Horror Boom Presents The Found-Footage Horror Movie Drinking Game!

Or, list of clichés – take your pick!

 

In fact, depending on what movie you watch, you might want to forgo the alcohol (unless it’s something under 10 proof) and just make out some bingo cards. Now that I think of it, we’d do it if I had the energy technology* to construct an actual PDF of, say, 4 different bingo boards that had some of the clichés on them scrambled up, so all you would have to do is print it out and use easily obtained household items to assemble the game of “Found-Footage Bingo”.  I suggest if the movie in question has a 2-star or less Netflix or Amazon review average, or less than a 5 out of 10 star rating on the IMDB, don’t use hard liquor, and really pace yourself.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.12.56 AM

Pick a category below; we’ve included three very common set-ups for found-footage horror movies, a “General” category that should work for just about any found footage movie, and a fifth group of things that have happened in good and bad found-footage horror.   Remember to drink responsibly,  and if you’re a minor, don’t drink anything with alcohol in it! I’m pretty sure that disclaimer is required! How’s milk sound? Try a glass of milk, we shouldn’t condone underage drinking.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.23.47 AM

1. General Plot: Involves some type of demonic possession that was intentionally or unintentionally documented (and seems to have been pieced together). Look for the word “Devil” or “Possession” in the title. Many found-footage horror movies involving possession are notorious for vague, inconclusive endings that actively piss the majority of the viewers off.

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Interview with priest or other theological expert (or more than one) shown
  • If a married couple are the main characters shown in the footage, and the possessed one ends up killing their spouse
  • If a child is possessed, and they kill one or both of their parents/caretakers
  • Grainy footage of a documented possession and/or exorcism that was filmed by the Catholic church or other organized religion is shown
  • Someone films the possessed character defying gravity by climbing up a wall, scuttering across the ceiling, or crouched in the upper corner of the room like a damn spider
  • Possessed character bends over backwards waaaay farther that is normal and/or “spider-walks”. Take an extra drink if you know that the actress or stunt person is double-jointed or a contortionist and actually did this, rather than employ a CGI effect (IMDB trivia or a detailed Wikipedia entry will usually include this information).
  • Possessed character snarls/shrieks, and leaps across the room right at the camera while being filmed
  • Camera-person stupidly approaches a previously possessed character who has their back to the camera and isn’t answering them; character turns around to the camera and their eyes are completely white (or completely black)
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.22.33 AM

 

 

2. General Plot: Some type of paranormal investigators visit a certain location where they’ve heard strange events are happening. If the title is “The [fill in the blank] Experiment”, there’s a good chance the plot will be similar.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.25.43 AM

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A door opens or closes by itself
  • Inanimate object moves or levitates by unseen supernatural force
  • Inanimate object suddenly tossed/flies at a character or smashes against a wall by something we can’t see
  • A character wants to bail out of the project because they have a feeling staying and filming could get them hurt or killed
  • Someone else yells at a character who wants to bail out, because “We signed on to document this, man!”, or “Nothing like this has ever been documented before!”
  • Character lifted off their feet by some unseen supernatural force (usually by their neck), then dropped to the floor, unconscious
  • Character suddenly flies across the room, away from the camera, tossed by some unseen supernatural force
  • Character is dragged along the floor out of camera range (trying to grab things to keep from being pulled, while yelling/screaming for help) by some unseen force
  • Dead or unconscious character is dragged across the floor and out of camera range (this will usually happen when the camera has been knocked to the floor but keeps running, or captured by automatic surveillance camera) by some unseen force
  • Treat yourself to an extra drink if the previous rule is the last shot of the movie. You didn’t deserve that. No-one does.

    Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.54.06 AM

    Bitch, PLEASE.

 

3. General Plot:  Students collecting footage to document some project get more than they bargained for (they’ve usually travelled to do this). Potential titles that follow this plot will commonly either be the name of the place they are travelling to, or the name of the place they are travelling to, followed by the word “Project” or “Diaries”.

Screen shot 2014-05-24 at 8.03.16 AM

 

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • A character that was key to the safety of the cast gets killed or injured, and they’re on their own
  • Person in charge of the project turns out to be a selfish asshole who doesn’t care if someone gets mangled or killed because “the project is more important”
  • Character snaps and starts screaming at the character in charge of the project for putting them in the situation
  • During interviews shown as part of the ‘found footage’ during the start of the movie –usually the characters/camera crew ‘talk to some of the locals’– said locals warn them away, tell them a creepy anecdote, are un-cooperative and hostile, or clearly insane. None of this registers with any of the enthusiastic main characters on the project as serious red flags.
  • A card at the end of the movie tells us viewers that to this day, whereabouts of the film crew are unknown… the found footage is all that remains.
  • blurryshotjustsobbinggraveencounters.jpg

 

General: These should work for any basic found-footage movie.

