[SXSW '14 Interview] Jason Blum On ‘Oculus,’ ‘Creep,’ ‘Mercy,’ ‘Mockingbird’ and Others!

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Jason Blum is having a good SXSW with Oculus getting rave reviews in addition to the premiere of the fantastic Mark Duplass vehicle Creep (I loved this movie – review to come).

I caught up with him yesterday at the Four Seasons here in Austin to chat about both of those films as well as the bigger scope of The Purge: Anarchy. We also touched base and clarified some issues raised by an odd Hollywood Reporter article that came out a few weeks ago. In short, Blum assures us that movies like Mockingbird, Mercy and Stretch ARE indeed coming out.

Head below for details!

You came onboard ‘Oculus’ later right?

Yeah, after they shot it, just like Paranormal Activity. I saw it in Toronto and its distribution prospects looked iffy – but I loved it. I loved how original it was. I loved everything about it, the storytelling and acting. Every time I see a horror movie that feels new, I want to be involved. And I think horror fans everywhere will appreciate it, we just have to get it to them.

It requires the audience to pay attention, in addition to being a bit longer than most horror these days.

It is longer. I thought it should be shorter and was proven wrong by Mike and Trevor. They were very adamant. We looked at shorter versions of the movie and they were proven right.

Kind of like how you initially wanted less Specs and Tucker in Insidious?

Correct! I’m a terrible cutter! I shouldn’t be allowed to do cut notes! You’re exactly right.

You’ve also got Creep here, which I love.

Creep was much more of a rough cut when I came on a little over a year ago. It was more of a horror comedy and I thought they could definitely push it in more of a scary direction with funny moments – but not too many of them. And they were interested in crafting it and that manner so we went in on it. I feel like there’s a lot of funny stuff in there, but ultimately that movie is more scary than it is comedy.

It gradually scales tones, it doesn’t ping-pong back and forth as much.

Yeah we kept trying different things. One of the good things about found footage is that it’s so inexpensive you can keep trying stuff out. And we screened it for people until it got there.

I’m always going to ask you about The Town That Dreaded Sundown remake.

Of course. It’s almost locked, almost finished. I love the movie. You’re gonna love the movie. It’s really crazy and cool.

There was a Hollywood Reporter piece that hit a few weeks ago that took some aim at you. Is there anything you’d want to clarify?

We are very transparent with our model and have been incredibly upfront about our process. As we have said we are proud of all of those movies [Mockingbird, Mercy and Stretch] and they are are going to come out. All of them. And movies that we made before we were with Universal that did not go wide – Lords Of Salem, The Bay and Babymakers – all received limited release too.

Did you feel like it was a bit of a smear piece?

We all get wacked for trying something different and it was just my turn. That’s okay. We’ve had a lot of good press, what goes up must come down. Every movie that we do will eventually come out. They did find out that our toilet was clogged – so we called a plumber.

Everyone is excited to see The Purge: Anarchy take place outside of the house and on the streets. How was it shooting that on location on a similar budget?

Well we had a similar amount of money to what we had on the second Insidious, which is a lot more than the first. But even on sequels we stick to our formula. What makes sequels expensive is above the line costs, above the line is all still pretty much at zero.