Paranormal Activity 4 is out on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack this week for edge-of-your-seat at-home consumption, and the film features the menacing return of Katie Featherston to the groundbreaking horror franchise, who talks to ETonline about the secret recipe to the long-running series, what truly scares her – and how she really wants to do comedy!
ETonline: Four films and counting... What's the secret to the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise? Why do people subject themselves to such entertaining torture again and again and again?
Katie Featherston: "I think people enjoy being scared, and I think that one thing that this franchise does, and that started with [series creator] Oren Peli, is that it's about the audience's imagination. It's about building up to a scare and not about shock value. Not that there aren't really shocking, wonderful scares, but there's a great build-up and there's a lot of imagination that is required of an audience member to go into that zone and into that world, and I think audiences enjoy that, and they like being challenged."
ETonline: What scares Katie? Does this type of movie scare you?
Katie Featherston: "Yeah. I haven't tried in a long time, but I can't watch [the Paranormal Activity movies] by myself. I remember somebody sent me a link to some kind of supposedly real found-footage – I was watching on my computer for just a couple minutes and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, no, I have to turn it off.' It was very similar to our stuff, except supposedly it was real. I didn't really think it was real, but I got so creeped out, I was in my house alone, it was the middle of the day, and I was still scared! It's not particularly scary for the most part making [our movies] because we just have so much fun working on these, but I am an avid horror film fan and I definitely get scared."
ETonline: How was the Paranormal Activity 4 shoot compared to previous installments?
Katie Featherston: "We've been really lucky to have the same crew, and for the most part the same kind of core group of people come back year after year, and now it's kind of like this fun summer camp where we go and we film this scary movie, but while we're making it we're having a ton of fun – and then it comes out and everybody else gets really scared."
ETonline: Working with Catfish creators Henry Joost and Ariel Schuman, did you share any Catfish-style tales on set?
Katie Featherston: "I have friends that I have made through Twitter or things like that, but they're all verified as real people – I've either seen them perform, or we're mutual fans of each other, something like that. I don't have any authentic, Catfish-worthy stories. I have a lot of good people in my actual life, but I will say that it's a strange time that we live in -- it's easy to make friends and to make connections through social media, and if you're a good-hearted person, sometimes you can just assume people are who they say they are, and that isn't always the case, which is why Catfish is successful."
ETonline: You're now four deep into Paranormal Activity land. How has this film series changed your life?
Katie Featherston: "Oh, jeez (laughs). It's a huge blessing on so many fronts, professionally of course, and it's one of those things that I feel even though we're four movies in and it's been four or five years, it still feels sort of outside of me. … Personally, to have people recognize your work is amazing and we have great fans. I love meeting fans and talking to them, and that happens quite a bit now, which is really cool. … I'm at that great level where fans will stop and say hi, which I love, but the paparazzi don't care, which is incredible."
ETonline: That's the ultimate Hollywood sweet spot that you've found.
Katie Featherston: I know! I feel like I've got to enjoy it while I'm in this good little spot.
ETonline: Are you making efforts to pursue projects outside of the supernatural thriller genre?
Katie Featherston: "In order to not just play just a demon for the rest of my career? Yeah, I think that would be smart (laughs). What I want to do is comedy. There's a lot of things I want to do, but that's next on my list of things I want to work towards. Pilot season's kicked in, and hopefully good things will come out of that. … I'm really excited about it. It would be a really fun way to spread my wings."
ETonline: Can you see yourself doing more Paranormal Activity movies?
Katie Featherston: "Sure. The thing that's great about the guys in charge of it, they are really respectful of the franchise. Just like in the third one, they didn't put me in there just to have me in there. They made it believable and reasonable and plausible, and so I know that if they want me to be in it, then there will be a good reason. I trust that if they ask me back, I would happily be a part of this. This has become a franchise, but it's also – this sounds kind of cheesy – kind of a family. We come back every summer and do these films and I've made lifelong friends out of it."
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