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Someone continues to film even though any sane person with working legs would say, “fuck this,” and drop the camera to run to safety/call 911
  • Person filming freaks out and runs while still holding the camera, treating us to an exciting montage of blurry, jerky movements where we can’t see shit (treat yourself to an extra drink if this continues for over a minute)
  • A soundtrack –or music stinger during “jump scene”– is added, even though this is supposed to be raw, unedited footage (at which point you are completely justified in turning off the movie and watching something else)
  • Such a cheap, shitty, obvious, lazy CGI effect is used that the entire movie screeches to a halt (you are also completely justified in watching something else in this case, especially if the effect was supposed to be the movie’s best part or “money shot”**).
  • Camera’s “night vision” is used during climactic scene (not necessarily a bad thing, it sure as hell worked in [REC] and Grave Encounters, for example)
  • Picture conveniently gets very bad or turns to static when we are about to see something that would have been expensive or required some creativity on the part of the film-makers to include
  • Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 8.11.07 AM
  • Camera used as a weapon while filming
  • 911 call transcript
  • Cheap “false alarm” jump scare
  • Something so genuinely frightening and/or awesome happens that you’re pretty sure you’re going to have trouble sleeping: toast and take a celebratory drink (if you didn’t spill it, and after you calm down)
  • You literally cannot tell, or see, what the fuck is going on (other than hearing the characters freaking out) Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 6.40.52 AM

 

5.  General Things That Can Actually Work In A Found-Footage Movie

Why end this on a negative note?   I think I’ve seen more found footage movies in the last two years than I have all put together since both of us went to a midnight showing of the Blair Witch Project. Interesting trivia: while we walked to our car in the parking lot, Mr. Horror Boom actually said, “That was scary,” and meant it. If this has happened more than twice during our marriage–hell, entire relationship–I don’t remember it. Now, I’m not saying the ones I watched were all good. I’d say only about 25% of them kept my interest from straying to my iPad, most were mediocre, and I’ve seen some pretty terrible ones (not on purpose, though).
But ... over the years, I’ve discovered that one out of ten found footage movies turns out to be memorable enough for me to watch more than once and give a pretty high IMDB rating. And out of that 10%, one or two will be fucking gold, special enough to make wading through all the lazy ones– the ones that gave me approximately two minutes total (or less) of adequate entertainment– completely worth it. When found footage horror works–off the top of my head, Grave Encounters, [REC],  [REC2], and several of the short from both V/H/S movies–it works. It scares the shit out of the watcher, sometimes enough to forget it’s being presented as found footage, only knowing we are watching a rare horror movie gem. So here’s that last list. These are tropes that I’ve seen in some of the best out there… though they’ve popped up in the shitty movies too, they can actually work effectively.

OK, what is the absolute LAST thing you want to see when you switch on your night-vision setting? (from [REC])

OK, what is the absolute LAST thing you want to see when you switch on your night-vision setting? (from [REC])

Drink/sip when any of the following happen:

  • Whoever is filming uses something other than a camera( to lug around) or cell phone to record, such as glasses with a recording device, one of those button-cams, or a Go Pro strapped to a bike helmet
  • A character is alone with the camera and films themself to make a ‘confessional’ because there’s a good chance they won’t get out of this alive. They usually fall into two categories: A. the person barely keeping it together (sometimes weeping openly) and asking whoever finds this to tell their family they love them very much, oh God, they are so sorry and don’t want to die, etc. and B. the character saying, “I’m recording right now because I might not make it out of this. Whoever finds it, do everything you can to make sure this footage gets out… because the world needs to know.”
  • The camera operator starts swearing under their breath, “Holy fuck, you see that shit?” or panicking and yelling variations of “fuck” when all hell breaks loose, usually during the climax. Fairly believable reaction, as the below image from Grave Encounters is an example of:ohfucktonguegraveencounters.jpg
  • A character off-camera can be heard crying and heading towards a meltdown
  • Someone asks, “What… the fuck.. .just happened?”
  • We can see something horrible creeping into the background that the person facing the camera can’t see
  • Someone loses their shit and angrily curses at the camera, or person filming:
  • graveencountersfuckallyall1.jpg
  • Blood or gore splatters onto the camera lens
  • Someone turns to the camera and tells them to “record everything”, no matter what
  • Effective seat-jumping scare that you in no way saw coming (clean up your spilled drink first, then have two sips)

 

...and this is how it's done. (from [REC])

…and this is how it’s done. (from [REC])

*actually, one of the two writers/staff that Horror Boom is comprised of has the skills and even access to technology needed to do that, but not the time. Last year, a total genius out there (I can find the link if you ask me) made a carefully and cleverly-crafted version of Monopoly called Breaking Bad-opoly (or maybe it was Heisenberg-opoly) that was composed of a detailed board, “Chance” cards, everything, all for free, though you needed access to a large-format printer and some decent backing-board to complete it. We really, really want to construct this and the other half of Horror Boom has the skills and tools, but we haven’t had time and that’s on the list first.

**No, this term is not confined to use within the porn industry.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 7.51.40 AM

Fun Fact: During the filming of [REC] (2007), the director didn’t tell the actors in many cases where a jump scare or something unexpected was going to happen. In one scene (a firefighter is approaching a stairwell and BAM! a woman crashes out a door, comes rushing around the corner towards him at top speed, face all fucked up and screaming/roaring at the top of her lungs) the poor actor fractured his ankle sprinting down three flights of stairs… no acting needed! We really feel for actors (already underpaid due to a low budget) that directors of found-footage movies spring this on …though it is really entertaining to watch.

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