Producer Jason Blum has four stringent rules for how to create a cheap horror film.
1) Not too many speaking parts, as extras are paid five times more if they actually talk.
2) Not too many locations, which stops costs spiraling.
3) Pay actors the bare minimum, but give them a slice of the profits. This means that if the film does well their pay increases, and as such they are more invested.
4) Don’t ever go over budget.
These laws have worked rather well for Blum and his studio Blumhouse Productions, which, because of the “Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious,” “Sinister,” and “Purge” franchises, the Oscar-nominated “Whiplash,” as well as the critically acclaimed and hugely profitable “Split” and “Get Out,” has turned into a bona-fide Hollywood success story in recent years.
This is just the beginning, though. Next year Blumhouse Productions will look to rejuvenate the “Halloween” franchise, which has collectively grossed $366 million over ten films since the original was released back in 1978. But Jason Blum is in no way altering his approach for “Halloween”. During my recent discussion with the producer about “Happy Death Day” I quizzed Blum about “Halloween”, asking whether it will follow the same rules as above.
“It will be low budget,” Blum responded. “Compared to all the previous ‘Halloweens,’ except maybe the first one, our budget will be lower than them all. We have picked an auteur filmmaker, given him final cut, and it is absolutely adhering to our principles.”
I then asked Blum what he saw in writer and director David Gordon Green’s script and vision for “Halloween” that convinced him to proceed. But it turns out that Blum was the one that actually approached Green to make the film.
“What stood out to me was David Gordon Green. His body of work. It’s not like he came to us with a specific pitch, I came to him and said, ‘Hey, what about doing Halloween?’”
It wasn’t just David Gordon Green that Blum pursued, though. Blum needed to get the blessing of John Carpenter, who wrote, directed, and composed the original, first, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone ahead.
“I felt like I didn’t want to do ‘Halloween’ without John Carpenter involved. He started it all. I wanted to have his blessing. I wanted him to have a credit on the movie. And I wanted him to be creatively involved in it. It just felt like ‘Halloween’, in my mind, shouldn’t exist without him being attached in some way. Since it all started with him.”
We’ll get to see what Blum, Carpenter, Green, and the returning Jamie Lee Curtis can achieve with their new “Halloween” film when it is released on October 19, 2018.
Meanwhile, the latest Blumhouse Productions release “Happy Death Day” is now in cinemas. You can read my review for "Happy Death Day" here.