PR Lessons Carved from Halloween Horror

dragtohellA deluge of villains was one problem that deterred Spider-Man 3 from the series’ previous successes. Although three antagonists were no match for Spidey, the audience was waiving the white flag by the third act and fanboys world-wide started to question the film’s director and horror icon Sam Raimi.

No doubt that Raimi’s experience on Spider-Man 3 influenced his next film Drag Me to Hell. For Raimi, this project was a flash back to the basics. See before the several hundred million dollar summer blockbuster budgets, Raimi made a name for himself by helming no-budget cult favorites The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.

Drag Me to Hell provided an opportunity for Raimi to scale down and focus – which was impossible during the overwhelming Spider-Man 3. Hell was just what Raimi needed. After watching the film, it’s clear that Raimi enjoyed working on this project – it appears that Drag Me to Hell rekindled Raimi’s love for his craft and his scale back paid off. The movie was lauded by critics and is currently listed as 92% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

During a recent interview, Raimi discussed what he learned from his experience with Drag Me to Hell and how it will shape Spider-Man 4:

“I think I’ve learned about the importance of getting to the point and the importance of having limitations, and I’m hoping to take that into a production where I’m actually allowed to explore with more of the tools to pull it off with a little more splendour.

“I hope I don’t lose that edge that I’ve just found. That would be my approach to Spider-Man 4: to get back to the basics.”

What does Raimi’s experience have to teach PR professionals? Over the past year, the economy has us juggling a larger workload that is at least as cunning and deadly as Sandman, Venom and New Goblin combined. We need to remember that taking the time to work on the aspects of our profession that we enjoy the most, whether it be pitching, writing, researching, networking, etc. will elevate our excitement, help us from becoming overwhelmed and provide us with our own Drag Me to Hell opportunity.

Remember: with great power, comes great responsibility.

Being Halloween week, I recommend that you check out Drag Me to Hell. In a genre full of rehashes, Japanese horror rip-offs and sequels that would make Sylvester Stallone blush, Raimi managed to do something different: be original

Here’s a long story short plot synopsis: girl denies gypsy an extension on her home loan, girl shames gypsy, gypsy curses girl, goat demon torments girl and could very well drag her to Hell in three days, awesomeness – like a possessed talking goat – ensues. Do yourself a favor and rent this movie.

For perspective, Drag Me to Hell reminds me of a few horror favorites including the ending of A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Evil Dead (naturally) and the hilariously goofy Thinner, which features one Joe Mantegna (playing a gangster) as well as a gypsy curse, an excellent weight-loss program and a race to beat the clock. If you want to watch a bad movie and can’t find Leprechaun in the Hood, pickup Thinner – it’s More Terror, Less Filling!

Enjoy Halloween and for your own good – leave the gypsies alone!

Bonus Halloween treat: The L.A. Times’ The Big Picture blog has a great post on movie poster marketing that you should check out, ‘Drag Me to Hell’s’ poster: Is it really scary … or really sexy?

No tricks are included in this link!


Mike Fearon, SHIFT Communications

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