Scream VI viral marketing scares residents with ghostface sightings

The long-running horror series is promoting its upcoming sequel with an unorthodox method of actually scaring people.

Let’s play a game. What’s your favorite scary viral marketing? Not since the brief uptick in scary clown sightings back in 2016 has anything looked so creepy. Scream VI is upon us, and while the killer usually hides in the shadows as they stalk their prey, viral footage and images show a mysterious hooded figure in black walking the streets or standing completely still in various U.S. cities. Variety reports on the eerie images of the Scream ghostface killers seen across the country who have been frightening locals.

As extreme as it seems, this is all a part of a viral marketing campaign for Scream VI, which is due out on March 10. Ghostface figures have been spotted in Sonoma (the stand-in for the franchise’s fictional town of Woodsboro), New Orleans, and St. Louis. In a hilarious wrinkle in all of this, the official movie’s Twitter, from Ghostface’s perspective, posts the news stories reporting on the sightings and jokingly tweets, “I was just minding my business.”And in another, the killer tweets a more menacing, “I’m watching you.”

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Predictably, and understandably, locals had been pretty disturbed by this stunt, and 911 had been dialed many times in the face of these encounters. The last time such a stunt had been attempted, Paramount promoted Smile by placing actors behind home plate in several MLB games where the person would do nothing but smile. Smile was a hit, pulling more than $200 million globally.

In Scream VI, Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Hayden Panettiere and Courteney Cox star, and it follows the perpetually targeted residents of Woodsboro to New York City, where they are hunted by a new Ghostface killer. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett directed Scream VI from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It will also be the first chapter in the long-running slasher series without OG final girl, Sidney Prescott, due to Neve Campbell’s departed the film over a pay dispute.

Wes Craven created the genre-blending franchise nearly 30 years ago and directed its first four installments, 1996’s Scream, 1997’s Scream 2, 2000’s Scream 3, and 2011’s Scream 4.

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