Leigh Whannell on Insidious: The Last Key - "Writing is Messy and Abstract" - Dread Central
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Leigh Whannell on Insidious: The Last Key – “Writing is Messy and Abstract”

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Leigh Whannell burst onto the horror scene as a writer and actor in his friend James Wan’s twisty thriller, Saw. A franchise was born. Then then team spawned two more: Insidious in 2010 and The Conjuring a few years later.

Insidious is especially close to Whannell’s heart, as the series always features him as an actor and the writer. In Chapter Four, fans will be treated to a prequel—we get to see how it all began for psychic Elise (Lin Shaye) and her lovable but bumbling sidekicks, Specs and Tucker (Whannel and Angus Sampson).

Appropriately enough, we caught up with Whannell at the famously haunted Hollywood Hotel, The Roosevelt—where Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Carole Lombard are said to wander the halls. The Blossom Room—where the very first Oscars were held—houses two smartly-dressed male ghosts. We didn’t see any apparitions, but we talked about them.

Dread Central: What is it like to continue writing Elise?

Leigh Whannell: I know Lin’s voice. I can actually write to her voice. Which is such a gift because a lot of times when you’re screenwriting, you’re inventing a human being from the ground up. An adult person is a compendium of thousands of memories and days and experiences, nature and nurture and all the rest of it, so to invent that from the ground up is kind of tough. It’s a real gift to be writing dialogue and know this person would say it like this. At this point I don’t know where the character stops and Lin starts. They’re one and the same to me. That was one aspect of writing this film that I really enjoyed. Writing even more for Lin, since this is all Elise’s story.

DC: And she is the bad-ass!

LW: Lin and I talk about that all the time. The fact that a woman her age – her vintage as she would say – can be the lead of a movie. And not only the lead but the bad-ass. The hero. She’s not some doddering grandmother who’s wandering around dispensing advice to the younguns, she’s is the Jason Bourne! She’s the James Bond of this franchise. And it’s a really unique situation. I think Lin’s aware of how rare that is and so she doesn’t take it for granted as well.

DC: Did you also write the role for Bruce Davison?

LW: He plays Elise’s brother in the film, and Adam Robitel the director cast him. As an actor, it was awesome to work with him. I really love character actors. Journeymen actors who are not celebrities they’re not trading on any celebrity but they’re faces you see all the time. You know, you meet these people and – that’s a tough thing to do – to sustain it over a lifetime. Looking out over this street now [Hollywood Boulevard], you get a sense of how many people come here with stars in their eyes, looking to be the next Brad Pitt or the next Meryl Streep or whoever when really the life blood of the acting industry and the journeymen actors, the men and women who just keep playing characters. You know, there can only be so many Brad Pitts and so many Jennifer Lawrences – you need these actors to build a foundation around them. And they’re always the best story tellers. I remember getting a role in a little film that I will leave nameless, but I went out to Shreveport Louisiana in 2007, and I had a supporting role in this movie (The Pardon) and we’re staying at this Motel Six or something on the side of a freeway. Not glamorous accommodation or anything, not a big budget movie. I remember sitting around one night and talking with Tim Guinee, John Hawkes who is now Oscar winning John Hawkes, but at the time he was a character actor and M. C. Gainey. And I was just sitting around listening to them and tell stories about the different movies they’ve worked on, different people they’ve worked with. It was just one of the most fun experiences of my life I swear. And Lin has been that character actor for a long time and now the fact that she’s getting to play the lead is so fun. And Bruce is one of those actors. He’s a guy who has been in a lot of stuff. He probably gets a lot of those “Did we go to school together??” or “where do I know you from?”. And so I had a similar experience with Bruce between takes on the set. Any innocuous thing I would bring up would instigate a story from him. And I love that. I really do love the travelling salesman aspect. I think there’s a real nobility in being a journeymen actor, a working actor. Because it’s so hard to do that’s where I think the nobility comes from – the fact that you’re not a movie star – but you’re making a living from acting.

DC: They’ve got gravitas. Like they’ve been through stuff.

