Jason Blum had produced a dozen projects before he hit upon 2007's sleeper phenomenon Paranormal Activity, a micro-indie horror pic with no stars that in turn became the model for Blumhouse Productions, his own genre-leaning multimedia label. Fast forward just five years and Paranormal Activity 4 is set to continue the series' low-budget thrills (with webcam technology!) next week, while the Blum-produced Sinister, about a writer (Ethan Hawke) contending with a house haunted by insidious forces, opens today. (For a third new venture, The Blumhouse of Horrors, Blum & Co. take over a historic theater in downtown Los Angeles. More info here.)
Movieline caught up with the man behind many of the most profitable — and cost-effective — horror hits in recent memory for a peek behind the curtain: What's the Blum secret to success?
Summit's horror pic Sinister — about a writer (Ethan Hawke) who finds and obsesses over a box of creepy home movies in the attic — debuted a traditional first peek way back when, but a new redband trailer takes some exciting creative liberties with editing and its droning, mounting score. It's almost like the Blow-Up of found footage horror!*
Three days into SXSW and the biggest winner so far has been Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s geek-pleasing meta-horror pic Cabin in the Woods, which Lionsgate releases in April. But also in town in search of a SXSW buzz bump is Lionsgate/Summit's Ethan Hawke-starring haunted house pic Sinister, which debuted as a “secret screening” Saturday night – not the most spectacular secret title possible, especially in contrast to hopeful speculation for a sneak Avengers or Hunger Games debut, and not entirely secret, but fine enough.