Filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods earned breakout success back in 2018, thanks to having written the original script for A Quiet Place, but the pair have been collaborating together since they were kids growing up in Iowa. Last year, the pair unleashed the horror film Haunt into the world, set in a small Midwestern town like one they would have grown up in, honoring the time-honored tradition of haunted houses springing up just in time for Halloween. Thanks to the ways in which Haunt celebrated the spirit of the holiday, the film became a quick favorite among the horror crowd, with the project now earning a Blu-ray release, which hits shelves on October 22nd.
On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an "extreme" haunted house that promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realization that some nightmares are very real.
The film will be available not only as a traditional Blu-ray release, but there will also be a Collector's Edition that is jam-packed with special features.
The Collector's Edition includes:
- NEW To Escape the Haunt: The Making of Haunt featurette including interviews with writers/directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, actors Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, Andrew Lewis Caldwell, Lauryn Alisa McClain, Schuyler Helford, Justin Marxen, Chaney Morrow, Special Makeup Effects artist Chris Bridges and co-composer Andy Milburn (tomandandy)
- NEW Audio Commentary with actors Justin Marxen (Clown), Chaney Morrow (Ghost) and Damian Maffei (Devil)
- Audio Commentary with writers/directors Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, Behind the Haunt, The Sound of Haunt, Deleted Scenes with an introduction by Scott and Bryan
- Popcorn Frights Q & A with Scott, Bryan and some of the cast
- Egyptian Theatre Premiere Q & A with Scott and Bryan, moderated by Eli Roth
- Short Film: The Sleepover – Scott and Bryan’s first film
- Director’s Diary
- Theatrical Trailer
To celebrate the new home video release, ComicBook.com caught up with the filmmakers to discuss reactions from audiences, if they would revisit this world, and other projects on the horizon.
ComicBook.com: I know you guys are already working on a new film, so being out of town and with the coronavirus pandemic, I wondered how you planned on celebrating Halloween this year?
Scott Beck: That's a great question. Usually it would be totally different than what this year is. I think we're just going to continue our horror movie marathon that we always try to do in the fall. Obviously, since we're in pre-production, it's a little different. I'm hoping everybody in the production office gets in the mood, though, and dresses up as their favorite characters, but it's going to be a weird one.
Bryan Woods: What a weird world we live in. It's like haunted houses and trick-or-treating and Halloween parties and all the things we all normally do, it's just like, we have no idea what Halloween looks like this year for most people. It's probably mostly watching horror movies, I would imagine.
And what's interesting, and not to at all be glib, but this is the one holiday where people are encouraged to wear masks, so I'm surprised no one cracked the code of making masks that meet health and safety protocols to prevent viral transmissions to let us celebrate Halloween as we had planned.
Beck: I know. That's a brilliant and obvious statement that I don't think anybody is really thinking about. At least, so far as we're concerned. We've certainly thought about that way with the movie we had done last year, Haunt. That was something that we kept talking about like, "Oh, can we get these masks reproduced, but can we get them done with like KN95 filters in the mouth area?" Unfortunately, that is not a thing that any Halloween company latched onto it. It's really too bad.prevnext
As far as the horror marathons you do, are there specific movies you have to watch every year where it doesn't feel like Halloween if you don't watch it?
Beck: Well, there's the obvious. Pick your John Carpenter films, pick your Stanley Kubrick movies. One film that gets underneath my skin is a more recent film, [M. Night] Shyamalan's The Village. There's just something that really captures the autumn vibe of the cold and the starkness that I associate Halloween with. Universal monster movies, those are always absolute go-tos.
Woods: We love Creature from the Black Lagoon and Dracula. One of our favorite go-tos for Halloween is the original Universal Dracula, but with the Kronos Quartet, I believe it's a Philip Glass score that they set to accompany it. We always love watching and listening to that version of it. Then, we always try to find new horror films that we haven't seen yet, like some that we're just behind on. I'm looking through a list of films I've checked out this year and I hadn't seen Ready or Not. So, I threw that on the list and made sure to check that out. A new movie on a Shudder, Scare Me, which was super funny and effective. So, we try to throw in a few curveballs as well, just to catch up.prevnext
Haunt was released right before Halloween last year and I've seen plenty of people talking about how it's become one of their go-to Halloween movies to check out. What has it been like seeing fans connect with it and become such an important part of their holiday?
Beck: We feel very, very fortunate that the film found an audience. It's now the second Halloween that it's been around, that people are either putting it on their list for the first time or revisiting. I think back about like a year ago, and we didn't know what the movie would become. It didn't get a major theatrical release, but knew we were very lucky to get it on the Shudder platform, which, as subscribers ourselves, it felt like the perfect home for it, where it could really potentially be embraced. Throughout the month of October, we kept seeing on social media and stuff that there were just fans that were sitting down and I think the best compliment that really struck us was that people would say the movie felt like Halloween. It felt like a cold October night and, being two kids who grew up in Iowa going to haunted houses in the middle of cornfields, that is the quintessential feeling that we were hoping for. To see people embrace that for what it was, was really kind of mind-blowing.prevnext
Since you're keeping an eye on social media, have you seen any fans dressing up as the characters or recreating any of the masks from the film?
Woods: It's actually been really fun to see people build their own Haunt costumes and then we've been approached to release some officially licensed ones as well. I don't know. That's crazy, actually, until you asked that question, I haven't even really thought about how special that is other than like, there's nothing that makes us happier than getting a text message from somebody saying like, "Oh, I saw this Haunt costume that somebody put together." That's really, really cool. It was part of the fun of the movie, is coming up with these new costumes and these new characters. It's really fun to see it take on its own life.
Well you look at a movie like Trick 'r Treat, which didn't have a major release a decade ago and just has this passionate following, and now you can buy Trick 'r Treat masks in Spirit Halloween, so I won't be surprised to see Haunt masks popping up there in a few years. On the topic of masks, do you guys have any favorite masks from horror films?
Woods: I'm not sure what it would be.
Beck: Well, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you don't get a mask more iconically gruesome than that. I will say one of the masks that we felt we had a challenge against was Ghostface from Scream. Scream came out when we were not even teenagers yet and that was one that ... it was provocative, I think in part because of the storytelling, because you just wanted to know who was behind that mask and it was such a whodunit. Wes Craven is just a master of drawing up suspense that I think it enhanced that mask from just being what felt, maybe, potentially very basic to being incredibly iconic. It certainly gave us a lot of hurdles to overcome having a ghost in our movie Haunt and trying to figure out, how do we do the same, but different, and try to make it unique unto itself. Wes Craven certainly threw us a few curveballs on that one.prevnext
When you're looking at social media and seeing fans reach out to you, is there a most common question that fans ask you about the movie?
Woods: I think one of the questions we get a lot is basically the backstory of the killers. It's the same thing with A Quiet Place. People are always asking about the origin of the monsters, of the aliens in A Quiet Place. We have those answers. That's part of the fun of writing these projects, is building up that mythology for ourselves, but we love to withhold it as much as possible to create that mystery. In other words, when somebody reaches out and asks that question, that's really exciting to us, because that means that they're engaging with the story and, in many cases, probably coming up with some of their own answers that might be better than our answers. But, I feel like that's a question that comes up quite a bit.
So it sounds like you have the answers to those questions but you only want to present the audience with everything you want the audience to know.
Beck: It's a fun mystery box that we love. At the same time, if fans want to buy us a drink, maybe we'll open up a little more finally.
So if I DoorDash you a six-pack, can I follow up and get a real answer to the question?
Beck: Happy to do it.prevnext
Whether it be a big world like A Quiet Place or a more intimate story like Haunt, are you the type of filmmakers to always do exhaustive creation when constructing a world, even if you don't show all corners of that world, as opposed to only thinking of the pertinent information to tell the story?
Woods: I think a big mantra of ours, whether it's Haunt or Quiet Place or the films we're working on, is that less is more. We're always saying less is more, less is more, less is more. We try to distill things to their most basic elements, keep them very simple, but that doesn't mean they're not complex. It doesn't mean that they don't have complex ideas or, in this case we're talking about mythology and backstory, it doesn't mean that that's not all bubbling under the surface and planned and plotted. But it means it ends up the rollercoaster ride that we want to drop the audience onto and streamlines it in a way.
I think that all comes back to, especially when we think about the horror genre or philosophies on the horror genre, being looked as more the idea that if you can withhold information, or withhold violence or gore in a shot, or withhold the monster, it invites the audience to participate with their imagination and their imagination is far more creative and brilliant at storytelling than we are, that is in our team that is in the movie, that we're putting up on screen. So, if we can get their imagination to work for them and against them at certain times, it feels like it always makes the movie better. That's what we're aiming for is, I guess, a weird way of saying we're aiming this for audience participation and to invite them into the story.prevnext
As far as that world-building goes, have there been talks of returning to this mythology with either a sequel or a prequel?
Beck: That's a fascinating question because I think our gut instinct is we just like creating new worlds and seeing what else is out there. Part of that was just an instinctual thing where we feel like we played in a sandbox and then we want to move on to the next thing. But at the same time, certainly in the Haunt world, it's a place where we have had conversations between ourselves, between our collaborators. What if there was an opportunity? This is what it might be. This is what it could look like. This is how we would want to shy away from convention, or this is a way we want to lean into convention, meaning that we have all these masked monsters, some of which did not make it through the first film, but you could create this version of the Wolfman, for instance. You could go on and create different types of villains.
The canvas is certainly there. It's just probably something that, if we were to revisit it, it would take a beat for us to soak up our inspiration points and return to the well. Because, I think every film that we ever work on, whether it's Quiet Place or Haunt or the film that we're in prep for right now, we sat on those ideas for years and years before they actually became fully realized scripts. We just like sticky ideas that we keep coming back to, and if there's enough there, it just becomes this snowball effect where suddenly we feel incredibly inspired and it becomes a script. Then, it's something that if we're fortunate to make into a movie, that we're really examining every single corner of that universe.prevnext
We brought up John Carpenter and Halloween and he famously didn't want to keep telling Michael Myers stories and instead wanted to go the Halloween III: Season of the Witch route and tell other Halloween-based stories, so could you see yourselves doing that if you didn't do another Haunt?
Woods: You never know. We love Halloween. I don't know. How many more Halloween movies do we make? I'm not sure. We always loved what Carpenter was aiming for with the Halloween series, almost approaching them like an anthology.
Even this movie, at one point in time, got brought up to Blumhouse as, should Haunt be an extension of the Halloween universe. We didn't want that, ultimately, and I'm sure they didn't either, but we felt like there's something fun about doing something new and carving a new angle.
Beck: Going back to when we were in the ideation stage before A Quiet Place had come out opening weekend, and Bryan and I just having conversations like, "Oh, if there was a sequel for Quiet Place, if we were interested even pursuing that, what would it be?" The natural reaction wasn't, "Oh, it's just a direct follow-up." The idea was, "You actually go across the sea to the other end of the world to a different country or something. You see how another entire family has experienced this." Or not even a family, but these people that are trying to survive and let it become almost like a feature-film anthology of sorts, where all of a sudden, you're dropped into unfamiliar territory again and it's not about just following the same characters, but it's about discovering a whole new world.
Again, I think that's just an instinctual thing for us and the reason why instead of trying to chase sequels, it's more about chasing original ideas. It's that we just love erasing the entire chalkboard and trying to draw brand-new equations and figure out where we end up by the end of it.prevnext
Resident Evil Plans
You shared last year how, following the success of A Quiet Place, you were pitched a ton of franchises, even Indiana Jones and Star Wars, but you're more interested in creating your own universes. Were there any projects you met about or pitched to you that you were somewhat interested in?
Woods: There's been a lot of stuff that's crossed our desk. There's been stuff where we're like, "Oh wow, thanks for thinking of us. What an honor." But wasn't the right thing. I think the one thing that crossed our desk that we explored for a second and would be open to continuing to explore it, although I think they probably wouldn't want to go in as outrageous of a direction as we would want to take it, I think they want to go in a more conventional direction, but Resident Evil is probably the one piece of IP that we were interested in that's crossed our desk, just because we grew up with that first game. The first game was so cinematic and it was like the scariest thing. It almost felt scarier than any horror movie. We'd invite all of our friends over and one person would play the game. We'd all just watch as audience members and shriek anytime something scary happened.
We thought the zombie genre has gotten so tired. We've just seen every iteration of zombies you could possibly imagine. So, how do you do something new? With Resident Evil, we were like, "Oh, maybe you could approach it like Sam Mendes approached 1917 and just do this insane, outrageous oner in the zombie genre with Resident Evil," which feels organic to Resident Evil because those games feel like one big piece of movement and sustained piece of suspense. That was the one thing that we toyed with for like, five seconds. But, outside of that, the thrill for us is just creating new ideas and new worlds.prevnext
The Boogeyman Update
It was announced that you guys were writing the adaptation of Stephen King's The Boogeyman, are there any updates on when that project could move forward?
Woods: We've got a script that we're super excited about. I think development is growing and changing and evolving, but it's been ... I don't know. It was a really fun project.
Beck: You always have to get your script basically blessed by Stephen King once you basically have a draft, and he gave the thumbs up on that. We're not sure ... with the Disney and Fox merger, that's the only big hiccup and we're off in pre-production land on our next movie. But, outside of that, yeah, we're hoping, fingers crossed, that that movie can see the light of day sooner than later.0comments
Haunt lands on Blu-ray on October 22nd.prev