Here is the official UK DVD artwork for middling genre afterbirth, After Dusk They Come:
Observe the bloodied cryptic text, the symmetrical pretty boy visage, the snarling branches, cold misty air and mysterious zombie hand reaching out from the ground, curling its fingers in a ceremonious gesture. Judging from this gaudy image it would seem safe to assume that the movie may feature some kind of abstruse cult consisting entirely of male models. It would be even less of a leap to assume that it takes place in isolated woodland…
Now, here is the German DVD artwork for After Dusk They Come:
Spot the difference? Let’s begin with the name:
The film does indeed revolve around a tribe, a tribe of missing link oogly booglies hell bent on killing that pretty mechanic from Firefly. Aptly, both she and her ancient aggressors feature on the cover. The Tribe, for this movie, is a perfectly adequate dressing. On the other hand, After Dusk They Come is a bizarrely misleading title, overly descriptive and coldly disingenuous. It is, along with its accompanying artwork, so far removed from the product itself that you have to take your hat off to the marketers for having the unbridled gall to out and out lie to the consumer. The creatures, for one, come after dawn as well as dusk…
Strangely enough, the film was also released under another passable title, The Forgotten Ones. This at least makes assertions to the titular antagonists. But with each new cover, poster and altered nomenclature, the film becomes increasingly camouflaged. And with a fresh veneer comes another unabashed attempt at separating the product from its critics. Quite simply, the process of reselling and remarketing iterates in order to distance a film from any negative feedback it may have received under its previous titles. And soon enough, we are left with something like After Dusk They Come, the latest and most dishonest wrapping for a troubled b-movie.
After Dusk The Forgotten Tribe Comes is not a film born out of love, but confusion. It exists currently as an unsellable, sub-par blip on the horror spectrum. However, the crew were reported to be disappointed with how the film came out and, as a result, they began an entire re-shoot. This version is currently in post production. It has been referred to as both The Forgotten Tribe and Primal.
And further down the rabbit hole we go…
Here’s the trailer to the original film:
And here’s the trailer for the re-shoot:
The differences between these two trailers are obvious but rather inconsequential. Primal is clearly of a much higher budget than After Dusk They Come and displays some actual directorial flare, but such changes remain irrelevant when the weak central concept remains the same. Marooning a gaggle of shipwrecked yuppies on a tropical island inhabited by nefarious ape creatures is about as fulfilling and exciting a notion as it sounds. As an idea, it lies somewhere between Congo and The Descent and is not as fun as either.
Quality of plot aside, the fundamental issue here is how little clarity exists between these films and their surrounding synergy. Sadly, this story is not an isolated one, but merely a footnote on a grander tale of misdirection and miscommunication. It is no secret that the people who make films are not the people market them, and this becomes most obvious in the case of After Dusk They Come/Primal. Low budget horrors like these suffer the worst, the idea being that the smaller the film and the smaller the star power then the more the advertisers must manipulate the consumer into believing the film is worth watching. In some extreme cases, those that aren’t horror are marketed as if they were, confusing both fans and critics alike.
Tony: London Serial Killer, for instance, was a quiet and understated indie drama with emotional weight and a tactful approach to violence. Despite this, it was advertised via a blood splattered poster, the central character holding an axe and his shirt lightly speckled with gore. When I asked the director, Gerard Johnson, about his views on the way the film was marketed he responded ‘It’s the way of the world if you make a film that involves any kind of genre element the distributors will pick up on the aspect that sells…I would have marketed differently but I’m not a distributor.’
And that is the sad truth, the divide between the artist and the salesman, especially in regards to lower budget films, is still too great. More coherence, in the future, would be desirable.