The horror genre has defined the success of Blumhouse Productions ever since the company’s “Paranormal Activity” became one of the most profitable films ever made in 2007. While the company, led by Jason Blum, has had unparalleled success, the studio has failed to produce any horror movies directed by female filmmakers over the last 11 years and counting. Polygon editor Matt Patches recently informed Blum about the statistic during an interview for “Halloween,” to which Blum assured the studio has actively searched for female directing talent.
“We’re always trying to do that,” Blum said. “We’re not trying to do it because of recent events. We’ve always been trying. There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror. I’m a massive admirer of [‘The Babadook’ director] Jennifer Kent. I’ve offered her every movie we’ve had available. She’s turned me down every time.”
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Blum said he has also offered numerous projects to Leigh Janiak, who directed the 2014 horror-thriller “Honeymoon.” Janiak confirmed to Polygon she met with Blumhouse in the past but said that she was never able to sign onto a production because of scheduling conflicts. The filmmaker was confident “we’ll work together on something, someday soon.”
Blumhouse may be lacking when it comes to female directors and its horror films, but Blum said that doesn’t mean the company has never sought out creative advice from female talent. David Gordon Green’s upcoming “Halloween” is an example, as, even though the film was directed by a man, Blum relied heavily on Jamie Lee Curtis.
“I was very reluctant to do [the movie] without her,” Blum said. “Her involvement was very important to me, and in retrospect, I just don’t think there’s been any version of a movie that really would have worked anywhere as well as this one does without her.”
Curtis, who Blum said is a “very powerful, creative leader,” reprises her role as Laurie Strode in the movie but also serves as an executive producer, which means she was involved in script development, casting, production, post-production, and marketing.
“If one person embodies [the] Halloween [franchise], I would say it’s a toss up between Jamie Lee Curtis and John,” Blum said, “but because Jamie was on the set every day, she was much more involved in the day-to-day. So I think everyone kind of turned to her for leadership.”
While female directors have not been behind the camera for Blumhouse horror films, the studio has hired women to direct other genre films, including Karen Moncrieff for the supernatural drama “The Keeping Hours” and Catherine Hardwicke for the erotic thriller “Plush.” “The Killing” creator Veena Sud is the director on Blumhouse’s upcoming thriller “The Lie,” and Blumhouse was behind Marti Noxon’s “Sharp Objects” limited series on HBO earlier this year.
Blumhouse’s “Halloween” opens nationwide October 19 via Universal Pictures.