bloated action movies.
The above paragraph is what gives me pause. Is it time to blow this whole thing up? Chris and I have talked about moving off Blogger for a professionally designed site. If we do that, it begs the question if we blow up the scope of our coverage to include any and everything: Action, Science Fiction, Drama, etc etc. I'd love to move in this direction, but two things hold me back. First, we never wanted to be a "news" site. There's plenty of places you can go to read opinion-free reporting on industry coming and goings. That's not what we want to be. Still, the fact remains we need more content (more on that in a second). Whatever comes of it, our goal is to be a site you check first thing in the morning, during your lunch break on your smart phone and the last thing you read before turning out the lights. Two, three or ten day stretches with nothing posted isn't going to get it done.
As far as content goes, last year okay. We published 220 posts last year, 29 more than a year ago. One of the goals of the past year was to add writers, and thankfully, we've had consistent contributions from Dede and Sean, despite me being a bit lazy when it comes to feeding them material for review/discussion. I'd like to add at least to more regular writers this year, with the goal of getting two posts a month from each contributor, with Chris and I handling the rest. One thing we could use is a book reviewer. We get multiple requests a week for novel reviews, but the fact is when I'm reading, I'm usually doing so for enjoyment and not the site (Can the next Song of Fire & Ice novel just hurry up and get here already?). Outside of this site, Chris and I both became regular contributors to others, which is a blast as well as a challenge when it comes to managing time. Chris, Dede and I were both lucky enough to cover a number of film festivals (BUFF, Fantasia and Fantastic Fest among them) and I for one am wistfully counting down the days until I'm back in Austin and the Alamo Drafthouse.
The monthly screening series continues to grow heading into its third year. Last fall we were thrilled to partner with the Viscera Film Organization and present the first ever ETHERIA FILM FESTIVAL which screened action and science fiction short films all helmed by incredibly gifted women. We hosted a special screening of DUST UP with Amber Benson on hand for a Q&A. My personal highlight was Shudderfest, capped off by being one of the few stateside festivals screening the Soska's AMERICAN MARY. There are few things that compare to the thrill of hosting a packed theater for a night of movies.
He's not one to ever take credit for his work, but the truth is Chris is the one responsible for any success we had with the movie night last year, especially Etheria. Chris picked up the slack when my attention waned, and worked his ass off making sure people knew about these events and that the presentations ran smoothly. He also secured a set night each month for us to continue hosting our events. aside from one month later this year, we'll be presenting independent horror feature and short films at the Somerville Theater the third Saturday of each month. Mark it on your schedules.
Aside from adding more writers and hosting larger events, I'd like to add both a multimedia component to the site and become more of a community resource. We tried and failed at podcasting this past year. As much as I love listening to podcasts, the truth is I lack the time to record and edit a top notch feed, and I lack the recording resources to make it sound good. Maybe that will change, but for the time being I'm exploring alternatives. I also want this to be a place that has a bigger footprint in the Boston area. Whether it be as simple as having an events section where local theaters can list upcoming genre fare or something that acts more as an outreach program and partnership with the myriad of creative persons involved in the horror community also remains to be seen.
Most of all we want to thank all of you for reading the site. Readership is about double what it was this time last year. We've added close to two hundred Facebook followers since October and we're seeing our articles shared across a number of platforms. As much fun as it is to write, it's tenfold better when you know there's an audience.
Labels: state of all things horror