×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jason Blum, Eli Roth-Backed Crypt TV Eyes Expansion

A year after its launch, Crypt TV is plotting an expansion, bulking up its staff and bringing on partners in order to create more short-form horror content.

Its staff will grow from four to seven people, and the plan is to begin working with studio collaborators and other distribution platforms such as video-on-demand and over-the-top services. Currently the bulk of Crypt TV’s content is accessed via its Facebook page, although the digital genre network has done some exclusive Snapchat programming, such as a live murder mystery it produced last fall.

Backed by “Purge” producer Jason Blum’s company Blumhouse Productions and “Hostel” director Eli Roth, the company has focused on making content that is typically less than three minutes in duration. This year, the fruits of their labor have added up to over 250 pieces of original content.

The network was created to fill a gap in the kind of viral videos being made. Most of the content, the partners observed, was humorous, and there was very little to scratch a macabre itch.

“We were looking at the evolving digital landscape and everyone wanted to make short-form content for the phone, but no one was tapping into the genre space,” said Jack Davis, Crypt TV’s co-founder and CEO. “So it became almost a challenge of how do we scare someone in 15 seconds.”

Popular on Variety

The goal is to continue experimenting with the length of the shorts, growing the run time to between five and seven minutes. Among the projects that are being revisited with a goal of increasing their run times are “Doll House,” a short about a demented collector’s dangerous obsessions; “Date Gone Wrong,” the story of a hook-up that takes a turn for the otherworldly; and “Torture Games,” a look at two sadistic women’s attempts to cook up creative ways of killing their victims.

Crypt TV makes money on advertising, but it did not reveal how much the videos cost to produce. It’s not currently profitable, but the creators said their emphasis has been on growing the audience for the films they make. The shorts have a professional veneer, but the turnaround is quick — it usually takes between 10 and 14 days to complete a project.

Davis and Roth say that they’ve been able to build a loyal following in recent months — the service attracts 15 million views and has over 1 million Facebook fans. They believe that this street cred and this ability to communicate directly with audiences between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, who are not as easy to reach on television, will help them appeal to studio and consumer partners. They’ve already helped do some promotional work for studios, assisting on the marketing of “The Visit,” a low-budget horror film that Blum produced.

“We are creating characters and universes that live entirely in a digital world,” said Roth. “We see this as something separate from what we do on film or TV, but the key is still to create great characters and mythologies that people can get obsessed with.”

Although Blum maintains one of the busiest production hubs in Hollywood, fielding low-budget horror films such as “Insidious” and “Ouija,” he is adamant that Crypt TV isn’t some sort of minor league team tasked with fielding characters and ideas that can be expanded into feature length productions.

“This isn’t some IP factory,” said Blum. “What I was passionate about and what I was interested in discovering is what is scary on a telephone and how long does this content need to be in order to work?”

Blum’s past horror hits give him legitimacy among devotees of the genre, and Roth, who is Crypt TV’s co-founder, is a prolific tweeter, who has over 280,000 Twitter followers and more than 160,000 Facebook fans. Their celebrity brings attention to the platform that other nascent digital players would envy.

The founders say they’ve been heartened by the response, and there’s evidence that some people are beginning to view Crypt TV as a destination in and of itself. Some fans are developing their own Facebook groups to share Crypt content and there are videos of people getting tattoos with the Crypt logo.

“We see ourselves as the place for the next generations of geeks and nerds, for the freaks and the weirdos, the outcasts and the outsiders,” said Davis.

More Film

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    LA Film Critics Announce 2019 Winners

    Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met today to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. Recent winners of the group’s top prize include “Roma,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Boyhood,” “Her”/”Gravity” and “Amour.” List of winners below. Best Editing: Todd Douglas Miller, “Apollo 11” (Runner-up: Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie, [...]

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Kicks Off Overseas With $52 Million as 'Frozen 2' Powers Toward $1 Billion

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” skated past international box office competition again as the animated sequel propels toward the billion-dollar mark globally. “Frozen 2” generated another $90 million from 48 foreign territories, boosting its worldwide weekend haul to $124.9 million. After three weekends in theaters, Disney’s musical follow-up has made $919.7 million and should cross $1 billion [...]

  • Lily James

    Lily James Delivers Masterclass in Charm in Macao

    British actor, Lily James delivered a masterclass in charm and good humor at a seminar on Sunday at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Questioned on stage by one of the festival’s senior programmers, James brightly chatted her way through eight years of a screen career that has taken her from “Downton Abbey” to [...]

  • Avengers Endgame Lion King Frozen 2

    Disney Crushes Own Global Box Office Record With Historic $10 Billion

    Thanks to a record number of billion-dollar blockbusters, Disney has become the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion at the worldwide box office. Through Sunday, the studio has generated $3.28 billion in North America and $6.7 billion overseas for a global haul of $9.997 billion and is expected to officially cross the benchmark [...]

  • Takashi Miike

    Miike Takashi's Unusual Takes on Feminism and China

    Takashi Miike chuckles when you ask him if he’d called himself a feminist. “Maybe I’m not exactly, because when I use the word as a man, it feels like it might be condescending, or anti-woman,” he told Variety on the sidelines of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao, where his latest feature, the high-octane [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content