The three movies in the Insidious franchise have raked in nearly $600 million at the box office. The official trailers have taken YouTube by storm with over 45 million views. And now we have Insidious: Chapter 4 coming out in 2017. James Wan (Conjuring/Conjuring 2) directed the first two movies. Patrick Wilson (Fargo) and Rose Byrne (X-Men) are the stars. The story is chillingly scary. In the first movie a young boy has an accident and is comatose. Ghosts and demons are attempting to take over his body in a bid to make a comeback. And what a comeback they make. The Lambert family is in for one scary ride in a murky, dark region known as “The Further”. There’s a terrified family, a kick a** ghost hunter, the odd priest, a Lipstick-Face Demon, a Long Haired Friend, and well, you get the idea. At the end of the first movie, the Lamberts think they’ve won, but quite frankly, when Insidious: Chapter 2 was announced, it was pretty clear the demons were going to make a comeback. Then in Insidious: Chapter 3 we get the back story on the ghost hunter, Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye). And now we have Insidious: Chapter 4 coming out in 2017.
Here are 15 things about Insidious that you need to know. It’s a bizarre tale conjured out of the mind of one talented writer. It’s a world of demons and psychics and scared witless family members. You’re gonna love it.
15. The Whole Thing Was Inspired By Poltergeist
Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) move into a new house with their three children, including their son Dalton. Dalton is exploring the attic when he falls from a ladder and knocks himself out. Was it an accident or more? He is comatose and doctors can’t explain why. Months later, very weird things begin happening. Renai sees ghosts. Enter ghost hunter Elise Ranier, with her investigative sidekicks Specs and Tucker. Now the weird really starts because Elise believes that Dalton is a “traveler” who (according to IMDb) who can leave his body and “travel in astral projection”. Seems Dalton is stuck in a dark netherworld ‘The Further’, and spirits are trying to take over his body. Quite handily, dad Josh, is also a traveler. Hang on, some said, isn’t this kid stuck on the other side? Young parents trying to help him, a psychic ghosty person and demons, are all main story elements in Poltergeist (1982)? In that movie a little girl gets stuck in a land mom and dad can detect on the TV, but they cannot reach her. Enter a very strange psychic, Tangina (played brilliantly by Zelda Rubenstein).
14. The Ghost Hunter Dies In The First Movie But Is In All Four Films?
Well, it is about ghosts after all. The ghost hunter Elise Rainer, gets knocked off by a demon in the first movie. It’s pretty nasty. But then she comes back for appearances in Insidious: Chapter 2 in flashbacks and as a ghost. In one scene, Specs and Dalton are standing in a doorway talking to a little girl. Who’s that lady behind you she says. The guys see nothing. But guess what? It’s Elise! Insidious: Chapter 3 is a prequel and so we get the backstory of how brilliant psychic Elise, reluctantly gets involved in an effort to help a teenage girl who is being plagued by a demon. It’s early days for Insidious: Chapter 4, but IMDb confirms that Lin Shaye is back as Elise. Not much (if anything) is known about the plot, but IMDb also reports that a sequel to Saw (2004) was paused in favor of Chapter 4. Now, we are excited about the new Insidious movie, but a new Saw would also be totally awesome. Look for that in 2017.
13. Insidious Had A Tiny Budget
According to vox.com, Insidious was produced on a tiny budget of around $1.5 million. But it had a dream team from the 2004 Saw movie. There was golden boy James Wan who directed, and Lee Whannell who wrote the screenplay. The Saw franchise was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful Horror Film Franchise, grossing almost $1 billion at the box office. They picked up the award at 2010’s Comic Con. See, the thing about James Wan is that he is more about creating a spooky atmosphere than throwing around a lot of blood and guts. And fans loved Insidious and it grossed some $103 million worldwide. And the franchise? Well, according to the-numbers.com, the total production budgets of all three films totals $16.5 million and they have grossed nearly $600 million worldwide. No wonder a fourth film is coming.
