Exclusive: James Wan Talks Insidious Chapter 2 and More! - Dread Central
Connect with us

Exclusive: James Wan Talks Insidious Chapter 2 and More!

Published

on

Post Thumb:

/may13/insidious-2-s.jpg

Exclusive: James Wan Talks Insidious Chapter 2 and More!Although director James Wan is taking a leave of absence from the world of horror in order to direct Fast & Furious 7, he’s definitely going out with a bang with his latest, Insidious Chapter 2.

We spoke briefly on the phone during the film’s massive press day at the Waldorf Astoria and here’s what Wan had to say about the new film.

Read our Insidious Chapter 2 review.

Dread Central: This film, to me, is kind of like the “Kid A” of horror films. Radiohead broke down the rock genre and built it back up and it seems that you’ve really deconstructed the haunted house formula and done something much more experimental. Would you agree with that?

James Wan: That’s what happens when Leigh [Whannell] and I get together. We never do the typical, normal things. I’ve always told people if they want the more straightforward James Wan movie, go watch the films without Leigh Whannell. But if they want the more weird, quirky, willing to take chances stuff, than those are the ones I do with Leigh. When we did the first Insidious a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, we love the first two-thirds of Insidious but the last third it became something else.’ So then I gave everyone The Conjuring which was basically the first two-thirds of Insidious and then people started complaining that it wasn’t original enough. Now, you’re going to have Insidious 2 which is something that you’ve never seen before or at least not what you think it is and that’s what you’re going to get. If you like movies one way, then you get The Conjuring; if you like movies another way, then you get Insidious 2.

DC: You’ve definitely covered all the angles. Did you feel like you had to keep the audience guessing this time around because mainstream audiences might be growing a little more savvy when it comes to the setups and scares of ghost stories? Is the massive success you’ve enjoyed with these films too much of a good thing maybe?

JW: That’s a reason why magicians don’t show you their tricks more than once because you start catching on to it. To some degree, I’ve sort of showed my tricks three times in a row. Leigh and I tried to find a different story to tell with Insidious 2. The first one was more of a twist on the haunted house subgenre; the second one is definitely a twist on the domestic thriller subgenre but with a supernatural edge to it. It allows me to play with it and just kind of have fun with it and try different things.

DC: This one is changing it up more with pacing and editing until the usual beats of this kind of movie are fundamentally altered. You don’t really know where it’s going to go.

JW: It’s kind of tricky. You want to keep the audience on their toes as much as you can without alienating them too much so we’ll see if that happens or not because I don’t know!

DC: If the series continues, and The Conjuring possibly as well, are you looking to step into a producer role like you did with the Saw films?

JW: If I’m not directing, then I definitely want to oversee them to some degree, yeah. I’m not sure what that means yet at this point.

DC: Can you also talk about the idea of The Further and how stylized it is in this film? There’s a tinge of melodrama to it. It’s got this really ethereal quality to it. It’s a little cheesy but it’s obviously a look you were going for.

JW: People that are familiar with my work, they definitely know my love for heightened visuals. Heightened visuals doesn’t necessarily mean big effects or stuff like that, right? I made a movie called Dead Silence which is all about a town shrouded in fog and I have a love for that kind of aesthetic. I felt that with Insidious 2 and with The Further that you can go pretty big and you can go very stylized but in a lot of ways I didn’t want to make it too visually big if that makes sense. It’s still a small-budgeted film. It wasn’t like we had dragons and monsters flying around there. Keep it grounded in some respect but kind of play with the metaphysical concept behind it, and play with the fact that that time and space has different relation to what we’re familiar with. It really allows us to have a bit of fun with the story plotting.

DC: With the success of Insidious, you were probably offered a bigger budget to do this. Now in retrospect, do you think it was smart to turn that down and still shoot Insidious Chapter 2 very quickly and really blow it out of the water and not have to worry about it doing bigger box office?

JW: The first one was so indie, and the second one was really indie as well. I don’t think any of us felt that, because of the success of the first movie, that the second one was suddenly going to be this huge film. I don’t think that would have been right for it if we did go down that path. The indie spirit is kind of what made the first one what it is and it kind of forces you into a different kind of filmmaking, for better or for worse. You kind of need to embrace that. For people that want something a little more unique and different, that’s what these films are.

DC: I know you and Leigh came up together in Australia, but you’re from Malaysian descent, is that right?

JW: Yeah, I was born in Malaysia but grew up in Australia.

DC: There’s a lot of different myths of malay ghosts of a lot of different types. Was that ever a starting point or inspiration for you to explore this kind of world?

JW: Definitely. Growing up in an Asian culture and to be subjected to that kind of world, it was something I was always fascinated with. Movies allow you to play with stuff like that and allow you to kind of dig into it and use your imagination to create all the stuff that you’ve heard about and that you’ve experienced maybe, and just put it out there.

