WonderCon: Blumhouse Delivers Chills With New 'The Gallows,' 'Insidious 3' Footage (Video)
Jason Blum explained why he signed on to produce the found-footage horror film 'The Gallows,' despite being "a little cautious" about the genre.
Spanning several studios' releases, Jason Blum and his Blumhouse shingle held court to finish the day at WonderCon, focusing on horror.
The panel followed Gotham, which drew the largest crowd to arena at the Anaheim Convention Center, so while there was some audience bleeding, the people that stayed behind were there to get scared. Or at least get a peek at what scares were around the corner.
The Gallows, being released July 10 by New Line/Warner Bros., and Unfriended, hitting theaters April 17 from Universal, hope to shake up the found-footage genre, which has been quiet of late.
"I'm a little cautious about found footage," Blum admitted, acknowledging that audiences have become used to it and may have tired of it.
But he saw a trailer for The Gallows created by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing and signed on to produce the movie. "They did the movie outside the system, and I get a kick out of that," Blum explained.
"It seems like it's easier, but actually to make it seem believable is much harder," said Blum about the found-footage genre. "People in jeopardy tend not to hold a camera. But these guys found an organic way to scare people."
The end result was a trailer shown to the arena crowd that made people jump after tense silence. The story is about a group of teens that sneak into a high school after dark.
Unfriended was also done off the grid and came from an idea by Timur Bekmambetov. The story is told via computer, with a bunch of friends connected by Skype who are terrorized seemingly by a friend who had committed suicide a year earlier.
"This movie, as a viewer you get to direct it yourself," said Blum, describing the result of having the action take place over multiple computer screens on one large canvas. "You get to look where you want to look. And the action is taking place all over the screen. A mouse icon guides you, but you don’t have to follow it."
One of the takeaways from the back-to-back found-footage presentations was the creativity involved to overcome the challenges of the genre.
Nelson Greaves, the writer and a producer on Unfriended, described a camera system designed so that the actors could truly see each other and react to each other in real time. Eighty-minute takes were not uncommon, and actors worked all day, not just showing up for a couple of scenes and then leaving.
The Blumhouse panel also showed two creepy clips from Insidious: Chapter 3 (one of which can be seen below) and a very, very brief (seconds, actually) look at Sinister 2.
"I have a foot in both worlds," said Blum about his movies toggling between being released and made by studios or independently. He said he likes to stay as far away as possible from the Hollywood system during the making of a movie in order to create "good results."
During the Q&A, Blum was asked why he didn't put on a house of horrors attraction last year in Los Angeles like he did in the previous two years. The producer admitted that in the first year, "We lost a bit of money. The second year, we lost a lot of money." So they are reassessing their plans. "I love live entertainment, so I will keep the tradition one way or another."
He also said he is looking into creating a virtual reality experience as well.
A new WonderCon clip from Insidious: Chapter 3, opening in theaters June 5, can be seen below.