Y2K, 9/11, war and a a horrid recession, a major escape we had this decade was in the form of film, notorious for thriving during National crisis. Leading up to New Year’s Eve where we’ll ring in 2010, Bloody Disgusting will be looking back at the entire decade year by year through the eyes of various staff writers. Check back each day for a profound reflection from Ryan Daley, David Harley, Tex, BC and yours truly. Inside you’ll find my own personal look back at the year 2001, the year of the Bloody Disgusting. Please share your memories for each year below, there are so many stories to be told!
“You know a lot about horror movies and stuff,” he says. “If I build a horror website, will you run it?”
At the time I had been reading Fangoria and visiting websites like Dark Horizons, Coming Attractions, Creature-Corner and Diabolical-Dominion. Fango was monthly, while the websites updated once a week if we were lucky. I knew right off the bat I could do a better job and bring it all to one place.
“Heck yes, this’ll be fun!”
So Tom quickly built a poster database and made a place to upload news. Off we went.
Pure luck struck when Diabolical-Dominion was shut down for maintenance — for over a month. We started compiling all the big news and unloading it on Bloody Disgusting. I pushed the site on AOL and in the only big forums I knew. The next thing I knew the site was growing exponentially. Before long, it was costing us nearly $100 a month just to pay the server fees.
This is one misconception a lot of BD readers have — that we make tons and tons of money. The fact of the matter is, for nearly three years we paid out of our pocket to keep it going. In fact, there was one conversation that nearly led to us closing up shop and saying “f*ck it.” Fortunately, the fruits of our labor finally paid off and the site finally made enough money on crappy fart button ads to pay the server fees. Bloody Disgusting is passion, plain and simple. We had conversations where Tom would explain that he didn’t want to take it seriously because he was just having so much fun. I wanted to grow and do more stuff. He just wanted the website to serve as his plaything.
Looking back at my old news and old stories, I blush. The mistakes I made, the horrid grammatical errors (yeah, I’m better, but I still suck) and even the unconfirmed rumors that covered our faces with egg goo. It’s been a nine-year learning curve that has literally taken me through a decade of web growth. We were there when it just started to pick up (sure, Dark Horizons, JoBlo and Aint it Cool News beat us by a few years) and have gone through all of the social changes. We experienced the first rash of videos and clips, went through the hell of bloggers, built up a MySpace page, experienced the wrath of Digg and StumbleUpon (bloggers stealing everyone’s news) and now find ourselves consumed with Twittering and Facebooking. In fact, throughout 2008 I spent most of my time wondering how much more I could take. Tom and I owned the largest horror website and community, yet I was miserable. But come 2009 I began to realize that we’d survived every attack known to man. We had taken down Fangoria, survived the much better-funded Fearnet (they spend millions per year on staff and advertising) and even withstood the hilarity that was the Horror Channel (do I hear an echo?). The fact of the matter is that I love horror. I love talking about it on a daily basis and I love bringing all the news and hype to millions of other genre fans.
In growing up, there were only a handful of people who cared about horror as much as I did. What I would have done for a place like Bloody Disgusting when I was younger! It feels great knowing that Tom and I have created a place that would make a “young Mr. Disgusting” cream his pants. Now, we move into a new decade with the hopes that horror will continue to flourish. Sure, we can dream of a future without remakes, but right now I’m just happy that there are so many horror movies even being released. Looking through the ‘90s I nearly cry; even the early 00’s make me sick to my stomach.
Despite the fact that the director is a child molesting mother f*cker, the horror genre owes a great deal to Victor Salva, who delivered the first mainstream HORROR movie in nearly a decade. Just as the SCREAM-inspired teen horror films began to die, on August 31, 2001 MGM changed the perspective of executives across Hollywood by releasing JEEPERS CREEPERS. I remember reading an interview with Salva in Fangoria where he explained that JC was a serious monster film. In it, he revealed that the only one-liner was the one used for the trailer; beyond that, the film was nothing but pure horror. Like the movie or not, it made $37m domestically and proved to Tinseltown that horror fans still existed and that they wanted something different.
