Freddy Kruger. Pennywise. Jason Voorhees. Pazuzu. During October, Spooky SZN is born, which breeds the need to throw as many horror movies at your eyes as humanly possible. But what are you watching when you want to get into the Halloweeen horror spirit? Probably films featuring the monsters named previously—Nightmare on Elm Street, IT, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, and many others, all under the Warner Bros. umbrella. There's a reason why we kicked off our 2020 Halloween Horror Marathon with a viewing of The Shining, you feel me?
To celebrate the horror season and shine a light on their legacy of horror, today Warner Bros. Consumer Products announces their WB Horror Icons series, a year-long program dedicated to their triumph in horror. Horror Icons will not only educate fans with programs dedicated to the Warner Bros. Horror Icons, but will also feature exclusive clothing collaborations with The Hundreds, Brain Dead, RSVLTS, Hot Topic, and more (a number of those pieces are featured in the pictures in this piece).
To get more insight on their year-long WB Horror Icons initiative, Complex got to speak with Robert Oberschelp (Senior Vice President, Global Brand Product, Warner Bros. Consumer Products) to break why millennials can't get enough of horror, Warner Bros.' history with the horror genre, and much more. You can also see some images from the WB Horror Icons products from Factorie, Hot Topic, and a Hundreds x WB Horror Icons tease.
Why is Warner Bros. launching horror merch collabs now?
Throughout the years, Warner Bros. Consumer Products has launched many horror-inspired product collaborations and experiences and we continued to hear from fans that they not only wanted more, but they also wanted it all year long.
I'd agree. It can be hard to find really dope, officially-licensed horror-film t-shirts outside of the Halloween season.
We have an amazing portfolio of the most iconic horror franchises of all time—from Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th to IT and Annabelle. Some of our horror franchises have endured for decades and continue to find new fans, and our more recent films and characters are already showing they have fans that will be long-lasting. Our new horror online shop allows fans to celebrate their favorites 365 days of the year.
What has Warner Bros. learned about the horror fan?
We've learned that horror fans like the scary elements but they also like the campiness in some of the classic films. You'll see that some of our merch collections play up the fun and the campiness of the horror genre. You'll also see interesting applications of iconic elements. For example, the red balloon from IT can be used in many different ways, and fans will connect it back to the storytelling. Horror fans are also a passionate in-the-know community who appreciate the subtle nods and easter eggs in the content, experiences, and product design.
Who is the horror fan?
There's a wide variety of horror fans—some are drawn to cult classics like The Lost Boys and others are like the new horror films more. There are fans that like the super scary and creepy, other fans are more interested in psychological stories, and some fans like more light, fun horror films. Overall, horror fans cross age, gender, and scare levels. Finally, horror fans are everywhere, and we create for a global audience.
Have you noticed an uptick in millennials being drawn to the horror genre?
The audience for horror has been growing and evolving for decades, and social media has allowed fans to share their love more easily. We recognized this trend and are giving millennials want they've been asking for.
What is Warner Bros.’ history in the horror genre?
With classics like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Exorcist, and new terrifying films like IT and The Conjuring Universe, WarnerMedia is home to some of the most recognized and highest-grossing horror franchises that have set the standard for the genre.
What are some of your favorite horror icons from the WB archives?
By far my No. 1 is The Exorcist, it was my first horror film and will forever be a film that scared me, and yet I couldn’t turn away. That's followed closely by The Conjuring, The Shining, and IT.
Can you talk about what it was like working with The Hundreds on their collaboration?
Bobby and The Hundreds are great! We've collaborated with them on a number of collections and they always have a unique take and approach. They are true fans themselves and they create collections that they know fans will go crazy for.