With Halloween just about a week away, the Paranormal Activity tradition continues for its third outing without rival franchise Saw opening the same weekend, and as many have already acknowledged from its impressive Friday opening, has officially pulled the box office from its slump. If the box office had downward spiraled anywhere beyond the depths of Real Steel and Footloose, it’d be M. Night Shyamalan.

Now, the original insists it only used $15,000 to make the film. I’m not entirely sure I believe them. But there’s no denying that the scares elicited from the smallest of things by pure conceptual design and execution are impressive, and the film gave new hope to independent filmmakers worldwide. It succeeded by word-of-mouth. In other words, the impossible.

Of course, this presents a problem for the horror fans—the scares are given away. Not that the trailer sadly gave up some of the more terrifying images. A poor marketing campaign proven by its official website having little more than a picture and the same trailer everyone is familiar with. However, some fans may appreciate the series sticking to its independent roots. It was certainly a better move to use a smaller budget.

Either way, the series just has too many fans, and could never fail to take the box office. Halloween and Paranormal Activity have become synonymous, and the restrained use of gore to frighten rather than the anxiety of waiting for the inevitable scares to come is welcoming to squeamish audiences and is even somewhat reminiscent of Polanski’s so-called “apartment trilogy”.

The mystery of the antagonist is what maintains the thrills, particularly on first viewing, much the same way Rosemary’s Baby tore away at us along with Bernard Hermann’s unnerving score when Mia Farrow tears through the closet into the blackness. We expect the worst, and our imaginations feed the terror; and the formula—though exhausted after two films shot the same way, and used literally to death by such failures as Apollo 18—continues to work its magic in this series.

Hmm, The Three Musketeers. Well that’s hardly interesting. Honestly, all marketing suggests it intends to emulate the Pirates series, and make an action film out of an Alexandre Dumas novel. It’s a great deal like selling a Shakespeare film. It doesn’t usually work out.

The latest Count of Monte Cristo with James Caviezel, and Guy Pearce as villainous Ferdinand Mondego, was actually quite good because it captured the tone of the novel. This new adaptation of Dumas’ cornerstone fiction has no intention of doing anything but attempting to sell. It shouldn’t. It’s percent has gone up in interest in IMDb, but it’s not all that impressive if for the most part no one was looking at it in the first place.

Next weekend (my birthday weekend, unfortunately), comes the new Johnny Depp movie Rum Diary. How can this not take number one? If Puss in Boots takes advantage of its animation domination. Or maybe that wide-eyed, kitten look. Almost by box office law, any new animated features take the box office. So, for the first time, I have little to no idea—children, or Deep fans. I can’t imagine which has more in its category.

Depp is considered “versatile” on his biography in IMDb, but let’s consider his run: Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd, Captain Sparrow, the Mad Hatter, the druggie inspector in From Hell, (an awful) John Dillinger, and a lizard what talks to itself. What do they all have in common? They’re all crazy. Rum Diary isn’t exactly pushing the horizons of his aesthetic palette. But fans will be fans.