Short Ghost Story

NO.3 "The Return of the Clown"

Cost: $35 million Global box office: $700 million

Defeating "The Exorcist", it became the new overlord of horror films in North American film history, and its Rotten Tomatoes freshness rating once reached 100%. Although the domestic audience went for the gimmick, after watching it they shouted: That’s it? 7

The film is adapted from the original work by best-selling author Stephen King. The ubiquitous clown actually refers to the various shadows in the hearts of the child protagonists. The essence of the story is closer to youth growth.

Horror movies often reflect some social emotions, and "The Return of the Clown" contains a lot of issues: pedophilia, school bullying, racial discrimination, parent-child relationships, etc., which will sow the seeds of fear in childhood. 8

In the name of being scary, this movie in turn teaches us to fight fear. The second part of "The Return of the Clown" was released two years later while it was still hot, with an additional budget of 44 million, and Yimei and a model worker were invited to play the grown-up protagonists. The splash was not as good as the previous one, but the global box office of 470 million was not bad. 9

NO.4 "Blair Witch"

Cost: $60,000 Global box office: $248 million

In 8 days, the second part of the 60,000-dollar movie Netherworld was shot with a handheld DV, and the result was a miracle of 248 million in box office. "Blair Witch" thus became the ancestor of the pseudo-documentary style. 10

The film is about three film school students who went to the town of Blair to shoot a documentary about local witches. During the process, the three people disappeared mysteriously. Only after people found their filming materials a year later did they learn the truth behind it… 11

The first-person shooting perspective of the pseudo-documentary greatly blurs the boundary between "real" and "unreal", making it easier to create a sense of substitution and immersion. Even if the production is rough, it is excusable. The only magic weapon for low-cost horror films is to refer to the successful imitations of "Kon Chi Rock" and "The Evil Within". 12

NO.5 "The Sixth Sense"

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Cost: $40 million Global box office: $670 million

Although the cost of this film can be said to be high compared to other films in this article, and it stars the big star Bruce Willis. 13

Its super high box office is still worthy of admiration, which also allows Shyamalan, the director known as the "Hollywood liar", to continue to be successful to this day. 14

The protagonist is a child psychologist who receives treatment for Cole, a little boy who has a sixth sense and can see ghosts. The tear-jerking last-minute twist at the end is the key and core of the entire story. Although it is also a routine that you can guess if you watch it too much. 15

NO.6 "Scary"

Cost: $19 million Global box office: $278 million

A particularly funny horror comedy series with a total of 5 films, famous for its spoofs of various business cards. "Scream" uses the main story line of the 1996 classic thriller "Scream". Because it is full of nonsense, it received a lot of bad reviews from film critics, but unexpectedly it became loved by the audience. 16

The biggest attraction of the film is the creativity of how it spoofs. According to statistics, there are more than 50 spoof films in the entire series. The most praiseworthy thing is that although it is crazy, it has a complete and smooth plot. 17 18

NO.7 "Chainsaw"

Cost: $1.2 million Global box office: $100 million

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From 2004 to 2021, the ninth "Saw" was filmed, and now it has become a world-renowned horror IP. The "Jigsaw" killer who is suffering from cancer enjoys making killing games. In addition to the unprecedented imaginative setting, the thinking about human nature and life behind it also reflects the profound meaning of the theme. 19

At the beginning, director James Wan only spent 1.2 million US dollars, and the starring Leigh Whannell was his good friend and one of the screenwriters (the main inspiration came from him). He completed the first part under extremely simple conditions and immediately stunned the audience. 20

He quit after filming the first film, and then only served as a producer or screenwriter. He then created the "Insidious" and "The Conjuring" series, which were also low-cost and achieved good box office results. It can be said that James Wan, who has extremely high returns, has almost never let Hollywood down. 21

NO.8 "Spiritual: Ghost Records"

Cost: $1.5 million Global box office: $193 million

Beating "Blair Witch", it became the film with the highest return on investment in history. After a young couple moved into a new home, they used a DV camera to take pictures of their daily lives, and soon discovered that there were other things in the house. 22

In the same format as "Blair Witch", its main shots come from the protagonist's DV. However, the quality is relatively average, and there are a lot of pure bluffing tricks. I can only admire the money I made. 23 24

NO.9 "Hold Your Breath"

Cost: $9.9 million Global box office: $158 million

The "silent" idea of ​​"A Quiet Place" is similar to it. Three habitual thieves broke into the home of a veteran. The veteran was blind, so if he didn't make any noise, he might not be discovered. However, the veterans' other abilities are different from ordinary people, and they soon discovered that their arrival instantly turned the movie into an "escape room", with high energy and tension throughout.

