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Hollywood's 20 Masters of Horror: The Twisted Talents Raising the Most Hell

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    FILM: Jason Blum
    Jason Blum
    The Microbudget Assassin

    The Vassar graduate was an unlikely candidate to become Hollywood’s mastermind of the microbudgeted horror pic, responsible for the Paranormal and Insidious franchises, along with The Purge and Sinister. He got his start pursuing more serious-minded fare at Malaparte in New York City, the theater company founded by his friend Ethan Hawke, before joining Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films in 1995 as co-head of acquisitions and co-productions.

    He left the Weinsteins in 2000 to form his own production company, Blumhouse, but floundered until a directing sample by Oren Peli crossed his desk in 2006. The film, set for a direct-to-DVD release, was Paranormal Activity. “I met with Oren the next day and told him I could get it into movie theaters,” recalls Blum. It took three years, but he did, and in 2009, the $15,000 movie grossed nearly $200 million worldwide to become one of the most profitable films in cinema history.

    Blum, 44, who won’t make a horror film for more than $5 million (with most of his movies coming in cheaper), has repeated the same magic numerous times over, resulting in stunning profit margins. His company’s growing television footprint includes AIDS drama The Normal Heart — the HBO film that Ryan Murphy is directing for 2014 — but horror remains Blum’s chief preoccupation (for the second Halloween in a row, Blumhouse will host a haunted house at the historic Variety Arts Theater in downtown Los Angeles). “I think a lot of Hollywood looks down on horror,” says Blum. “It’s shortsighted, but I don’t mind.”

    Read THR's complete Masters of Horror list here.

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