Why Sticking to Horror Would Have Helped Dark Castle Entertainment


It’s no secret that in order to thrive as a business, one must diversify. It’s a true method, one that is more beneficial than not. However, when you’re a production company, sometimes it’s good to stick to your niche. That’s the case for the now-defunct Dark Castle Entertainment. Dark Castle, named for iconic horror director William Castle, is more known for a string of highly successful horror films in the early 00s’, like House on Haunted Hill or Ghost Ship (pictured above).

The films cranked out by Dark Castle early on were fun to watch, excellent cinematic horror experiences that were nothing short of memorable. Considering the fact that a strong portion of them were tributes to old Castle films (House on Haunted Hill and 13 Ghosts are two such films), that is no doubt a compliment of the highest order. But once Dark Castle decided to go another route and pursue making action films, that began their descent into Hollywood obscurity. Not that action films can’t be fun as well, but in this day and age there isn’t much that hasn’t been said or done in an action movie to make it original and fun. Therefore, action films proved to be the end of this once-great company.

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By doing strictly horror films, at least at first, put Dark Castle on the map. It’s what made people like their product and buy the company’s stock. Their horror films, even the remakes, were still original in some way or another. As time progressed, they could have focused on new ways to keep their horror films fun and interesting. Granted, RocknRolla (2008) was an exception to the rule. It was big budget, directed by Guy Ritchie, and had Gerard Butler as the lead. But with films like Whiteout (2009), Ninja Assassin (2009), and The Losers (2010), the company’s credibility when down the drain. What’s sad is that this nobody little production company still ran circles around Warner Bros. and Paramount when it came to the horror genre.

Dark Castle had found a nice little niche in Hollywood with their horror movies. They were developed as an homage to a horror icon, and had they stayed loyal to their original cause they would have survived. But instead, they decided to follow the dollar by cashing in with such films as Unknown (2011), not realizing that there’s only so much that can be done with a film focusing on the beatdowns administered by Liam Neeson. Or, for that matter, with Sylvester Stallone in 2013’s Bullet to the Head. Keep in mind that with the exception of The Expendables, Stallone’s action days are essentially at an end.

Bring back the films paying tribute to the creepiness of Vincent Price. Bring back the old creature features like The Tingler. Don’t try to cash in on what the other companies are literally beating to death. There are lessons that could have saved Dark Castle. Instead, we’ll never know how these projects could have turned out, were they ever undertook. A definite loss for the horror genre.