Cinematographer Chris Norr takes us behind the scenes of Sinister [Exclusive Interview]


One of the main driving forces behind the film is a series of Super 8 films that Ethan Hawke’s character, Ellison, finds in the attic of his family’s new home. These “killer movies,” as the filmmakers called them, were absolutely essential to moving the story of the film forward. They also happen to contain some of the greatest fears, including the now infamous fear of lawnmowers. To help make these killer films authentic, they shot them with Super 8 cameras. Although, again, this presented challenges.

“We actually had to go out and shoot in Super 8, which was a little nerve-wracking because Super 8 cameras, there’s no factory warranty on everything,” Norr says. “They don’t make new Super 8 cameras. There is hardly any equipment. I ended up buying a Super 8 camera because of their unreliability, even when you rent them from a rental house .”

This unreliability led Norr to look for creative solutions to cover their bases, but in one case the old cameras weren’t performing properly. Fortunately, what was initially considered a mistake ended up contributing, in a positive way, to the final look of the film as we see it:

“I always wanted to cover everything digitally, but they were like, ‘No, let’s shoot it in Super 8.’ And we did. I kept thinking that we should always cover ourselves by taking a small digital camera just in case something went wrong. The last scene we shot, which was the bloody hallway, was mostly out of focus. At first we thought, oh my god, this is a disaster. But when we watched it, it looked so cool. We were like, ‘No, that’s great, actually.’ So it was just a mistake that ended up improving the look.”


Comments are closed.