8 Hollywood Stars Who Started Their Careers in B Horror Movies

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We all have to start somewhere and for some of Hollywood’s greats that was acting in B Horror movies. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find out who of the current Hollywood elite have had parts in some pretty bad B Horror movies. From seductive snake people to genetically altered tomatoe invasions, they have done it all. And by bad I mean totally worth watching as soon as humanly possible.

Lair of the White Worm movie poster

Hugh Grant – The Lair of The White Worm

Yep, you read that right, romcom star Hugh Grant was in a horror movie and a weird one at that. Lair of The White Worm directed by Ken Russel is just plain strange. Grant plays the hero who comes from a long family lineage of battling the noted White Worm(s). Synopsis: When an archaeologist uncovers a strange skull in a foreign land, the residents of a nearby town begin to disappear, leading to further inexplicable occurrences. The investigation leads to a sort of snake cult that ultimately Grant helps to dispatch. If you have never seen a Ken Russel film I say why not start here. It’s a bit odd but it’s also a pretty good time. Your first Grant sighting might throw you off but after a while, you’ll find he plays a convincing hero here.

Mark Ruffalo – Mirror Mirror 2 Raven Dance

Mirror Mirror 2 horror movie poster

Avengers Mark Ruffalo had to start somewhere and in the 1990’s it turns out horror was an option. You’ve probably never heard of this horror movie and well there is a reason for that. In Mirror Mirror 2 Raven Dance – A ghostly mirror is found hidden in a church orphanage, yet few realize its legacy of evil. When an innocent teen discovers that she is being stalked by her evil stepsister, the mirror’s demonic power is again unleashed. As the mirror gains strength from the blood of the damned, the ultimate battle between good and evil begins. This was one of the first few films he was in and he apparently liked it so much he went back for Mirror Mirror 3.

Katherine Heigl – Valentine

Valentine horror movie poster

Valentine’s Day 1980 something: The story starts at the school dance where a geeky Jeremy Melton faces one rejection after another when asking four popular girls to dance with him. A fifth, less popular girl, agrees, and they end up making out under the bleachers. When a group of school bullies catches them, the girl claims that Jeremy attacked her. The bullies proceed to strip off his clothes and beat him up in front of the entire school. Fast forward to 2001 where the students are all now in their 20s. After a disastrous date with a loser, one of the girls, a pre-med student, is murdered by a Cherub-mask wearing killer who sent her a death threat in the form of a Valentine card prior to the attack. After the four remaining girls are reunited at her funeral, they all start receiving similar cards and the slasher mayhem ensues.

Katherine Heigl doesn’t make it more than 8 minutes into this one before she is murdered but her name still appears on the top of the movie poster for obvious reasons.

George Clooney – Return to Horror High/Return of The Killer Tomatoes

Horror high movie poster

George Clooney grabbed two classic B Horror movies for his credits.

Return to Horror High – In 1982, at Crippen High School, a serial killer escapes justice following a murderous rampage. Five years later, Cosmic Pictures comes to town to make a film about the Crippen High murders in the abandoned school where they occurred. However, shortly after filming begins, police are called to the scene to investigate another massacre.

Return of The Killer Tomatoes – The title pretty much sums up this horror comedy franchise but just in case here is a quick rundown. Crazy old Professor Gangreen has developed a way to make tomatoes look human for a second invasion. And there you have it genetically altered tomatoes that attack!

Leonardo Dicaprio – Critters 3

Critters 3 horror movie poster

The critters franchise holds dear to my heart. Although it never went fully mainstream it is a classic in many horror collectors libraries, mine included. Leo is so young in the movie you will barely know it’s him, but there he is in one of his first full length movies.

In what appears to be a cross between Critters and The Towering Inferno, the residents of a shoddy L.A. apartment block are chased up to the roof by hoards of the eponymous hairy horrors. These little cryptids went on for 2 more movies with the latest Critters movie being 2019. Maybe more stars will be born before they are done!

Brad Pitt – Cutting Class

Cutting class horror movie poster

Another Hollywood super star who kicked it off in Horror. Brad is as Brad as ever in this one so it’s no surprise that he went on to greatness afterwards. He never fully left the genre though as he has more credits back in horror notably with the movie Seven.

Synopsis – High school student Paula Carson’s affections are being sought after by two of her classmates: Dwight, the “bad boy”, and Brian, a disturbed young man who has just been released from a mental hospital where he was committed following the suspicious death of his father. Soon after being released, more murders start happening. Is Brian back to his old tricks, or is Dwight just trying to eliminate the competition?