LW: Exactly. And even the other actors we got for different roles in the film – they were all the same. Kirk Avecedo and these people like that – they have that gravitas, they have this real quality to them. They don’t glow from within. It sounds like a real insult – but I don’t see it in those terms. Character actors are more interesting. They’ve lived fuller lives. They have more lived in faces and you believe them when they come into the room. They don’t bring any baggage with them into the room, they’re just the character.

DC: Fourth time out—How do you keep the Insidious world familiar, yet interesting?

LW: It’s always tough to come up with this stuff. I wish I had a method for creativity. In some ways I wish I could approach it like maths and there was a formula – like following a recipe. This ingredient plus this ingredient, a sprinkling of this, should equal this. But it’s not like that. Writing is messy and abstract and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. I can sit there for three days staring out the window and not type a word then all of sudden in a quick burst I’ll write twenty pages. So that aspect of it can be frustrating and great and the writing of the demon in this film very much came from that place. I don’t remember how I even got to those ideas. I know that I like the idea of this demon having keys for fingers, in many ways. I think it played well off the themes of the film, sort of unlocking these secrets of our past. It’s also a cinematic image that maybe you haven’t seen before which is, you’re always trying to do, offer up something that sticks in the audience’s mind. And the best way to stick in an audience’s mind is to show them something unique. If you show them something you’ve seen before it will just get mixed in with the laundry! It just gets mixed in with every other horror film they’ve seen, so that’s the challenge.

Insidious: The Last Key hits theaters January 5, 2018.

Synopsis:
Parapsychologist Elise Rainier and her team travel to Five Keys, N.M., to investigate a man’s claim of a haunting. Terror soon strikes when Rainier realizes that the house he lives in was her family’s old home.

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Must-See: Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees Fan Short Film

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The short film titled Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees made its much-anticipated debut on YouTube channel CallMeJeff86 on January 15th, 2018.

The film is a passion project that pits two horror movie icons against each other; it’s Michael Myers from Halloween against Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th in a bloody fight to the finish.

What are you waiting for? Give the short a watch below, and then let us know what you think!

Michael Myers Versus Jason Voorhees is written and directed by Mason C. McDonald and stars Jeff Payne as Michael Myers, Dustin Miller as Jason Voorhees, and John Alton as the Vengeful Father.

Don’t forget to follow the film on Instagram and Twitter!

P.S. I’m pretty sure the ‘Part 3’ in the title is a joke.

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PG-13 or R? The Strangers: Prey at Night Gets Official MPAA Rating

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Earlier this week we let you guys know that there is a killer The Strangers: Prey at Night fan art competition going on and you can read all the details on that right HERE.

But today we have some cool (if expected) news that The Strangers: Prey At Night hs officially received an R-rating from the MPAA.

The sequel has been rated R for “horror violence and terror throughout, and for language” and I think that makes about as much sense as we could have expected.

For those who are interested in such bits of trivia, the original The Strangers was rated R for “violence/terror and language” so there you go! Impress your friends with MPAA trivia.

Would The Strangers: Prey at Night getting a PG-13 have affected your enthusiasm for the upcoming film? Let us know below!

The Stranger: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit The Strangers.

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Artist Reimagines Superheroes as Tim Burton Illustrations

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The world of Tim Burton has always been full of imagination and wonder built on a surreal and often horrific foundation. Films like Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow capture the imagination with stunning visuals, all based on the mind of the visionary director. Burton’s artwork was also featured in his illustrated poetry book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories.

Burton’s work has not only amazed viewers for over three decades, it’s also been an inspiration to countless artists and creators. Enter Los Angeles-by-way-of-Russia artist and animator Andrew Tarusov, whose work has been used by companies such as Cosmopolitan, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Maxim, and more. In a series he simply calls “Tim Burton’s Superheros”, Tarusov took 10 of the biggest comic book characters and gave them a dark twist that is 100% befitting of Burton’s style.

You can see a gallery of these images below. To see more of Tarusov’s work, head on over to his official website.

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