Part­ing Shot

Ja­son Blum

Newsweek International - - CONTENTS -

the founder and Ceo of Blum­house Pro­duc­tions earned his ti­tle as “the new mas­ter of hor­ror” with low-bud­get block­busters, like The Purge, In­sid­i­ous and Paranormal Ac­tiv­ity, as well as 2017’s game-chang­ing, Os­car-nom­i­nated Get Out, writ­ten and di­rected by Jor­dan Peele. Made for less than $5 mil­lion, it went on to gross over $250 mil­lion world­wide. “When I read the script, I thought, My God, I’ve never read any­thing like this, and I love it,” says Ja­son Blum. “That’s why we keep our bud­gets so low, so we can take risks on movies like Get Out. But I cer­tainly never thought we would get a best pic­ture nom­i­na­tion.” (It was Blum’s sec­ond: The first was for a non-hor­ror ven­ture, 2014’s Whiplash.) His lat­est project, Hulu’s Into the Dark, is an an­thol­ogy series (the sec­ond episode airs No­vem­ber 2) of stand-alone hor­ror films, the episodes united by a com­mon theme: hol­i­days. Does Blum, 49, agree that, as some have claimed, we are in a golden age of scary movies? “It’s ac­cu­rate, but it’s not the first one,” he tells Newsweek. “The pop­u­lar­ity of hor­ror is cycli­cal. I’ve lived through three cy­cles al­ready.”

What about Get Out made hor­ror re­spectable for crit­ics and the mo­tion pic­ture academy?

Get Out re­minded peo­ple that there can be real artistry to hor­ror movies, and they are a great ve­hi­cle to de­liver a pos­i­tive so­cial mes­sage. This has been true since Franken­stein; John Car­pen­ter did it in the 1970s bet­ter than any­one. And the academy cer­tainly looks at movies [in terms of] “Are they try­ing to give a mes­sage to make the world a bet­ter place?”—like

Get Out did with racism. How would you de­scribe a Blum­house film? It has an edge and a sin­gu­lar point of view. Au­teur is not a word com­monly equated with hor­ror, but most of our films are au­teur-driven. And not all of them are clas­sic hor­ror. We’re mak­ing a scripted series for HBO about [Fox News founder] Roger Ailes—that’s re­ally scary to me. What are your all-time fa­vorite hor­ror movies? The Shin­ing. Rose­mary’s Baby. The scari­est for me was Fri­day the 13th. Do you re­gret pass­ing on 1999’s The Blair Witch Project? Of course—deeply! But I learned valu­able lessons. Pass­ing on a movie that be­came the most suc­cess­ful hor­ror movie of all time gave me the con­vic­tion to be­lieve in my own un­ortho­dox tastes—to be­lieve in a project like Paranormal Ac­tiv­ity when no one else did. —Zach Schon­feld

“We keep our bud­gets low so we can take risks on movies like: Get Out.”

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