Your concept of story first makes sense to me. I’m a critic, blogger, and horror fan, and in that horror is the genre I have to defend for liking more than any other.
Yeah. Me too. It’s so annoying.
But that’s what’s funny! So many of your films I’ve had other critics tell me, “No, it’s good! And I don’t even like horror movies!”
Right. Right. Right.
Why do you think horror as a genre typically has this bad wrap?
I don’t know. For some reason people value being scared less than they value laughing. They value (horror) less than they value straight drama. And I don’t know why. I understand straight violence, like some people have a real issue with violence on screen. I totally get that. But a lot of horror--Insidious is PG-13, it’s not violent. So, I don’t understand. You know, I did The Town that Dreaded Sundown with Ryan Murphy, and I learned a lot from him about this. First of all, we’re very similar in that he loves musicals as much as horror movies—as do I. Like when I come to New York, all I do is go see musicals. I love musicals. I love horror movies and I love art movies. And I just produced A Normal Heart, which couldn’t be an artier movie, for HBO with Ryan directing. And we produced The Town that Dreaded Sundown which couldn’t be a poppier movie, you know?
And I think it could be—I haven’t talked about this actually ever, but I think about it all the time. I think being snobby about the kind of storytelling people do, it just irks me. It irks me. And in fact, it’s one of the things that drives me to make as many horror movies as I do. Because I think that it’s so stupid (this snobbery). I love horror movies. I’m proud of horror movies. I love working in horror, and I’d love to make horror movies for a long time to come. That’s a longer answer than you anticipated?
No, that’s great! I feel the same way. I get frustrated when I feel like I’m being forced to defend my presumed bad taste when I like a horror movie.
It’s crazy. And it’s no better or worse than a Sundance movie—and I love Sundance movies too. I’m not snobby about that either, but it’s no better or worse. It’s about people telling stories.
So, kind of on a similar note: Congratulations on becoming a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!
I have a theory, and I’m curious of your thoughts on it. Looking at the list of new members, made me think that maybe the Oscars are getting over their long-held bias against genre.
(Flatly) No. (I laugh.) But I’m going to help them! But they’re not. They’re not. They’re not. I think we’re a long way away from there, but I think horror movies are definitely cooler than they used to be. Vera Farmiga five years ago—or whoever the Vera Farmiga equivalent of five years ago was—would never have done The Conjuring in 2008. I think that they’re getting cooler. I don’t think they are Academy-worthy yet, but I’m working on it. Five more years!
(At this point the publicist gave me the “one last question” signal.)
Is there anything you can tell us about Paranormal Activity 5?
Um, it’s very scary.
That’s all I can get!
(I make a disappointed face, Jason laughs hard.)
Insidious: Chapter 2 opens Friday the 13th.