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Interview: Marlon Wayans has fun building A Haunted House


Interview: Marlon Wayans has fun building A Haunted House

When actor/comedy writer Marlon Wayans, along with his older brothers Keenan Ivory and Shawn, started spoofing the horror movie genre at the turn of the century, they created a cinematic gold mine with the “Scary Movie” franchise.

Fast-forward through a barrage of sequels in the last decade, one would think Marlon would have become tired doing the same shtick. Well, he wasn’t; simply because he stepped away from the horror movie spoofing racket after “Scary Movie 2” in 2001.

Yet while watching the most recent batch of haunted products, Wayans’ horror spoofing fire was reignited. And he then built “A Haunted House,” which opens its sarcastic doors this Friday across the country.

“Sometimes when you step away from something, and you start analyzing things, having that break allows you to have fresh eyes,” says Wayans. “It’s kind of like you date a girl, then you break up with her. And then another guy started hittin’ it, and you’re like, ‘You know what?’ there was something sexy about her, and you want her back.”

“I was sitting there watching ‘Paranormal Activity’,” he continues. “And I’m just like, ‘Why do white people act like this? Why do white people lose all common sense when they’re in a horror movie when they are smart, rational people?’ So for me, what if ‘Paranormal Activity’ happened to a black couple? Well, first of all, we’d move. And that thought is when all the jokes started hit. So then I started thinking how do I keep this people in the house for more than five minutes?”

And that was the challenge; especially in a world where the cinematic audience is hip/accustomed to the spoofing style/delivery. Wayans elaborated on how he and co-writer Rick Alvarez were able to make this screen-worthy funny.

“It really depends on the movie,” he says. “For this movie, after six months of writing and polish, it was ready. Some movies like “White Chicks” took a year-and-a-half. “Scary Movie 1” took three years to write. This one kind of just hit me, so it was just going off instinct. And we’re like, ‘Alright this (script) is good enough, and the rest we’re going to find on the scene (production set).’ I wanted to make it a loose enough script so that people can improvise because that’s how found-footage movies are. And being the first found-footage R-rated comedy, I wanted to keep it in the spirit of being a found-footage type of movie.”

Playful chatter about the horror genre continued, where Wayans revealed that 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” actually freaked him out.

“Ah, Freddy Kreuger. I was like 13 or 14 years-old and I started drinking coffee. Yeah, a 13 year-old drinking coffee.”

What about interacting with some female horror icons if it were possible?

Joe: Have you ever played the F, Marry, Kill game?

Marlon: I play it in the park every day.

Joe: Alright, so here are your choices: Carrie, Mrs. Voorhees, and the girl from Paranormal Activity. Go.

Marlon: “I’m killing Jason’s mother (Mrs. Voorhees); cause if she made one killer, she just has issues with her DNA.”

“I’m going to bang Carrie. I’m definitely going to bang Carrie. Crazy vagina is usually is the best.”

“And the girl from Paranormal Activity seems the most normal. I mean, yeah, sometimes she gets possessed, but that happens. Women get possessed once a month anyway, so this is normal.”

From there, he talked about whether he felt any pressure riding without his “training wheels” (brothers).

“It’s not like I feel like I’m a newcomer, you know? It’s kind of like Michael Jackson coming up in The Jackson 5 and then he goes out does an album – I’m not comparing myself to Michael by the way. Uh, let me rephrase that, it’s like Janet (Jackson) doing the “Control” album. Basically it’s more an extension of that Wayans style brand than a departure. And if it sucks, I’ll just change my last name to Osmond.”

So when writing a script, what’s the atmosphere like? Do writers constantly laugh at their own jokes or are they just quiet for the most part…

“Some times that happens. You say, ‘Oh that would be hilarious.’ And then you’re laughing with the other writers, and say that’s crazy and we can’t do it. And then we go, yes we can. And then we find ourselves laughing about something for a half-hour and say no way, no way, and then, ah let’s just do that.”


A Haunted House

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Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.

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