DC: Well, I’m sitting in a hotel right now here in New York, and I know that you were in a hotel in New York once and woke up to a crying, whimpering sound and saw a little girl in a Victorian nightgown. Have you seen any ghosts since then and have they started following you home since you keep making these movies?

JW: (laughs) Nice. No, thank god. That was just a one time thing and let’s hope that that never ever happens again. Believe it or not, I find that kind of stuff really scary. I can’t take it. I think part of the reason I can make the movies that I make is because I’m actually really scared of these things. All I do is I just put my fears and all the things that creep me out on screen. In a lot of respects, I have them to thank for, I have my fears to thank for, because I’ve taken my fears and turned them into a career. I wouldn’t want to be part of that world any more than what I need to be.

Insidious Chapter 2 is now in theaters.

Related Story: Check out our Insidious Chapter 2 news archive

Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions is producing (with Alliance financing). FilmDistrict will distribute the film theatrically in the United States, with Sony handling the majority of domestic ancillary rights. Alliance will distribute in Canada, the U.K. (through its Momentum Pictures subsidiary), and Spain (through Aurum); and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions will distribute in all other international territories.

Look for Insidious Chapter 2 on Friday, September 13th! For more information visit the Insidious Facebook page, and follow along on Twitter at @InsidiousMovie.

Insidious Chapter 2

VISIT THE EVILSHOP @ AMAZON!
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Bring evil home in the comments section below!

Image Type 1:

Continue Reading
Comments

Reviews

Hell Night Blu-ray Review – Mischief & Mayhem At Mongoloid Manor

Published

on

Starring Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Suki Goodwin, Vincent Van Patten

Directed by Tom DeSimone

Distributed by Scream Factory


1981. Prime time for the slasher film, when studios were more than content to pump out one after another since production cost was often so low. The downside, though, was that many wound up being formulaic and, eventually, forgotten. Time has allowed the cream to rise to the top of that crop and while Hell Night (1981) isn’t among the best it does stand out due to some novel choices made by director Tom DeSimone and executive producer Chuck Russell, the man responsible for some of the most consistently entertaining horror films of the ‘80s. A dilapidated mansion, oozing with gothic atmosphere, stands in place of a college campus or generic forest setting. Characters are dressed in formal costume; a stark departure from typical ‘80s teen garb. The film is half haunted house, half crazed killer and there is a not-entirely-unexpected-but-definitely-welcome twist at the end providing a solid jolt to a beleaguered climax. Fans are rightly excited to see Hell Night makes its debut in HD, though the final product is still compromised despite Scream Factory’s best efforts.

It’s Hell Night, every fraternity brother’s favorite evening; when new recruits are tormented in hazing rituals from, well, Hell. Peter (Kevin Brophy), president of the vaunted Alpha Sigma Rho house, comes up with the brilliant idea to have four pledges – Marti (Linda Blair), Jeff (Peter Barton), Denise (Suki Goodwin), and Seth (Vincent Van Patten) – spend the night in a decaying mansion. But this isn’t just any old house, as Peter regales a rapt audience – this is where former owner Raymond Garth killed his wife and three malformed children before hanging himself, sparing only the life of his son, Andrew, who was rumored to reside within the place after the murders. The pledges enter Garth Manor and quickly pair off, with Marti and Jeff getting intellectual while Denise and Seth take a more physical path.

A few hours pass and Peter returns with some of his bros, planning to initiate a few good scare pranks they set up earlier that week. The chuckles don’t last long, though, because Jeff and Seth quickly find the shoddy wiring and poorly placed speakers rigged upstairs. What they don’t know is that there is an actual killer on the loose, and he just decapitated one of the girls. Leaving the labyrinthine home proves difficult, with Marti & Jeff getting lost within the catacombs beneath the estate, evading their mongoloid menace however possible. Seth, meanwhile, has to scale a massive spiked fence if they hope to get any help way out here. Wait, didn’t Peter mention something about Andrew having a sibling?

The production team on this picture was a beast, and I’m convinced that’s the chief reason why it came out any good at all; specifically, the involvement of Chuck Russell and Irwin Yablans. I give a bit less credit to director Tom DeSimone, who up to that point (and after it) filled his filmography with lots and lots of gay porn; storyline and direction are usually secondary in that market. Hell, they even had Frank Darabont running around set as a P.A. which is just a cool fact because nobody listens to P.A.s on a film set. Music is just as important, too, and composer Dan Wyman is a synth master who worked with John Carpenter on his early films. His score here is reminiscent of those lo-fi masterpieces.

