“One sequel was crazy, let alone what we ended up doing…” - hmv.com talks to Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli
The final instalment of the long-running horror saga Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is out now on DVD and we caught up with Oren Peli, the man who created the series, to find out why he’s bringing it to an end...
When first started work on Paranormal Activity how could you imagine you’d still be talking about it a decade later and preparing for a sixth film?
“All I thought about when I made the first film was trying to find some distribution for my weird little film, but after it became a big success it was more than I’d ever hoped for. One sequel was crazy, let alone what we ended up doing, the thing blows my mind.”
When did you realise that the movie would have such a mass appeal?
“There wasn’t one moment, it was a long process, the movie took a year to edit and I showed the film to different friends and groups of people and I was getting good comments. If I have to choose one moment it would be the first screening at Screamfest, it was the first time in front of a real audience and the reaction was incredible. That was the first time I realised it could have a big appeal.”
What inspired you to come up with the concept? Were there movies you particularly looked to?
“There were a lot of movies, probably the most direct one was The Blair Witch Project, I loved it as a movie and it opened my eyes to what you can do when you buy a video camera and do it yourself. It gave me the confidence to give it a try. For the story, movies like The Sixth Sense and Rosemary’s Baby really contributed to that.”
Why have you decided that The Ghost Dimension will be the series’ final movie?
“It was the studio’s decision, but I think it’s the right one. We’ve had a good run and the fans have been incredible. We’ve expanded the mythology of the story further than I ever thought we could. We’ve asked a lot of questions during the films and in this film we answer a lot of them and bring everything to a conclusion, it makes sense that this is the last chapter.”
How do you think the films have changed over the years? What does having bigger budgets and a waiting audience give a series like this?
“It’s tricky. You want to stay true to the formula, it needs to be intimate and self-contained, but we need to give the audience a reason to keep coming back. We’ve expanded the world, especially with this new film, we’ve added a lot of visual components and they’ll see more than ever before. We have had bigger budgets, but in Hollywood terms they’re still tiny.”
Looking back at the series, what’s been your proudest moment?
“There’s been a lot. I remember hearing Stephen Spielberg had watched it and loved it, that was very surreal. But what I like best is being in a theatre with fans and watching them scream and moan and jump, that’s just fantastic.”