Director James Wan has built his career on scaring the heck out of people, and now he’s opened up about what actually make a horror movie good.
The director chatted with Collider about his lengthy catalog, with a specific focus on The Conjuring and Annabelle franchises. Horror is a tricky genre to get right, and just about all of Wan’s films have managed to actually be critical and commercial hits. So what’s the trick? Basically, try to avoid the tried and true horror tropes. But, if you have to delve into them — at least try to jazz ‘em up.
Here’s an excerpt from his comments:
“You don’t really know. You may have a really cool concept. A lot of times, I’ve cooked up some pretty unique scares, then when it comes time to shoot it, I’m like ‘Hmm, why isn’t this working?’ Then, sometimes the ones I didn’t really care about turned out so much better. So, there’s really no formula to it. But, it’s all about, for me, coming up with stuff that you haven’t quite seen before.
Or, if you have seen something before, try to find a more interesting way to tell that. Give the audience something different, that they haven’t quit experienced before … Designing new scares, some people are very flippant about it. But, making a horror film that is actually scary, and actually works, is very difficult.”
Wan also talked about the upcoming sequel to his haunted doll flick Annabelle, a spinoff from the more successful The Conjuring franchise. The first Annabelle film was a bit of a letdown, though Wan promises they want to dig into the “fun” stuff about the concept for the follow-up:
“I think it’s important to continue with the character, and to continue with what people love from Annabelle. The very inherent nature of a creepy doll is one I think people really enjoy. The second one really blows that up even more. It’s going to be really fun.”
Check out the full interview below and let us know what you think: