These days, horror pics have a lot more in common than just bloodcurdling screams.
From “Wolf Creek” to the just-arrived “Hostel,” more and more scary movies are adopting some form of the tagline “based on a true story.”
Trouble is, not all are actually rooted in fact. It seems that just one horrific detail from a ripped-from-the-headlines story can “inspire” a scary movie and — boo! — there’s the marketing hook.
Take “Hostel.” The bloody Eli Roth extravaganza touts itself as being “inspired by true events.” Reportedly, Roth and exec producer Quentin Tarantino parlayed some Internet research — on people willing to be killed for a fee paid to their heirs — into certain plot points for the Lionsgate release.
Promoting such bits of verisimilitude usually pays off, marketers say.
“The visceral fear of something that actually happened is a much more potent marketing idea,” says Sony’s Valerie Van Gelder, who has worked on such examples of the art as “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “The Mothman Prophecies.” But back to “Hostel.”
“You want to create a feeling of ‘Hey, what if this happened to me?’ ” says Lionsgate’s Tom Ortenberg. But, he warns, “Like anything, if it gets overused, it will become nothing more than a cliche.”
Now that’s scary.