Sophia Takal’s “Black Christmas,” and the Producer Jason Blum on Horror with a Message


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On a sound stage in Brooklyn, Sophia Takal is racing to finish her first feature film, in time for a December release. The film is a remake of “Black Christmas,” an early slasher flick from Canada, in which sorority girls are picked off by a gruesome killer. Horror “takes our everyday anxieties and dread and externalizes them for us,” Takal told WNYC’s Rhiannon Corby, “and allows us to witness a character going through it and usually surviving.” Takal brought a very 2019 sensibility to the remake, reflecting the ongoing struggle of the #MeToo movement. “You can never feel like you’ve beaten misogyny,” she said. “In this movie, the women are never given a rest. They always have to keep fighting.”

“Black Christmas” is produced by Jason Blum. Blum found his way to horror films almost by accident: his company, Blumhouse Productions, produced “Paranormal Activity,” which was made for a few thousand dollars and then earned hundreds of millions at the box office. He went on to make high-prestige projects, such as Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” which became one of the very few horror films to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Blum understands that a truly frightening movie needs more than good “scares.” “What makes horror movies scary,” he told David Remnick, “is what’s in between the scares,” meaning how it taps into the audience’s anxieties about issues in the real world. Having a message sells, Blum thinks.

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