Before JEEPERS CREEPERS hit theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures’ VALENTINE (February 2, 2001) had a weak run, pulling in only $20m in total. On September 7 20th Century Fox released SOUL SURVIVORS, which would try and mix the power of THE SIXTH SENSE with SCREAM; what resulted was a measly $3.1m at the box office (ouch). Studios had begun to openly talk about the death of horror – only they were referring to the self-aware, teen-centric films that followed in the wake of SCREAM. While JEEPERS CREEPERS didn’t explode at the box office, it was a sign that genre fans were interested in more than just tongue-in-cheek horror films starring the cast of PARTY OF FIVE. Thusly, development began on numerous projects that would eventually change the pace of the genre (unfortunately our news doesn’t go far enough back to support this).
While M. Night Shyamalan’s THE SIXTH SENSE was a box office blockbuster at the tail end of the ‘90s, no other film was able to mimic its success. Getting close was Dimension Films’ THE OTHERS (August 10, 2001), which grossed a huge $96m at the domestic box office. Funny thing about that movie — I remember being super-super excited for it, if only due to the rumor that the trailer for Dimension Films’ HALLOWEEN 8: RESURRECTION was attached to it. Remember when you used to have to go to the theater to watch trailers? Yeah, I miss that excitement too. The trailer had apparently been attached to random prints, and unfortunately the print I was watching wasn’t one of them; I was pissed to say the least.
But these were signs that we were finally headed for a change. JEEPERS CREEPERS was a hit, and sequels like HALLOWEEN 8, JASON X and even FREDDY VS JASON (rumored) were in the pipeline.
2001 was littered with a rash of horror films, some smash hits and others disheartening failures. Taking advantage of a lackluster late winter/early spring, MGM released HANNIBAL, the SILENCE OF THE LAMBS sequel, on February 9 in theaters across the country. It proved to be a major hit and grossed $165m domestically. Universal then kicked off the summer with their May 4th release of THE MUMMY RETURNS, which took in a disgusting $202m domestically. On the other hand, we watched John Carpenter’s career nearly come to an agonizing end as his horrid GHOST OF MARS (August 24) made only $8m.
Later in the year we had THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE, Guillermo del Toro’s passion project. While the film made only $755k in extremely limited release, it was well received by critics and fans alike.
Like most Octobers in years past, three horror films hit theaters that month in 2001, and all three did moderately well. 20th Century Fox released JOY RIDE (written by J.J. Abrams) on October 5; it made $22m. Fox also put the Johnny Depp starrer FROM HELL in theaters on October 19; it made $31.6m. Lastly, Warner Bros. released one of the first of the rash of remakes with THIR13EEN GHOSTS on October 26; it pulled in a strong $41.9m. The remake was the second Dark Castle pic and gave the Joel Silver-owned production company the legs to continue for the next decade. Unfortunately, most of their subsequent films ended up sucking.
Before THE RING changed the genre as we know it, Japanese horror was already making a huge dent in my life. In fact, the first ever article written on Bloody Disgusting was a feature on Asian horror movies. Click here to read it, but please remember that this was the first year I’d ever done this (it’s embarrassing, I’m sure). Some films that really caught my attention that year were PULSE (also know as KAIRO), a terrifyingly bleak Japanese look at a ghostly post-apocalyptic world. I was also extremely impressed with VERSUS, a multi-genre zombie film that is still one of my all-time faves. While I was begging readers to check out these movies at the time, it wasn’t until THE RING broke onto the scene in 2002 that you actually listened (that’ll teach you!).
There were several other random highlights from 2001. One of these was WENDIGO, one of Larry Fessenden’s first projects (he would eventually become a well-known indie producer out of New York who went on to help various individuals start their filmmaking careers). Another was the third TALES FROM THE CRYPT movie, which was unceremoniously sent straight to DVD by Dimension. Entitled REVELATION (internationally RITUAL), the film took on many cues from Wes Craven’s THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. Another prominent film to come out that year was USA Films’ SESSION 9 (a film that made our Top 20 of the decade), which made Brad Anderson a household name. Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft-ian DAGON was a pleasant direct-to-video release. I also remember being extremely excited for ROUTE 666 with Lou Diamond Phillips and Lori Petty. Fangoria had pushed the film to no end, singing its praises as an effective horror film shot entirely in the daylight. It sucked and I hated it.