Blumhouse has already had a banner year in 2017, with a pair of critically acclaimed box office hits (Split and Get Out) under their belts. They hope to extend their winning streak to three later this month when horror movie Happy Death Day hits theaters. Directed by Christopher Landon (Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), the film stars La La Land‘s Jessica Rothe as Tree Glebman, a sorority girl who must figure out her own murder as she relives the day over and over again.
The plot bears some similarity to the 1993 Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day, and that’s intentional. Blumhouse’s staple has long been either reinventing the genre or putting a clever spin on a film trope. Screen Rant had the pleasure of speaking to Jason Blum about Happy Death Day, his thoughts on diversity in the horror genre, and what A-list actor he would love to cast in a horror film one day.
Happy Death Day reminded me of Groundhog Day. I think it was very clever how the filmmaking team put the horror spin on that film. What other comedy do you think could use the Blumhouse horror treatment?
[laughs] That’s a good question. Another comedy that there could be a horror version of it? Pretty Woman would actually make a great one. I’m going to go with that one. I love that idea.
If you could groundhog any day in your life, what day would that be?
The day my daughter walked. I’d like to live that forever.
So while I was watching the movie last night I kept thinking about how creepy the killer’s mask is. Where did the idea of it come from? Is it based on a real university’s mascot or did someone go to the store and get inspired?
No, no. The mask came from Chris Landon’s head. He totally thought of it himself. He made it up and he designed it. We had to make a few of them for the movie which we had to protect in a special case, but it was totally born out of his head. He was actually having a baby on the way as we were making the movie so he was living out his worst nightmares of what that could be like.
If you could give the film a hashtag what would it be?
Happy Death Day, #scaryfun
What audience were you really marketing Happy Death Day towards?
Towards the people who the characters are like, so men and women under 25 mostly, but I’m almost 50 and I certainly liked it.
Besides your films what was your favorite horror film this year? 2017 has been great for the horror industry.
I really liked IT very much. I didn’t like it as much as Get Out though [laughs].
Of course! Which is where my next question is heading towards. I can’t say enough about Get Out. You’ve had great success with the film and with Jordan Peele, but horror is notorious for its lack of diversity especially when it comes to the Final Girl or Final Boy. How much of an impact do you think Get Out will make in relation to that issue?
Well, I hope that it has a lot of impact. I think that you’re right about that. I hope that it has a lot of impact, because that makes movies better. Movies are more different and you get various points of view, so hopefully a lot. It certainly affected our company a lot.
Agreed, because there seems to be the excuse of marketability…
I don’t buy that. I don’t buy it.
Good. Me either. It’s all about the story, the characters, the villain, and its cleverness.
When someone asks who are the most influential people in horror today, I automatically say, James Wan, and Jason Blum. Now you have won Academy Awards for more….“artsy films”, why do you think it is that the Academy shies away from recognizing horror films, and their impact in the film industry, and do you think a film like Get Out stands a real chance of any type of nomination this year?
You know what, I don’t know because I was going to say because people tend to shy away from the violence, but the truth is there are super violent movies that are nominated for Academy Awards, they’re just rarely horror films or they haven’t been horror films in a long time. Maybe they think they’re gross or something. I don’t know, that’s a good question. I don’t know. But you’re right.
You’re not on the Academy board yet are you?
I am on the Academy and I definitely plan on voting for myself [laughs]. I think we have a real shot at certain categories [for Get Out], perhaps the writing category. I hope so!
Blumhouse tends to cast unknown or small screen faces for their films. Do you think putting an A-list actor in a Blumhouse film would take away from the story?
I actually do think that if you put someone too famous in a horror movie it almost makes it less scary cause people feel like they know and have a relationship with them so it’s hard to suspend disbelief of these crazy situations that make for good horror movies. With that said someone like Bradley Cooper would be amazing in a great horror movie. There’s a ton of famous people that I would love to try it with, but I do think it presents itself with certain challenges.
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