Horror films have been around since 1896, when a visionary from France, Georges Méliès, made Le Manoir du Diable. While to this day the scary genre is not everybody’s cup of tea, there are certainly things that can be learnt from how they are made – marketers, take note.

The Blair Witch Project

You don’t have to have a big budget to get results

Mini Plot: While on an expedition into Maryland Forest to capture a documentary around the local Blair Witch legend, three film students disappear. The only trace of what happened that evening is the footage recovered from a video camera they left behind.

Background: Producers spent around $60,000 making the film. To some, this budget may have been impossible to work with, but Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick took the challenge and their end product ended up being an overnight sensation. Currently their film has made over $250 million worldwide and is one of the most successful independent films in history.

Lesson: Sometimes, the best ideas aren’t always the ones that come with a hefty budget attached to them. Quality and craftsmanship come from your own creativity when working with the resources you have. This goes for anything from making quirky social media assets, to extravagant campaigns. While you may feel at a disadvantage when you don’t have the best tools, it doesn’t have to mean that the outcome of your project or task won’t be as effective. Learn to master the use of what you have around you and utilise your creativity help reach new audiences, tell your story or drive new followers.

Cabin in the Woods

Don’t be afraid of a little bit of humour

Mini plot: What starts as an ultimate woodland getaway for five friends soon turns into the holiday from hell as the truth behind the cabin in the woods begins to reveal itself.

Background: The typical slasher film features suspense, gore and jump scares. What it doesn’t usually include, and what Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon use so well in Cabin in the Woods, is the use of humour. Similar to the masterminds behind Scream, they expertly play on well-known stereotypes in horror as a way to mask the terror from what’s just around the corner.

Lesson: Never take yourself or your industry too seriously! If you can step back and see a situation for what it is but still manage to shed some light and personality on the campaign, message or crisis, you will manage it much better. Marketers can use humour as a way of connecting with their audience, rather than continuously selling to them. It’s a way of drawing them into what your trying to promote without having to resort to cliché, cheesy sales tactics.


All publicity is good publicity

Mini plot: A horrible combination of mistreatment, isolation and mental illness forces the fragile mind of a troubled comedian to the edge – creating his infamous alter-ego, ‘The Joker’.

Background: Todd Phillips’ rendition of the Joker’s original story may not have been to everyone’s liking. The film itself plays very heavily on the mental health of the main character. Phillips really took a risk by relying on this and portraying it in such a vivid and thought-provoking manner.

Lesson: The film’s central focus is the rapidly decreasing mental wellbeing of the main character. While it’s a difficult topic to cover in a film, the publicity that it sparked helped towards its success. The reviews, both good and bad, were a major player in getting both long-time DC fans and those who may not have been as familiar with Gotham City into the cinema. Therefore, the lesson to be learned is that is it important to get publicity, but sometimes there are benefits to being picked out for controversial reasons if you know how to twist them into a positive.

So, while scary films may have you squirming in your seat, sometimes it’s worth stopping and seeing what you yourself could learn from the silver screen – and how you could apply these lessons to your marketing strategy.

There’s really nothing scarier than working with people who don’t know what they’re doing. Luckily, our specialists at Faulkner Scott can help with all of your recruitment needs. Contact them to see how they can help you.