Is this the end of a found footage era? While Blair Witch is the godfather of our contemporary condition of endless night vision frights and shaky scares, Paranormal Activity and its no-budget phenomenon ushered the aesthetic back into horror in a huge way. Since its 2007 premiere, and its eventual 2009 release, the film has spawned four sequels and countless imitators. Now, Blumhouse and Paramount are closing the curtain on an influential series which wrought at least two great scares and perhaps the most innocuously named villains, Toby and Katie.
Speaking of Toby, its his time to shine. Were going to show you Toby. Were going to show you why Toby does what we does. Were going to explain all the questions that youve head, says producer Jason Blum, whose Blumhouse Productions have grown immensely since Paranormal Activity violently pulled Katie out of bed.
Talking to Shock in anticipation of Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimensions official trailer launch, Blum discusses the decision to end the series, as well as what to expect this fall. In Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, a family finds a camcorder and box of tapes in their new home. When they look through the camera’s lens, they begin to see the paranormal activity happening around them including the re-emergence of young Kristi and Katie.
Shock Till You Drop: What made this The End?
Jason Blum: Well, we said that a long time ago, but we had a big deliberation on both sides about whether or not we would announce that before the movie, or wait til the movie. I was a big believer of saying up front, This is going to be the last in the franchise. I think its kind of a bold thing, and its very unusual. Most horror franchises never do that. Paramount was really up for that, which is great and unusual and what Im most excited about around this movie is coming right out saying, This is it. This is the last one. Were going to show you Toby. Were going to show you why Toby does what we does. Were going to explain all the questions that youve had.
Shock: What were the conversations like around realizing Toby, that he had to be scary?
Blum: Thats what they were. If were going to show Toby A lot of times, what you dont see is scarier than what you do. So, we really had a big challenge to live up to. Hopefully, we succeeded. We had to tell ourselves what Toby looked like, too. We had no idea. It was really fun to play around with that.
Shock: Does last years spin-off The Marked Ones play a role?
Blum: I think its fair to say that every Parnormal Activity movie is pointed to in some way or another in this last installment.
Shock: What made director Gregory Plotkin the guy?
Blum: Hes been with us since the beginning except for 1. Greg edited 2, 3 and 4. Marked Ones, too. Hes been inside the Paranormal scene for every movie, except the first movie. So, that was not a long deliberation. He wanted to do it and he was definitely up for the challenge. We really felt like he was a pretty obvious choice, actually.
Shock: Youve been vocal about the success of Paranormal Activity leading to Blumhouse as it is now. How do you feel about ending the series?
Blum: One of the challenges of Hollywood, because movies are so expensive, is everyone is always looking back to hit movies and repeating them. Thats everyone, and thats what I would do too if we made expensive movies. You have to if youre spending a lot of money. Our movies are not expensive, so one of the benefits of that is that I really encourage our filmmakers to go forward and try new stuff. I think that applies to Paranormal Activity. Of course, Im sad in the way that Im getting older, but creatively, Im not sad. Its a great thing to recognize something thats affected the culture in the way that Paranormal Activity has, but also recognize everything that affects the culture has a beginning, a middle and an end. Im ready for the next Paranormal Activity. I hope to be a part of it.
Shock: Whats been your favorite scare in the films?
Blum: Gotta be Katie getting dragged out of the bed and down the hall in the first movie. That was a great moment [laughs].