Marlon Wayans’ A Haunted House, which spoofed Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside, made $40 Million at the US Box Office and is currently available as a Blu-ray Combo Pack with UltraViolet, on DVD and On Demand. With that in mind I recently hopped on the phone with star and co-writer Marlon Wayans to discuss his process towards the spoof genre along with the upcoming A Haunted House 2, which shoots this summer.
“When a young couple moves in to their dream place, they soon discover they’re not alone. Now, Malcolm will go to hilarious extremes – including hiring a priest, a psychic, and a team of modern-day Ghostbusters to get his place and his sex life back to normal.” Co-starring Essence Atkins (“Smart Guy”), Nick Swardson (Just Go with It) and David Koechner (Anchorman), the film is demonically good fun that critics are calling “the funniest scary movie about scary movies ever!” (Shawn Edwards, Fox-TV).
Head inside for the interview!
It seems like these films are inherently difficult to make timely, because you want the movies you’re commenting on to be fresh in the public eye. What’s the trick to keeping them current?
For me, I just go make a movie. I’m not worried about making things timely. I just wanted to make a comedic take on one of these movies – Paranormal Activity with a black couple. I wasn’t so much worried about trying to be the “pop culture guy.” Hopefully I have a good story, some fun gags and some fun characters. I love parodies and I was born and raised on parodies, but the pop culture thing is only one angle.
Where did the “moving in together” as horror angle come from?
That’s something Rick Alvarez [co-writer and producer] and I came up with. A lot of times in these movies there’s no ground, we thought we could get some ground out of it and some comedic mileage as well.
So are you bringing Essence Atkins back for A Haunted House 2?
We’re definitely going to bring Essence back, but I think we’re going to go for something a little different. We don’t want it to be more of the same. In the Paranormal movies, they just jump around. I mean Katie’s always there, and Essence is our Katie – so I’m always going to try to bring her back.
With Scary Movie 5, they added the main plot thread last. Would it be safe to say that that’s not your preferred way of working?
Everybody’s got their process. When we did the original Scary Movie we just started off simple and built from there. But they’ve got their process, Zucker’s one of the greatest parody guys out there.
A Haunted House is a riff on found footage movies. I’ve heard a lot of horror filmmakers discuss the challenges of that conceit, did you find yourself bumping up against those limitations as well?
Absolutely. You’re not shooting a regular movie. Especially when you’re doing a comedy. When you’re doing a comedy you need coverage. A lot of times you’re trying to get the reaction you need and it’s hard because your camera is fixed or you’re using a security camera. That was one of the main challenges of a 21 day shoot, “alright, how the hell are we going to film this today?”