A new interview with Rel and Henry about Paranormal Activity. I believe the interview was in Italian, and I did my best to have it translated on a web page translator. Hopefully you can understand most of it. (They also posted a great picture of Rel…)
Paranormal Activity 3 comes out today! The DVD has great extras which include a few extra scenes (that are in the trailer) and some funny Chris Smith stuff. Apparently it’s “way better than the Catfish DVD.”
Considering how well the first two Paranormal Activity movies performed at the box office on Halloween over the past two years, it’s safe to assume that a fair number of you caughtParanormal Activity 3 last night. Trés scary, right?
We’re already on the record as big fans of the whole film, but when it comes to standout individual scenes, we’re especially big fans of the fan! So we caught up with Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, the directors of the hit horror sequel, to talk about the scene that has everyone screaming. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!)
“Signed some hats with our buddy Toby the demon. He’s a lefty, obviously.”
After landing the assignment to direct Paranormal Activity 3, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost could have taken it easy. After all, the franchise’s built-in audience, first established with director Oren Peli’s 2009 homemade “haunted house” smash Paranormal Activity and widened via last year’s equally successful sequel, is pretty much guaranteed to send the flick to the top of the box office—it’s not like Hollywood has anything else to offer scary movie heads this Halloween season. In reality, all Schulman and Joost had to do was show up on set, yank a few pieces of furniture with wires to create a poltergeist effect, and make sure it resembled coherency in post-production. Ridiculous profits and a mega-hit for their first big studio job would’ve surely followed.
But the young, New York City natives had no desire to go out like that. Realizing that the fans deserve something extra from a second horror sequel, the shot-calling duo took the producers’ template—set the film in 1988, to show how all of the creepiness began—and went balls-out from there. Looking back at the childhood days of Katie (the main character of ’09’s Paranormal Activity) and Kristi (Katie’s younger sister, introduced in Paranormal Activity 2), Paranormal Activity 3 uses its VHS-styled look to amplify the franchise’s “less is more” approach. For the first time in the series’ run, there’s a lot of “activity,” in the form of actually visible spirits, more violent attacks on the family, and, though we won’t spoil it here, an ending that both reaffirms the second entry’s mythology and takes the Paranormal brand into The Wicker Man’s territory.
The franchise’s best movie yet, Paranormal Activity 3 is a genuinely scary victory for Schulman and Joost, whose only previous credit is last year’s is-it-real-or-not documentary Catfish, the polarizing account of Ariel’s brother Yaniv’s online flirtations, on Facebook, with a hot girl who’s actually a troubled middle aged housewife. Like Paranormal, Catfish subverted expectations with characterization and a left-turn of a final act; unlike Catfish, however, Paranormal Activity 3 will make sleeping alone at night a real chore.
Prior to seeing PA3, Complex had a long and lively chat with Schulman and Joost to discuss what they uniquely brought to the found-footage brand, how the film’s late ’80s setting brought their inner kids out, and why Hollywood needs to check itself when it comes to horror. Now that we’ve seen the film, and lost a little sleep as a result, we can’t argue with them.
New Paranormal Activity 3 trailer!
Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman made the controversial is-it-real-or-isn’t-it documentary Catfish, last year’s other Facebook movie. Their reward? The keys to the Paranormal Activity franchise.
DETAILS: How did you guys go from Catfish to the third Paranormal Activity?
Joost: Paramount called us up and asked, “Would you be remotely interested in this?” We flew out to L.A. for a meeting in this intimidating conference room. A few people were like, “Catfish was fake. Come on, you can tell us. If you just admit it was fake, we’ll give you Paranormal Activity.” And we were like, “We really want this movie, but Catfish was real.”
DETAILS: Catfish was possible because of your habit of filming everything that happens to you. Did that help in making a fiction film?
Schulman: You learn to make home video into something more. “Okay, I’m going to the hardware store. Make a movie about it. Now the next 15 minutes of my life need a beginning, middle, and end and can’t be boring.” You realize how you can infuse documentary with drama.
Joost: For this, we found actors who were really strong with improvisation, and we just ran scenes for a long time. Also, we constantly threw them curveballs, like turning off the lights. It was like a laboratory for scares.
DETAILS: What drew you to the Paranormal franchise in the first place?
Joost: When I saw the first one, I thought, “This is so smart.” Here’s a theater full of people absolutely terrified by a door opening on its own. It amazed me that a film with the pacing of a European art film can be enormously popular and also scare the shit out of people. It’s not about eyeballs hanging out and explosions. It’s tapping into something primal.