The house I’m in holds a lot of mysteries within its walls and halls. From infidelity to unnatural deaths, this place definitely packs a patina of evil. Beginning with its stint as a secret-keeping casa in the dark drama American Beauty…
And now serving as the home of haunted Malcolm and his new wife, this eclectic Colonial Revival reeks of atmosphere… and cyber-farts.
You may remember Malcolm (played by Marlon Wayans) from the first A Haunted House movie, in which horror films such as Paranormal Activity and Insidious were shamelessly spoofed. For this sequel, we’ll see riffs on The Conjuring, The Possession, and Sinister. In fact, the day I’m on set Marlon is acting out the never-ending Skype scene from Sinister – but instead of passing along advice, the online professor is passing gas.
Along for the return ride is Rick Alvarez, who’s been on the Wayans bandwagon for years. He co-wrote the A Haunted House 2 script with Marlon, and he also serves as a producer on the film. Between shots, out by the pool in the Southern California sun, Rick gave me the lowdown on this lowbrow comedy: “It’s a little bit of The Conjuring, a little bit of Sinister, and some of The Amityville Horror. The classical mixed with the new ones. [Plot-wise] it’s Malcolm trying to fit into this ready-made family.”
As Marlon explains, it’s hard enough to just adjust to a completely new domestic situation – there’s a demonic situation going on, too. “On top of all the stuff he has going on with trying to blend in with his new wife and her kids, they move into this place and literally everything in the house is evil. My daughter gets a box that is possessed, my son gets an imaginary friend and he is the worst imaginary friend ever, plus there’s the Abigail doll – which is, of course, a play on Annabelle from The Conjuring. Then there is Malcolm’s ex-girlfriend Kisha [Essence Atkins returns in the role], who killed everyone in the first movie, and she moves next door. So it’s just a lot of complications! It’s constant, consistent conflicts that will hopefully lead to good jokes.”
Aside from the Skype scenario, I also get to see real flames when a pivotal twist is played out in which Abigail is set on fire. But that’s not all. We picked up all kinds of tidbits and fun facts in the day we spent with Marlon and Co. Here’re just a few:
1) Marlon Asks: ‘What Would Wan Do?’
Marlon, who began the Scary Movie franchise with his brothers back in the 90s, never does anything out of disrespect to the lampooned filmmakers. “I am not going ‘Heya your movie sucked!’ That’s not the purpose of it,” he explained. “I am just going, ‘You know, I liked what you guys did with the doll but watch where we go with it.’ And we do go there!”
When I ask Rick if any of the directors, such as James Wan, has made a cameo appearance, he laughs and says, “I wish he had! We actually wrote one in and we were hoping we might get him, but it ended up not going that route.” Both men say they watched The Conjuring numerous times to see how the suspenseful parts were done and did their best to pay proper homage.
2) Essence never forgets who’s signing the checks.
While she’s in the makeup chair, the lovely and perennially youthful Essence Atkins takes a few moments to dish on what it’s like to work in Wayans World yet again. They have a longstanding professional relationship – which is not to say hanky-panky isn’t sometimes also involved. “I worked with Marlon on ‘The Wayans Brothers’ TV show, but mainly with his brother Shawn.” She says she had a great time playing the homicidal honey in A Haunted House, and adds, “I usually end up making out with Shawn, so A Haunted House was the first time I made out with Marlon.” I have to ask, who’s the better kisser?, and Essence gives comedic pause, then replies, “Um… who’s writing the checks right now? Oh, Marlon! Marlon is the better kisser!”
3) Jaime Pressly is white.
Marlon tells me her character, Megan, is “The quintessential white woman. She is the run-of-the-mill suburban mom, you know. She’s all into recycling, carpooling with the kids and all that. And has her insecurities about her being pale; she is a little sensitive about that and a little neurotic.” As an actress, she’s a little more on the ball. “She is a lot of fun,” Marlon says. “She’s like a Lucille Ball type. Really expressive eyes, her character is really [zany]. It was fun to play those different angles, because Megan has a little checkered past, and sometimes it kind of spills out of her… Jaime found the right take on it. It’s great to improvise with her because I go all over the place, and she is able to go with me. She knows how to go with the flow. We have a couple really funny love scenes, you know… she gets to let loose. It’s a naughty movie.”
4) It’s a bad idea to cheat on your clairvoyant wife or your dead girlfriend.
Essence confirms that Kisha “hates the new wife.” I can only imagine what kind of mayhem ensues once Malcolm’s two women come face-to-face. In fact, we’ll all have to imagine it until the movie comes out. That’s one spoiler nobody would reveal. So I ask Essence if she gets to play with any of the creepy props – such as the Abigail doll, which is sitting in the makeup room as we speak. “No, I’m the creepy prop really,” Essence reveals. “When I show up, that’s all that’s needed! Who better to frighten people than a woman? We are unpredictable and extremely adaptive and wily. I think it’s a smart thing to utilize that we have those traits within us that come very easy.”
Marlon says Kisha isn’t the only one with infidelity issues. “Hayes MacArthur and Missi Pyle play the Ed and Lorraine Warren characters from The Conjuring. She is a medium, and she comes to help us out. He’s her partner. And all they do is argue, her and him, because he cheated on her years ago. And she kind of knew he was going to cheat before he did because of her psychic ability. You know… that leads to a lot of fun stuff! They improv great together.”
5) The Demon’s name is Dave.
Rick tells us, “Our demon is played by Dave Sheridan. Who was actually in the first movie as Bob the camera guy. This time you won’t know it’s him because of all the make-up, but he was also the bad guy in Scary Movie. He’s been in almost every Wayans movie that I have been involved in. He’s hilarious, one of the great lesser known character actors in comedy that you may have never heard of; he’s just brilliant and insane and hilarious.”
The sequel to A Haunted House catches back up with Malcolm (Wayans), who is trying to get a fresh start after having to exorcise demons out of his ex. However, moving into a beautiful home with his new girlfriend and her two children does nothing to stop the paranormal — or the humor.
Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias, Ashley Rickards, Steele Stebbins, Essence Atkins, Affion Crocket, Dave Sheridan, Hayes MacArthur, Missi Pyle, and Cedric The Entertainer star.
Open Road Films is releasing the spoof, which is directed by Michael Tiddes and co-written by Wayans and Rick Alvarez.
Crossing new lines and breaking old barriers, A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 is the sequel to the hilarious box office hit starring Marlon Wayans as Malcolm who, after exorcising the demons of his ex, is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. After moving into their dream home, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events. With spine-tingling tension and hilarious punch-lines, A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 is inspired by the latest supernatural horror movie franchises and shows that this time… it’s not just the house that’s haunted!
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