Insidious Chapter 3, is written and directed by the franchise’s co-creator, Leigh Whannell, and is a prequel to the first two films.
The movie plunges the audience back into the otherworldly realm of The Further, revealing how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) first confronted it in her fight to save a young woman, Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), from demonic possession.
The movie will delight fans of the franchise as it shows how Elise first meets Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell), unlicensed parapsychologists who become part of her team.
I spoke with Leigh and Lin today about the movie, which opens this Friday, June 5th 2015.
Can you talk about your meeting with William Friedkin, and what advice he gave you about directing your first film?
Leigh: I sent him a message on Twitter and said, ‘Hey, any advice for a first time director?’ thinking that he would just twit me back and say, ‘Make your days.’ Instead he was like, ‘Let’s have lunch.’
It was an amazing afternoon, because I’m such a fan of his.
He was telling me stories about The Exorcist, and one of the things he said is when he was making The Exorcist he really wanted his actors to be afraid for real.
He didn’t want them to be faking fear when they could be really afraid, so he’d be constantly surprising them. At one stage he said, ‘If you see anybody jump in the movie, it’s because I was just off screen firing a gun.’
So I got it in my head that that was what I was going to do. I couldn’t quite get access to a gun, but a couple of times I used an air-horn.
Scaring them in the middle of a take doesn’t always work, but I did find it was pretty effective to push them into a [scary] headspace.
How was it coming back to the Insidious franchise, but in a prequel?
Lin: When you start [a movie] in the middle of [your character’s life] you have to build the character from the beginning for yourself, which we did. I did some of it with Leigh and Angus.
When we started working on the first one we got together to figure out where we had met, what our relationships were with each other. But I never dreamed of the soulful, very emotional for me, woman that Leigh constructed for this origin story.
When I read it I even went deeper with it. We talked about making her even more in a depressed place, agoraphobia had taken over her life.
So the origin that he wrote for me gave me a lot of places to go, and then turning me into the beautifully brutal heroine was just such a treat for me. The curve of the character is brilliant and the most fun I’ve ever had acting.
Leigh: A lot of times when I was directing Lin in some of those action scenes I’d be like, ‘Okay, more Clint Eastwood on this one.’
What are your horror influences?
Leigh: I have to give credit in the literary world to the master, Stephen King. I’m astounded by his ability to make things scary on the page. I think that’s extremely difficult.
If you’re making a film you can utilize sound and the editing to trick people, a loud noise will make people jump.
But if you’re writing a book, it’s all based on the reader and you don’t get to influence them, they could be reading it on a beach, in an airport, how can you possibly control [the environment] like you can if you’re making a film?
Is there a horror movie that you would like to remake?
Leigh: I always thought The Hidden needed a good remake.
Lin: I’m in that. I played Carol Miller, the assistant to the Governor or President.
It was a New Line picture, I have a lot to thank my brother (New Line Cinema founder and CEO) Robert Shaye for, the reason I got into Wes Craven’s movie is my brother said, ‘Put my sister in your movie.’ (she laughs)