The first woman in line waited 5 hours. Those who jumped in behind her stretched down the alley, across the back of The Coolidge Theater, round the corner and down the street past the theater again … and then even farther on down the road!
An army of horror fans hoping to find out if a little known ghost story could live up to all this hype. Of course, they were also hoping for a damn good time, and we aim to please.
The Paramount press reps had it all under control, handing out wristbands to everyone in line so when the maximum capacity number was hit, there would be no need for anyone to wait in vain. (Well, any longer than we could manage at least. Sorry!)
Finally the hour hit, and the theater filled up with an eager audience. Paramount asked me to grab the mic and say a few words, which I gladly did, explaining exactly why supporting a movie like this, on this scale, is so important.
One horror success = five more projects greenlit! That’s just the tip of the iceberg though.
We say we are sick of remakes. Paranormal Activity is a completely original work. Sure, we’ve seen similar stories before, but never like this. For a studio to release this film with very little tweaking is something that should be applauded. It wasn’t long ago that we thought they would just remake it. Miracles do happen!
At any rate, I shut my mouth and took a seat for an experience I don’t often get … being surrounded by a packed theater of horror fans who are there specifically to see a great movie. Paranormal Activity does something very unique when it seeks to build anticipation for an event. I’ve taken to calling it “the surge”. The audience is conditioned to know when creepy things may happen when a certain tone is played under the normal sounds. This works like nothing I’ve seen in a long time. As these scenes began, I heard one girl in particular let out a loud sigh. This happened like clockwork at the top of every moment like this. It’s as if she was bracing herself for something that might cause her pain. Other more obvious noises filled the theater as a chorus of whimpers turned to sporadic screams and, finally, a tidal wave of shrieks echoed by nervous laughter.
I can honestly say I’ve never heard the bulk of a theater audience stop breathing … become stone silent … and then exhale in unison as the sun rose in a scene. Not only was this amazing to watch, but pretty damn hysterical to be a part of. Though I’d seen 98% of this film already, I’ll admit a scene or two put a knot in my stomach for reasons I couldn’t even explain to anyone. I was also reminded how funny this film is at the start, before descending into total madness. That’s a recipe for success in my book.
All good things must come to an end and with one final moment of torment for the more skittish in our audience, the screen went black. People sat in silence until a timid voice said “Umm, I don’t know what to do.” The entire theater laughed as we realized that was it, and the lights slowly brightened to assure us we could go now. I quickly made for the door and whipped out my camera.
All I’d heard all night is how people hate when they show the terrified audience in a movie trailer. After all, this could be actors, or plants, or both. I decided I would record some legitimate reactions of my own. You’ll have to wait a few days for me to slap that footage together, but I can tell you it contains people who couldn’t stop shaking, die-hard horror fans proclaiming this the scariest film they’d ever seen and one woman who, when I asked how scared she’d gotten, plainly stated, “I felt like I wanted to throw up.” HIGH PRAISE!!!
So, to sum up: Believe the hype. Paranormal Activity gets right what so many movies with triple the budget do not. It scares you. Imagine that. A horror movie scaring people. Happy days.
Special thanks to Paramount, the Terry Hines crew, the Coolidge crew, and 450 shrieking horror fans for making it a great night!
– By Nomad
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