Tom Hanks – He Knows You’re Alone

He knows you're alone horror movie poster

Tom Hanks!?! Yep even Tom Hanks put in his horror time with this 80’s slasher flick.

Synopsis – A reluctant bride to be is stalked by a serial killer who stalks and kills brides and well anyone around them. While her friends get whacked one by one, a hard boiled renegade cop whose bride had been killed years before tries to hunt him down before it is too late. Meanwhile, the bride has to figure out if it is all in her imagination or not, aided by her ex-boyfriend.

Jennifer Aniston – Leprechaun

Leprechaun horror movie poster

If this were a top ten list Leprechaun with Jennifer Anniston would likely be #1. This 90’s gem has become a classic for any horror lover. I mean who wouldn’t love a murderous tiny Leprechaun running amok? If you watch this beware that Lucky Charms will never be the same!

Synopsis – When Dan O’Grady returns to the U.S. after stealing some Irish leprechaun’s pot of gold, he thinks he can settle down and enjoy his newfound wealth. He thought wrong. The leprechaun followed him and O’Grady barely gets away with his life, having locked the little monster in his basement. Ten years later, J.D. and his spoiled daughter Tory (Anniston) move in. By accident, the leprechaun is released and almost immediately the murderous creature starts to look for his gold, not displaying any respect for human life.

We here at Puzzle Box Horror spend most of our time looking into the history and lore of horror. From ghosts and hauntings, authors, and movies to strange creatures you have never heard of this is what we do. Stop by anytime to learn more about the roots of horror.

A Collection of Dreamscapes – Haunting Horror Poems

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I don’t read nearly enough poetry, and I review even less of it. In fact, only recently was it brought to my attention that “dark poetry” is a sub-genre (and one that I need more of in my life). For readers like me Christina Sng’s A Collection of Dreamscapes is the perfect introduction into this macabre literary form!

This absorbing and haunting collection of poems is grouped into five sections: The Love Song of Allegra, Fairy Tales, All the Monsters in the World, The Capacity of Violence, and Myths and Dreamscapes. Below I will give some brief thoughts on each section.

The Love Song of Allegra

This section contains 17 poems that give us glimpses into a fantasy world of war, betrayal, and revenge. It’s a creation myth, oral history, action/adventure story, and epic battle of good vs evil (or humans vs demons) all rolled into one and set nicely in the same vein as traditional classic myths and legends. At its core is a violent, gruesome, and vivid tale of vengeance, and I like how the poems mostly focus on specific characters and scenes, while also hinting at the larger world/story surrounding them. My only complaint is I wanted to know more about this world, these characters (like the warrior Mephala or Margritte, the daughter of fire and ice), and what all happens next. Some favorites include “The Child Who Would Be Queen, “The King Who Became a Sycophant,” and “Lifegiver”.

Fairy Tales

This section contains 15 poems that all function as sorts of “fractured” fairy tales, based on stories we know and love, but with twists and dark deviations. There’s Little Red Riding Hood, whose first encounter with the wolf launches her young career as a monster hunter, a toughened orphan facing werewolves and much more. There’s Beauty, who becomes mother to Rapunzel, and the Beast, who devolves into an abusive husband. There’s the continuation of this tale where Rapunzel escapes captivity to hunt down her father and seek her revenge. And there are plenty more dark parodies to enjoy, including versions of Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and an intriguing and humorous twist on “Snow White” that has been updated to modern times and technology. Some favorites include “Snow,” “Always a Beast,” and “Beauty Sleeps for a Century”.

All the Monsters in the World

This section contains 15 poems about, unsurprisingly, monsters. However what is surprising is just how tender, beautiful, and forlorn some of the poems are. Sng explores our conception of what a monster is and examines the term from every angle. There is much variety here, be the cruel creatures human or otherwise. The stories shift perspective and some of the most interesting poems are the ones that are written from the point of view of the monster, causing us to feel an empathy we might not have otherwise. It was in this section that I really began to think of Sng’s magical ability to hook us in and engage with just a single poem, springing characters and circumstances to life in a matter of lines. I also noticed the author’s tendency (and joy) at placing some sort of twist or “reveal” at the end of her poems. Some favorites include “The Monsters Within,” “Memoirs in the Dark,” “Concepts,” and “Into the Tall Grass”. 

