Friday, 23 July 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #560: Cutting Off The Saw...

Welcome to the show folks...

Lionsgate Pictures has announced that upcoming seventh
Saw film in 3D will be the final nail in the coffin of the venerable torture porn franchise. For those who don't know, the Saw films centered on the victims of a super-genius serial killer named Jigsaw who kidnaps them and forces them to go through horrendous suffering to teach them a lesson about valuing life or some such bullshit.

The main point is that first three made big money, over $100 million a piece with the sort of production and marketing budgets usually spent on teeth whitener for Julia Roberts. The following films started to slip at the box office, but it didn't matter, they were still done cheap enough to be profitable. Now they've come to realize that when they felt they had to do the next one in 3D the whole thing was past over. Too bad they didn't come to that realization before pissing away millions on making it a 3D movie.

There are two hard and fast rules in the world of low budget horror film-making:

1. If the movie makes money, there will be sequels.
That's inevitable. When horror fans find something that scares them, they will want more, and the companies will be glad to provide them. However, doing the sequels leads to rule two...

2. After the third installment the movies will become self-parody. The plots will get really repetitive, the gore effects will go far beyond the laws anatomy and physics, and the killer/monster will reach a point of total unbelievability that even the supernatural can't carry.

With rule two in effect the producers will try all kinds of stunts, especially in the torture porn/slasher genres. They'll announce that the killer will get his comeuppance, only to be replaced by a 'new generation' killer, then the original killer will somehow come back from the dead, yadda, yadda, yadda...

Then even the hardcore fans will say: "Why bother? It's doing nothing but setting up another sequel," and start to stay away. Then they start spending more money on bigger stunts... like doing it in the new and expensive 3D, and watch it start to lose money.

So here's some sage advice when you have a horror franchise:


Assume that sequels will be in offing, so come up with a plan where you can make a nice, neat trilogy, a quadrilogy at the complete most, and wrap it up. Then move onto the next franchise with fans who don't have a sense of bitter resentment from watching you flog a dead horse.

It's not rocket science, it's entertainment.

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