Wan took some time to answer questions submitted by Midnight Madness Blog contributors Darryl Shaw, Robert Mitchell and Sanjay S. Rajput.
Q: What inspired you to take on the supernatural subject matter, and how did you prepare to tackle it?
A: I've always loved ghost stories and haunted house movies. Ever since I've known Leigh, we would exchange ghost stories to try and scare each other, or inspire one another to come up with scary scenarios. And so, we decided to write a haunted house movie with a twist on the convention, and basically drew from scary events that have happened to our friend or families. So technically, I can say Insidious is based on true events. Pretty much all the really creepy stuff in the film are drawn from friends and families' experiences…and they're stories that would send chills up your spines.
Q: In an interview earlier this year you said you didn’t want blood and gore in this film. Did taking those tools out of your “horror toolkit” make it harder to convey the shocks audiences are used to?
A: Well, it forced me to be more creative with my shocks and I think it allowed me to come up with things that are actually scarier. I've always said it's a lot harder to achieve creep than it is to shock with blood and gore, and with Insidious, I wanted to make a horror movie with a creepy vibe that permeates the whole film.
Q: Anything spooky happen on set?
A: Uh, not really. Thank god, cause I get scared very easily! Now, the poor boy, Ty Simpkins, who played the comatose son in the movie was constantly terrified of the lipstick-face demon character. And I felt so bad for Ty because the makeup-FX, done by Justin Raleigh and Kelly Golden, was so frightening looking that not even the crew wanted to be around it…and Ty's character is haunted by it, and therefore has to share a fair few scenes with this 'creature'.
Q: Does the success of the Saw franchise allow you more creative freedom within the studio system or do you have to continue to make your films largely on your own to get your visions fully onscreen?
A: After Saw, I've only made one studio film. Everything else have been independent. I like the creative freedom that independent films afford….and i didn't want Insidious to be a movie made at the studio. This movie is actually way cheaper than SAW! And SAW cost twenty dollars.
Q: How did Oren Peli get involved and how did his involvement help the production?
A: Leigh and I met Oren and Jason Blum through Steven Schneider. We all hit it off together. i love those guys and knew i wanted to make a picture with them. They've been very supportive, and like Leigh and myself, are just pure genre film nerds!
Q: In this age of the internet it seems as soon as contracts are signed, films are already being talked and written about. There is the obvious need for publicity for a project but how do you try to keep a film still a surprise for audiences?
A: I've worked very hard to not say much about this film. I haven't released any trailers or stills (except to TIFF), I want the audience at Midnight Madness to experience the movie without much knowledge (or expectation) and be a clean-slate to enjoy the film! That's how it should be.
Q: Insidious re-teams you with your long term writing partner Leigh Whannell. Has the screenwriting process changed for you and Leigh and if so, how?
A: Nothing has changed, in terms of our passion and excitement for a project that we cook up together. We still geek out and go giddy over an idea that we love. The only thing that has changed is Leigh has matured dramatically as a writer and gotten stronger.
Tuesday September 14. 11:59PM Ryerson
Thursday, September 16. 3:00PM AMC 9