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'Rosemary's Baby'
'The Haunting'
'The Shining'
The origins of Inheritance begin with director Kris Kristensen's childhood. After leaving his hometown of Fairfield, CT, Kristensen found out from his future wife (Inheritance production designer Jean Landry) that his uncle and aunt's house was haunted. It was when Landry spent the weekend by herself at the Connecticut home with Mr. and Mrs. Olsen.
"How did you sleep last night?" asked Kristensen's aunt.
"Ok," replied Landry, "I sort of tossed and turned a lot."
"Oh... I was afraid that the ghosts might keep you awake," was his aunt's response.
Although no one ever spoke of ghosts when Kristensen was growing up, he always had a strange sensation while in the house. "I never considered that there were ghosts in the house, but it always felt like someone was watching you from around the corner." Particularly the stairwell.
"I would avoid the stairwell like crazy, because I was convinced that there was going to be someone standing at the top of the stairs. It would get so bad, that if I had to cross from the living room into the dining room (which was were seperated by the stairwell) I would actually walk through the rest of the house, just to avoid the crossing the stairwell. I was sure it just mind playing tricks with me, so I would force myself to turn and look to the top of the stairs. I was simultaneously relieved and disappointed when there was never anyone there staring back at me."
It was no surprise then to Kristensen when he started hearing the stories that Landry relayed to him from his uncle and aunt. Apparently the family had tried to protect these stories from Kristensen as a youngster, but now they were coming out of the woodwork. Tales of footsteps racing up and down the stairwell in the middle of the night, doorbells ringing consistently up until the very instant his uncle would open the door and then there was no one there, televisions floaiting in the middle of the room with the power on even though the tv was unplugged, the cat being "drop kicked" out of the den, pots and pans flying out of the cupboards and clashing together in the middle of the kitchen, and the stories go on and on.
The other catalyst for Inheritance was the movie Scream. Cowriters/producers Kristensen and Brian McDonald joined a group of friends one night for a screening of the teen deconstructionist slasher film, and aftewards wondered why it was such a hit. They asked, "How come no one makes movies for adults anymore?" Both filmmakers enjoy horror films, but were growing tired of an industry that catered to a teen audience. That night the two decided to make an intelligent horror film that adults can get into. Something really scary, that gets under your skin and into your dreams. Something that sneaks up on you. Something that is frightening because of what you don't see, not because you see someone repeatedly having a knife plunged into them.
"We wanted to create something in the genre that no one had really seen since Rosemary's Baby and The Haunting (the 1950's version)," said Kristensen. "The Shining is also in tone to what we were striving for, but in the end that film still boils down to Nicholson chasing someone with an ax."
McDonald added "Since we wrote the script for Inheritance similar films like The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense were released. I don't think our film is really either of those, I think it falls somewhere in between. But it means that our instncts are correct; people are looking for a more sophisticated, intelligent type of scare."
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