THE CONJURING’s James Wan on Creating Horror Using Sound

If you’re one of those people who cover up their eyes during horror movies, your ears will still be subjected to the fright fest in THE CONJURING, thanks to director’s sound design of the film.  The director behind the original Saw movie and Insidious tells CineMovie why sound is just as important as the visual scares.

Watch video interview below.

Based on a real family’s experience with spirits in their new farmhouse, THE CONJURING tells the horrifying tale of a family under siege by ghosts and the demonologist couple who try to help them. THE CONJURING stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor.

Despite covering my eyes while watching THE CONJURING in a San Francisco movie theater, I still found myself freaked out through the film’s soundtrack.  The eerie music accompanied with low frequencies often had the movie theater trembling and my seat rattling.  Even with my eyes closed in anticipation of a scary moment, the terror could still be felt on my auditory nerves.  At one point the theater shook so much, I had a momentary thought that we were experiencing an earthquake while visiting Frisco for this movie.  

During a sit down with director James Wan in a San Francisco hotel, this wimpy viewer asked the director behind Saw and Insidious his method to his scare tactics through sound.  The Australian native admits he spends as much time designing he sound as he does the visual scares.   

“With my filmmaking, it should be an all-encompassing cinematic experience, not just the visual, but the soundtrack is so important. I want you to be sucked into the story. I want you to be engaged with the characters and so the sound is a big part of what makes the movie work.  The sound design and musical score are so important because it really helps to convey the story. . .“

The director of the next Fast & Furious movie adds that even if you cover up your eyes, he still wants the viewer to experience the dread through their ears. And if you cover up both your senses, your body still feels the terror in the rattling through the low bass.

THE CONJURING director describes himself as “very pedantic” when it comes to designing the sounds down to the creaking of a door or floorboard, which often drives his sound designer crazy.

Wan’s efforts certainly increases the fear factor in THE CONJURING, which audiences will appreciate when it opens July 19.

Before starting production on the next film in the Fast & Furious franchise, Wan has one more horror film in him when he reteams with Patrick Wilson on the sequel to Insidious out September 13, 2013.

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