Solid atmosphere and rounded characters make all the difference. Instead of a roster of stereotypical sophomoric faces the bulk of the film focuses on four individuals with personality and a bit of depth. Blair makes a good turn as the bookish good girl type, while Barton is a charming match for her mentally, showing interest in more than just a drunken hookup. Denise and Seth are both superficial, and their interactions inject the most humor into the film. Denise continually calling Seth “Wes” is one example. A good horror film gets the audience invested in who lives and dies, and while I won’t go so far as to say these are exemplary characters the script does make them three-dimensional and not so paper thin.

The 1.85:1 1080p image is sourced from a 4K restoration of an archival 35mm print with standard definition inserts. This is a step up from Anchor Bay’s old DVD but not by leaps and bounds. Colors attain greater saturation and definition is tightened but the picture looks awfully soft too often and the jump between HD and SD footage is plain as day. The print displays vertical scratches and white flecks. Black levels are decent but there is clear room for improvement across the board. To their credit this is the best image Scream Factory was able to produce but fans should temper expectations going in because this is not a pristine picture by any means.

There is nothing wrong to be found with the English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track, which does a fine job of carrying the dialogue alongside Dan Wyman’s sinister synth soundtrack. Direction is limited and the presentation is routine, but no problems were detected and the track capably supports the feature. Subtitles are available in English.

Here is where Scream Factory does their best to make up for the shortcomings of the a/v presentation: a ton of extra features.

An audio commentary track features actress Linda Blair, director Tom DeSimone, and producers Irwin Yablans & Bruce Cohn Curtis.

“Linda Blair: The Beauty of Horror” – This is a recent discussion with the actress, who covers her run in the genre in addition to diving deep into this film’s difficult production.

“Hell Nights with Tom DeSimone” – Shot on location at the Garth Manor (actually Kimberly Crest Estate in Redlands, CA), DeSimone reflects back on shooting the film there over 35 years ago.

“Peter Barton: Facing Fear” – The actor offers up expected discussion, covering his career in horror and navigating the Hollywood scene.

“Producing Hell with Bruce Cohn Curtis” – This covers more of the behind-the-scenes work that went into making the movie.

“Writing Hell” – Screenwriter Randy Feldman offers up some insight into his process for creating the story and writing the script.

“Vincent Van Patten & Suki Goodwin in Conversation” – The two actors, who have not seen each other in quite some time, sit down together for a back-and-forth discussion.

“Kevin Brophy & Jenny Neumann in Conversation” – This is another chat conducted the same way as Van Patten & Goodwin.

“Gothic Design in Hell Night” – Art director Steven Legler talks about his process for turning Garth Manor into how it is seen on film; evoking the right chilling atmosphere.

“Anatomy of the Death Scenes” – Pam Peitzman, make-up artist, and John Eggett, special effects, scrutinize each of the film’s kill scenes and discuss what went into achieving them.

“On Location at Kimberly Crest” – DeSimone guides viewers on a tour of the “Garth Manor” as it can be seen today.

A theatrical trailer, two TV spots, a radio spot, and a photo gallery are the remaining features.

Special Features:

  • NEW 4K Scan of the film taken from the best surviving archival print
  • NEW interviews with actors Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten, Suki Goodwin, Kevin Brophy and Jenny Neumann
  • Audio Commentary with Linda Blair, Tom DeSimone, Irwin Yablans and Bruce Cohn Curtis
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & TV spots
  • Blu-ray Disc Exclusives:
    • NEW interview with Director Tom DeSimone
    • NEW interview with Producer Bruce Cohn Curtis
    • NEW interview with Writer Randolph Feldman
    • NEW – Anatomy of the Death Scenes with Tom DeSimone, Randolph Feldman, Make-up artist Pam Peitzman, Art Director Steven G. Legler and Special Effects artist John Eggett
    • NEW – On Location at the Kimberly Crest House with Tom DeSimone
    • NEW – Gothic Design in Hell Night with Steven G. Legler
    • Original Radio spot
    • Photo Gallery featuring rare, never-before-seen stills
  • Hell Night
  • Special Features
4.0

Summary

“Hell Night” overcomes being lumped in with standard slasher fare thanks to dripping atmosphere, unique production design, and characters that elicit some empathy. The a/v presentation leaves much to be desired but a plethora of bonus features softens that blow.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Continue Reading

News

Video: The Shape of Water Q&A with Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre

Published

on

This past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA betwixt a double screening of The Shape of Water and the classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the former’s director Guillermo del Toro (and star Doug Jones) sat down to discuss the latter’s influence on the film, Gill-man sex, “one sock movies,” his career in the genre, and more with moderator Jonah Ray, and we were there to film a portion of it.

Our sincere thanks to American Cinematheque general manager Dennis Bartok for extending the invitation.

For more Cinematheque screenings, visit the official website here.

