Confession: I vastly prefer the spook-a-minute heightened Poltergeist-reality of the Insidious franchise to that of the more somber Exorcist-esque The Conjuring. That both franchises were started by newfound action extraordinaire James Wan only serves as proof of the man’s death grip hold on mainstream horror cinema. Sure — the horror scene is a booming in the indie verse (see It Follows or The Babadook or Spring…); but for the mainstream wide-release horrors, chances are (if its any good) you’ll see one of two names attached: producer Jason Blum or James Wan. For Insidious though — you get both.
In the third entry in the surprisingly durable series, writer Leigh Whannell takes over directorial duties from James Wan. Insidious: Chapter 3 serves as a prequel to the first two films, allowing Whannell to bring back and focus in on the best character of the series: Lin Shaye’s ghost-hunter/Zelda Rubinstein-stand-in Elise Rainier. At the WonderCon panel for the prequel, Jason Blum, writer/director Leigh Whannell and cast members Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Angus Sampson and Lin Shaye were in attendance to discuss the upcoming Insidious release. Below are bullet point highlights from the panel, followed by an exclusive clip from the film focusing on Elise Rainer.
Leigh Whannell on the Stress of Directing the Third Part in the Franchise: “I think when we decided to do a prequel it was freeing because we didn’t have to pick up with the old characters. Taking over for James — those are some big shoes [to fill]. Could I deliver a film anywhere close to what James would do? But [as the writer of the previous films] I felt confident I understood the world of the film.
- If you haven’t seen any of the previous Insidious films, you should still be fine for Chapter Three. “It’s a stand-alone film.” Whannell joked how the Insidious sequel is the opposite of his other horror franchise: Saw. Whereas the sequels to Saw were impenetrable for new viewers, Insidious: Chapter Three is easily accessible for those unfamiliar with the first two.
- The film will show how Elise met ghost hunters Spec and Tucker. “One of the fun things for me in this installment is I get to meet them for the first time and I have my own opinions about them which becomes the friendship you see in the later films.” Shaye revealed.
Lin Shaye on Elise’s Arc in Insidious: Chapter 3: “You get to learn who Elise is before she even meets the Lamberts. She’s drawn into Stefanie’s story because they’ve both experienced loss (Quinn having just lost her mother; Elise – her husband). [Loss] is a big theme of the movie. I think that in some ways that makes it the scariest film of the three because it deals with something personal to all of us. Everyone has experienced loss in his or her own way. Elise is led back into the story because of her own experience. It’s a very rich tapestry of people who have all experienced something very sad in their life and how they all support each other.”
- Who’s the Villain in Insidious: Chapter 3? The Man That Can’t Breathe. Per Whannell, he is “the living embodiment of cancer.” If cancer were a person – this is what it would look like. “You don’t know much about him. He doesn’t have a name. We only refer to him as the man that can’t breathe. To me he’s more of a symbol. He symbolizes all the pain and misfortune that can visit people in life.”
After the panel, the following clip from Insidious: Chapter Three was screened. In the clip, Elise attempts to contact our young heroine Quinn’s dead mother, only to discover that the spirit may not be the poor girl’s mother at all. Cue spooky music…
Insidious: Chapter 3 spooks into theaters June 5th. The new poster is below.
Here’s the Insidious: Chapter 3 official synopsis:
The newest chapter in the terrifying horror series is written and directed by franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell. This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.