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Q&A: Producer Jason Blum talks “SINISTER 2”, “CREEP” and “THE VISIT”

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A producer’s job is never done, and that’s certainly true for Blumhouse mastermind Jason Blum. With his name on nearly every theatrical horror offering this year, including THE BOY NEXT DOOR, THE LAZARUS EFFECT, UNFRIENDED, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, THE GALLOWS and THE GIFT, Blum has created one of the most successful brands in the genre with his unique business model, and looks to prove so again with his latest production, SINISTER 2. With the film hitting theaters today, FANGORIA caught up with Blum to talk about the SINISTER sequel as well as what other macabre movies Blumhouse has on their horizon…

FANGORIA: At what point in the lifeline of the first SINISTER did SINISTER 2 become a possibility?

JASON BLUM: We talked about it on set a bit but when it connected with audiences in the way that it did, I really wanted to make a sequel. I’m usually really reluctant to do that unless the original creators agree to be involved, and luckily, Scott [Derrickson] and [C. Robert] Cargill had a great idea, so we came on board SINISTER 2 and we did it.

FANGORIA: When Scott and Cargill returned to write, were you concerned about finding a director that was up to Scott’s pedigree?

BLUM: I was concerned because I wanted Scott to direct SINISTER 2 but he decided to stick to the roles of producing and writing. I was concerned about finding a director who would do justice to the script that Scott and Cargill wrote, and Scott was actually the one who found Ciaran [Foy]. Scott watched CITADEL, talked to Ciaran and made me aware the film. So I watched CITADEL and thought it was great, so we had this great meeting with Ciaran and off we went.

I can’t say I wasn’t concerned about finding the right director, but from very early on, I felt great about our choice with Ciaran. We’re working on another movie right now called THE SHEE because he did a great job on the movie and the shoot was really tough. Ciaran was a very patient director and really pushed through it.

FANGORIA: As a producer, were you excited that Scott and Cargill expanded upon the original story of SINISTER rather than do a prequel or a completely unrelated new tale in the same universe?

BLUM: I loved their take, and when they described to me what they wanted to do for the second movie, I thought it was great. I was mostly encouraging, almost like the film’s cheerleader, but I was very active cheerleader. The idea they had was so cool and from most of the people who had seen the movie, I feel their mutual excitement has proven that feeling to be correct.

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FANGORIA: What was your first reaction to seeing that the script called for Deputy So-and-So to take a lead role this time around? Did you feel he had the chops to carry the film, considering you’ve also recently worked with him on Ti West’s THE VALLEY OF VIOLENCE?

BLUM: I did! I really liked working with James on the first movie, and he really provided great comic relief in that film. I was very happy that they built the second film around him, and we had just shot THE VALLEY OF VIOLENCE with him, Travolta and Ethan Hawke. I loved working with him on that and I want to work with him more because I think he’s a really talented actor.

FANGORIA: The first SINISTER was very well received, and Bughuul has become somewhat of a new horror icon. With that in mind, was there increased pressure this time around to produce something fitting to the first film’s reputation?

BLUM: There definitely was, and we were really proud of the first SINISTER so we didn’t want to disappoint anyone with the second film. So we worked really hard to get the film to where it is now, including myself, Ciaran, Scott and Cargill. SINISTER left a good taste in the mouth of horror fans and we wanted that to continue in SINISTER 2, but I’ll leave that up to the audiences.

FANGORIA: SINISTER had a reputation of being one of the more visceral productions to come out of Blumhouse with the snuff film aspect and children having on-screen deaths. Was the harder content something in mind when SINISTER 2 came together or was that a byproduct of what Scott and Cargill wanted for the sequel?

BLUM: That was something important that Scott, Ciaran and Cargill thought needed to be continued over from the first film, so that definitely falls into the latter category.

FANGORIA: What was your reaction to seeing how SINISTER 2 introduced the horror from the children’s perspective?

BLUM: I liked that! When I first got the script, I was really excited about what the movie could be and the film that Ciaran shot was very close to the first script. It’s not exactly the same but more than most filmmakers might deliver. SINISTER 2 was very close to the vision Scott and Cargill had in the beginning. The script is very complicated, and there are a lot of pieces to it that are put together in a lot of elegant ways, so it was a fun script to read.

FANGORIA: CREEP recently debuted on iTunes and Netflix and has been warmly received by the horror crowd, so much so that it’s getting a one-week run at Brooklyn’s Videology. Are there still any plans of expanding CREEP into a trilogy?

BLUM: We are talking about it. We haven’t definitely decided one way or the other, but there’s a possibility and it’s something I definitely would like to do. I can’t say for sure, though.

FANGORIA: Ti West joined the FANGORIA Hall of Fame this year, so I have to ask: where is THE VALLEY OF VIOLENCE at the moment?

BLUM: Thankfully, THE VALLEY OF VIOLENCE came out great and we’re going to get that out into the world at some point next year.

FANGORIA: What else is currently on Blumhouse’s docket? Should fans expect a third excursion into the SINISTER universe?

BLUM: We haven’t talked about a third SINISTER but I hope to do so. But for this year, we have M. Night Shymalan’s movie THE VISIT coming out in September and then in October, we have PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION as well as JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. And then we also have Eli Roth’s THE GREEN INFERNO, which comes out in September as well.

FANGORIA: It’s been really cool as a horror fan to see M. Night return to form in WAYWARD PINES. What should horror fans expect from his return to feature filmmaking with THE VISIT?

BLUM: Well, I think fans are really going to like it. It’s super creepy, it’s a thriller, it’s scary but it’s also a lot of fun. There’s a lot of humor in it. THE VISIT is almost like M. Night is back to his roots and it’s pretty awesome.

SINISTER 2 is currently in theaters from Gramercy Pictures.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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