Hollywood's 20 Masters of Horror: The Twisted Talents Raising the Most Hell
“No one wanted to distribute it. We got rejected by everyone in town two or three times,” says Peli, the writer-director who shot his first feature, 2007’s Paranormal Activity, in his San Diego home with a cast of unknowns for a meager $15,000. But with the support of Jason Blum, DreamWorks and Steven Spielberg, the haunted house horror pic eventually was released by Paramount and became the stuff of horror legend — it raked in an astounding $193.4 million worldwide.
Three sequels were produced by Peli and Blum, bringing the franchise’s total gross to $718.7 million. Peli is producing the fifth installment, hitting theaters October 2014, and a spinoff targeted at Latino audiences, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which will open in January.
The Israeli-American filmmaker also went on to produce the successful James Wan-helmed Insidious and Insidious Chapter 2, which recently became the second-highest September opener of all time. “I think horror has evolved over the last few years,” he says. “Now there’s much more variety in the landscape.”
Peli also is working on his next directorial vehicle, Area 51, about a group of reporters who visit the legendary supposed secret UFO base. He says that after all this success he just hopes to keep doing things that scare him: “The main thing that motivates me is to do something that I’ve never done before.”
Read THR's complete Masters of Horror list here.