A Masterclass in Marketing – The Upper Footage

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Recently the found footage film genre has hit a wall, failing keep hold of the originality and freshness that followed the release of Paranormal Activity way back in 2007, instead the horror sub-genre has become the stomping ground of B-movie knockoffs of older films, or cliché filled movies that use the found footage aspect to replace character growth, tarnishing all movies that are made in such a way and taking away a lot of the enjoyment that I used to get from this type of film, replacing it with a feeling of dread that I might have wasted more money on a bad film.

Luckily for myself, there’s still a small percentage of found footage films that contain unique elements, interesting twists and refrain from borrowing to heavily on the films which have gone before, to stop me from buying them ever again, this includes the upcoming docu-found footage horror The Upper Footage, a movie whose makers have gone to great lengths to produce an almost underground following, leaking footage and feeding the rumors to create a buzz that harks back to the one that surrounded the Blair Witch way back in 1999.

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Starting back in 2010, the makers of the Upper Footage uploaded a video to YouTube, supposedly showing a New York socialite overdosing, blurring out the people’s faces, the video fast drew attention from the press and public alike, with both sides not sure as to whether the clip was real or fake, once removed it became an almost urban legend, spawning websites and more supposedly leaked footage, the film was spoken about in a way that a snuff movie or sex tape would be, this was a true masterstroke from the makers, with audiences today still not sure if the film is true or fake.

After a couple of short-lived videos and a website that claimed that an edited version of the nights events would be released unless the family paid up, the deception was complete, giving the film a life of its own and adding an air of mystery to the events that are disciplined, with the film supposedly showing the run up to and aftermath of the overdose of a young female socialite, focusing more on the dark side of the human psyche rather than the supernatural/aliens/axe murderers that make up 99.9% of the other found footage movies being produced today.

The Upper Footage is a crash course in how to market a horror movie, rather than just tagging a bit of text onto the front of the film and claiming it’s real, the makers of the Upper Footage have gone the extra mile to create the kind of hype that the Blair Witch and Last Broadcast both produced in their day, but this time facing the much harder problem of attempting to trick an audience that over the last decade have become wise to the “based on real events” lie.

You can now watch the first 6 minutes of the film via Youtube, with extended information about just how wild and varied the rumors got, from Disney stars to world-famous directors, it’s interesting to see just how varied the stories became and how successful the campaign was, I for one just hope that the film lives up to the hype.

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