The producer behind Get Out, Paranormal Activity, the Purge series and now Halloween talks about Blumhouse’s runaway success, gun control and giving new talent a leg up
The nights are drawing in, Halloween is approaching and cinemas are back to full capacity. This can only mean one thing: horror movies, hordes of them. In recent years it feels as if the autumnal horror wave has become a year-round tsunami. Horror is everywhere on our screens these days, and if there’s one person to blame, it might well be Jason Blum.
The 52-year-old producer seems to have cracked the code when it comes to low-budget, high-profit, endlessly sequelisable horror product. His 2007 breakthrough, the camcorder freakout Paranormal Activity, set the tone. Made on a $15,000 (£11,000) budget, it took nearly $200m at the box office worldwide. Blum has churned out a steady stream of hits ever since: The Purge, Insidious, Sinister, Happy Death Day, Split, Get Out and Us to name a few. His company, Blumhouse, is also custodian of vintage horror properties such as the Halloween franchise (2018’s revamp took more than $250m worldwide; its follow-up, Halloween Kills, is out now), and Universal’s monster gallery (after last year’s The Invisible Man, a Ryan Gosling-led Wolfman and a Karyn Kusama-directed Dracula are in the works). These are just edited highlights of Blum’s sprawling empire, which also includes dramas, streaming miniseries, documentaries and podcasts. According to IMDb, he currently has more than 30 titles in the pipeline.
“I keep very busy, it’s true,” Blum laughs. Tanned, healthy looking and easygoing, he looks the exact opposite of a Lord of Darkness. He apologises if the sunlight is too bright in the Malibu home he’s Zooming in from. It doesn’t melt his flesh so he’s definitely not a vampire. “I was very deliberate,” he says of his spectacular run of success. “I knew I always wanted to create a machine that would help me realise my crazy dreams. I always was interested in creating a place where I could look at a book or a script or a pitch and have my own apparatus to turn it into a movie or a show. I’ve wanted that since I was 25 years old. It’s definitely a dream come true.”