Producer Jason Blum Talks 'Oculus', Making Horror Hits and Upcoming Releases

Karen Gillan in Oculus

Where do you even start when discussing Blumhouse Productions’ lineup? After hitting it big with Paranormal Activity back in 2009, not only did Jason Blum and his company churn out more Paranormal movies, they've also put out a string of successful horror hits - Sinister, Insidious and The Purge - with more coming our way soon, one of which is Mike Flanagan’s Oculus.

The film stars Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Brenton Thwaites (The Giver) as Kaylie and Tim Russell. When they were kids, their parents (Kate Siegel and Rory Cochrane) were murdered right in front of them, and Tim was charged for the crime. Years later, Tim is absolved and eager to start living a normal life, but Kaylie is still obsessed with clearing his name by proving that it was the supernatural force inside the Lasser Glass, not Tim, that caused their parents’ deaths.

While in Austin, Texas for Oculus’ SXSW screening, Blum revealed when he boarded the project:

“It came into my hands in a similar way to Paranormal Activity, which is that I was lucky enough to have the luxury of getting involved with this after it was pretty much finished. So, I saw it at Toronto and the future of the film’s distribution was in question and I threw my hat in the ring to try and help get it out there into the world because I really think the movie should be a wide release movie. I feel like it’s a really cool, interesting, new, innovative horror movie and anytime I see a horror movie like that, whether just as a fan or as someone who can help make it happen for the filmmakers, I would want to get involved and that’s how I got involved.”

When asked to break down exactly how he makes that happen for worthy features, he further explained:

“We have our own marketing person so we are involved as someone to bounce ideas off of. Relativity calls all the shots, but we’re there to kind of support them and bounce ideas off them, and share our experience with all the other horror movies that we’ve been involved with, and share that experience with the distributor, in this case with Relativity, to try and get the movie out there as successfully as we can.”

Even though Blum and Relativity’s focus is on Oculus’ impending April 11, 2014 release, they are still toying with the idea of shooting more footage pertaining to the Lasser Glass’ rich history:

“Yeah, I think there was quite a bit of mythology behind the mirror. At one point we were talking about shooting additional footage around the mythology around the mirror, and maybe shooting some of the stories that have happened in the past that had to do with the mirror. We haven’t done that yet, but that still may be something that we do down the road.”

Karen Gillan in Oculus

If Blum and his team do decide to expand the world of Oculus, that would add yet another movie to the seemingly infinite Blumhouse Productions slate. Blum has come to be known for acquiring and producing a vast amount of material, but not all of the finished films make their way into theaters. In fact, THR recently went as far to refer to the company as a “movie morgue.” However, Blum insisted that even though some of his films aren’t hitting theaters when expected, like Joe Carnahan’s Stretch, they will come out eventually no matter what:

“Every movie we make and we have ever made will come out. The only point in that article that is relevant at this moment is, before we had a deal with Universal, Barry Levinson’s movie called The Bay, Rob Zombie’s movie called Lords of Salem, Jay Chandrasekhar’s movie called The Babymakers, which played here, Catherine Hardwicke’s movie called Plush, were all movies that we did that didn’t get wide releases that came out. They came out in different ways because distribution is changing. They came out either on iTunes, on Amazon, whatever, but they were limited releases. We signed a deal with Universal, the movies that Universal doesn’t release wide, we, collectively with Universal, haven’t figured out how we’re gonna release those movies. I guarantee you, they’re coming out.

Stretch will guaranteed come out and you’re gonna like it, too. But Stretch will definitely be out and so will Mockingbird and so will Mercy. All three of those movies will be coming out.”


Even though we will be waiting just a bit longer for that lot, Oculus is due in theaters rather soon and will undoubtedly hold you over until another Blumhouse movie makes its theatrical debut. Catch more about how Blum plans to bolster Oculus’ success, the challenges of marketing the movie, how the Lasser Glass might choose to haunt him and loads more in the video interview below.


Oculus opens in select theaters on April 11, 2014.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

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