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The Capacity of Violence

This section contains 17 poems of grim and ghastly brutality. Though previous sections have contained violence, the ante is certainly upped in this segment. There’s a variety of perspectives, from victim to bystander to captor to killer, and the acts of violence are carried out in numerous ways. Cruelty is committed by loved ones, by random aggressors, and even by the recently deceased. There are stories of sacrifice and stories of being scarified. A running motif seeks to answer the questions What will we do to protect the ones we love? and What lengths will we go to seek revenge?. Some favorites include “Mortal Life,” “The Deer,” “The Tooth Collector,” and “A Future Without Fear”.

Myths and Dreamscapes

This final section contains 20 poems that are, admittedly, hard to categorize (as perhaps the title would imply). They are tales that span time and space. Tales of creation and destruction, of chaos and rebirth. They incorporate characters and events from Greek mythology, fantastical dreamworlds, and new and exciting lands of adventure. The stories are woven by a connective thread of journeys, exploration, and the desire to escape (by choice or by necessity) to a better place. Some favorites include “Starlight, “Future World,” and “The New World”.

A Collection of Dreamscapes horror poetry cover

A Collection of Dreamscapes is an excellent collection of poetry, full of poems that are worth reading over and over. Needless to say the beautifully descriptive language and fervent imagination of the author make for wonderful stories. Their cruelty, brutality, and violence clearly put the collection as a whole in the category of “dark poetry,” but that’s not to say there aren’t also stories of grace, love, and redemption. Christina Sng is a master at getting right to your heartstrings, whether the poem is an epic narrative or a short snippet of a particular moment. My only real complaint is that I’m often left hanging and wanting to know more about the characters and worlds that are being created only to end several stanzas later (that and the fact that occasionally some poems come across a little too formulaic/generic). But I still highly recommend this, and I think there’s a little something everyone could enjoy as the collection overall has a wonderful blend of style, stories, and genres.

A Collection of Dreamscapes is available now from Raw Dog Screaming Press.

A Common Crime – Psychological Thriller

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A Common Crime (2021) is the new Argentinian psychological thriller with supernatural elements from director Francisco Márquez. Having not seen his directorial debut The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis (2016), I went into this piece relatively blind, albeit interested in the Argentine perspective of what a grounded horror/thriller should be. What I didn’t expect was that the film might reignite memories of one of my favorite, though sadly most neglected, directors.

From its opening scenes A Common Crime permeates a sparse realism that, while inducing a mild anxiety, also for me echoes the subtle and meticulous stylings of Austrian virtuoso Michael Haneke. With majority diegetic sound and very little music, viewers are made to feel a part of the world they are watching, that is if they can get past the apparent ‘slowness’ that it shares with Haneke’s work. Long, rigorous camera takes allow each scene and the performances within them to breathe, and the result is absolutely hypnotic. 

The plot is simple enough; sociology teacher Cecilia (Elisa Carricajo) has a maid whose son is constantly harassed by the police. One night Cecilia awakens to the boy knocking frantically at her door. Fear takes over and she merely hides in the shadows as some vague struggle seems to occur. When the boy shows up dead the next day Cecilia is plunged into a personal hell of paranoia and self-blame. Clear and definite themes of guilt and grief are explored within the tight, oddly-claustrophobic framing of Márquez’s world. Subtlety and detail are offered in bucketloads, along with a surprising amount of atmosphere from such a dark and restrained story.

That being said, this is no by-the-numbers thriller. Borderline experimental in presentation, you’d honestly be forgiven for growing tired of the repetitive psychological episodes A Common Crime descends into, or at least for hoping for some kind of payoff at the end of it all. That expectation came to me from repeated past viewings of Haneke’s beautifully bland stylings which almost always involved some kind of heavy shock punishment for letting his work seep into you. While trying to navigate the minefield of spoiler-free reviewing I can only say I was left with a confused, perhaps a little concerned, expression as the credits began to roll on this one. It took until the ending for me to realise that A Common Crime was nothing like I had expected. This is, on the one hand, a testament to its mesmerising nature, though that nature was primarily the thing which left me feeling lost on more than one occasion. 

A Common Crime movie poster featuring a woman screaming

Rather than make a full-blown psychological horror, Márquez shows a lot of discipline and moderation. A Common Crime sticks to it’s drama-fuelled thriller territory while using classic horror tools to enrich the presentation of its story. While most scares are longer-running and based around reactions, any up-front chills attack within enough space to enhance their effect. Even the score felt more dreamy than dread-inducing. That being said, the parts come together quite effectively as a whole. The unease I felt during its run time did reach that of films such as Hagazussa (2017) and Krisha (2015), as it relies more on its commitment to an uncanny feeling of irregularity that admirably holds up to the very end. 