12. Insidious 2 Trailer Gets Over 15 Million Views On YouTube
Let’s face it, after the runaway success of Insidious in 2011, 2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2 had fans clamoring for more. Okay, the story is as bizarre as the first film. There’s a flashback in the second film. Seems that when Josh Lambert was a kid, he was troubled by the same old lady with blood red lipstick who knocked off Elise at the end of the first film. Josh too had traveled to ‘The Further’. And Elise was called in by Josh’s mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), to help. There’s even a hint that the marks on Elise’s body may be a match for Josh’s hand. So, not surprisingly, the family moves in with Lorraine. But weird follows these people around and soon Ranai is seeing and hearing things, including a lady in a Victorian dress. Then poof, the Lambert’s baby disappears. It’s extremely complicated, but trust us, they make it through and Josh is hypnotized so he forgets.
11. Insidious 3 Is A Prequel Set In 2007
Well, we get the live Elise in the first movie and the dead Elise who is alive in flashbacks and who also appears as a ghost in the second movie. In Insidious: Chapter 3 we get the backstory of Elise’s campaign to help a girl get rid of some demons who seem intent on really causing her harm. We have seen most of the demons before, but we get a new Wheezing Demon to scare us silly. Another thing: Elise has a dog named Warren, a reference to real life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warrens, whose psychic investigations formed the basis for The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror. Premiers are more fun for the ghosts and demons. They get to show up at the premiere dressed as, well, ghosts and demons.
10. James Wan And The Demons
James Wan is not even 40 yet and he has made his mark in the horror film business in a big, big way. He directed a short film Saw, that led to the blockbuster Saw in 2004. He then went on to direct The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2. And he’s smart. After he directs one or two films in a horror franchise, he moves into the lucrative role of producer. He’s done that with Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious. His thing is creating menace and not blood and guts. His demons are makeup and costume marvels made all the more menacing by the dark, somber setting and stellar camerawork. He has said it is a kick directing horror films. He even gets to shoot funny pictures with demons and witches and monsters and the like.
9. Scariest Scene In First Movie
There are so many scary scenes in the first movie, we have a lot to choose from. There’s the one where his hand comes out of a draw and grabs a person. There’s a guy taking a series of pictures in a dark hall and in one frame some ghostly Doll Girls appear and give out with an evil grin. There’s the dark figure outside that suddenly confronts Renai. But our favorite? Josh’s mother Lorraine and Josh, are talking at a table. Renai looks worried. We get a flashback to a demon in the shadows. Okay, this is not so scary. Then, wham, there the demon is behind Josh, claws and red demonic face and all. And Lorraine, Josh and Ranai, make a run for it, but have trouble with the door… Now that was scary.
8. New Demon On The Block, The Wheezing Demon
Quinn Brenner, is a girl possessed by the Wheezing Demon in Insidious: Chapter 3. He’s the new demon on the block. She is plagued by the jerk throughout the movie. But when he possesses her, the demonic thing she becomes is in marked contrast to the nice girl next door with casts on her legs and a neck brace portrayed by actress Stefanie Scott. The scene in which she becomes a zombie-like creature that staggers across the room is really scary. She slashes at her father and at Specs, and at the other paranormal investigators. And she is about to slash her own throat when she is restrained. See, the Wheezing Demon’s “thing” is to possess them so they will commit suicide. That way, he gets to keep them as pets in ‘The Further’.
7. The Thing About The Entity
Barbara Hershey is perfect as Lorraine Lambert. The 60-something cougar (her former love was 21 years younger than her) combines sexiness with menace. Many have forgotten that she got her horror credentials in 1982’s The Entity, in which she plays 30-something Carla Moran. In that cult classic, she is the one being pursued by an evil being. It is based on the true-life story of Doris Bither, who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by demons and spirits. Like the story from The Conjuring, there was a real life paranormal investigator, one Dr. Barry Taff, who got involved in the case. Like Ed and Lorraine Warren’s investigation of the English family that became The Conjuring, Dr. Taff’s investigation informed The Entity. Not surprisingly, many doubt both stories.
