LOS ANGELES, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Blumhouse is a company responsible for some of the biggest horror movies of the last 10 years. It produces the Insidious and The Purge franchises, the new Halloween reboot and its upcoming sequels, as well as Jordan Peele's Get Out and Us.
Welcome to the Blumhouse is the company's new streaming series for Amazon Prime. It's an anthology of four films that premiere in October, with four more on the way.
Producer and Blumhouse founder Jason Blum said each Welcome to the Blumhouse film gives an underrepresented filmmaker a chance to tell a story to the massive Amazon Prime subscriber audience.
"I think that it's important when you're telling stories about underrepresented groups that someone on the storytelling side has to be from that group," Blum told UPI in a Zoom interview. "So, it feels authentic."
Black Box, which premiered Oct. 6, is a product of co-writer and director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, whose family is from Ghana. The Lie, which also premiered that day, comes from Indian-Filipino writer-director Veena Sud.
Evil Eye, which premieres Tuesday, comes from Indian American writer Madhuri Shekar and Indian American director brothers Elan and Rajeev Dassani. Nocturne, also premiering Tuesday, is from British writer/director Zu Quirke.
Blum said films by underrepresented filmmakers can deal with race, like Peele's films do, but they don't have to. If underrepresented filmmakers can only tell stories about their race or gender, Blum felt that would be too limiting.
"Every movie with White people in it is not about race," Blum said. "Every movie with Black people in it shouldn't be about race."
The first four films in the Welcome to the Blumhouse collection run the gamut from dealing specifically with underrepresented cultures to simply featuring actors of color in leading roles.
Black Box was a science-fiction tale that happens to feature Black families as its protagonists. The Lie was about a White family covering up a murder, but included a subplot about racial profiling of the victim's Pakistani father.
Evil Eye is steeped in Indian culture. A mother (Sarita Choudhury) worries that her abusive ex-boyfriend has returned to attack her family via reincarnation.
Nocturne tells the tale of female musicians at a music academy, whose competition becomes intensified by supernatural forces.
The first four Welcome to Blumhouse films coincidentally share a theme of family, said Blumhouse Television co-president Jeremy Gold. Gold said the company sought out the best material, and each filmmaker it chose happened to deal with a similar theme.
"The ones that floated to the surface all happened to have these stories of family, deception inside a family or betrayal inside a family," Gold said in a phone interview.
The notion of family dramas compounded by horror also fits the Blumhouse aesthetic, Blum said. His Insidious films deal with families haunted by ghosts. Get Out is about a Black man meeting his girlfriend's White family, who happened to practice occult arts on Black victims.
"I always think the litmus test for a good horror movie is if you take out the genre, does it work as a drama?" Blum asked rhetorically. "I think the best scary movies are movies that are edge-of-your-seat, taut dramas without the genre in them, and then the genre makes them even scarier."
As Blumhouse expands its footprint on television, it also is learning that different things scare people at home than scare them in a movie theater. In movies, Blum said, you can rely on "jump scares" that startle viewers in a quiet theater with a loud noise or scary creature jumping out of the dark.
At home, where the lights may be on and the room is not necessarily quiet, horror relies on more pervasive dread.
"You can do things that make you feel uneasy or unnerved or disturbed, as opposed to jumps," Blum said.
Gold concurred that the first four Welcome to Blumhouse films maintain a consistent tension through their 90-minute running times.
"To keep scares going, you have to keep the tension going and keep it taut," Gold said.
Blumhouse also aims to keep Osei-Kuffour, Sud, Shekar, the Dassanis and Quirke in the Blumhouse company. Gold said Blumhouse already made deals with some of the filmmakers, and the company always is interested in retaining talent. It has made several movies with James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Peele and other behind-the-scenes artists.
"I always say there's no higher compliment when you work with artists than repeat business," Gold said. "We tend to work with everybody quite a bit."