A Common Crime is an honest, bold and intellectual drama which teeters on thriller territory in plot alone. Keeping enough to its chest to allow its mystery to envelop the viewer, it thrives in its own quiet world with barely an enhancement from clever editing or sound tricks, which in itself is an accomplishment. It may not be quite what you’re looking for, but give it time to sink in and you’ll be wanting more like it in a heartbeat.

A Gothic, Cosmic, and Psychological Lifetime of Horror: The 16 Greatest Short Stories from Robert Bloch

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Robert Bloch wrote literature that ranged from the psychologically terrifying to the downright “weird” horror; his inspiration stemmed both from watching his first scary film on his own as a child—and his subsequent nightmares—and his admiration for the stylistic horror of H.P. Lovecraft. His stories, however, are and always will be uniquely Robert Bloch, a genius in psychological horror with a splash of the supernatural. His deep interest in serial killers brought back anti-heroes like Norman Bates and Jack the Ripper.

“The Shambler From The Stars” (1935)

This particular short story first appeared in the September issue of Weird Tales, in 1935—later on, it was included as a part of his first published book, The Opener of the Way (1945). It was one of the many works that bore the influence of H.P. Lovecraft and can be considered part of the genre of cosmic horror. More than just another author following the footsteps of Lovecraft, Bloch still included elements of Lovecraftian influence, such as the inclusion of The Necronomicon, and The Book of Eibon. Deliciously self-indulgent, Bloch’s story is about a writer of weird fiction obsessed with learning all things occult when he looks to find the aforementioned esoteric tomes of forbidden knowledge. As we all know when it comes to Eldritch cosmic horror, this writer inevitably summons something disastrous.

“The Secret in the Tomb” (1935)

Another instance of cosmic horror in the early days of Bloch’s writing career, it has been compared directly to the stylistic literature of the father of cosmic horror himself—to the point that, if the author of this had been unknown, it would have been assumed to have been a product of Lovecraft. This dark, dank tale of eldritch horror and dread is lurking, just beyond sight, and awaiting the arrival of the last descendant of a long line of sorcerers.

“The Mannikin” (1937)

Another Weird Tales original, published in the April edition in 1937, we get a tale of a strange reclusive and a disfigured, hunchbacked man named Simon, whom the locals all despise. As a short story, of course, it doesn’t take long to find that this cosmic horror is based all around the diabolical hump on Simon’s back—just wait until you find out what the hump really is.

“The Sorcerer’s Jewel” (1939)

This is a story that Bloch originally published under the pen name Tarleton Fiske in Strange Stories Magazine, in 1939; in this story we see a similarity to “A Shambler in the Stars” when we follow a photographer who takes incredibly bizarre photos as his life’s passion. While he doesn’t believe in the occult, his assistant happens to be a devotee of a peculiar occult practice and everything changes when the photographer is brought an ancient jewel.

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“Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper” (1943)

Over the years, Robert Bloch’s short story “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper” has been adapted to various mediums following its publication—the story is about a man from Chicago who is approached by a gentleman from England who tells him that he’s looking for Jack the Ripper. This, of course, is strange on its own as the infamous serial killer should have died years before. The Englishman believes that Jack the Ripper has become immortal through occult means and that his serial murders are actually ritual sacrifices that restore his youth. The man from Chicago is enlisted to help to bring the Ripper to light.

“Satan’s Phonograph” (1946)

A slow burn for a short story, this haunting tale follows the narrator down memory lane as he tells the reader about the ingenious, but wildly mad piano teacher that helped him to reach Carnegie Hall—but when the pupil returns from his tours across Europe with his new wife in tow, he finds that his old teacher had been institutionalized—when his insane old teacher shows up in his house with a seemingly innocent phonograph and his wild theories, the narrator believes his teacher is simply delusional.

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“Sweets To The Sweet” (1947)

Bloch spins the thread of a sinister six-year-old girl, following the narrative of the housekeeper as she speaks to her former boss’s brother, who happens to be a lawyer. The housekeeper encourages the lawyer to look into what she believes to be a brutally abusive situation between father and daughter. She tells the brother about all of the signs of alcoholism and beatings, while the child is accused of witchcraft. When the lawyer finally goes to investigate what is happening in his brother’s home, he finds out that the truth may be more disturbing than he expects.

