Earlier this week Paramount hosted a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY DVD/Blu-ray release party at the home of Jessica DiMeo of Rehoboth, MA. Jessica was the winner of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY Red Carpet Home Screening sweepstakes which meant that, basically, she got a Hollywood-style premiere party at her house. There were spotlights, catered food and booze, a red carpet and cameras everywhere. DiMeo invited a host of friends and family, including her grandfather Joe Cefelli, who introduced young Jessica to the delights of horror as a child. Check out the full details, pics, a video and an exclusive interview with Peli inside.
Director Oren Peli was on hand along with PA stars Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat. After chatting with Jessica on the red carpet and mingling with her friends and family at the party, the cast and director sat grabbed some freshly popped popcorn (in a PA cardboard bucket) and settled in for a screening of the movie in DiMeo’s living room. A camera crew stood by filming the rapt home audience’s reactions during the screening. The biggest gasps came during the climactic alternate ending.
Bloody-Disgusting was on hand for the festivities and also got a few moments alone with Peli to talk about his banner 2009 and his plans for the future.
Bloody-Disgusting: Earlier this year we spoke to Ed Myrick and Dan Sanchez about BLAIR WITCH’s influence over the past ten years. One of the movies they both discussed was PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. How much of an influence was that film for you?
Oren Peli: It definitely was an inspiration. First of all, the style of the movie itself – the way it was made on the low budget, hand-held cameras. The improvisation was also an influence. But I was also very much inspired by the actual story behind the movie. [It was] just a few friends without, say, a lot of experience, without a lot of money [that] managed to make a movie that was very effective, very scary, and became a huge commercial success. That gave me a lot of confidence to try to do the same.
BD: The DVD and Blu-ray only contain an alternate ending. Is there additional material you have that might wind up on an eventual special edition?
OP: Well, we shot about 70 hours of footage, so there’s a lot of stuff.
BD: Are there scare scenes or just hours of Katie and Micah sleeping?
OP: (Laughs) Maybe. There’s a lot of extra stuff. Some of it was removed because it didn’t work out, some of it was for pacing reasons. I don’t know if there is ever going to be another DVD, but if there is then there could potentially be some stuff there.
BD: Did you have any involvement with the DVD or Blu-ray?
OP: Actually, not too much.
BD: Seeing the movie again through this experience with the fans of the movie watching it in their home, how does this feel as a culmination of all the years you’ve spent working on this movie, finding distribution and now all the success it had in 2009.
OP: It’s a huge relief that it’s finally out there and it did well. It’s very exciting and overwhelming. It’s very rewarding to see the fans embracing the movie the way they have. So over all, it’s very cool.
BD: How satisfying was it to kick the crap out of SAW VI?
OP: I have nothing against SAW.
BD: But there has to be a sense of satisfaction for the little indie horror movie to topple the big hollywood horror sequel.
OP: I don’t look at it that way. I was just very happy that my movie was doing well and I wish best of luck and success to all other movies. I don’t have any particular satisfaction because one movie beats the other.
BD: Still, it’s nice to see an original idea come along and the fans have really reacted to seeing something new.
OP: Yeah, that might be part of it because it’s quite different from the average horror movies. I think that’s why it appealed to a lot of people who wouldn’t normally be into horror movies.
BD: If that hollywood remake had happened, did you ever think about who you’d like to see in Micah and Katie’s roles?
OP: We didn’t even get that far. Just a few weeks after we started talking about the remake, they already did the test screening and the remake was off the table. I’m just happy we didn’t have to go there.
BD: What’s the status on a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sequel?
OP: I’m not commenting.
BD: And AREA 51?
OP: No comment.
BD: You still can’t talk about it?
BD: No comment. Yeah, sorry. Whatever I’m working on, when it’s done, you’ll be able to see it. Until then, no point in talking about it.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY is now on DVD and Blu-ray.