Will 2012 See the Death of Horror Movie TV Commercials?

There is no debating the fact that Hollywood and independent filmmakers have spent more money in the last five years on Internet marketing than ever before. Traditionally, the marketing money spent on horror movies is minuscule when compared to the action, superhero, and family movies which dominate the silver screen. Would it be possible for traditional TV marketing of horror movies to soon become a thing of the past?


As a horror movie fan, I find myself checking the official websites of upcoming horror movies on a regular basis to see what changes have been made. When taking the websites of movies such as “The Devil Inside” (website) and “Underworld Awakening” (website), the creators have released more information and pictures as the movies have gotten closer. This type of constant-feeding marketing was something which worked for “Cloverfield” and continues to work to this day. In most cases, running a website costs much less than creating commercials and purchasing TV time.

Direct Online Marketing

Direct ad marketing based on online searches and interests is the wave of the future we are in the middle of right now. If a person regularly searches information about horror movies, ads are marketed directly about new horror movies or horror movie websites. Horror movie creators can market directly to the people they want without having to waste the money on fans of other genres who may never be likely to see their movie. Again, this is still less expensive than commercial time.

Horror Websites

Every year, we have at least a handful of new horror websites popping up. While the top tier is still dominated by Dread Central, FEAR.net, BloodyDisgusting, and a few others, horror filmmakers have more and more outlets to bring new interest to their projects. The acknowledgment from these sites usually comes without expense, and is again marketed directly toward genre fans. Again, we have the direct online marketing that fills the sites with ads for upcoming horror movies.


I attended a panel about “Saw IV” at a horror convention which included director David Hackl. He was asked about the biggest issue he faced marketing the movie. He explained “The censors dictate what can and cannot be seen on TV. We have to be very picky about what we try to put in [the commercials].”

Through websites and direct marketing, creators do not have to worry about the censors. They can make their previews as shocking as possible.

Over the last few years, I have noticed fewer horror movie commercials on TV. I would expect these numbers to continue to dwindle as Hollywood continues to explore online options. I doubt the commercials will completely go away in the near future, but who knows what the next five years will hold? We may find horror movie ads go the way of cigarette commercials.

More from this Contributor:

Top Trends to Watch for in 2012 Horror Movies
Supernatural Hunter: The Next Step for 2012 Horror Movies
Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2012

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