Blood, guts and dialogue. Tarantino is film’s most distinctive voice. His advice to filmmakers? “If you want to make a movie, make it.”
…because weird isn’t the new normal, just the new online niche. Horror director Eli Roth and producer Jason Blum established Crypt TV on the belief that scary short films could join cat videos and tween humor as digital mainstays. Instead of mimicking the founders’ big screen successes, Crypt TV has experimented with more targeted forms of horror storytelling through series like “One Minute Horror” and the "Snapchat Murder Mystery" featuring content that disappeared after 24 hours. The site also accepts submissions from fans and amateur filmmakers that embody the spirit of “weird is good” in 60 seconds or less.
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Both Eli Roth and Jason Blum know a thing or two about success in the horror film genre. Roth’s films have yielded two horror franchises, won the admiration of Quentin Tarantino and earned him the status as this century’s most provocative horror auteur. Similarly, Blum’s production company has turned low-budget horror into an extremely lucrative business model through franchises like "Paranormal Activity," "Insidious" and "The Purge" – and whatever your feelings may be about sequel-spawning monsters like these, at least each one resulted from an original idea that reflected some kind of a creative vision. So not only is it impressive that both founders have devoted time, energy and resources to establishing an online short-form horror site, but also that they aren’t simply generating off-shoot content of their initial successes as a way to beef up film marketing. In fact, they’ve rightly viewed digital content as a new way to tell stories that can reach audiences who aren’t responding to traditional film and television, especially in the genre of adult-oriented horror.
Rather than mourning the trend towards shorter and shorter content, Crypt TV has embraced it as a challenge. While many horror filmmakers might view YouTube shorts as an avenue to a feature remake, Crypt TV has tried to create content that reflects the format. So for example, the series “One Minute Horror” is…well, it’s pretty self-explanatory from the title, right? In fact, one of the more popular videos from that series, "Clickbait," parodies the early viral video format in which a “ghost” or monster would jump into the frame at the end of an otherwise benign shot. Crypt TV has experimented with and encouraged video content that reflects the online medium. Perhaps the best example of this to date is the "Snapchat Murder Mystery" series, which featured Snapchat “stars” being killed off in videos that also disappeared after 24 hours, upholding the integrity of the distribution platform. At the same time, this also added an air of suspense to the videos themselves, as users only had a limited time to view them, turning the entire media consumption into an event.
Crypt TV has also been open to new ideas in terms of finding a niche audience through social media and fan engagement. Eli Roth in particular has been critical towards traditional film marketing and media strategies, viewing Crypt TV as a potential remedy for this. Crypt TV has created hashtags like #WeirdIsGood and #CryptTVFamily for users on social media to find each other and discuss content. Viewers can watch content on the site, the Crypt TV Facebook page and the YouTube channel. Crypt TV also encourages amateur filmmakers to submit content so long as it fits the guidelines in terms of run time and general weirdness. In fact, this latter point has even trended beyond the horror genre towards other alternative subjects such as the backstories of tattoos.
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