The film industry is an ever changing beast. Directors are constantly fighting each other to create the next big thing for their respective audiences. Horror is no exception to that rule, with every sub-genre being so vastly different competition is stiff.
New films come out all the time in a steady flow, and with that much competition you either need something truly grotesque or innovative to make a ripple in the crimson ocean we all call home.
Horror has always been an expansive genre, and with that has also spawned multiple sub-genres. Be it either the slasher craze that took the 80’s and 90’s by storm, or the zombie craze of more recent years every sub-genre is a distinctive and unique as one would come to expect when viewing a horror movie.
One popular trend that seems to be taking off again is the found footage and mockumentary movement. Found footage films have always been plentiful, as they follow the same rules as slashers for the most part. They don’t require much acting experience, and are generally cheap as hell to film which makes it a good start point for any budding directors.
There are plenty of terrible or obscure found footage films out there, but it’s the big name ones that truly send out the ripples and ignite the next flame other directors will try to recreate.
Some of the best known ones of course being The Blair Witch Project, VHS, and The Taking Of Deborah Logan. Each film bringing something unique and interesting to the field that helped to push the bar.
This mockumentary was an explosive success, and is what helped bring popularity to the found footage movement in cinema. Part of this films success was due to its marketing, which at the time was a work of true genius.
All marketing for The Blair Witch made it seem like the events of the film had actually happened. Even going so far as to creating missing person posters for the actors. This helped the film explode in popularity and brought fame to the found footage sub-genre.
The Blair Witch Project helped to popularize the found footage movement by bringing to the mainstream audience, which is where so many other found footage flicks falter.
VHS is another film that helped to popularize the found footage movement, however it chose a different approach compared to other films. What sets V/H/S apart from other found footage movies is that it is not only a found footage movie, but also an anthology.
V/H/S consists of three self contained stories all being played on the titular VHS tape. Each story taking a different direction, with different directors, similar to The ABC’S Of Death.
This particular entry was a great showcase as to what the found footage sub-genre was capable of, and was popular enough to warrant several sequels. After VHS low budget found footage anthology films certainly became more common place.
The Taking Of Deborah Logan is an absolutely disturbing and unsettling film to watch, and that is one of the highest praises a horror flick could ever hope to achieve. It takes on the role of a mockumentary and a great example to go off of when creating a found footage movie.
The plot follows a group of college students wanting to film a documentary about Deborah and her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. As things progress however it is clear that something is very wrong with Deborah.
The blending of found footage and a mockumentary helped this film succeed tremendously. The blending of the two sub-genres together helped to introduce many horror fans to a sub-genre that is widely dismissed.
Of course there are many other found footage films and mocumentaries that helped to normalize and bring popularity to the found footage genre. The found footage genre is bursting at the seams with some great hidden gems out there.
As more and more truly great found footage flicks gain popularity, we are also seeing big name directors taking a stab at this niche in horror cinema. The most recent example being M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit.
Of course there is no telling if the found footage genre will explode to the heights that the slasher genre had in the 80’s or not, but as it gains popularity anything is possible. If you need more mockumentary action in your life then be sure to check out our list of mockumentaries that show off their human sides.
I for one am excited at the idea of more mainstream found footage films, with an A-list horror budget and writing. After all nothing is more terrifying than grounding horror in reality.