How Paranormal Activity Prepared Jason Blum For The Five Nights At Freddy's Movie

From "A Nightmare on Elm Street" to "Friday the 13th," "Hellraiser" to "Child's Play (aka Chucky)," '80s horror fans love a long-running franchise. While the 21st century doesn't have as many lengthy horror franchises per capita as the 1980s does, it still has a decent amount — and most of those are thanks to the efforts of one Jason Blum, Mr. Blumhouse himself.

Over the course of his career, Blum has sought to keep the traditions of vintage horror cinema alive not necessarily in the films themselves, but in broader ways. To wit, he's often found a lot of his films easily making their budgets back (and then some) at the box office; this year alone has seen "M3GAN" and "Insidious: The Red Door" hit the jackpot at cinemas, successes that are not only clear indicators of horror's continual popularity as a genre, but also Blum's savvy in keeping budgets low.

Blum is also a franchise maven, turning the likes of "Insidious" and "The Purge" into long-running series as well as resurrecting classic franchises such as "Halloween" and "The Exorcist." With this October's "Five Nights at Freddy's," Blum is hopeful that the adaptation of the popular video game will mark the beginning of another long-running cinematic franchise. To that end, he sees a lot of similarities between "Freddy's" and what is perhaps Blumhouse's crown jewel franchise: The "Paranormal Activity" movies.

Blum proves Paranormal Activity was not a fluke

On first glance, 2009's "Paranormal Activity" doesn't seem like an endlessly repeatable franchise. A found-footage movie made entirely in the director's own home with unknown actors largely improvising seems like the kind of thing that only works as well as it did one time, never mind the fact that the movie's closest comparison point — 1999's "The Blair Witch Project" — infamously spawned only one sequel (at the time, anyway) which went in an entirely different direction so as to avoid such seemingly obvious pitfalls.

As Blum recalled to IGN recently, some naysayers believed the first "Paranormal Activity" would be the only Blumhouse movie ever made:

"After we had done Paranormal Activity, everyone said, 'Well, it's The Blair Witch Project, it's a magic trick. There'll never be any more Paranormal Activities and there'll never be any more Blumhouse movies and this guy, Jason Blum, got lucky.' And, you know, 'he'll never be able to do this again.' And the second movie we set out to do was Insidious."

Not only did Blum prove himself in several ways, going on to produce numerous box office hits and turning Blumhouse into a label to be reckoned with, but he specifically turned both "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious" into long-running franchises (their latest installments premiering in 2021 and this very year, respectively).

The connection between Five Nights at Freddy's and Paranormal Activity 2

Given all his success within the genre, it's not hard to see why Blum is interested in maintaining his "horror guru" status. Yet his choice to remain active within the genre goes beyond it being financially successful for him, as he explained:

"I love horror movies because people who make horror movies are still ostracized a bit in Hollywood. Like, we're thought of as lesser, even though 'Get Out' made them kind of cooler. We're still not the cool kids by a long shot ... so that's why I love horror too: I love being the underdog and overcoming something. Who doesn't? It's a lot of fun."

Blum shows no signs of quelling his ambition to dominate the theatrical horror space, especially during the beloved-by-horror-fans "spooky season" of the month of October: "The Exorcist: Believer" and "Five Nights at Freddy's" are both set for October releases. When it comes to "Freddy's," he's even seeing its franchise potential already, especially as it compares to the "Paranormal Activity" series:

"The multiple screens in the security office – I always thought of 'Paranormal Activity 2.' That's when we had the round of different cameras and they share a lot for sure."

Just as "Paranormal Activity 2" demonstrated that a franchise could indeed be made out of the film and Blumhouse could be a viable ongoing venture, "Five Nights at Freddy's" is poised to continue the Blumhouse tradition by transcending its video game origins and becoming yet another spooky horror hit for the studio. While Blum has a darn good track record, only time will tell if audiences think the film is worth screaming about.