How James Wan Really Feels About All Those Malignant Memes

Ask any horror fan which directors deserve to be on the proverbial "Mt. Rushmore," and James Wan is likely to make the list. The man is responsible for three of the most successful horror franchises in history ("Saw," "Insidious," "The Conjuring"), which made him an immediate target for studios looking for someone to help massive blockbusters like "Furious 7" and "Aquaman." When it was announced that Wan would be returning to horror after a five-year break, fans couldn't have been more excited. The film was "Malignant," pitched as a horror story about a woman named Madison overcome by horrific visions of grisly murders, and is shocked to discover these waking nightmares are happening in real life. The trailer looked like a standard creepy horror movie, which made the reveal of "Malignant" being a brutal and absolutely bonkers departure from his previous work even more fun.

"Malignant" is the perfect horror movie to watch with a group of friends, as there are plenty of reveals to scream about with joy and bewildered disbelief, especially after learning the reason Madison was having awful visions is that she has a parasitic twin on the back of her head who has been killing people while she's asleep. Gabriel, as he is named, became an immediate favorite for horror memes. I'd be lying if I didn't say I've made one myself.

Filmmakers can be pretty hit or miss when it comes to fan reactions to their projects, but thanks to a recent interview with The Wrap, we finally know how James Wan actually feels about all of those ridiculous Gabriel memes. Yes, even yours.

'You've been a bad, bad boy, Gabriel'

Wan made it clear that "Malignant" is not a film that was supposed to be taken seriously. "I don't know how anyone can think that 'Malignant' was made from a self-serious perspective," he said. "I mean, it's so aware of what it is, I think." Gotta admit, I'm thrilled Wan finally addressed this ridiculousness, because I genuinely felt like I was being gaslit as I saw reviews and Twitter threads desperately attempting to explain the "seriousness" of what was so clearly a ridiculous horror movie. Fortunately, this does mean that James Wan has embraced the world of Gabriel memes.

"I love that because that's one of the things that I think Ingrid [Bisu] loves is just the idea that a character that we've created has infiltrated pop culture in such a way," he said. "We always knew that Gabriel would become a meme." Bisu, who has a story credit on "Malignant" and played CST Winnie in the film is also Wan's wife as of 2019, frequently shares the memes on social media. "He's such an over-the-top character and conceptually he's so out there that he would make for a really fun meme," Wan continued. "I love all the funny memes that are out there of Gabriel." 

Horror fans managed to get Gabriel on the leaderboard for the Oscars FanFavorite vote this year, and Nicolas Cage has already said his Dracula performance in "Renfield" is inspired by the character. Personally, I'm a fan of using the gif mullet-rocking Zoe Bell in a prison cell screaming "WHAT THE F***" as an evergreen showcase of my mood, but that's just me. No matter your favorite flavor of "Malignant" memery, take solace in knowing James Wan not only approves, but encourages the behavior.