“Floral Tribute” (1949)

An eerie tale of a young boy being raised by his grandmother brings her fresh flowers home every day—it’s not until the inhabitants of the local cemetery come to speak with the grandmother that she finds out that he has been taking them from the graves of the nearby graveyard, where he plays among the tombstones.

“The Shadow From The Steeple” (1950)

Yet another story based in the Lovecraft universe, Bloch starts the story off with the friend of a character Lovecraft had killed in his short story “The Haunter in the Dark” whom Lovecraft had modeled after Bloch himself. A convoluted and dark fictional tale based on Lovecraft and his circle of writers, we get to see the authors appearing as characters of their own making. As another story within the Cthulhu Mythos, we see how involved Bloch was still within the Lovefcraft style even at this point in his career.

“Head Man” (1950)

An interesting spin on Nazi Germany’s obsession with the occult and paranormal, a SS executioner puts everything on the line to keep possession of the heads of a man and woman who had been charged with witchcraft and executed as a result.

“The Hungry House” (1951)

A tale that will once again make you fear your own reflection in a mirror; “The Hungry House” takes place after a couple moves into their new home. As they try to get comfortable in their new house they begin to see spooky inexplicable reflections around the house and dismiss it as being an overactive imagination. It’s not until the husband finds the locked closet in the attic that they realize something is incredibly wrong with their house—in it are all of the mirrors that the previous owners had removed from the walls of the house.

“Notebook Found in an Abandoned House” (1951)

This story is told from a notebook found in an abandoned house, which was written by a twelve-year-old boy by the name of Willy Osborne who is trapped within the house by the sinister beasts, or “them ones,” that stalk him from within the woods and swamps that surround the house. “Them ones,” that Willy is scared might come and get him are monstrous, Lovecraftian elder creatures who used to be take sacrifices to be appeased.

“The Light-House” (1953)

This particular short story took special influence from a story that Edgar Allan Poe began before his death in 1849, but was never able to finish; in 1953 Bloch took this unfinished short story, finished it, polished it up, and then had it published. As such, it is considered a posthumous collaboration. It follows the pursuits of a nobleman who takes a job as a lighthouse keeper, so he may write in solitude. His loneliness gets the better of him in this weird and satisfyingly dark tale, when he tries to psychically summon a companion.

“House of the Hatchet” (1955)

A couple with a relationship on the rocks decides to take their a second honeymoon on the road—on their trip they end up stopping at a haunted tourist attraction, where the story goes that a husband had killed his wife with a hatchet in one of the rooms. When they decided to take a tour of this haunted house, the husband begins to feel a heavy dark presence in the room where the murder was said to have occurred…

“Terror In Cut Throat Cove” (1958)

Considered a horror adventure tale, “Terror In Cut Throat Cove” follows the tale of an American writer who is approached by a treasure-hunting duo; they end up recruiting him to help them locate this long-lost legendary ship that sunk with a massive fortune aboard because the writer has an undeniable fondness for the girlfriend of the treasure hunter. A crazy adventure ensues until they find the ship and one of the divers returns from the ship’s wreckage without his head.

“The Animal Fair” (1971)

This story of a drifter who ends up in the small town of Medley, Oklahoma while the carnival is in town—where he enters the a tent that houses a gorilla who happens to be the main attraction—not to mention seriously abused by his trainer. This horrifying weird tale ends in a shocking twist and is well worth the read.

Works Cited:

Cowan, Matt. “FIFTEEN HORROR TALES BY ROBERT BLOCH.” Horror Delve, 4 Apr. 2016, horrordelve.com/2016/04/04/robert-bloch/.

HorrorBabble. “The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch. Youtube/”The Shambler from the Stars” by Robert Bloch, HorrorBabble, 12 Mar. 2018, youtu.be/0Q6xA0f9SNk.

HorrorBabble. “The Secret in the Tomb” by Robert Bloch. Youtube/”The Secret in the Tomb” by Robert Bloch, HorrorBabble, 20 Aug. 2018, youtu.be/vodqchPxgCoyoutu.be/vodqchPxgCo.

Thomas, G. W. “The Early Robert Bloch.” Dark Worlds Quarterly, 6 Aug. 2020, darkworldsquarterly.gwthomas.org/the-early-robert-bloch/.

