What is your greatest fear? If you’ve seen the Insidious movies, you’ve almost certainly developed a phobia of ghosts and red-faced boogie men. Are you ready to face your fears? Then lets go “further” into these 24 frightening facts about the Insidious films.
Insidious Film Franchise Facts
23. The Demonic Composer
Remember the Lipstick-Face Demon? Well, he has way more talents than meets the eye. The actor who portrays him, Joseph Bishara, is a prolific horror film composer, and even produced the music for Insidious. Bishara has also acted in The Conjuring, Annabelle, and The Conjuring 2.
22. One Brave Kid
Despite the often graphic nature of horror films, directors do their best to keep child actors from becoming afraid of the scary contents of the movie they’re filming. James Wan, who directed Insidious, took an interesting approach with 10-year-old Ty Simpkins: he had Simpkins watch as Bishara’s demon makeup was applied, thus showing the boy it was all a fiction.
21. Shared Universe?
Approximately 30 minutes into the first Insidious, there is a shout out to another notable Wan film. On a chalkboard in a classroom scene with Josh, a drawing of Billy, the Puppet from the Saw franchise, can be seen. Is there potentially a shared universe there?
20. Couldn’t Let Go
Wan couldn’t direct Insidious: Chapter 3 because of this involvement with Furious 7, but he also couldn’t keep himself away entirely. During the audition scene in the first half hour of the film, Wan plays the theater director.
19. A True No-No
You would think staff who are working on a massive film production would pull out all the stops when it comes to confirming permissions. Unfortunately, these guys did not do their due diligence, and the trailer of Insidious: Chapter 3 featured the song “Afraid of Nothing” by Sharon Van Etten without permissions. A fan notified Van Etten on Twitter, and as a result, she was paid for the illegal use of her song. Thanks, Twitter!
18. Three Weeks of Terror
The first Insidious was filmed in record timing: The crew wrapped up filming three weeks after the start date. Talk about some horrific efficiency.
17. Almost Josh
Although Patrick Wilson scored the starring role of Josh Lambert, he wasn’t the only choice for the part. Ethan Hawke was initially tapped to play the character, but turned down the role. Considering his later work in Sinister, Hawke might not have been a bad choice.
16. Worthwhile Inspiration
Does the plot of Insidious sound a little familiar to you? Child meets ghost, child gets abducted by ghost, someone has to go into another “dimension” and rescue said child…well, yes, some of the inspiration for the plot of the movie was taken from Poltergeist. It may not be a new premise, but it’s undoubtedly a lot of fun to watch.
15. Personal Challenge
Although it may not seem like a huge departure from his other horror flicks, Insidious was started in part because of a challenge Wan made with himself. The Saw franchise had become incredibly successful, but the director was afraid of being typecast as the guy who could only scare people with gore. So he directed Insidious to show horror fans that he could produce a viable atmospheric horror film. Seems like he won!
14. Fitting Location
The first Insidious film was shot in a place that is almost as creepy as the movie itself. When Josh enters “The Further” to rescue his son, all of the shots were filmed in the Herald Examiner Building in Los Angeles. This place once housed the newspaper that covered one of the most gruesome murders to have hit the city, the case of the Black Dahlia in 1947.
It’s no wonder that Insidious has spawned numerous sequels: The first movie was made on a budget of $1.5 million and grossed over $97 million. Wan seems to be the master of turning frugal horror film budgets into cash cows.
12. Paranormal Shout-out
Wan’s The Conjuring chronicles the real-life psychic investigations of paranormal investigators, Ed and Loraine Warren. The Insidious films make a shout-out to the iconic couple by naming Elise’s dog Warren.
11. Can They Get Anymore Literal?
The Lipstick-Face Demon may seem as if his name has a creepy double-meaning, but the demonic creature was simply named for the material used to create the color on his face; Bishara’s face was colored in actual lipstick. Wonder how many trips they had to make to the make-up counter for this job.
10. Everyone’s Favorite Ghostbuster
Specs is one half of the awkward and nerdy ghost hunting duo that join Elise in her attempts to contact those in “The Further.” While Spec is accident prone, he’s also an incredibly valuable member of the team. He’s played by Leigh Whannell, who also wrote Insidious and the first Saw movie.
9. Victim Turned Killer
There is something seriously unsettling about the Long-Haired Fiend. However, eagle-eyed horror fans might recognize a familiar, if not entirely comforting face when they look at him: J. LaRose, who plays the Fiend, also played a victim in Saw III.
8. The Boy in The Hall
Wan loves a good Easter Egg: In the first Insidious film, Renai chases a ghostly boy through the home after sees him dancing in her living room. What audiences may not realize is that he shows up a lot earlier in the scene. Half a minute before spotting him in the film, Renai walks through her kitchen. As she begins to enter the room, you can glimpse (a while before she does) the ghost boy silently facing the wall.
7. Early Reveal
Much like the previous entry, Wan included a subtle Easter Egg in Insidious: Chapter 2 that reveals one of the antagonists long before the climax of the movie. As Renai is aimlessly walking through her home on the phone with a detective, Parker Crane’s mother is briefly seen sitting next to a window in the living room.
6. A Page from Marvel
Jason Blum, the founder of Blumhouse, has stated in recent years that Sinister and Insidious are in a shared universe, and both movies include Easter Eggs connecting them. The eventual goal is to create a connection akin to Marvel for future instalments. Even Dr. Strange might not be able to handle the baddies in these films.
5. An Orchestra of One Instrument
By this point in the film series, moviegoers know to expect a startling musical introduction to the films. A total of 33 violins are used in the rousing title screen introduction.
4. Making New Rules
When Whannell wrote the story for Insidious, he took note of all the horror movie clichés so he could make an effort to avoid or subvert them. One of the most notable is the “Old Haunted House” trope. Whannell made sure the family moved into a newly built home that had not been occupied by anyone else. This way, the home itself could not be blamed for the hauntings.
3. Another Shared Connection?
At about 20 minutes into Insidious: Chapter 2, Specs and Tucker visit Elise’s home. On one of the walls in her home, an African-style painting can be seen. This is the same one used in Paranormal Activity 2 and 3. Could those films also join the shared universe?
2. A Successful Lead-In
Once Wan showed off his atmospheric horror chops, other movie ideas began to pour in. One of those was the story of the iconic paranormal investigating duo mentioned earlier, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Finally, Wan was able to jump on the story and bring the real-life exploits of the couple to life in The Conjuring film series.
1. Job Training
Actress Stefanie Scott went to a real-life psychic to prepare for her role in Insidious 3, and says that she actually connected to “the other side” and found the experience to be intense and the closest she ever came to meeting a real ghost.