Horror movies a rattling success at Cannes

27th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - Ghouls and gore rattled the till like never before at the world's biggest film trade market in Cannes, closing up this weekend after a 12-day frenzy of deals.

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - Ghouls and gore rattled the till like never before at the world's biggest film trade market in Cannes, closing up this weekend after a 12-day frenzy of deals.

With posters of zombies screaming out at the 10,000 film types on hand for the billion-dollar Cannes Market, "horror is fantastic here this year," American World Pictures president Mark L. Lester told AFP.

Every type of horror was on offer from just about every country -- from Thailand's "The Haunted Drum" to Japan's bloody "Noriko's Dinner Table", and, from the US, "The Kiss of the Vampire".

South Korea offered a spoof documentary on zombies, "American Zombie", its first such film in English.

And some in the genre even had a comic touch, such as "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead" from American cult horror indie king Troma Entertainment.

It claims to be film's first chicken-zombie horror but also comes with a message, taking a swipe at the US fast-food industry which "is literally killing us".

With horror going mainstream, many of the hundreds of sellers at the Cannes Market had at least a couple of chilling movies, and today horror movies are not necessarily low budget.

"Years ago it was very difficult to sell horror on the independent market. Nobody was interested," said Scott J. Jones, president of US sales group Artist View Entertainment.

"Then DVD came along and catapulted it into the forefront of the movie market and this has been sustained," he added.

Internet chat rooms too are driving the thirst for horror because the enthusiastic users happen to be the 15 to 25 year-olds who adore the genre, Jones said.

And today ghouls are ringing in the cash.

"Horror is making us a lot of money -- it is popular all over the world," said Wonderphil Production president Phil Gorn.

He said horror action accounted for a quarter of his total film sales. His current slate includes "The Witches Hammer" and "NyMpha", which are selling well in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia as well as the United States.

Asian countries are already big consumers, and Europe and the United States too have a substantial appetite. But now these films are finding new markets in Eastern Europe, particularly Russia, as well as Latin America.

Lisa Borhoum, Troma's head of international sales, told AFP that the Japanese market has always been big and that in the past four years Russia has also been lapping up horror features.

"The Singapore market is now opening up and India is also big this year," Borhoum added.

Unlike most mainstream cinema, though, horror is a two-way flow between East and West.

A large number of Asian countries jetted into Cannes this year to sell their own personal style of terror that is popular worldwide, particularly in Europe and the United States.

"Japanese horror films have a different way of scaring people," Eleven Arts' senior exec Kana Aida explained. "The Western-style is obvious but the Japanese films use less obvious methods such as music to create a scary, mysterious atmosphere."

Asian film titles are also less graphic than many Western ones.

"The Vanished" from Japan's Eleven Arts, and "Ghost Mother" from Thailand's Phranakorn, leave much more up to the imagination than "Scream Bloody Murder" or "Midnight Meat Train".


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Festival de Cannes

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