Imaginary director explains how horror classic Poltergeist influenced the new Blumhouse movie

Imaginary
(Image credit: Blumhouse)

Imaginary director Jeff Wadlow says Tobe Hooper's horror classic Poltergeist influenced his upcoming Blumhouse pic.

"The original Poltergeist was a major touchstone for us," Wadlow tells SFX magazine in the new issue, which features Dune 2 on the cover. "It perfectly strikes the balance between scares and this benign sense of wonder and excitement and emotion that you get when you have a family that you care about."

Imaginary stars DeWanda Wise as Jessica, a woman who returns to the house she grew up in only to find that her stuffed teddy bear is not only alive – but very upset that she left. 

Wadlow directs from a screenplay he penned with Greg Erb (Playmobil: The Movie) and Jason Oremland (Monster High: The Movie). The cast includes Pyper Braun, Tom Payne, Betty Buckley, Taegan Burns, Matthew Sato, Veronica Falcon, and Dane DiLiegro.

Continues Wadlow: "We try to do a modern-day version of that with our film, where the terror is coming from this unknown presence that has infected the safety of the family home. We also tried to lean into the Spielbergian aspects of that. What if this thing that you’ve always imagined was actually real? What would be the upside of that? We try to explore it with a modern sensibility."

Other inspirations include Blumhouse’s own Sinister franchise, "for the way it uses the parents” and children, as well as M3GAN, "because you have an antagonist with a real point of view," and Happy Death Day. 

The first teaser for the film, which was released back in November 2023, asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine what they think is happening in the 7.1 sound audio.

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Imaginary releases on March 8, 2024. The above is just a snippet of our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Dune: Part Two on the cover and is available on newsstands from Wednesday, February 21. For even more from SFX, sign up to our newsletter, which delivers all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

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Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.

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