Last week Marcus Dunstan‘s The Collection saw a wide release. It bombed and barely made it in the top ten at the box office, much like the previous film, The Collector. I almost expected The Collector to open poorly back in 2009, because it was in the middle of the Saw decline and it also had a film like Judd Apatow‘s Funny People to compete with in the middle of the summer. It’s no surprise that the indie horror film failed to really click theatrically, but it must have done impressive numbers on home video, because they greenlit a sequel and actually bothered bringing it to theaters.
The Collection didn’t open as high, even though it only had to battle Brad Pitt‘s low-key gangster flick Killing Them Softly, which also opened poorly. There’s no doubt that The Collection will do well on home video or well enough to make its budget back and then some, but I’m worried that we won’t see the rumored sequel, most-likely titled The Collected, in theaters.
Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (of the Saw fame) would probably still return to write and maybe even direct the film, but I’m already getting that feeling in my gut that says they’ll return as executive producers or something, handing over the franchise to some new-comer known for DTV trash. I also doubt leading man Josh Stewart would return if it went to home video.
Horror fans might not realize it yet, but we need The Collected and we need it in theaters. The mainstream horror market is as dry as it has ever been, with the Paranormal Activity films being the only thing dominating the box office, yet even the fans are showing signs of fatigue. No studios have really successfully made that new horror film that could potentially start a franchise, because there’s just no real horror getting released (on the widespread front). Sure, there are indie guys like Ti West and the V/H/S crew and there’s also the whole VOD platform, but wide release R-rated horror just isn’t happening.
The Collector started out as that offbeat anti-Saw movement by the guys that helped pen some of the worst Saw films and yet they managed to sequelize and create a new horror icon with the over-the-top and outrageously fun sequel The Collection. The film wasn’t nearly as effective as the original, but it upped the gore and body count and gave me something to look forward to. I was clapping at the sheer awesomeness on screen and I couldn’t wait for each new kill.
Seeing the film find an even smaller audience than the original is troubling, so now it is up to us to help spread the word of this new-found horror series in hopes of seeing The Collected projected at the nearest cinema.
Here’s a quick list I whipped up that consists of 5 reasons why Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton need to make The Collected.
5. US R-Rated Horror Is Practically Dead
I know I’ve already mentioned it above, but R-rated mainstream horror is practically dead. Everyone thought the countless remakes were the worst to come, but now even those have faded away in exchange for found-footage PG-13 exorcism or ghost-based films.
There aren’t that many gore-fests out there anymore and that needs to change. The Collection proved that the filmmakers knew exactly how to escalate the character and the series onto the next platform in bloody fashion and I’m very curious to see how they could up the ante for the next installment. They’ve done the small and contained film and then they followed it with the house of horrors, now it’s time to take our new-generation slasher to the streets.
4. The Series Is Better Than Paranormal Activity
I have no problem saying that both The Collector and The Collection are better than any given Paranormal Activity series entry. Both series’ strive because of their small budgets and big aspirations, yet one series gets praised (originally) for its ability to scare you in your home, while the other one gets forgotten and tossed under the rug.
The Collector actually had a few moments of good horror build-up that utilized not just jump-scares, but proper lighting and music to help inch you closer to that scene. Admittedly these films aren’t horror in the sense of scaring you, but they’ve still got the PA series beat in style.
3. It’s The Answer To Saw
One thing I love exploring when looking at The Collector and The Collection is how similar they are to the Saw series, yet how different they are in execution. The Saw films were all about a deranged killer plotting and planning ways to make his victims find redemption and a new life via sadistic torture devices and lots of bloodshed. Jigsaw wasn’t always painted as the bad guy, just a crazed lunatic that truly wanted people to change. People could say that they bought a ticket to watch that happen, but they really wanted to see people mess up and get ripped to pieces. Let’s just be honest with ourselves on that one.
The Collector shares the traps, because it was written by the guys that helped write the last Saw installments, but it’s actually much meaner in terms of why the character does what he does. He’s a simplistic killer and I mean that in terms of why he kills, not how. He likes to collect people and kill them. It’s as simple as that. His methods aren’t as simple, but his nature is dark and nasty and he’s the complete opposite of Jigsaw, while still utilizing the same skills to kill. Just watch this opening sequence for The Collection if you don’t believe me.
2. The Collection Left Us In A Weird Place
I was really curious to see how they were going to explain Arkin’s existence in The Collection, especially after seeing The Collector multiple times. Without spoiling things too much I’ll simply say things don’t end smoothly for him in The Collector, but the filmmakers tie things together and they really only fumble on a few loose ends that don’t directly impact The Collection.
Now The Collection on the other hand ended in a tough spot that would be really hard to turn into a sequel, unless you take the series in yet another drastically different direction. I’m not going to ruin the ending to this one either, but I will say that things are looking slightly better for Arkin this time around, but not so much for the Collector himself.
1. We Need A New Horror Icon To Root For
The last person closest to being a modern-day horror icon was Leslie Vernon from Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Jigsaw can be argued, but he’s mostly harmless when it comes to a face-to-face encounter. His name and traps are his legacy, not so much his physical being. Tobin Bell made the character memorable with his creepy voice, but he’s not someone you’d see towering over his victims without a sheet of glass protecting him and a ton of wires rigged to some sort of explosive nail bomb.
The Collector is an actual slasher in the same vein as Jason and Myers. He’s more like Myers, but he’s still just a man with a twisted addiction. He can bleed and get hurt like the rest of us, but he’s smart and really good at getting away. His raccoon eyes and plain black mask only help build on the mystery of who he really is and while it is hinted at in both films, we still don’t know that much about the person behind the mask. I’d love to see some more of his back story slowly revealed in The Collected.
I know my list is far from perfect or all that original (I didn’t even start to discuss both films excellent use of practical effects), but I really felt like bringing up The Collection again after seeing it a second time. It’s that rare sequel that doesn’t completely shit on everything established in the first film and while it has its own mess of problems it still is mostly successful in following what worked in the first film and adding to it, while expanding on the mythos of the character and the world he lives in.
Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton have birthed a new horror icon that for once isn’t a runaway hit, despite its low budget and proper marketing. This time his fate rests in our hands and if we ever want to see The Collected become a big-screen reality we’re going to have to support The Collector and more importantly The Collection, which is still playing in theaters. I’m not saying either films are perfect, but they’re much better than the shit we’ve been spoon-fed over and over and we aren’t going to see changes in the genre unless we put our money where our mouths are.