Its not often that my heart is broken in the first minute of an interview, but such was the case when talking to Marlon Wayans about A HAUNTED HOUSE on December 3, 2012. As is my wont, I included some of his upcoming projects in my introduction, one of which, a bio-pic of Richard Pryor, I have been eagerly anticipating for over a decade. To my chagrin and sorrow, Wayans jumped in to tell me that this project was once again on hold. Rather than get to A HAUNTED HOUSE, the film for which he was doing the press tour that found us in front of my microphones, we started the conversation with a discussion about why the Pryor film is still in development. It was a chance for Wayans to talk about the business side of his profession, and voice his own frustrations about Hollywood before we moved on to another pet peeve we shared: Hollywood franchising good films into the ground. Such is the case with the Paranormal Activity franchise, the which Wayans righteously pummels in A HAUNTED HOUSE. He also explained why he doesn’t direct, the pleasures and perils of being a straight man to his co-stars, and why he encourages everyone to go off-script. After several minutes of cracking each other up over the size of the Wayans family and the courage of Nick Swarsdon in revealing his less than toned posterior, Wayans got philosophical about the nature of comedy, and whether anything is off limits (its not, nor should it be).
A HAUNTED HOUSE is a film that skillfully dissects the social constructs of personal interactions in an age of cultural flux.
It’s a well-timed and richly deserved spool of the Paranormal Activity franchise, which has, in a very real sense, become a ghost of itself. Wayans discovers the comedy in terror as Malcolm, a man with everything going for him until his girlfriend Kisha moves in with him. In short order, his dog is dead, his bedroom is full of flatulence, and there’s a demon haunting his house.
Hi-jinks ensue, as well as the real-life terrors of trying to sell a house in a down market, and what happens to the magic once a girlfriend becomes a roommate. The film co-stars Essence Atkins, Nick Swarsdon, David Koechner, Alanna Ubach, and Cedric the Entertainer as the clergyman tasked with the spiritual cleansing. Wayans co-wrote the script with Rick Alvaraz. It was directed by Michael Tiddes. Wayans’ previous work includes television’s THE WAYANS BROTHERS, and in theaters, THE LADYKILLERS, SCARY MOVIE, SCARY MOVIE2, and a dramatic turn in Darren Aronofsky’s REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.