For more than a decade, Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions have been delivering horror fans some of the most frightening experiences imaginable, having developed films like Sinister, Insidious, The Purge, and the current slate of David Gordon Green-directed Halloween films. Last year saw the debut of one of the studio's most ambitious projects, unleashing four all-new films straight to Amazon Prime Video as part of their "Welcome to the Blumhouse" program, which has returned this year with four more terrifying tales. Bingo Hell and Black as Night are both streaming now on the service while The Manor and Madres debut on October 8th.
In addition to these Welcome to the Blumhouse films, Blum also has a number of other exciting projects in the works, with the list of announced projects seeming to grow by the week.
ComicBook.com caught up with Blum to talk about the current crop of Welcome to the Blumhouse films, the future of beloved franchises, and who he considers to be the "Mount Rushmore" of Blumhouse figures.
ComicBook.com: Halloween Kills was delayed by a year so fans could see it in theaters, and now it will be in theaters and on Peacock. Welcome to the Blumhouse, however, is only debuting on Amazon Prime Video. What is it about streaming that offers you things that you can't do with a film that might be releasing in theaters?
Jason Blum: A wide-release film in movie theaters has got a lot -- the guard rails are very close together. There are a lot of markers you have to hit and I was thrilled when we made this deal with Amazon. We see so many scripts, so many really good scripts that should get made into movies, but don't necessarily work for a 3,000-screen release in the United States. So I was very glad to do this deal with Amazon. These movies, that we love, that we wanted to make, had a home and we could actually make them and you can play with all sorts of things when you're doing movies for streaming. You can play with the tone, which [Bingo Hell director] Gigi [Saul Guerrero] certainly does. You can cast less-well-known faces, you can discover new talent. There are all sorts of pressures that come off the movie when you're making a movie for streaming and it was great to get to make the second set of four movies without those pressures.
This is the second year of this program, Welcome to the Blumhouse, what do you think was your main approach when it came to, "All right last year was a success. Let's do some more of these,"? How did you approach finding this slate of filmmakers?
We decided to do it with underrepresented directors. All of our directors are from underrepresented groups of people and I think, on the second set of movies, we didn't mandate it, but we were drawn to not just picking underrepresented people behind the camera, but we were drawn to stories about marginalized groups of people in front of the camera, too. That theme would resonate. I think that you see that in these four movies, maybe slightly more than the first four movies. I think that's how these four movies are slightly different than the first four that we did.
What has been the most surprising thing with this whole Welcome to the Blumhouse process over the past two years?
I think the most surprising thing is that the movies have found such a wide audience. They're arguably ... The films are more, I don't know what the right word is to use. They're more offbeat. They're not mainstream. You wouldn't say these are mainstream commercial movies. They're edgier, offbeat movies, and we found a very, very wide audience. That's, I think, one great thing about streaming is you don't know who's out there, who the horror fans, where they are. Some of them aren't going to the movie theaters and we've managed, or Amazon's done a great job, I think, marketing these movies and we've managed to find fans who like and connect these movies and that's been the most surprising and most satisfying part of this.
Welcome to the Blumhouse debuted when most of the world couldn't go to theaters, but with next October potentially seeing the world getting back to some normalcy, could you see this program expanding outside of just streaming? Could there be theatrical Welcome to the Blumhouse events?
I don't know if I would see that so much. I hope how it expands is that we continue to do it. We made this agreement for eight movies. This is the second set of four, as I just talked about, so the way I would like to see it expand is to make this an October tradition for us. And, hopefully, Amazon will want to do that. I can't see any reason why they wouldn't, but that's what I'd really like to do.
The last few years and streaming has definitely blurred the line between movies, limited TV series, mini-series, and recurring series, and The Purge earned two seasons of a TV series, so are there other movies in the Blumhouse library you think would make a good pivot to a TV series?
I'd love to make a show of Upgrade. I've been working on that for some time. Hopefully we'll figure that out. I think Sinister would make a great television show. I think that would be fun to do. There are others, too. We have four or five that I think would be great to explore in either ongoing series or maybe just a limited series.
Speaking of The Purge, I hope you can clear things up a bit. I interviewed James DeMonaco a few weeks ago and he said he was hopeful to make The Purge 6 but that it wasn't definite. That same week, Frank Grillo said it was happening and he was coming back, so everyone thinks it's definitely moving forward. Is there a more concrete answer on the status of that movie?
I don't have a more solid answer, but I would say it's certainly a possibility. We're not for sure doing it, but we're not for sure not doing it, either. We just haven't figured it out yet. I do know that he has a script. I have not read it yet, but I do know James has written a script and it would certainly be fun to do another one.
I feel like The Purge is a Blumhouse staple and if I was making a Mount Rushmore of Blumhouse, The Purge mask would be up there. Who do you think would be up there on the Mount Rushmore of Blumhouse?
What faces? Leigh Whannell. What ghouls? Bagul from Sinister. We'd put him up there, right? We'd have to put Ethan Hawke up there. We'd have to put [Happy Death Day director] Chris Landon. Who else would we put up there? We'd have to put ... Oh, Michael Myers. We'd have to put him up there. I like this Mount Rushmore for Blumhouse, I think it's a good idea. Maybe we'll do this. Have little busts in our lobby.
Speaking of Halloween, I was talking to producer Ryan Freimann recently about what could come after Halloween Ends and he mentioned expanding outside of the Laurie Strode vs. Michael Myers conflict. For Blumhouse, do you see yourself staying involved with the Halloween series or are you just sticking with this trilogy?
No, I would say. We made an arrangement for three movies. We had a three-picture marriage with Michael Myers. I would love to extend it. If Malek [Akkad] would like us, I'd love to extend it, but we're very busy making sure the third movie is spectacular because that's our immediate job and if it goes beyond that, I'd be thrilled. But there are currently no plans for us to be involved after this third movie.
What excited me about that conversation was talking about the possible future without Laurie or Michael, but where do you go from there? You can't just do Halloween Begins and start it all over.
Halloween Begins Again.
You have two Stephen King adaptations on the way with Firestarter and Christine, are there other Stephen King stories that would be a Holy Grail for a Blumhouse adaptation?
Yes, I do. We didn't get it, but I'd love to do The Dead Zone. That would be cool. To reboot that in some way would be cool.
I'm disappointed to hear that you didn't get that.
I know, exactly. We don't have it, I know we don't have it. It's sad that we don't have it but we don't.
Since Blumhouse movies are popular every October and these Welcome to the Blumhouse films will help kick off October, do you have a certain set of movies that you just have to watch every October to get yourself in the mood for Halloween?
Well, there's no set list. Although I just watched Sunset Boulevard again, which, it's not typically a scary movie associated with October, but it is a haunting movie, it really gets under your skin. So, maybe that movie should be on the Halloween list.
Something tells me folks are going to be pretty surprised when it's "Jason Blum recommends the one movie you must watch every October: Sunset Boulevard."
You know what? You wouldn't be so bad off. It's a great movie.
"The one movie he recommends you watch: Citizen Kane."
The scariest movie for me was Friday the 13th. Although, I've never been as scared as when the first time I saw the movie, but the most scared I've ever been seeing any movie was Friday the 13th. I was too young when I saw it and it just destroyed me. So that's a movie that we should all watch in October. And then, obviously, they're less associated with Halloween too, but I think in terms of the best scary movie director, I think is Hitchcock. And I think you'd do pretty well watching Psycho on Halloween, too.
Bingo Hell and Black as Night are both streaming now on the service while The Manor and Madres debut on October 8th.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter.