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Oh, the Horror!
by Christopher Stone

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Is Craig's DREAM HOUSE a fantasy or a real-life nightmare?

Is Craig's DREAM HOUSE a fantasy or a real-life nightmare?
The first of the major fall holidays, Halloween, is a month away. At the box-office, that means horror, horror, and more horror! You'll scream, scream again, and then scream some more.

The holiday may be a month into the future, but a new Box-Office Halloween begins right now.

DREAM HOUSE (September 30): Every Match-Flicker worth his popcorn knows that the New England landscape in fall is ready-made for horror flicks. This year, the Halloween season debuts with this grisly tale set in a quaint New England town - and aren't they all!

DREAM HOUSE offers up Daniel Craig as a successful New york publisher who quits his job, leaves the hurly burly of Manhattan, and re-locates his family to the aforementioned quaint New England village. The family's new DREAM HOUSE morphs into a Halloween nightmare after the family learns that the house was the site of the murders of a mother and her children. What's more, pretty much everyone in town believes that the surviving father-husband was guilty of the slaughters. How scary can you get? This
How many times can this THING scare Match-Flickers?

How many times can this THING scare Match-Flickers?
weekend's box-office receipts will reveal if DREAM HOUSE is box-office "Boo-"nanza, or if Daniel Craig better return to being Bond, James Bond.

THE THING (October 14): This is the third time around for this THING FROM OUTER SPACE. But will the third time again be the charm for THE THING at the box-office. Both of its predecessors scared the bejesus, and the bucks, out of Match-Flickers.

Back in 1951, THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE was black-and-white, narrow screen and low fidelity. It starred James Arness, who went on to find fame and fortune as Sheriff Matt Dillon on television's long-running GUNSMOKE series. Arness, now deceased, was the brother of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE star, the late Peter Graves.

Set in Antarctica, THE THING is the tale of a scientific discovery that shows great promise until an alien (THING) from outer space morphs promise into terror.

In 1982, horror auteur, John Carpenter remade THE THING, adding color, widescreen, stereophonic sound, Kurt Russell, and Wilford Brimley. Again, THE THING scared the bejesus out
There's no such thing as THE PERFECT HOUSE

There's no such thing as THE PERFECT HOUSE
of Match-Flickers, young and old.

In its latest incarnation, THE THING offers up Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an Ellen Ripley from the ALIENS series-like protagonist. Edgy Joel Edgerton is Sam Carter, a helicopter pilot eager to know exactly what is this THING that scientists have found.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (October 21): Scant information has been released about this scary three-quel, but of this we are certain: at the box-office, home is where the Halloween horror is in 2011.

The PARANORMAL franchise is about people being pursued by unspeakable evil in their own home. P.A. 3 returns to its diva's childhood to explore the roots of its evil. Sisters Katie and Kristie, and this film's audience, see how they were set up for a lifetime of evil things that go bump in the night.

THE PERFECT HOUSE (October 1): If DREAM HOUSE isn't your Halloween Cup of Box-Office blood, and two THINGS and a duet of previous PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was quite enough, then maybe you should submit an offer on THE PERFECT HOUSE.

Filmmakers Kris Hulbert
She aint heavy; she's my PARANORMAL sister.

She aint heavy; she's my PARANORMAL sister.
and Randy Kent hired a no-star cast and shot this flick in fourteen days, on a half of a shoestring budget of $150,000. THE PERFECT HOUSE is "no frills" filmmaking personified.
The movie is the story of the house, from construction, through occupancy, not ending until its foundation literally rots. Along its path, the house is home to a variety of families, each of them slaughtered, or slaughterers. If you're the Addams Family, or the Munsters, then, perhaps, this really is THE PERFECT HOUSE.

Low rent horror sometimes strikes box-office gold with Match-Flickers. Remember THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT?

FALL BOX-OFFICE WATCH: Who knew that 3D could propel the 20-year-old THE LION KING to two fresh box-office wins? On the other hand, Taylor Lautner is still searching for Match-Flick fame beyond his TWILIGHT outings. Perhaps if the film had been titled ABS-DUCTION?

Whatever rings your Halloween chimes is available at the October Box-office - be it one of the new releases mentioned herein - or a classic at your favorite art or revival house.

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Summer: The Biggest Winners and the Biggest Losers

All Columns

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.

He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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