“Remember This?” is a new feature that highlights cool anecdotes from the horror genre’s storied past. It’ll pop up from time to time, giving your brain a spark of an insane memory before you move on with your day.
While the Slamdance Film Festival takes credit for the big discovery (that’s complete bullshit), the Los Angeles Screamfest Film Festival World Premiered Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity on October 14, 2007 to a select few horror fans all unaware of its soon-to-be glory.
Room 101 producer Steve Schneider and Jason Blum (of the now-formed Blumhouse) had the foresight to know what was on the horizon, all the while DreamWorks/Paramount had acquired the Found Footage horror solely with the intent of remaking it. Peli, a San Diego video game designer, was to direct the reboot of his micro-budgeted indie originally titled Paranormal Activity: Evidence of a Haunting.
Even though DreamWorks was moving forward with remake plans, Schneider, Blum and Peli paid out-of-pocket for multiple test screenings (they also created new sound design, score and reworked the finale) and proved that the actual film was more terrifying than anything the studio could do with millions of dollars.
“DreamWorks, under Paramount, bought it with the intention of remaking it with the original director,” Schneider told Variety years ago. “We had test screenings built into the deal, so we could discern what needed to be redone in the remake. But the movie tested so well, they decided that it would be the height of folly to remake a mock-doc-type film with unknown actors.”
Paramount eventually took the risk (obviously spending quite a bit of marketing dollars) On September 25, 2009, and the rest is history. With only three films under their belt, Paramount’s franchise has already earned $576.6 at the box office worldwide. Paranormal 4 scares theatergoers on October 19.