By David Villafranca
Los Angeles, Sep 9 (EFE).- With “Malignant,” James Wan, acknowledged as the master of modern horror for his creation of the “Saw” and “Insidious” franchises, returns to one of his earliest inspirations: the lurid, over-the-top crime and mystery genre known in its native Italy as “giallo.”
The Malaysian-born Australian’s first film as director since the 2018 superhero blockbuster “Aquaman” will premier Friday in cinemas and on HBO Max.
“Malignant” tells the story of Madison (Annabelle Wallis), a woman who in the wake of suffering a miscarriage starts to have nightmares about gruesome murders and is further horrified to learn that her dreams are real.
“My first experience with giallo was Dario Argento’s ‘Deep Red’ and that had a huge impact on me when I was a very young teenager,” Wan, 44, told Efe in an interview.
Released in 1975, “Profondo rosso” (also known in the English-speaking world as “The Hatchet Murders”), centers on a serial killer who wears black leather gloves.
Argento “took a sort of very familiar storytelling structure – detective whodunit murder mystery story – shaded it with so many layers of really unique filmmaking that I hadn’t seen up until that point,” Wan said. “I never thought you could take a detective story and turn it into a horror film and that’s basically what Argento sort of did.”
“I’m a fan of combining genres and so taking thriller and combining it with horror was really exciting to me and it did open my eyes to all the different possibilities,” he said.
Asked what prompted him to make a giallo film at this point in his career, Wan said he felt the need to remind people that he remains “a hardcore horror fan at heart.”
“Even though I spent the last 10 years making some supernatural ghostly movies like the “Insidious” and “The Conjuring” films,” he said. “I still love what I started out with, what I started my career with, movies like ‘Saw.'”
“I love that more gritty, visceral style of filmmaking, which I haven’t done in a long time, so I just kind of wanted to visit that again, basically,” Wan told Efe.
And his view, the public has never been more receptive to horror.
“When I was starting out making “Saw,” he recalled, “back then people sort of thumbed their nose down to the horror genre, but that is no longer the case. I honestly think it has crossed over into the mainstream in a big, big way.”
“In our business – show business – we see time and time again it is horror films that keep saving our business. Whenever we go into that little dip, a horror film will come along and it will lift everything back up,” Wan said.
“Respectable directors and filmmakers and actors are willing now to give the genre a shot that they wouldn’t have done 15 years ago or even 10 years ago,” he said. “So it’s really cool and I’m really excited for this new generation of audiences and kids that they’re getting these movies and enjoying these films without any sort of bad stigma attached to it.” EFE dvp/dr