I caught up with actress Katie Featherstone at a gala screening of Paranormal Activity 4 to find out how it feels to be returning for another round of found footage thrills, what the chances are of yet another Paranormal Activity film and what she would like to do after the franchise finishes.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
KF: The one that scared me the most growing up was Candyman starring Tony Todd. That’s the one I watched multiple times in junior high with my best friend and tortured her. She was a good friend so she always watched it with me.
Paranormal Activity is such a big part of the found footage horror phenomenon. What do you think is the appeal of these films and can the trend last forever?
KF: I don’t know if it will go on forever. Everything goes in phases so it will go on for a while I’m sure. The great thing about it is that it is a really intimate way to tell a story. It’s really kind of voyeuristic which I think for a scary movie if it’s done well can make it even more frightening and it gives it even more of a sort of right-in-the-room with you kind of feel. So we’ll see how long it continues as long as fans stay excited!
When you made the first film, did you have any idea you would be here for a fourth film?
No we made the first film and we never knew if it would be seen in theatres. We didn’t know if it would make it to a festival. We didn’t know anything. We just focussed on doing good work and so for that movie to be a success and for us to be here celebrating a fourth film is really incredible and it’s all down to our amazing fans. They really stuck by us from the beginning and all the way through which is why an event like this is really fun.
What do you do differently to keep things fresh and keep the shocks and scares coming in this fourth film in the series?
I think you have to maintain the integrity of where the franchise started and keep with those same kinds of scares. You just amp it up a little bit and tell the story in a way that continues to be interesting by utilising new kinds of technology but still remaining true to the style. So it’s the same kind of movie but it’s just the world’s a little bigger and scarier.
Has your belief in the supernatural increased after doing these films?
I think that there are definitely spirits or ghosts. There certainly unexplainable things in this world that kind of make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. But I had that belief before these movies. It’s the same as it was.
There are often stories about spooky things happening for real on horror film sets. Were there any experiences like that on these films?
We are the most boring. We have so much fun making these. It’s like a giant family… coming together and making this fun, scary movie. It’s scary to watch but it’s just joyous to make. So nothing too freaky or scary. Maybe if you ask the other kids, because their imaginations run wild. They had some times when they scared themselves!
And how do you find it working with kids rather than adults?
It’s amazing! They have such interesting and explosive imaginations. It’s such a great thing to be around especially when you’re doing something so improvisational and so rooted in the moment. They’re great at really scaring themselves which makes it more fun.
And what would you like to do once the franchise ends?
Next on my bucket list is comedy. I’d love to do a single camera comedy or do an indie comedy movie. I’ve got a couple of things in the works that I’m excited about that I’ll be talking about once it’s confirmed but comedy is next on my list.
So is there scope for the Paranormal Activity series to continue after this one?
KF: There are certainly many, many ways that the story could go and I know that they’ve talked about what those ways are. But I have no idea if they’ll make another one. I always try to think of the one I’m doing as the last. Because who knows? You never know if there will be another one. I certainly don’t. But if they made another one, I hope they ask me to be in it!