Horror in film and TV enjoying a big year

Horror in film and TV enjoying a big year

Once regarded as a niche genre with limited commercial appeal, horror is enjoying an unprecedented boom this year, scaring up big box-office bucks and top television ratings.

Films such as The Conjuring, Mama and The Purge are among the most profitable this year, which has seen more top-grossing horror films than ever before.

This is according to The Hollywood Reporter, which says the genre has never seen such broad, cross-demographic appeal. In the high-stakes movie business, scary movies with modest budgets are shaming loss-making behemoths such as this year's US$215-million (S$266-million) action caper The Lone Ranger.

Together, The Conjuring, Mama and The Purge cost just US$38 million to produce but earned more than US$500 million worldwide.

Horror has also had a banner year on TV, where loyal fans turned zombie series The Walking Dead and the witchcraft-themed American Horror Story: Coven into ratings powerhouses with their season premieres this month.

The Walking Dead grabbed more than 16 million viewers in the United States, making it the most popular cable TV show of all time, while Coven attracted 5.5 million viewers, the best showing yet for the American Horror Story franchise.

And whereas well-known actors would once have avoided the genre, some unexpected names are now popping up in the credits.

Among them are Ethan Hawke, in the gory home-invasion thriller The Purge; Jessica Chastain in the ghost story Mama; Julianne Moore in the current remake of the teenage revenge fantasy Carrie; and Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Coven on television.

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