An Interview with Horror Movie Master Jason Blum
Dark Skies is the newest horror film produced by Jason Blum. Blum is the producer some of the biggest horror movies in the past few years. Films like Sinister, Insidious, and the Paranormal Activity series. Recently, Blum had a conference call with several other journalists, and the Suffolk Voice was one of them.
PRESS: Do you prefer to tell stories in a traditional manner or with the “found footage”?
JASON BLUM: I prefer traditionally told movies. On the surface it looks like “found footage” movies look easy to make, but it is difficult to make a good one. If you can’t do it any other way then a found footage movie is the way to go, but if it can be done in a traditional way than that is the way to go.
PRESS: Do you feel like the films that you have produced are “cult films”? Many moviegoers I know either love the films you produce, or despise them.
BLUM: (laughs) I think that if you are getting a strong reaction like that I think it I am doing something right! I have not thought of my films as cult films yet though.
PRESS: In a lot of your films you work with children, and they do quite a lot of disturbing things, especially in Sinister. Is working with children on the horror genre difficult?
BLUM: Working with children in movies is difficult in general. The sets on the film usually are not scary so it is not too hard within the horror genre, but working with them is difficult. There are so many laws that have children only working particular hours. So, as a whole it is difficult to work with them, but I love watching kids act on screen.
PRESS: From what I saw in the trailer, Dark Skies has a little more subtle approach to alien invasions than other horror films. Was that something that interested you?
BLUM: Dark Skies interested me because it was a “new kind of dark force” upsetting traditional family life. I was really compelled by the marriage between [leads] Keri [Russell] and Josh [Hamilton] and how them and their children react to this threat.
PRESS: Have you ever had an interest in the science-fiction horror sub genre before?
BLUM: I like anything scary so any kind or category is compelling to me. I really think of this movie as a definitive horror film rather than a science fiction one. To me, the term “sci-fi horror” means effects driven and big budget and that is not what Dark Skies is.
PRESS: What was it like working with a character actor like JK Simmons, who has a rather large cult following?
BLUM: Awesome. I think he did a great job. He had a hard job. His character in the movie would need a great actor, and I think he did it perfectly. I had actually worked with him [JK Simmons] before on a movie called Whiplash, so it was great to work with him again.
PRESS: Did you have any say in the creative part of this film, in terms of directing, changing a scene, etc?
BLUM: I give my point of view of the story, the actors, the set, the wardrobe. I give my thoughts, but ultimately the director has the final say.
PRESS: Director Scott Stewart has other films that have horror elements, and have a lot of special effects. Dark Skies looks like a departure from that. Is that something that drew you in to produce it? Or was it something different?
BLUM: What made me want to produce this film was the way his actors’ performances are in those films is that they were very well done. So I wanted to work with Scott [Stewart] because of the way he directs the actors in his scenes.
PRESS: Since the film is such a departure from other films you have produced, was it difficult to come up with a subtle creepy scare or a big scare in Dark Skies?
BLUM: I don’t think it is such a departure from Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister and it kind of shares themes with the other films, with a traditional family. I think it has much more common with those films. What is different than this, the threat of the film is less important, instead it focuses on the family’s struggle in the face of this threat. The film is not too different form from those movies though.
Dark Skies opens on February 22nd in theaters worldwide.