Paranormal Activity is so last week. The latest inexpensive horror flick to catch audiences attention is Ti West’s ’80s throwback The House of the Devil. Starring Jocelin Donahue as the babysitter in peril, The House of the Devil has already scored with the critics and will open in New York, Los Angeles and Austin on Oct. 30. But since it was purchased through Magnolia Pictures’ and their genre arm Magnet, it’s also one of the movies you can see now through the company’s Ultra VOD, an exclusive 30-day video-on-demand window BEFORE it opens in theaters.
The movie premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and was scooped up by Magnolia in June. Says the company’s acquisition head Tom Quinn, “The House of the Devil is the American indie that’s so hard to find. It has guts and gore and reaches back to what horror films used to be.” Quinn won’t reveal any numbers on the film’s VOD performance, only to say that it’s doing really well. The company spent all year looking for a horror film to open on Halloween and were quite pleased when they found West’s film. Quinn isn’t even considering the kind of numbers Paranormal has been chalking up lately at the box office. “I don’t live in that world,” he says. Success on this kind of limited release film is more in the $1 million range, similar to such micro indie hits like the cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep, which went on to earn $1.2 million in theaters, or George Romero’s Diary of the Dead which neared $1 million last year. And still those numbers are really hard to reach for movies like House of the Devil that have a limited marketing budget. Yet, with all the attention on Paranormal, audiences might be more in the mood to discover an under-the-radar horror flick. Check out the trailer yourself. Will you see it on VOD? Wait for the theatrical release? Or both?