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Although the film was not as good as "A Quiet Place" at the box office, it won more praise for its shooting techniques thanks to a long shot that explained the environment and multiple climaxes at the end. The second part will also be released in August this year.

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NO.10 "Happy Death Day"

Cost: $4.8 million Global box office: $125 million

A horror version of "Groundhog Day." The heroine Terry was killed by a mysterious man wearing a mask on her birthday night. She woke up again and found herself back on the morning of her birthday. Terry, who inexplicably entered a death loop, experienced personality changes and growth while evading pursuit again and again. Unexpectedly, the theme of "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" was quite silly. 33

Due to the box office success, "Happy Death Day" also successfully released the second part, and Terry returned to the nightmare. 34

Director Christopher Landon continued last year with the thriller-comedy "Happy Killing," in which a 17-year-old female high school student swaps bodies with a perverted murderer. The film has lower costs and higher box office. 35

NO.11 "Escape from Death Town"

Cost: $7 million Global box office: $143 million

The biggest hit in 2017, it was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. Its achievements are actually not limited to this genre. 36

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A rare black-themed thriller, starting from the second part of the movie Netherworld where a black boy visits his white girlfriend's house and encounters a series of strange events, turning the racial discrimination and persecution of white people into horror factors.

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If you don't look at it with the bias of "political correctness", it has indeed achieved an excellent psychological thriller atmosphere in recent years, and it is also remarkable in other aspects. Although the ending is a bit confusing.

NO.12 "The Invisible Man"

Cost: $7 million Global box office: $143 million

Last year's dark horse "The Invisible Man", starring "The Handmaid's Tale" actress Elisabeth Moss, was also introduced to the mainland.

"The Invisible Man" is based on the classic original work, but the story is more relevant to the new era, focusing on domestic violence and PUA. The inescapable control and pressure that the rich boyfriend exerts on the heroine is obviously more like an invisible form of PTSD. Fortunately, there is a revenge twist in the end. On the audio-visual level, it greatly adds to the unknown fear of the movie.

NO.13 "Konji Rock"

Cost: US$1.9 million Box office: US$2.1 million

Before "Train to Busan", it was the most out-of-the-box Korean thriller. A group of Korean youths who seek death live broadcast the entire process of their exploration into Kunjiam Hospital. This psychiatric hospital has been selected as one of the seven most terrifying places in the world.

The method of "Blair Witch" works again. The scenes of this film are all shot by the actors themselves. There are many flaws. The first hour was like watching "Running Man", and in the end there was only one scary point: "Ghost with Beautiful Eyes". If you can't watch it immersedly, you will probably be disappointed.

NO.14 "Little Girl in Red"

Cost: 5 million RMB Box office: 1,955,000 RMB

Before "Little Girl in Red", Taiwan had not produced a local horror film for many years. During the preparations for the filming, the main creator even went to Thailand to "learn lessons". The first important thing he learned was not to invest too high a budget.

"Little girls in red" is a widely circulated folk legend in Taiwan. They are also known as "devil children". They will abduct old people and children into the mountains, causing them to disappear mysteriously. This film combines Japanese horror and Thai horror routines, and in the end it tells an anti-abortion reincarnation story. Although the special effects of the demon boy are not good, it still has a scary effect like a monster movie.

Director Cheng Weihao and heroine Tiffany Hsu began to soar in career after this film. The two collaborated on the second film, joining Rainie Yang, and spent 8 million yuan on the project in exchange for a box office of over 100 million yuan, making it the highest-grossing horror film in Taiwan's history.

NO.15 "Evil"

Cost: 50,000 RMB Box Office: Unknown

The last one is reserved for "The Evil", which I don't know if it will have a chance to be released. The filming lasted only 18 days and cost 70,000 yuan (of which about 20,000 yuan was used to treat the male protagonist's back injury). After being bought by the film company, an additional 20 million yuan was spent to repair the original film.

There was a lot of excitement about the release, but due to the audience's expectations, it had no choice but to be withdrawn. Compared with "Konchi Rock", it is more like a direct disciple of "Blair Witch". I am also a film school student who went to film a "fortune teller" in a rural area. In the end, I met a "ghost" with the fortune teller. Of course, there is no need for feudal superstition, and there will be a scientific twist at the end. If it can be released, the box office will be worth looking forward to.

To put it bluntly, the final battle of horror movies is a creative idea and a superb technique of playing with the audience's psychology. It is also the best consideration for the commerciality of a film. Success means big sales, and the audience’s feelings are the most intuitive feedback.

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