6. The Thing About The Ghosts
You can see why the Old Woman scared generations of the Lambert family in the movie. Sure, they aren’t real. We hope. Anyway, the makeup artist behind Insidious is Liz Mendoza. The Lipstick Face Demon and the Old Woman are down to the makeup magic of Mendoza, with a little help from the costume department. The Old Woman was actually played by actor Philip Freidman. Insidious actually was his first horror film. Then there’s Kelly Hitman (DeVoto), who plays the creepy Doll Girl #1. She’s a kind of veteran at playing ghosts and has actually appeared in the Scream Awards. What do they all have in common? Patience. Mendoza’s makeup takes a while. So, the ghosts and demons are usually first on the set, and we do mean early.
5. Halloween Horror Nights
So how does Universal Studios Orlando celebrate Halloween? Well, each year they put on Halloween Horror Nights, a series of mazes featuring characters and concepts in movies like The Purge, and shows like The Walking Dead. You’re “trapped” in a maze and confronted with all kinds of horrors as you make your way out. And of course, Insidious was there. In 2015, they did a mash-up of all three films centered around the phrase “Return to the Further”. Anyway, when the fourth film makes its appearance in 2017, look for a return of the Insidious maze. It’s not a maze. It’s marketing. Last year, Michael Myers and his mask returned to Halloween Horror Night with a maze that was a tribute to the Halloween films and centering on the first movie when Michael killed his sister.
4. Leigh Whannell And The Splat Pack
Leigh Whannel is a talented Australian who wrote the Saw and Insidious films. When Saw came out in 2004, he was still a 20-something. In fact, his first Insidious screenplay was so good that he and Wan went from planning a film they would self-finance, to getting lots of studio offers. Enter Universal who funded the modest $1.5 million budget. When Wan was tied up with Furious 7, Leigh stepped in and directed Insidious: Chapter 3. He’s also an actor in the films, playing ghost hunter Specs in all three. He and Wan met in Australia at film school and both are part of the so-called “Splat Pack”, a term coined by film historian Alan Jones, for the directors who make violent horror films. He jokes that as the writer who also is an actor in his films, he can’t complain about what is thrown at him. He wrote the thing after all. He’s called “Specs” in the film for obvious reasons.
3. The Insidious Is Good For Those Involved
Everybody’s smiling for a reason. We already know that James Wan and Leigh Whannell go way back to Australia and film school. Saw made them big names in Hollywood and Insidious cemented their reputations as A-List members of the Splat Pack. After Insidious, Wan directed the hugely successful Furious 7. And it’s also been very good to Lin Shaye, who is one of only a handful of actors who have done all three films. She has well and truly made the transition from comedy to queen of horror. Patrick Wilson is smiling, too. He was catapulted into the immensely successful Conjuring franchise after working with James Wan on Insidious. And let’s not forget that lovely almost $600 million in box office on a total of $16.5 million production budgets.
2. James Wan Does An Alfred Hitchcock Thing
Director James Wan always does some kind of cameo appearance in his films. Director Alfred Hitchcock, was noted for making a brief cameo in all his films. Wan is a little more subtle. In the Insidious universe, there are references to Wan’s films, like the drawing on teacher Josh Lambert’s blackboard of Billy the puppet from the Saw movies and the name “James Wan” written clearly on a blackboard. And in another scene, Wan appears in computer wallpaper with Spec and Tucker, the ghost hunters. Maybe we’ll see him decked out as a demon or a ghost in future installments. A tiny bit of fun in the middle of all that horror. The names that appear above the drawing of Billy? They were members of the film’s crew.
1. Location, Location, Location
Movies have people who go out and scout locations. And once they find a good one, they tend to get used again and again. Spooky locations have to be dark and abandoned, in short, places where ghosts and demons love to hang out. Maybe one of the all-time winners in the pick me as a location for a horror movie is the Linda Vista Community Hospital. First of all, it’s handy, as it is located in Los Angeles, California. No, it’s not still a hospital. It closed in 1991, but it has that creepy abandoned air that filmmakers, and sometimes music video makers, love. Pity it’s now being turned in apartments for seniors. Seems like the hospital at one point had a bad rep in the killing of patients department. Let’s hope those ghosts have moved on. The hospital has been the location for over 20 films such as Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005), as well as a number of TV shows, including Ghost Stories and True Blood.