Starting back in 2009 with the first Paranormal Activity movie, Blumhouse Productions has been a major player in the world of modern horror. Headed up by Jason Blum, the company has produced the likes of the Insidious franchise, the Sinister series, the Purge movies, Ouija, The Visit, the stunning Gift, and, of course, the aforementioned Paranormal Activity saga. With Sinister 2 set for a home release later this month, we were lucky enough to grab some time with Jason to discuss the future of the Sinister franchise, the state of modern horror, and even snag some brief words on the company’s upcoming Amityville movie.
STARBURST: What made Sinister such an attractive idea to return to for yourself?
Jason Blum: For me, I think Bughuul felt like a character that could live beyond the first movie. That, I think, was really the driving factor in making the second one seem like a great film and make him a great horror icon. I wanted to continue a journey with him.
Having directed the first film, Scott Derrickson was on board as a producer this time. Was there ever any trepidation about moving forward with Sinister 2 once Scott wasn’t going to be directing?
Yeah, I really wanted Scott to direct it and was hoping he would direct it, but he really was kind of already starting his adventure in Marvel land . Like I said, the first choice was Scott, but I was super happy with the job Ciaran did on the movie; the production of the movie was not easy, and he just did an amazing job. I wanna work with him again. He’s just an incredibly talented guy. So it all worked out fine, but yes, initially I was nervous.
Like the first film, there are certainly some hard-hitting scenes in Sinister 2, such as a particular scene involving some rats. Were there any ideas that you had to rule out because they were just too gruesome?
No, there weren’t. We had to get an R rating in the US, but as long as we were within the R rating zone then I was okay with it. I encouraged Scott and Cargill, and I love that rat scene.
What do you think makes these movies so scary and impactful and popular in a morbid way?
I think the movie within a movie, I think the home movie, the homemade movies, are kind of a gruesome idea that people like. I think Bughuul people like. I think to really answer your question, it’s what makes people like any movie. I think it’s the drama and the acting. You can have the best scares in the world, but without good acting and storytelling it won’t work. So I think that’s really what makes a movie work.
Are there any plans to continue the franchise or do you think this is a two-and-done type of job?
Two-and-done. This is it. I wish we could make another, but we’re not going to.
You’ve been heavily involved in the horror genre for the last decade or so. During that time there have been so many films that have similar styles, similar scares, similar direction and similar tones. Do you think that there’s still life in that style of horror or do you think that we’re now at a point where there needs to be a change in direction for horror?
No, I think it’s not as popular as it was. I think the market is shifting a little bit for scary movies. From the beginning of movies, horror movies have changed and also gone in and out . There’s definitely less of a market for them. I think some of that is that there are so many of them, but I think the taste is shifting a little bit for what people want. I don’t know what, where it’s shifting to, but I do feel like there is a shift from when we started.
The horror genre is such a strange genre, because there’s so many subgenres and so many fads and flavours-of-the-month, plus what was old always becomes new again. With that said, do you see a particular direction that you’d like to take the genre?
You know, I don’t think about it that way. I read the script and see whether the story’s compelling. If it is, we make it. If it isn’t, we don’t. The benefit of working with a lower budget is that we get to operate that way. One of the reasons I like working with a lower budget is because we get to operate that way. I don’t try and second guess trends that are gonna work. Some people can do that very successfully but it’s just not something I’m good at.
Are there any Blumhouse Productions movies that you’ve done and wanted to do a sequel for but never had the chance to?
Definitely. There are so many. Jem and the Holograms I wanted to do a sequel for . There are a lot, though. With a lot of our movies, we don’t think about it during the script and development stage, but when you finish them you fall in love with them and then you think about making another one. When we were making the second Sinister I wanted to make a third one.
What put the brakes on that then?
It just didn’t do enough business.
With the mantra of Blumhouse being to make low-budget movies, that means you’re always likely to get some form of profit. Sinister 2 brought in around $50 million, which could maybe justify a third movie, but is it a case of not going to the well too often?
Yeah, exactly. There’s enough to justify it, and I think we could make a little bit of money off a third one, but really it’s fun to make these movies when you feel there’s still demand. The first Insidious did $100 million, the second one did $170 million. The same with Paranormal Activity – it didn’t grow that much, but it was growing. You wanna feel like people are along with you. People are cynical about sequels generally, so you like to feel that people are along for the ride. Funnily enough, I’m the first one to say when we’ve missed the mark. Plenty of our movies I feel didn’t come out as well as we’d hoped. Sinister 2 definitely came out as well or better than I’d hoped. So I think it was a bunch of other factors, unfortunately, but it is what it is. The perception is that because it didn’t do nearly as well as the first movie, you’re coming from a tough place making the third one. I don’t want to grind it into the ground. I really love Sinister and I really love the second movie, so I just want to keep it as those two and leave it alone.
What can you tell us about the new Amityville film that you’re working on?
The new Amityville film is very original and will subvert expectations in a huge way. I’m looking forward to finally getting it out there and having people see it and talking about it once it comes out. It’s very different from what you expect.
And any idea when we can expect it?
Currently it’s coming in April. I don’t know when the UK release is, but April is the US, and the UK is either then or shortly thereafter.
Sinister 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from December 28th.SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
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