Return to the Paranormal: Popularity Of Paranormal Activity Franchise
The late 1960’s and 1970’s were dominated by a series of supernatural themed horror films beginning with Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and including The Exorcist (1973), which would for two years be the highest grossing film of all time before being overtaken by Jaws. Other popular films of that period that dealt with the supernatural included The Other (1971), Carrie (1976), The Omen (1976) and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980).
Following the success of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980), films about the paranormal would decline in popularity as slasher films became the preferred choice for the teenage dominated horror movie crowd. Though the highest grossing horror film of the 1980’s, Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, was certainly a film about the supernatural. Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street combined supernatural themes with the slasher movie format.
Over the last decade the horror movie market has been dominated by blood gushing thrillers such as Saw and Hostel, but films dealing with the supernatural have seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to a well made low budget film called Paranormal Activity. Made independently for $15,000, and released by Paramount Pictures, the film grossed about $108,000.000 in the United States, making it the most profitable movie ever produced. Two sequels followed with a fourth on the way. (See the Paranormal Activity 4 Trailer at the end of this article).
Paranormal Activity was written and directed by Ornel Peli, and told the story of two kids In their early 20’s, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), who move into a brand new house in San Diego where Katie, who has been haunted by demonic presence since childhood, believes her supernatural stalker has followed them. Micah purchases the latest in recording equipment to record what transpires in their bedroom while the young couple sleeps. The film expects you to put aside logic such as how these kids can afford this house let alone a Sony HDR-FX1 (Katie is still in college) and as to why they would stay in a house that turns out to be clearly hauned. Of course, one could argue since that Katie has been followed by this presence since she was a child, anywhere they go would be unsafe.
Micah’s camera picks up quite a few things that go bump in the night, including Katie being pulled out of bed and down the hallway by an unseen force. As the story continues, Micah believes that his young wife is coming down ill, poised by the demon that haunts her, but in reality Katie is becoming possessed.
The original version of the film ends with Katie killing Micah and then looking up at the camera with an evil grin on her face that will send chills down your spine. The image fades to a black screen with information written across is that informs us that Katie’s whereabouts are unknown. An alternative and far less satisfying ending features Katie cutting her throat. It’s certainly creepy but not nearly so much as that evil grin and being told that Katie’s whereabouts are unknown!
With much of the story being seen through the lens of Micah’s camera, Paranormal Activity also capitalizes on the current popularity of reality television. Certainly one of the most horrific inventions of the 21st century! This is a film most enjoyed watched at night and after it’s over and you are getting ready for bed you just may be wondering where Katie may be.
You can Follow Michael Goth on Twitter @michael_goth
(Note: This article is dedicated to Jeannine Colatorti, who said that I should write it.)
Paranormal Activity 4 Trailer
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