The 13th Floor

Meet the Staff: 10 Questions With Blumhouse President of Feature Films Couper Samuelson

Our ongoing series of interviews with the Blumhouse crew continues, in which we share our collective passion for all things scary, discuss our personal and career histories in the genre we all know and love, reveal our favorite films, and maybe even share a few spooky stories.

Today we sit down for a Q&A with Couper Samuelson, President of Feature Films for Blumhouse Productions!

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How long have you been a horror fan, and what attracted you to the genre?

As a little kid my parents showed me a ton of film noir–from Hitchcock and Hawks to grimier stuff like early Robert Wise movies and more purple stuff like THE DARK MIRROR. What I always liked about those little thrillers was the discipline — you only needed two people in a room and an intent to murder and suddenly you had gigantic stakes.

What is your role at Blumhouse Productions? Can you tell us a little about your job?

I’m the President of Feature Films, which basically means I manage a team charged with finding scary material and experienced, talented filmmakers and try to help them achieve their vision (without a big budget). 

What is your career background, training, school, etc?

I edited the Arts section of my college newspaper–a job I took solely to gain access to the press screening invitations they would mail to the newspaper. Nearly every weekday at 2:30pm at the Copley Mall in Boston there’d be a press screening of some movie. For that reason I rarely signed up for an afternoon class. After graduating, I did the obligatory year at a big agency (CAA) and then worked for 7 years for an independent financier–on thrillers like WE OWN THE NIGHT and specialty movies like GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. After the 2008 economic crisis, I left to work at Paramount, where I met Jason. I’ve been working for him since 2011.

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What/who is your favorite monster and why?

JAWS — implacable, incomprehensible, a force of nature. JAWS represents our greatest fear — that we ultimately have no control over nature.

What is your weapon of choice?

A rapier wit.

List five of your favorite horror films.

James Watkins’ EDEN LAKE
Boorman’s DELIVERANCE
Spielberg’s JAWS
Friedkin’s EXORCIST
Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

What was the first horror movie you ever saw and what was your reaction?

My most traumatic and earliest memory of cinema was when my father took me to see ROBOCOP when I was 7. Though perhaps not a horror film it nonetheless contains elements of horror–gore, body horror. I can still remember the gunshot wound on Murphy’s forehead.

Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn?

I am 6’6” and blond and I like being comfortable on Halloween, so for the past few years I’ve just warn a soft blue tracksuit and gone as Jane Lynch.

Name one horror celebrity, dead or alive, you would love to meet, and tell us why?

William Friedkin–for the stories of old Hollywood.

Please recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed?

Sean Byrne’s THE DEVIL’S CANDY has an incredible kind of tone maintenance — it’s just a wall of dread that inches closer with each passing minute.

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