A History of Found Footage in Horror

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Found footage is a horror film subgenre that posits what the audience is watching is a “true” story that was filmed by “real” people. The recordings have been “discovered” and are presented as either the raw uncut movie, or they’re woven into a particular narrative that acts as an overarching story framework for the footage. Because the fictional crews are usually amateur filmmakers, the camera work is often shaky and unprofessional, the scenes tend to cut away during the action, the acting is very naturalistic, and commentary may be provided in real time during the filming. 

Though it often crosses over into the domain of pseudo-documentaries or mockumentaries, this subgenre is set apart by its insistence on suspension of disbelief – the filming, the marketing, and the viewing experience all push the notion that what you’re seeing really happened. This is a subgenre that resides largely within the broader genre of horror as its techniques and tropes lend themselves well to horror. Indeed the “realness” of found footage films makes them that much scarier. Of course there are examples of found footage in other genres (Project X, Chronicle, District 9, Zero Day, and Earth to Echo to name a few), but the fact remains that the genre has been popularized by and largely populated with horror films.

It’s also interesting to note that there is a literary precursor to found footage in the form of epistolary literature and texts from the early 20th century. Both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are written as a series of letters and journal entries that have been discovered by a third party. Many of HP Lovecraft’s tales, such as The Call of Cthulhu, are also written as though they are real first-hand accounts being recounted in found documents and manuscripts. 

Found Footage Horror Through the Decades

Cannibal Holocaust found footage horror movie poster
Cannibal Holocaust poster

The origins of the found footage horror film can be traced back to a single, viscous little movie from the eighties that shocked the world, almost ruined the director, and gained a cult following. Cannibal Holocaust is about a rescue team who goes into the Amazon rainforest to search for a missing documentary crew. The lost crew was there to film the local cannibal tribes, and the rescue team comes across their film cans and the horrors that are recorded therein. Real indigenous tribes, a cast of amatuer actors, and actual animal deaths on screen, all added to the realism of the found footage style, making many audiences believe the events in the movie actually happened. The director was arrested on multiple obscenity and murder charges (the cast had to vouch for him in court) and the movie was banned in multiple countries.

The intense brutality, sexual violence, real animal killings, and grimy realism of Cannibal Holocaust almost sent the film to obscurity, but in the decades since its release it has become an icon of sorts in grindhouse and cannibal cinema, and its found footage style has influenced numerous directors and later movies. However, because of the movie’s general lack of appeal to mass audiences, its legacy as a pioneer in found footage filmmaking is often overshadowed by the more popular movies that came in later decades.

The Blair Witch Project found footage horror movie poster
The Blair Witch Project poster

Though there are other examples of found footage movies from the eighties, the genre really exploded in popularity during the early 21st century. This resurgence is unequivocally thanks to the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project, which managed to break into the mainstream and pop culture in ways that were impossible for Cannibal Holocaust. Arriving in a sweet spot of amateur camcorder enthusiasts and the rise of the Internet, The Blair Witch Project capitalized on both of these aspects to immense success. The filmmakers recorded the film to look like a home movie and also incorporated a marketing campaign that included missing persons posters and a website detailing investigations into the case. All of this combined led to many people believing the movie was true found footage, and the film also became a landmark example of how financially lucrative a shoe-string budget movie could be. 

Golden Era of Found Footage Horror Films

Woman on bed in Paranormal Activity found footage horror movie

The early 2000s into the 2010s became the Golden Era of the genre as a slew of found footage films were released, many of them achieving both critical and financial success. The 2007 Spanish film REC received numerous awards and spawned several sequels. Another 2007 film, Paranormal Activity, broke box office records, stunning audiences, angering studio executives, and opening the gates wide for independent filmmakers to throw their hats in the ring. Cloverfield was released in 2008 and was praised for its viral marketing campaign and cinéma vérité style. Other popular films during this era include Lake Mungo (2010), Grave Encounters (2011), The Devil Inside (2012), V/H/S (2012), Creep (2014), The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014), and many more (plus all the sequels you could ever want). 

Though the output of found footage movies has slowed down some in recent years, it’s clear that the genre still has some gas in the tank. For example, recent entries – such as Unfriended (2014), Unfriended: Dark Web (2018), and Host (2020) – are getting creative with technology to showcase their scares, utilizing elements like web chats and video calls. New means of storytelling mixed with the time-tested tropes of the genre leave us excited for the future of found footage in horror. 

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