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How to get horror fans to do your work for you.

How to get horror fans to do your work for you. (photo)

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“Paranormal Activity” — the low-budget heir apparent to “The Blair Witch Project,” allegedly terrifying audiences into fleeing midway in fear, as opposed to the usual disgust — has won itself a nationwide release this weekend.

Paramount’s marketing campaign had fanboys clicking on a petition to “demand” the movie be shown in their city; when it hit a million people, the studio announced that, thanks to those fans, “Paranormal Activity” would go wide. The triumph of the little people! Except not really: as The Playlist reports, Paramount’s been telling local theater managers that the film was headed their way long before the PR push of the petition reaching a million supporters.

It should surprise no one that Paramount, after spending the summer putting out “Star Trek” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” wouldn’t allow their release strategy to rest on the whims of an online petition. What is brilliant was the way they cut back on marketing costs by getting the target horror fanbase to do the word-of-mouth promotion themselves. Horror devotees mobilize themselves in a way more powerful than any marketing campaign — any film that promises a new scare, particularly one with the air of being too challenging, too out of the box for the studio that paid for it to know what to do with it, will gain a loyal fanbase instantly.

That’s likely the reason it took a $15,000 movie two years to get released. So little to make, so relatively little to acquire — it seems the least risky potential profits are, for studios, the most frightening thing of all. After all, this dithering over a genuine DIY effort comes from the same company that spent so much time faking “Cloverfield”‘s deliberately awful “documentary” look. Paramount did an end-run around the problem with an ingenious gimmick that used the “studios just don’t understand” sentiment to its film’s advantage, but it still seems like another case of a company being suspicious of anything that didn’t cost enough to make. Now is no time to get hung up over status matters like that — particularly when your film’s managed to make $7.1 million at the box office this past weekend.

[Photo: “Paranormal Activity,” Paramount, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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