The Horror Honeys: Hacks, & Trolls, & Shills, OH MY!

Hacks, & Trolls, & Shills, OH MY!

The Evolution of the Over-Involved Horror Director

A Revenge Honey Rant!
When it comes to horror films, most fans (and critics for that matter), think that just about anyone can slap together a horror movie. You throw some blood at a screaming blonde actress, slap a mask on a hulking dude with limited speech abilities, and VOILA! You have a hit horror film. But the fact is, it's not that simple. If you don't get picked up by a distribution company, you have to do everything by yourself. That means hitting horror conventions and selling your movie one fan at a time, making good use of social media, and getting people to watch your movie, no matter what it takes.

But this DIY culture of filmmaking has lead to a unique phenomenon... one that seems to be pretty specific to the horror genre and that, is the over-involved director. These directors troll message boards and attack anyone who dares to dislike their film. They get all of their friends and family to rate the film highly on Netflix and IMDB in order to skew the ratings. They capitalize on borderline-pornographic pictures of their female star splattered in blood to draw in audiences. And all of this might be forgivable if the movie were any good. But here is the problem: their publicity tactics are smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that their movie is brutally awful.

But... is your movie any good? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!
Do you know who I'm talking about? I'm sure you can think of at least one horror director/actor/writer out there right now who is following you on Twitter, who is trying to convince you how controversial and awesome their film is, or maybe who is posting images of their lead actress's nude, blood-soaked "oops" face. Rather than admit they made a terrible film, which almost everyone who has seen it agrees it is, across the board, they employ the use of shock tactics to get attention. And while some people might fall for the self-induced hype, the rest of us are left thinking, "But... why?"

What makes this kind of shameless self-promotion so frustrating is that is DOES work, at the expense of exceptional writers and directors who get trampled in the wake of the desire for boobs and gore. For every five directors who will literally attack people who hate their movie (with good reason), there are ten who have made amazing films that can't get an audience. The question is...

How do we combat this phenomenon?

I still don't get it! What is your movie about?!?
Well, for one, pay close attention to who is writing the reviews you read. Are they a little too glowing? A little too similar to each other? Odds are, you are smack dab in the middle of a "shill." The director, and all his friends, and family, and crew, are out in full force writing reviews in an attempt to trick people into watching it. If there is one 5-star review for every ten 0-star freak outs, trust your instincts. The review that calls the movie "the most amazing awesome spectacular horror movie ever made, ohmygod it's better than Halloween!" is likely a plant.

Second, don't fall for the "LOOK OVER HERE! BOOBS! BLOOD! HEYYYY!" promotion. The fact is, if you have the hype AND the quality, you will get real attention from reputable sources. You don't even need the hype! If a film is great, and you can get people to watch it through means that don't involve shilling and trolling, then you will get attention. Reality check: you can only fool so many people into watching your movie before they eventually catch on that you're selling them a bill of goods. And horror fans are vocal. You may have your supporters, but detractors will be just as loudmouthed about their feelings. Maybe even more so as they annoyed that you wasted their time.

Well, apparently you're not fooling everyone.

The truth is, a good film will get the attention it deserves in time. It may take longer to get that attention, but at least it's garnered legitimately. And patience for the over-involved horror director will only last so long. Boobs and gore will only get you so far but you don't have the skill to back it up, you will inevitably end up on the one-hit wonder chopping block, along with Toni Basil and the trucker cap.

But at least Mickey still offers a good time at parties. Ineptly made horror films don't offer that same luxury.

This has been a Horror Honeys Public Service Announcement.