INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3 Director Leigh Whannell Called Up 'Exorcist' Director William Friedkin for Horror Film Pointers

Insidious Chapter 3 Leigh Whannell and Dermot Mulroney on set

The INSIDIOUS horror franchise not only frightens its audiences, it apparently scares the living hell out of its actors too! Australian filmmaker, Leigh Whannell who makes his directorial debut with INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 got one piece of advice from Exorcist director William Friedkin:  You have to scare your actors for real.

Before shooting INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, Whannell tweeted Friedkin asking if he had any tips for a rookie director. The two met for lunch and Friedkin suggested Whannell terrorize his actors like he had done on the set of The Exorcist.  The veteran filmmaker explained that if you saw anyone startled in his film, it’s because he was off-screen firing his gun.  Weeks later, Whannell decided to try the same scare tactic, just with something a bit more studio-friendly.

“ I used an air-horn. Actually scaring them in the middle of a take doesn’t always work, but I was trying to reinvent that to put them in the right headspace. Especially with Steph, she was the main victim of all that stuff.”

Indeed, 18-year-old sweetheart, Stephanie Scott (Disneys: A.N.T. Farm) who plays Quinn, endured most of Whannell’s terrorizing.  To prepare Scott for her most traumatizing and jarring scene, he gave her headphones blasting death metal and locked her in a pitch-black closet for 30 minutes.
“He had a guard posted outside the door, and he would rush in and check my headphones to make sure I hadn’t turned down the volume. It was awful but by the time I did the scene, I was ready!” said Scott. “I think it was a bit rough for me to keep doing it after we finished shooting,” Whannel joked.

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Whannell wasn’t the only one doing the scaring though. The “Into the Further 4D Experience” is a fully immersive experience that takes you into the world of INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 and scares the bejeezus out of you! Your guide in this virtual reality, is none other than the Godmother of Horror-- Lin Shae (Nightmare on Elm Street), who reprises her role as ghost whisperer Elise Ranier. The actress told Cinemovie, that she went “Into the Further” freaked out, and left with tears running down her face.

“Oh my God! When I walked in I said, “Oh Shit!” I’m very sound sensitive.  I was so assaulted by the sound. I got to the hallway and the rattling the door. I got so confused and so upset I started talking to myself and that was the end. I just totally lost it.”

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 serves as a standalone prequel centering around Shae’s psychic character Elise. Whannell was ecstatic to work with a living Lin Shae after the franchise killed her off in the first Insidious.
“Even in the second one, she was wandering around, It was like diet-Lin. It wasn’t full strength Lin. You see her as a human being so full of life. That’s the Lin I wanted to work with,” said Whannell.

Insidious Chapter3 movie Lin Shay

When Shae read the script, she was honored to see that Whanell had written more backstory and depth for her character.

“I had no idea we would be filling her in to this extent. This has been a jewel of a role for me. Thank you Leigh.”

Whannell credits his imagination to Stephen King who he considers the master of horror in the literary world. He told Cinemovie that he admires King’s ability to control his environment and make things scary through writing. We put Whannell on the hot seat and asked him how he was able to make the atmosphere spooky on set so his cast would buy in. According to Whannel, he was really strict about the set being quiet and totally silent.

  “ I just tried to create that atmosphere where everything was very quiet. I wanted to place them in a headspace where, this is really happening to me,” said Whannell .
Stephanie Scott added, “He would really talk me through it, especially through a scare scene. I did notice it was a very cold, dark set. The lights were never on. We’re in an apartment and it was very suffocating because there wasn’t a lot of space. I think it had a lot to do with it.”

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