Jason Blum was never going to say no to Happy Death Day. Regardless of whether or not he actually liked the script. Blum has so much faith in his filmmakers that he will proceed with their project even if he has questions about the film itself.
Luckily for "Happy Death Day’s" director Christopher Landon Blum had no concerns about Scott Lobdell’s script for the film. Which was unsurprising really, as its reimaging of "Groundhog Day" as a horror film fit completely into Blumhouse Productions' criteria. I recently had the chance to speak to Jason Blum about "Happy Death Day", during which time he detailed and recalled how Blumhouse’s latest horror film came to be.
What were the origins of “Happy Death Day”?
“The origins of ‘Happy Death Day’ come straight from Chris Landon. We have made four films together before this. And I admire him very much. All the movies that we have done have been ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies, and I’ve always been looking to do something with him that wasn’t in that franchise, and have been badgering him for it. I was predisposed to like it because I am such a fan of his. Happily, I read the script and loved it. What I loved about it was that it had never occurred to me that you could do a horror version of ‘Groundhog Day’, and I liked the newness of it. The main intention was to do another genre of ‘Groundhog Day’.
Did it help that “Happy Death Day” fit directly into the Blumhouse tradition?
“It fit directly into our box. Which is generally low-budget, high concept. It was a $5 million movie. So that was our budget parameter. Chris had final cut. ‘Happy Death Day’ is a perfect example of a Blumhouse movie. And it checked all the boxes in terms of our criteria.”
Did you need to do reshoots?
“We did a day of additional photography. Usually it is always around the end, where we pick up a few extra shots. I’d like to think that we improved the movie, I think Chris would definitely say that we did. Most movies we do a little extra work and this movie was no exception.”
Were there any structural or execution issues that you needed to be aware of while filming?
“The issues in term of execution really was the acting. The temptation, in terms of saving money, would be to block shoot it. Meaning, the film is set over 12 days. So the temptation to save money would be to shoot the bedroom 12 times and have your 12 different days. Then move to the next location and do that 12 times. Chris very wisely resisted that. He didn’t always. But most of the time he'd do a full day, and then start again with the next full day. Which made it easier on the actors, and better. And it made the movie better because the actors could keep track of where they were more easily. A lot of it was shot chronologically. More than most movies to be sure.”
Happy Death Day’s ending is a perfect example of how Blumhouse have complete control of their audience. Is that something you are proud of?
“Yeah. I wouldn’t say how to control them. But how to satisfy them. I do like doing that. This movie was no exception. There’s really nothing more important than the end of a movie. You really want to leave the audience feeling like they’ve got the price of admission. Most of the time we succeed in that. Sometimes we don’t, but I really focus a lot on the end of our movies.”
“Happy Death Day” is released on Friday October 13, while keep posted to Metro for further revelations from my discussion with Jason Blum.