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Horror film made from viral marketing campaign?

ThisMan.jpgBryan Bertino, the director of The Strangers, is writing and will direct a film for Ghost House called This Man which is touted as being based on actual events, but is debunked online to be an internet hoax perpetrated by a viral marketer from Italy.

Yet the premise of the horror film to come sounds so good that whatever the reality behind the tale, it's worth being made into a film.

The actual announcement of the film tells us that it is based on real life accounts of a man who discovers that people all over the world, people that he has never met, are having nightmares which feature him.

The article from Variety states that Ghost House Pictures, the studio behind the film, have acquired the rights to a website created by Andrea Natella which was set up to help the people who were having these dreams connect.

However I did a quick search for this gentleman's name and discovered some interesting information.

Andrea Natella may be a sociologist, but he founded a company called Guerrillamarketing.it, which an article in Rhizome reveals:

"...is an advertising agency that uses non-conventional communication techniques..."

It goes on to interview Andrea Natella and he says such things as:

"Guerrigliamarketing.it was born out of a bet...We enjoy ourselves more when we play with what is false; we invent unlikely stories and the mass media bites."

So you're getting the idea already, this marketing company created the idea to virally market something, and it worked to a degree, propagating the myth that became known as This Man.

Over at thisman.org we find out more about the myth itself:

In January 2006 in New York, the patient of a well-known psychiatrist draws the face of a man that has been repeatedly appearing in her dreams. In more than one occasion that man has given her advice on her private life. The woman swears she has never met the man in her life.

That portrait lies forgotten on the psychiatrist's desk for a few days until one day another patient recognizes that face and says that the man has often visited him in his dreams. He also claims he has never seen that man in his waking life.

The psychiatrist decides to send the portrait to some of his colleagues that have patients with recurrent dreams. Within a few months, four patients recognize the man as a frequent presence in their own dreams. All the patients refer to him as THIS MAN.

From here the myth grows, claiming that to this point some two thousand people have claimed to have had nightmares about this man, and perhaps most of them are true, for once you see the image and read the story I'm sure those susceptible enough would be dreaming of the creepy image that night.

The myth states that they've never identified who the man is, nor have they found any commonality between those who have dreamt of him. The site claims that people who say it is a marketing campaign are spreading lies, ermmm, not so. Here's the domain information for it.

Created On:25-Jan-2008 16:02:00 UTC
Registrant Name:Andrea Natella
Registrant Email: [Andrea Natella's email address]@guerrigliamarketing.it

So it's a viral marketing idea that's grown arms and legs, or dreams at least, and now Hollywood has managed to get hold of it and they're going to make a film out of the idea, and why not, it's a great one don't you think?

By that I mean that Bryan Bertino is going to make a horror film out of the original story legend, not the viral marketing campaign itself, but of the idea of a man discovering he is in the nightmares of people all around the world. What's the most exciting part of this is where they could take that story, especially considering it's coming from the man who brought us The Strangers.

What they can't do though is peddle it as the truth, but then what Hollywood films can really do that? Especially horror films based on fact?



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