Busan: Jason Blum Talks 'Halloween,' South Korean Zombies and Creativity

THR 100 List 2017 - Jason Blum -Getty-H 2017
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The producer believes transmitting political messages and ensuring input from original creators are key to Blumhouse films.

Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, arrived in South Korea over the weekend in time for the Asian premiere of David Gordon Green's Halloween during the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) on Sunday.

South Korea has been an important market for Blumhouse films, the exec said, as the Asian country was the No. 1 market — topping the U.S. — for the multiple-Oscar-winning title Whiplash. Happy Death Day and Get Out also enjoyed box-office successes in South Korea, where box-office scores for both titles came second after their North American performances.

South Korean audiences have had a strong predilection for genre films, with domestic titles being fixtures for Cannes' Midnight Screening section, for example. Blum said he especially enjoyed the zombie action-thriller Train to Busan. He even considered remaking it (French studio Gaumont won the English-language remake rights to the film), and said that its star, actor Don Lee (aka Ma Dong-seok) is his "favorite Korean actor," calling him "the Dwayne Johnson of Korea."

The producer said local fans can look forward to seeing more of Blumhouse's unique brand of horror in Halloween. "We have a very specific approach to making movies at Blumhouse. We try and put a social or political message into a scary movie," he said.

"This movie is about two things: women's empowerment, there are three generations of women overcoming the most evil man in the world. Also, where most horror movies are about a traumatic event, this is an exploration of what happens to a group of people 40 years after a traumatic event."

He went on to explain the importance of having the original creators of content take part in projects.

"Another thing that is unique about Blumhouse horror franchises is that we work really hard to include the creator of the original movie," he said, pointing to Oren Pelli on Paranormal Activity, James Wan on Insidious and James DeMonaco on The Purge. For Halloween, a sequel to the 1978 classic by John Carpenter, he had promised himself he "would not do the movie unless John Carpenter would come back in."

He says that he hopes to continue creating sequels to existing franchises, and upcoming projects include Glass, a sequel to Split and Unbreakable, and Happy Death Day 2U, the follow-up to Happy Death Day. Also in the works is a new title by Get Out helmer Jordan Peele.