Elevator to hell, going down! On Wednesday, Game Show Network will debut Hellevator, a new competition from prolific horror producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious). EW talked to Blum about the show’s origin and what those 20-something contestants can expect while they’re going down.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your wheelhouse is horror movies. Why a game show for TV?
JASON BLUM: I love scary stuff. We do it in all different lanes! We have haunted houses, we have scripted shows that are scary, I did a collection of short scary stories. One of the things I always loved as a kid was game shows, so I asked our TV group to find a scary game show. It took 18 months to figure out what it would be and Hellevator was it.
What came first, the title or the concept?
It’s so funny. We absolutely, 100 percent did not come up with the title first but as soon as I heard the title, I said, “I’m in.”
So how does it work?
Hellevator takes a group of contestants down to a series of floors where there are various challenges. The challenges are gruesome and grizzly. There can be one winner or multiple winners if they make it through.
What do they win?
They win a good chunk of cash!
Was it difficult coming up with scary challenges?
It was fun. We worked really closely with GSN and a company called Matador. We also worked with our team that does special effects for our movies to come up with things that are original and horrible.
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Can you give me an example of what makes a good challenge for Hellevator?
I’m not going to give anything away, but I will say we bought an enormous amount of fake blood. There’s a lot of diving in blood.
How do you cast a show like this? How did you describe it to would-be competitors?
The best contestants are the ones who say I’m not scared of anything. We like to get people who are very macho. And I’ll tell you something interesting … it’s generally the men who are much more frightened than the women. The women have been much more brave!
Did you catch the men on film screaming like little girls?
Yes we did. A lot of them.
I imagine your contestants are generally 20-somethings.
Yes, they are mostly younger because there is a lot of physical stuff. Those of us who are in our mid-40s are on the sidelines, not participating as much.
Who are the Soska Sisters?
Jen and Sylvia Soska are well-known in my scary movie community. They are on-camera hosts and do a terrific job.
Does anything scare you at this point?
Not a lot. When you are exposed to scary stuff day and night, your tolerance goes up. But I do occasionally get scared.
Hellevator premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on GSN.