The history of films advertised as depicting real paranormal events when they are actually merely props set up as a form of guerrilla film-making and riding the hype generated by a culture seeking answers goes way back to a 1998 film called Incident at Lake County. And now an upcoming movie said to be a hoax, but claiming real events is coming up. We explore which of the upcoming films will be the next hoax in the style of Paranormal Activity or The Fourth Kind. Don’t be fooled by these crafty filmmakers.
The film is called “8213: Gacy House,” and it’s being touted as the real deal by the film production company The Asylum. Their viral marketing strategy goes so far as to list “N/A” under the positions of producer, star, director, cinematographer, and writer. Bad movie aficionados will recognize Asylum as the company that brought “Paranormal Entity” of “movies some rented when Paranormal Activity was sold out” fame. And with the next film Gacy House is expecting to use the same premise to convince audiences that the ghost of John Wayne Gacy really does still exist in the former residence where he murdered dozens of young men.
So with films such as Fourth Kind and Paranormal Activity out there that attempt to use paranormal enthusiasts to offer them free publicity, how many more films will be made before the concept of a fake paranormal film is no longer a viable alternative to genuine advertising?
Gacy’s house is actually not standing anymore, as even a small amount of research would uncover. After his confession, John Wayne Gacy’s house was razed and the lot would remain vacant for several years afterward. Furthermore, after a new building was constructed on the vacant lot, the original address of 8213 was changed. For obvious reasons the new address is not something the current owners want flaunted.
But this won’t stop film companies from touting an impossible hoax as the real thing up until the end credits. Of course enough people will purchase or rent the film under this pretense to continue to make hoax marketing a viable, if dishonest method of gaining publicity. The only way to counteract this is to keep in mind whenever a film claims to contain genuine footage of paranormal events is with a better understanding of what would most likely happen in the event of serious dramatic paranormal footage. A film company would most likely use the footage as a cornerstone for a paranormal community in documentary form. Of course the film would not likely be spliced into a fast moving narrative. In fact, paranormal films such as the aforementioned Incident at Lake County are often sniffed out as hoaxes when the cinema veritas style is compared to more mundane documentaries and the viewer is struck by simple things such as the way people interact with one another.
Meanwhile, the paranormal community will be preparing for another hoax, and likely wait for the inevitable score of others that are probably in the works even now.