The terrifying and underrated horror film Sinister was released on this day 4 years ago. Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer that moves his wife and children (played by Juliet Rylance, Clare Foley, and Michael Hall D’Addario) into the home of a recently murdered family. The family was hung from a tree and their youngest daughter had been missing ever since. As Ellison begins his investigation, he hears noises in the house and discovers some Super 8 film reels and a projector. What he finds on the film reels is nothing like the missed clues he was expecting.
1. C. Robert Cargill (aka Massawyrm of Ain’t It Cool News fame) came up with the idea for the film after watching The Ring. He had a nightmare and the seed was planted. What was the nightmare?
“The nightmare itself was me going into my attic and finding a box of Super 8 film and a projector and spooling one of the films onto the projector, and it was the opening shot of the film” - via MTV
2. All of the films that Ellison finds in the attic are shown to the audience in the same way that he sees them. If he turns away from the projection, the camera changes focus too. The audience only sees and hears what the protagonist does, making a connection and ramping up the tension of the events unraveling around us.
3. The films were all created using an actual Super 8 camera.
4. Ethan Hawke did not see the Super 8 films until shooting began. The reactions seen in the film are his reactions to seeing the “family movies” for the very first time in character - or otherwise.
5. The original title was Found Footage.
6. In one of the “family movies”, there are people pulled underwater. The actors in that scene were actually tied to the lounge chairs and pulled into the pool. Bughuul (Nicholas King) had to wear weights in order to film his walk in the pool.
7. This is the film’s monster, Bughuul/Mr. Boogey as seen in the film:
This is what it was initially going to be based on:
8. Ethan Hawke was reluctant to do a horror movie because he thought he would get too scared. After reading the script, and being urged on by friend and the film’s producer Jason Blum, Hawke agreed. He was happy to learn that being killed in the movie didn’t mean being killed on set.
9. Cargill and director Scott Derrickson had hoped that they could get a PG13-rating by keeping blood, swearing, and gore to a minimum. It turns out that the MPAA reacts poorly to movies about SPOILERS a demon that convinces children to murder their families and then leave with him so that he might feed on their souls or whatnot. END SPOILERS.
They got the R-Rating.
10. The internet played an important role in the overall creepiness of the film. Derrickson and Cargill used the internet to find the photo that inspired the look of Bughuul. They also found the unsettling music that plays in the “family movies” online.