James Wan Says Malignant’s Inspired By Argento, Cronenberg And More


Decades from now, there’s a very good chance whoever the current crop of horror-orientated filmmakers may be will look to James Wan as one of their biggest sources of inspiration, because it can’t be denied that he’s been one of the genre’s most notable and defining voices for almost two decades.

After co-created and directing Saw, a billion-dollar franchise which has spawned eight follow ups and counting, he also helmed Insidious, which has so far brought in over half a billion dollars at the box office and has Patrick Wilson attached to direct the fifth installment. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also responsible for The Conjuring Universe, the highest-grossing horror property in the history of cinema, and is the only person not named James Cameron two have directed two billion-dollar box office hits that weren’t part of the same series thanks to Fast & Furious 7 and Aquaman.

That’s a hell of a legacy to leave behind, and his upcoming chiller Malignant is poised to reinvent the game once again. The first trailer was an exercise in unnerving tension, and follows a woman that’s spent her life traumatized by hallucinations, only to discover that they’ve been real all along. Star Annabelle Wallis has called it a genre-bending original, but in a new interview Wan admitted he’s been cribbing some inspiration from the masters.

“It’s an original story, but inspired by my love for Bava, Argento, DePalma, Cronenberg, and the kind of 80’s horror/thrillers you would discover on the back shelves of video-stores.”

If Wan is citing Mario Brava, Dario Argento, Brian DePalma and David Cronenberg as influences on Malignant, then it’s going to be a sight to behold. All four of those titans made very different types of horror movies, but each of them left an indelible impact on how subsequent generations handled scares, frights and gore.