Paranormal Activity 3 Viral VHS Tapes Pop Up at Fantastic Fest

Today at Fantastic Fest, Movieline got its hands on a VHS tape labeled "September 1988," packaged in an unmarked manila envelope. Perhaps (probably) not coincidentally, the date corresponds to recently released footage from Paranormal Activity 3, the forthcoming found footage prequel about spooky goings-on in the lives of a family haunted by unseen forces. Could this have something to do with tomorrow's hotly anticipated secret screening?

The first secret screening of this year's fest was Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In, and buzz around Fantastic Fest had Paranormal Activity 3 as a good guess for Secret Screening #2. The original Paranormal Activity, filmed for $15,000, first debuted on the festival circuit and played Fantastic Fest before turning into a box office phenomenon fueled by word of mouth and viral marketing. Its follow-up, 2010's Paranormal Activity 2, also screened at the Austin festival and employed a local viral campaign consisting of footage mysteriously popping up around town on flash drives.

Taking place in 1988, Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel that explains what happened to sisters Katie and Kristi back when they were kids when they first caught the attention of the demonic spirit that would haunt their families in the first two films. (Watch three previously released preview clips of PA3 here for a taste.)

I haven't yet had a chance to hunt down a VHS player here in Austin to see what's on the tape. (Anyone nearby have one? Hit me up at @jenyamato.) Is this the first piece of concrete evidence that Fantastic Fest is about to get spooked yet again? Paranormal Activity 3 is set to hit theaters on October 21, so a surprise debut at Fantastic Fest would mark its world premiere. If you PA fans didn't yet have a ticket to the Secret Screening #2, which screens tomorrow at midnight, now might be the time to start hunting them down.

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  • The WInchester says:

    If that first movie cost $15 million, the catering on that picture must have been PHENOMENAL!

  • Jen Yamato says:

    I know, duh. Fixed. Running on festival brain.
    On another note -- where the hell do I find a VHS player while traveling?

  • The WInchester says:

    No worries. On the plus side, you're in Austin, so you know there's gotta be a VHS friendly hip video store somewhere. Just ask Richard Linklater!
    At the very least, Harry Knowles probably has one.

  • Carolina says:

    So is this movie a true life story?