Arriving in September 2009, Paranormal Activity was a surprise horror hit that almost got dumped into a wasteland of nothingness. Paramount executives caught wind of the movie and realized they had another Blair Witch phenomena on their hands. The rest, as they say, is horror movie history. Now, with six movies released under the franchise name, original director Oren Peli is feeling a bit nostalgic about it all. And he has uncovered some great audition tapes from that very first outing.
The filmmaker released the full extended version of the Paranormal Audition tapes on Youtube, which run a total of 10 minutes. He also released a shorter version that runs just 5 minutes in length. Both videos beautifully capture what he saw in his two leading actors. He says this about the tapes.
"The entirely improvised PARANORMAL ACTIVITY auditions and callbacks with Micah Sloat and Katie Featherston. Extended version."
While the movie didn't hit theaters until 2009, production on the first Paranormal Activity got underway over ten years ago in 2006. Actors Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat were just two of the thousands of aspiring thespians who responded to Pelf's casting call. It asked for a male and a female for an untitled horror movie that had a very small budget of just $15,000. That certainly didn't keep anyone way from turning out for a try at the low budget supernatural thriller.
Blair Witch popularized the found footage genre when the first in that horror series debuted back in 1999. But Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, which hit theaters in 1994, is believed to have kick started the low budget movement. There was a lull in POV style horror movie, but Cloverfield, which arrived a year earlier in 2008, and Paranormal Activity are credited with legitimizing the use of handheld cameras in mainstream cinema.
When Paranormal Activity first arrived on Blu-ray and DVD, it came with few special features. Which makes these recently uncovered videos even cooler. The footage is said to have just recently been discovered on an old hard-drive at the filmmaker's house. And is essentially found footage itself. The video represents two different waves of auditions. And it includes Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat's first joint audition.
At no point during the audition process was a script made available to the two actors auditioning for the role. Which helps make these tapes even more unique. The video shows that Katie and Micah really did have that once-in-a-lifetime kind of chemistry that saves the movie from just being 90 minutes of surveillance footage.
The last Paranormal Activity movie arrived in 2015 with The Ghost Dimension. It is said to be the last in the series, with Jason Blum promising at the time of its release that it completely wrapped up the story. As we've seen with Lionsgate's Saw franchise, though, you can never keep a good horror property down. And it's completely reasonable to believe we haven't seen the last of demon Toby. While we all await the next inevitable sequel, take a look at these lost audition tapes.