WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL PARANORMAL ACTIVITY FILM
When the first Paranormal Activity was released in 2009, a major part of the horror film’s backstory concerned the input of Steven Spielberg and, in particular, his suggestion that writer-director Oren Peli change the conclusion of the micro-budgeted movie to one in which the possessed character of Katie lunges at the camera. As EW’s Missy Schwartz wrote at the time, “[Spielberg] didn’t think the ending delivered a big enough payoff. So, armed with an additional $4,000 from Paramount, Peli shot a finale Spielberg had suggested.”
Given the success of the film, which would gross $107 million at the domestic box office and inspire six more movies, it would be hard to argue with Spielberg’s suggestion. But in an interview with filmmaker Mick Garris (Psycho IV, Riding the Bullet) on the latest episode of Garris’ Post Mortem podcast, Peli makes clear that he still prefers the conclusion he initially shot.
“The original ending, which if anyone’s seen it, that is the one where the cops enter and end up shooting Katie, that wasn’t a huge hit with the audience,” says Peli. “Some people loved it, but they wanted to find something a little bit more — that will be more universally loved. So, we tried a few different ideas…the idea that is in the final cut…I thought it was effective but I wasn’t a huge fan of it, initially. But it played so well against audiences that I know…that’s going to be the new ending. It’s not the greatest feeling, and I tried to fight for my ending, but at the end of the day, the movie did work as a whole with the new ending. I’ve learned to embrace and love the new ending. Still prefer my ending, but I’m totally okay with the new ending.”
You can hear Garris’ full interview with Peli at the PodcastOne website.
Watch the trailer for Paranormal Activity, above.