James Schamus Addresses His Ouster From Focus Features

October 20, 2014 11:02 PM

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Viewed by some as a copy of the “Blair Witch” concept and methodology, Oren Peli’s haunted house sensation is quite significant in its own right. For one thing, thanks to where technology improved in only a few years, the budget of “Paranormal Activity” is not as much a legend as some others listed here. Most of the price tag was for the cameras and tapes, the lead actors were paid about $500 and the single location was Peli’s own house. The rest was just terrifying ideas executed terrifically. Paramount surely padded the amount, but allegedly not enough for the $15,000 number to be untrue. The film went on to gross an impressive $193 million worldwide.

Horror films are often low- and no-budget. Most are not cast with big stars, and a lot of the time the scariest scenes are the most minimal, which means not a lot of effects work is required. “The Blair Witch,” though, was special in that it came at the end of a decade where bigger budgets and self-...

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