Many studios in the past 40-some-odd years have been synonymous with horror films and/or franchises (Warner Bros. and The Exorcist come to mind), but the first that I can recall making an imprint in the soft spot of my big childhood head is Paramount Films and Friday the 13th. What an awesome pairing, huh? Even now, when I see the Paramount ident lead into an F13th film, I get incontinent:
Friday the 13th Uncut [Blu-ray]
Beauty, eh? A bit hard to see the Paramount ident as a child and not expect a Friday film, as much as I expected a 20th Century Fox ident to always lead into Star Wars. I was a strange child, what can I say?
But while the Paramount ident promised roughly 90 minutes of body count, courtesy of Jason and his dead mother, it excited me more than it scared me. That honor would go to another ident, which took hold of my short nine-year-old attention span and captivated it from the second it came on:
New Line Cinema. The House that Freddy Built. This is my all-time favorite ident, and I can't think of any other ident that could've introduced the ominous, seductively sinister Fred Kreuger better than New Line's raw, red laser-show logo against a stark black background. Pair it with a Media Home Entertainment ident, and you've got one badass VHS sitting atop your wood-paneled Panasonic:
A Nightmare on Elm Street [With Movie Money] [Blu-ray]
I go crazy when I see this stuff. I became friends with people over this stuff (looking at you, AussieRoadshow). Idents bring back all the wonderful parts of my childhood, watching scrambled Playboy and wandering the aisles of the local Mom and Pop in search of some great VHS.
I reluctantly began collecting DVDs in the mid-1990s, as VHS began to phase out into obscurity—taking Mom and Pop along with it. It wasn't until 1996 that I would get excited by another studio ident:
Scream not only revived my hopes for the state of American horror at the time (no worries, that hope would be short-lived as an assembly line of bad knockoffs quickly saturated the market), it got me excited about idents again. And then if that wasn't awesome enough, the 2000s ushered in one more dynamic duo:
Put them together, and I see Saw.
I wanted to work at Lionsgate because of that ident. I can rattle off five films that I love, that made me want to spend money at the cinema again, all down to Lionsgate. American Psycho. Saw. House of 1000 Corpses. High Tension. Undead. The Descent. Okay, that's six. My point is, Lionsgate brought back those feelings I had growing up, of getting psyched over films just from the studio ident. But a bigger question looms: who's next? I'm not really feeling all that great about what's out there right now. Remakes, 3D, remakes in 3D. I don't exactly get all ramped-up by the Platinum Dunes logo or its offerings, sorry.
As it goes, every decade has its crap horror moment. The Sixties was overwrought with bad teen alien flicks. The Seventies? Demonic possession and killer animals. The Eighties was about the only decade where bad was all good, e.g. slashers. And so on and so forth, all the way to now. The studios are just about all out of ideas, and even New Line has folded into Warner Bros. But we'll always have the old New Line, with its great Media lead-in. So I'm okay. Ident, therefore, Iam.