Get ready to stop screaming in the middle of a movie theater, you big weirdo. After six films, the blockbuster Paranormal Activity franchise will reportedly end its run with the October release of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. The final entry into the series has been repeatedly delayed over the years, pushed from an original release date of October 2013 to October 2014, then to March 2015, finally settling on an October 2015 release date that, at the very least, is reflective of the series’ love for Halloween-adjecent opening dates.
Although the series has been winding down over the years, the decision to end the series now is still surprising. After all, these things scare up a hell of a lot of money.
USA Today has a sneak peek at the final film – complete with a slideshow of new pictures that basically plays up how malicious the spirits are when it comes to home decor, all those poor broken picture frames – and the first piece to officially report the Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the fifth film in the continuing story and the sixth film overall, will be the end of the series.
I’m afraid…of how much I might miss these dumb things?
The original Paranormal Activity took the movie-going world by surprise when the slim-budgeted found-footage feature opened in 2009, making nearly $200 million worldwide. Although that first film didn’t seem conducive to kickstarting a multi-film franchise – it was, after all, just a story about a young couple dealing with what seemed to be a particularly nasty poltergeist – the film’s creative team, including creator Oren Peli, soon expanded out its mythos to allow for more and more films to be made in its likeness. Spanning both time and location, the series flitted back and forth over the years, though every installment ostensibly tied back into whatever the hell happened to young sisters Katie and Kristi when they made the acquaintance of an invisible friend/actual demon named Toby.
By the third film, the franchise had gone fully back in time (to 1988!) to investigate Katie and Kristi’s childhood, and Paranormal Activity 3 is still my favorite entry in the franchise, one that legitimately expands out the story in a creepy, crawly, and altogether icky way. Also, that kitchen gag. Paranormal Activity 4 played up the modern side of things – lots of webcams – before the film series spun off into 2014’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which introduced a new cast of characters that was somehow involved in the story of Katie, Kristi, and the haunting Toby.
In short, all of the pieces have been in place to end this thing, and that’s exactly what producer Jason Blum is promising. He told USA Today, “It’s coming to an end. This is it, the finale…We’re saying it before the movie opens. We’re not going to grind this horror franchise into the ground. This will keep Paranormal Activity as part of this culture and this particular time in a really fantastic way.”
Blum continues, “We couldn’t go just teasing. All the questions that everyone has asked from the past Paranormal Activity films: What does Toby look like? What’s the backstory to the families? These questions have been teased out. Now they will be answered.” That’s not the sort of thing we often hear from horror film creators, and it’s definitely exciting (what does Toby look like? I dunno, like a nightmare).
As is so often the case with the Paranormal Activity films, the new feature will center on video tapes…and an innocent family. Oh, you guys. You have no idea. USA Today reports that film “follows a new family, the Fleeges – father Ryan (Chris J. Murray), mother Emily (Brit Shaw) and their young daughter Leila (Ivy George) – who move into a house and discover a video camera and a box of tapes in the garage.When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them – including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie.”
Burn video tapes.
Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension will open on October 23.