Paranormal Activity in Hollywood

Remember The Blair Witch Project movie back in 1999? It was made for $110,000 and it earned $141 million.

I read about the film Parnormal Activity last fall, but it wasn't playing around here. It was made by a first-time director/writer, Oren Pei for $11,000 one week in his San Diego home.

I has been kicking around awhile. It was screened in 2007, and in 2008 the Dreamworks Paramount team bought it in order to remake it. But executives decided that the buzz at a research screening of the original was good enough to consider releasing that version. Steven Spielberg like it and suggested a different ending.

Then DreamWorks split from Paramount and the project went on hold. Finally, Paramount decided they would take it on and do a grungy guerrilla-style release (to match its creation, or just to save bucks?).

They had a heavy Web campaign that didn't promote the film as much as it was intended to get people to ask for it to screen in their area.

They had some trailers online of actual viewers jumping, screaming and shaking in their seats at screenings.

Writer and director Oren Peli shot the film in 7 days in 2006 with a crew of three friends.

Peli is a native of Israel who dropped out of school and started his own software company. Three years later, he emigrated to the U.S. and worked on developing animation and video games.

And he bought a suburban tract home, where he says he "quickly learned that you become conscious of every little noise, especially at night. The house, or the ground around it, was settling; things were falling off shelves in the middle of the night. I’m not saying there was a ghost or anything, because the incidents, or whatever you would call them, were happening months apart.”

But, think Poltergeist . (Has it really been 28 years since that came out? Man, I am old.)Even the DVD covers are similar.

So he sets up some video cameras as a way to figure out what was going on - and if he captured something interesting, maybe it could be a film.

The film is available now on DVD on on Netflix. Did you see it? Did it scare you?

Poltergeist (Blu-ray Book) [Blu-ray]     Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity (2-Disc Blu-ray)
Paranormal Activity Limited Collector's Edition
Poltergeist (25th Anniversary Edition)

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