By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. – MacBeth, William Shakespeare

We were reading up on horror movies and you wouldn’t believe the kind of revenue they generate. With four films and a couple of spinoffs, the Alien series has grossed over $858 million. The Saw franchise is at $873 million, Paranormal Activity is at $807 million and Nightmare on Elm Street is in the money at nearly half a billion. We’re not talking about great artistic achievement here either. In Friday the 13th – 12 movies, $465,239,523 total box office – you have a guy in a hockey mask and a few shrieking teenagers. Maybe Olivier wouldn’t have passed on the script if he had foreseen the earning potential. Even the six Chucky films, which feature a murderous doll, have grossed $182 million. Sadly, Jon Gruden hasn’t seen a penny.


Another thing that got us thinking about this is a film titled “Sorority Row” that they were filming down at the library in 2009. For a while there you couldn’t return a Danielle Steele without bumping into Rumer Willis. It was supposed to be a low-budget slasher flick but guess what, it grossed $16 million.

So it seems to us that the horror film genre is ripe for exploitation. Surely we can come up with motion picture themes and concepts at least as terrifying as a guy in a hockey mask – although the Pens were playing like a bunch of stiffs there for a while. Here are a few ideas plucked from the news that might get your creative juices flowing:

Night of the Bankrupt Cemetery – Though the grass is finally cut, the dearly departed cannot rest in peace amidst the blood-curdling howls of bankruptcy lawyers and real estate developers as they circle around a promising parcel of hallowed ground. In the chilling denouement, local politicians lurch among the gravestones by the light of a full moon, searching for a mysterious letter which may hold the key to the cemetery’s fate.

Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue – An ambitious Secretary of State, while standing over the assembled caskets of her murdered colleagues, lies about the circumstances of their deaths to their stricken family members. She then repeats the lie to the press and people in order to advance her political prospects. Later, after admitting to the lies before a congressional committee, she high-fives her associates and throws a champagne gala. Will the departed rise up to seek revenge?

Surgical Saw – Having exhausted their stock of cauldron ingredients, the witches from MacBeth consult a shadowy site known as EvilBay using as search terms, “potion supplies and accessories.” Soon they have arranged an ominous luncheon meeting at a four star restaurant with representatives of Planned Parenthood. After a brief exchange of spells and curses, and a dustup over broom-checking, the witches learn, over a glass of the finest merlot, that they have access to an unlimited supply, not of run-of-the-mill newts’ eyes or frogs’ toes, but of “intact calvaria.” Nearby diners flee before a wave of cackles.

The Hair Witch Project – A flamboyant politician is haunted by suspicion that his gravity-defying coiffure is the product of occult forces. He learns, however, that accusatory spectres can be dispelled by a powerful incantation containing the words, “You’re fired!”

The Whizzing – An up-and-coming rap star finds himself in custody, charged with an offense for which, ironically, he was named at birth by a gypsy midwife. He soon learns, from an elderly inmate named Flash, that things could have been a lot worse.

Paralegal Activity – A benighted Attorney General, deprived of her law license, is forced into clerical and gopher work in her own state office and efforts to fire her are undertaken when it becomes clear that she is leaking details of her plight.

What Lies Beneath – Work crews upgrading a local sewage system stumble upon a huge subterranean cavern containing several hundred hubcaps, the bumper of a ‘57 Studebaker and a 55A streetcar rumored to have been lost in the great pothole explosion of 1964.

We don’t know about you but the Idler is absolutely paralyzed with fear at the very mention of these horrifying plots and we’re convinced that if we can sign up a bankable star or two there’s a nine figure box office just waiting to be collected. I guess Larry Storch is getting pretty old. Is Huntz Hall still with us? What about Pinky Lee?

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