Frights and IP Rights – Halloween Movie Trivia

October 31, 2017

Love them or hate them, zombies and vampires have become Halloween staples. We did a little (grave) digging to bring you some mouth-watering intellectual property-related movie trivia from the beyond…

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Cult classic Night of the Living Dead became a household name despite filming on a shoestring budget. The movie landed directly in the public domain as the creators failed to file for a new copyright after changing the name. That means that from day one, people were free to use and adapt the creative work as they saw fit. That unintended mistake generated a buzz that helped propel this unusual production to cult fame and the creators reaped benefits from sequels, spin-offs and merchandizing.

Cronos (1993)

Cronos was the first feature film by the now-legendary Mexican “master of horror”, Guillermo del Toro. The plot revolves around a golden mechanical device – resembling an insect and created by an alchemist in the 1500s – which can offer eternal life, but at a terrible price. The movie taps into the rich Latin American tradition of magical realism and unfortunately (or fortunately?) the “technology” at the heart of the movie remains unpatented.☺

Resident Evil (2002)

Resident Evil started its life as a zombie-themed video game called “Biohazard”, released by Japanese studio Capcom in 1996. Realizing its potential, the rights were purchased by a film company and the first Resident Evil movie appeared in 2002. In a 2014 Q&A session with investors, Capcom was reported as saying that: “Creating new intellectual property is one of our priorities. We allocate about 20% of or investments each fiscal year to intellectual property and are constantly working on developing new property”.

28 Days Later (2002)

Post-apocalyptic zombie flick 28 Days Later became somewhat of a surprise hit, in particular in the USA, and despite the fact that it was produced on a budget of only around USD 8 million. The iconic and instantly-recognizable lead song was subsequently licensed for use in a Louis Vuitton advertising campaign and a modified version can also be heard in 2010’s superhero black comedy “Kick-Ass”.

Image 28 Days Later
(Image: Getty Images/leolintang)

Night Watch and Day Watch (2004 and 2006)

Night Watch and Day Watch (Ночной дозор, Дневной дозор) – Based on books by famous Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko, this vampire duology was a spine-tingling hit in Russia and the CIS. According to, Day Watch is the 6th highest grossing Russian film of all time at the Russian box office. In order to keep one step ahead of non-sanctioned comedy “re-dubs”, Lukyanenko teamed up with some famous names in Russian cinema, such as voiceover artist Leonid Volodarskiy, to produce his own comedy Russian-to-Russian re-dub of his cinematic hit, entitled “Night Bazar” (Nochnoi Bazar).  

Image Night Watch and Day Watch (2004 and 2006)
(Image: Getty Images/Evegeny Gromov)

Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan (부산행)  – This zombie blockbuster from the Republic of Korea has become the poster child for the international intellectual property rights potential of the Asian market. Not only did the film break records in the Republic of Korea and across Asia, but the scramble to acquire foreign language rights saw The Gaumont Film Company come out on top in a bidding war that included such heavyweights as Fox and Sony.

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