Continue Reading

Reviews

The Open House Review – Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

Published

on

Starring Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins

Written by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote


Mere weeks, even days, after effusively beating Netflix’s original horror content drum (The Babysitter, Before I Wake, Creep 2), I’m here to confirm that The Open House is emptier than an vacant bomb shelter. Cold, unappealing and thoughtlessly plotted to the point where “generic” would have been an improvement. From the moment we’re welcomed into Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s scripted imprisonment, it’s nothing but loose floorboards and busted plumbing. The home invasion genre has rarely been navigated with such little attention to detail, asking for our suspension of coherent storytelling early, often, and without earning the right to be deemed mindless genre fun. Not even Ty Pennington could save this extreme renovation disaster.

Dylan Minnette plays Logan Wallace, a track star and student who must find closure after watching his father fall victim to a fatal car accident. It is his mother Naomi’s (Piercey Dalton) idea to spend a little time away from their suburban home – escape those painful memories – so they retreat to her sister’s luxurious mountain getaway. The catch? It’s in the process of being sold and open houses are on the regular, so Naomi and Logan must vacate their temporary premises on certain days. It’s after one of these very showings that Logan begins to notice slight changes around the house, and he fears that an unwanted visitor may be in their midst. Guess what? He’s right.

To understand how little The Open House cares about conscious blueprinting, just read the poster’s tagline. “You can’t lock out what’s already inside” – right, but you could have prevented them from coming in, or checked the house to make sure they weren’t squatting, or explored numerous other possibilities to avoid this scenario. The mansion’s realtor allows prospective buyers to come and go but it’s not her job to make sure no one’s hiding in the basement? Naomi can’t even keep track of the *single* visitor she lets look around the house? It’s infuriating to see so many people neglect safety out of forced coincidence because the script couldn’t rationalize the killer’s entry any other way – a confounding strike one.

This is also a film that admits no reasoning for why its own murderer has targeted the Wallaces, or why he stokes a violent fetish when it comes to open houses. We never actually see his face, just his imposing handyman-looking attire, nor do we savor any kind of tangible backstory (his family died during their own open house and he suffered a psychotic breakdown – just give me *something*). His undefined form never demands curiosity like John Carpenter’s “The Shape” once did, because scripting is nothing more than bullet notes for basic horror movie necessities. Here he is, your bad guy – too bad he’s introduced without fear, handled without originality and unable to characterize beyond torturous kidnapper dotted lines. He’s just, you know, a guy who sneaks into open houses and kills – COMPLETE WITH A FINAL PAN-IN ON AN OPEN HOUSE SIGN WHEN HE MOVES TO HIS NEXT TARGET [eye roll into infinity].

Every scene in The Open House feels like an afterthought. “Ah, we need a way to build tension – how about a senile local woman who lives down the street and wanders aimlessly into frame?” Overplayed and in no way suitable to most her inclusions, but sure. “Oh, and we need inner conflict – what about if the breaker-iner steals Logan’s phone and frames him for later acts?” I mean, didn’t Logan canonically lose his phone even before Naomi’s mid-shower water heater issues – but sure, instant fake tension. “How are people going to believe the killer is always around and never blows his cover – think they’ll just buy it?” No, we don’t. Worse off, his cat-and-mouse game is dully repetitive until a finale that skyrockets intensity with jarring tonal imbalance. This closing, dreadful end without any sort of redemptive quality. More abusive than it is fulfilling.

If there’s anything positive worth conveying, it’s that Minnette does a fine job shuffling around as a character with severe sight impairment. The killer makes a point to remove his contacts as a final “FUCK YOU,” just to toy around a bit more, and Minnette frantically slips or stumbles with nothing more than foggy vision. Otherwise, dialogue finds itself ripped form a billion other straight-to-TV Logo dramas about broken families, no moment ever utilizing horror past a few shadowy forms standing in doorways after oblivious characters turn away. You can’t just take an overused subgenre and sleepwalk through homogenized beats…case and god-forsaken point.

Even as a streamable Netflix watch, The Open House is irredeemable beyond fault. The walls are caving in on this dilapidated excuse for home invasion horror, benefiting not from the star power of a temperamental Dylan Minnette. I have seen most involved players here in far better projects (Minnette’s stock has rightfully been skyrocketing, Matt Angel in The Funhouse Massacre, etc), but this is bargain bin theatrics without a fully formed idea. A nameless villain, doomed nice guy (Sharif Atkins), woefully unaware plot advancement – all the worst cliches found in one rage-quit worthy effort. Anyone who makes it through deserves an award…or a dunce cap.

  • The Open House
1.0

Summary

Unless you’re irrationally afraid of cold showers, The Open House fails to deliver on a premise that can be summed up by no more than two lines of text.

Sending
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
Continue Reading

Recent Comments

Advertisement

Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

* indicates required

Go Ad Free!

Support Dread Central on Patreon!

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC