Rory Culkin Talks the Horrifying Quibi Series The Expecting and 50 States of Fright

Having previously starred in projects like Signs and Scream 4, fans of Rory Culkin know that the [...]

Having previously starred in projects like Signs and Scream 4, fans of Rory Culkin know that the actor has no fear when it comes to conveying horrifying stories, with Quibi subscribers in luck that they can catch Culkin in two different terrifying series, The Expecting and 50 States of Fright. While the thematic link of the series might be that they both feature unsettling stories, their actual subject matter and overall tone are quite different, ensuring that audiences will get a diverse range of performances from the actor. Both The Expecting and his episodes of 50 States of Fright are both available now on Quibi.

In The Expecting, when a down-on-her-luck waitress suffers disturbing effects from her pregnancy, she embarks on a dark journey to uncover the potential conspiracy surrounding it.

50 States of Fright explores stories based on urban legends from every state, taking viewers deeper into the horrors that lurk just beneath. This horror anthology series launched in the spring, showcasing stories from Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, and Florida. New tales will be released from Iowa, Washington, Colorado, and Missouri. In Culkin's episodes, when a sister descends a strange underground stairwell adjacent to an overgrown Washington cemetery to retrieve her little brother's lost toy, she finds more than she bargained for at the bottom of the steps. recently caught up with Culkin to talk his new series, his connection to horror, and various famous films from his career.

50 states of fright rory culkin quibi
(Photo: Quibi) You star in two new horror projects for Quibi, but they are obviously compelling projects regardless of their genre, so are you a horror fan in general?

Rory Culkin: I'm a horror fan, but it is just a coincidence I've been doing all of these spooky stories. I don't know, whenever I read a script, I don't really look at it as horror. I try to look at it as a person and I think horror often doesn't get enough credit because these actors have to put themselves in some crazy situations mentally, you know what I mean? These actors are portraying some pretty intense moments in horror, typically. So, there's obviously campy horror, but then there's also that deep-rooted, cerebral horror. Yeah, I'm a fan.

At one point in The Expecting, your character mentions he's a cook because everyone will always need to hire a cook. Similarly, people will always need actors, whether it's for a movie or TV show or short-form stories. Even though you view characters in horror projects as people regardless of genre, do you have a universal approach to taking on a character or will you prepare for a horror project differently than you would for a comedy or traditional drama?

I think it depends on the director I'm working with and their style in how to approach things. But yeah, I try to give myself as much time as possible to think about it. I mean, Lords of Chaos, I probably had too much time. I was attached to that film for like four years before we actually filmed it. But in this, with Quibi, it didn't have quite as much time to prep. But yeah, it depends on the director's style, I suppose.

You've worked in TV and for films, but I'm sure some people still aren't totally aware of what makes Quibi different from any other project you've done. As a performer, was there anything different about filming series for Quibi than it would have been for another platform?

I think there was a lens sometimes on the camera that was a specialty lens for Quibi, but aside from that, I think people are still figuring out the platform. And I was lucky enough to do two different projects for Quibi and they both seem to have different approaches. The Expecting, the director of that, Mary Harron, she approached it as a film, just a feature film broken up into small chapters, so it just seemed like we were shooting a movie that we knew was going to be broken up into chapters, but then 50 States of Fright felt a little different. It felt just like a short film, like a really high level, high production short film. So that was interesting, like how they approach it differently. And so, I don't know, I think it's still figuring itself out and it's really cool to be on the ground level of that and see how it works.

Your involvement in 50 States of Fright was relatively minimal compared to your role in The Expecting, so did you get involved with 50 States because you were already involved with Quibi and shooting in Vancouver and you were able to jump into it?

It was actually that I did 50 States of Fright first, flew to Vancouver, I believe I did a day or two on that, but it was really back to back because I flew straight from 50 States right to The Expecting in Massachusetts. So there was like no time in between and I think it was just a coincidence actually. Grab two Quibis.

Oh, cool, I knew that almost all of 50 States of Fright was shot in Vancouver so I thought all Quibi series were shooting there. I'm from Massachusetts, where out there did you film?

It was called a town called Norwood. Just outside of Boston. It's a lovely place.

50 States explores urban legends and tall tales from all over the country, did you have any urban legends or creepy stories you were told about your neighborhood growing up?

I grew up in New York City, in Manhattan, so there's plenty of spooky stuff around the corner. I can think of, well, there's Jersey Devil, obviously in New Jersey, but Cropsey was one, I think in Staten Island. He's like a boogeyman figure. And then I think they learned that he was actually a real guy who used to be a janitor at a school who just disappeared. I don't know, it's freaky, but that was the closest thing that happened in New York. What's Massachusetts? Do you guys have any?

I think because of the Salem witch trials, there's lots of stuff about witches. And because all of New England and the Northeast is old, everything is just ghosts.

And the Headless Horseman.

Yeah, that's another good one for New York. Speaking to some of your other horror projects, I know Matthew Lillard jokingly mentioned on Twitter recently how his character wasn't confirmed to have died in the original Scream so he could show up in the new Scream. Would you campaign to have your character come back for the new Scream, even though it looked like he died in Scream 4?

I mean, I believe I took a blade to the heart. Unless there's a ... I remember in the [third] Scream, Jamie Kennedy made a cameo, even though he was dead, he created a video for the future or something. So there are ways that clever writing could fit that. I wouldn't campaign for it, all respect to Lillard, I think he's great. But yeah, I'm pretty happy with my place in the lineage of Scream.

And on a similar note, The Expecting isn't your first alien project, having starred in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. Since he did it with Split where Bruce Willis showed up to confirm it was an Unbreakable sequel, if he called you up to do a post-credits cameo confirming a Signs sequel, would you be up for it?

Oh dude, why did you even put that in my head? See, I will campaign for that. I will make some calls about the Signs sequel. Grown-up Morgan Hess being obsessed? Good idea.

I feel like Signs is such an underrated film in his catalog that's just as good now as it was 20 years ago. Everyone talks about The Sixth Sense or whatever, but Signs was awesome. I'd love to see that.

I sort of have a hard time watching my work, but it's been long enough where I can separate myself and I actually feel comfortable saying Signs rules. I think it's a cool movie.


Both The Expecting and his episodes of 50 States of Fright are both available now on Quibi.