Five Reasons Why the <i>Paranormal Activity</i> Franchise Should Rest in Peace

Well… it was fun while it lasted. After five years and five movies, the Paranormal Activity franchise is, at last, dead on arrival. The final nail in the coffin? The anemic debut of the so-called "spin-off" installment, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which attempted to capitalize on the first-week-of-January release date that's been so horror-friendly in past years (just look at the first-weekend grosses for Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Devil Inside) but wound up getting trounced by Frozen's dynamic duo of Elsa and Anna, who re-claimed the top spot following their film's seventh week in theaters.

Four Things to Know About Paranormal Activity 4

by Ethan Alter October 19, 2012 6:00 am
Four Things to Know About <i>Paranormal Activity 4</i>

Another October, another Paranormal Activity sequel. Having already ended the reign of the previous premiere Halloween horror franchise (those infernal Saw movies), Paranormal Activity is now the scary movie season's big kahuna -- the film that other studios go out of their way to avoid competing against. Which is why Paranormal Activity 4 is flooding the multiplex unopposed two weeks before the trick-or-treating and/or costume party debauchery begins. Since, as always, the details of the movie have been kept shrouded in secrecy, here are four things you should know about this fourth chapter before you head off to the theater. See you back here -- same spooky time, same spooky channel -- in October 2013 for Paranormal Activity 5.

Paranormal Activity 3: Third Time’s the Charm

by Ethan Alter October 21, 2011 6:00 am
<i>Paranormal Activity 3</i>: Third Time’s the Charm

Most sequels devote themselves to moving the story of a franchise forward; the Paranormal Activity movies seem to be going in reverse. As fans of the hit horror series may recall, the first film took place in 2007 and involved the haunting of a seemingly ordinary San Diego home shared by yuppie couple Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Micah (Micah Sloat). Paranormal Activity 2 turned the clock back roughly a year and introduced us to Katie's younger sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), whose own house and family were bedeviled by the same poltergeist. And now Paranormal Activity 3 time travels two decades into the past back to 1988 when Katie and Kristi were little girls (played by Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown respectively) living in a picturesque Carlsbad, California split-level with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner), her new boyfriend Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) and -- you guessed it! -- the same violence-prone ghost. At the series' current rate of regression, by the time we get to Paranormal Activity 5, we'll be back in the silent film era and the characters will have to hand-crank their personal cameras Thomas Edison-style.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

by Ethan Alter January 29, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Time to figure out a different activity.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 11, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Evil Queen abides.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

by Ethan Alter January 24, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I ain't afraid of no ghosts. Except in the Paranormal Activity movies.

From <i>Amityville</i> to <I>Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark</i>: Flip This (Haunted) House

In the Guillermo Del Toro-produced horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, an architect moves his girlfriend and young daughter into Blackwood Manor, a centuries-old mansion that he's trying to restore to its former glory. In the course of their stay, the trio is shocked to discover that this house is -- gasp -- haunted! That won't come as a shock to any of us in the audience; the minute we lay eyes on the manor's dimly lit rooms, Gothic decor and dark, dank basement, we know that there are some serious supernatural shenanigans going on in there. Chalk that up to years of observing other cinematic haunted houses and learning to recognize the tell-tale signs of ghosts, monsters and other creatures that go bump in the night. Now we're putting that knowledge to the test, imagining the way real estate agents might try to sell novice buyers on some famous poltergeist-ridden properties and the things we'd tell them to be wary of.

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