|Written by Erin Maxwell|
After the massive worldwide success of Fast & Furious 7, helmer James Wan returns to his bump-in-the-night sleep-with-the-light-on roots with two horror pics on the horizon before he heads underwater to direct the upcoming Aquaman film.
At the New Line/Warner Bros. panel at WonderCon 2016 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Saturday, Wan chatted about The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out. Moderated by Evan Dickson, the panel discussed Wan’s role as a director and producer for the features, but also his voice as a filmmaker in today’s cinematic landscape.
“It was a challenge to decide which story to use to follow up The Conjuring,” said Wan when talking about the vast case files of paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren. “We knew we had to touch their famous case, Amityville.”
Indeed, in the sequel, the ghost fighting duo head to London to battle “England’s Amityville,” a case in which a single mother is raising four daughters is plagued by a malicious spirit.
Like the first film, the sequel seems just as terrifying, which Wan takes quite a bit of pride in.
“Scares are hard to do. I pride myself on one that people haven’t seen before,” said Wan. “I create scares by coming up with something that is relevant to everyday life.”
Want further talked about his techniques between his horror movies, from his first feature Saw to his later features Insidious and The Conjuring.
“I think my aesthetic is classical,” said the helmer.”My first movie doesn’t seem that way. Saw was very kinetic, but that was because it was low budget. It was a rough film. And I’ll be honest, it was my first movie. My first movie isn’t a true representation of my style. I think Insidious and The Conjuring better represent to my style.”
“My filmmaking technique is very grounded. You can see that in The Conjuring,” continued Wan. “I’ve had success in smaller indie films, and I’ve had success in the larger pictures, like Fast and Furious, and to me it’s all the same…It’s still the story and characters that matter the most,”
Lights Out is a feature Wan is producing with his new production arm, Atomic Robot. Directed by David Sandberg, who created the short the movie is based on, the horror pic follows a creature who lurks in the shadows and attacks in the dark.
Newbie director Sandberg chatted about the dream-come-true opportunity with the WonderCon panel.
“I was in Sweden, I got a call, I got on a plane, I am here,” laughed Sandberg.
Was it just that easy?
“Oh, there were nightmares but it all worked out,” said the helmer. “But I got to work with the great James Wan. And one of my favorite actresses of all time, Mario Bello.”
In the end, Wan stated to the audience that while he now makes all sorts of different types of movies, he will always hold genre pics in the the highest regard.
“I got very lucky with the horror genre and I am very grateful to it.”