Lin Shaye has had a lengthy acting career in both the horror genre and the comedy genre. She has been labeled as a scream queen for her roles in various horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street, the Insidious franchise, Ouija. Spencer Locke got her start on series like Disney’s Phil of the Future, Nick’s Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, and That’s So Raven. Since then, she has appeared in the Resident Evil film series and Tarzan. Both appear in Insidious: The Last Key, which was released on digital on March 20, 2018 and released on DVD & Blu-ray on April 3, 2018.
Screen Rant got a chance to chat with Lin Shaye and Spencer Locke on press day, where we discussed whether or not either of them have had paranormal experiences, what they learned while working on this film, and what it was like to watch the evolution of Elise throughout the course of the Insidious series.
SR: So first of all, when making this film, you’ve been obviously involved since day one, but you’re going to do to the franchise. So stepping into this role, how was it coming on to set like this?
Spencer Locke: Exciting, and intimidating and you know, I was honored to become a part of something so special. Of course I try to do as much research as I could and um, obviously I was a big fan, so definitely felt a lot of responsibility. Um, I mean playing her (Lin Shaye) Niece? Are you kidding me? Like what? So it was all very exciting. I was thrilled.
SR: Are you surprised by how popular your character has become since the first film?
Lin Shaye: Yes! Totally! I and I still don’t, I honestly still can’t really process it completely. I’m, I’m thrilled. It’s wonderful to be appreciated and to feel I’ve created something that people react to, and respond to, and relate to, in such a powerful way. So I can’t really dissect it because as an actress I’m always scared to death and I’m always, I mean I take my work really seriously. I really want to give it the most truthful, um, profile of humanity that I have the opportunity to do within the framework of what’s written. So I’m, I’m really thrilled. I’m thrilled and I’m so appreciative of all of my fans.
SR: I love horror films and I’ve been fascinated with them ever since I was younger. Now I gotta ask, do you guys have any stories about any paranormal experiences of your own?
Lin Shaye: Longer than you can ever imagine. Hey, yeah. I mean, you know, when you think about or for me in particular, the things go on in your life and sometimes when you reflect. on them.. I think sometimes you have things happen that you don’t label is paranormal, but when you think about how life unfolds and coincidences and things that occur that you can’t totally explain but either worked for or against you. Um, I think there’s things operating all the time. We know energy is real, whether you believe in paranormal or not. I mean, that’s, that’s a very specific category so to speak. But, um, there’s a lot of unexplainable things in life and I, I often think if you really immerse yourself in what that is, you might be surprised about the answers you don’t have.
SR: How about you?
Spencer Locke: Oh yeah. But I mean, we’ve talked a lot about it, um, lately even I as a teenager, um, I love Ouiji board so I have lots of stories, you know, it, it was all just so it was all fun and games until it’s not. And um, you know, as soon as it got dark, then I made sure to, like never touched it again. So it’s, we’ve discussed having a sort of, um, respect. We don’t know what’s out there. Good, bad. I mean, I think it’s crazy to think that it’s all around us, personally. I mean with loved ones I’m feeling different presences and I’m even one day filming was late. It was the time we were at the hospital and I mean we’ve shot till probably two and three. Woke up in the middle of the night and saw something dark, seriously like, fly at me, and I was terrified frozen. Literally said a little prayer, went back to sleep and mentioned it on set the next day. And I’m not sure, I really should ask around. I’m not sure if they were messing with me, but someone definitely said, oh, that was in an abandoned mental hospital and uh, you know, probably is haunted. Maybe something followed you home. But anyway, it’s just, I don’t know, I think it all exists. You just respect it, you know, don’t play around.
Lin Shaye: Having respect in general is a very positive way to behave. And because we know so little about so much.
SR: With every film role, you learn something as an actor or about yourself. What did you learn on this film? Because you’ve done this four times now, I’m sure you’ve gotten to learn so much about this character and I’m sure so much about yourself in the process. So what is it about this role in particular in this fourth installment that you’ve learned about yourself or your character that you think you can take with you on your next to acting project?
Spencer Locke: I got to really play with my imagination. I’m completely throwing myself into this world and I’m trusting that and let myself play. That was really fun. And I kind of chose to see Melissa’s choice to follow the creepy sound into the attic or the basement as a bravery that maybe she has in common with Elise instead of, oh, that’s that dumb girl in the horror movie. She was choosing to go forward and investigate and be the one to see what is that? So I think that’s admirable in the character.
Lin Shaye: I don’t know, that’s a hard one for me to answer because every situation obviously is different and playing the same character is the first time I’ve ever done that. Where I’ve played the same character for this long of a time, but it’s not playing the same character. She’s different in every film and Leigh has written her so skillfully that you really have seen this evolution, who she becomes. We’ll see. I don’t know, you know, we’ve explored most of my past obviously in this film and uh, it depends on how the story unfolds, but I, I feel I know her at this point partly through what Leigh has written and partly through what I’ve been able to bring to what he has written. I feel very comfortable with her identity and she’s also got a sense of humor that hasn’t been explored quite yet. So we’ll see.
SR: Maybe the fifth one and then we get that, that explored. With Elise, you’ve seen her obviously, through her big story arc from the first film. Is there anything that you read that he wrote that you’re like, wow, like, I didn’t, I didn’t expect this or that you were really surprised?
Lin Shaye: Totally. Her whole background was totally different than when I had imagined because originally when we did the first one, I thought about who she was. I didn’t see her, I didn’t even see her married. I really saw her as a loner or sort of exploring her own, this ability that sort of she was saddled with in some respects, that she had to cope with. I definitely saw her background is her being a single child and a family. I had no idea, you know, when I found out she had nieces, like what? And also I never would have ever thought been creative enough to think about the family dilemma that she grew out of, which is so powerful and which really exposes the strength of who she becomes even more so than just being someone who has the courage to follow whatever her instincts, you know, whatever the, the gifts she has on her own. But she’s overcome all this stuff in her childhood that Leigh has written. I was shocked when I read it all and I thought, oh good, this will be really fun to play and fine.
SR: The Insidious franchise is always so smart to me when it comes to horror films, it’s just a step above when it comes to like the brilliance of the filmmaking. And one thing that I love about
Lin Shaye: Leigh Whannel, James Wan, Adam Robitel.
Spencer Locke: Lin Shaye.
SR: One thing I love is that this franchise uses practical effects, which is almost a lost art. I feel like when I, when I go to talk about a lot of these movies. Talk to me about the practical effects and how that informs your performance.
Spencer Locke: Well, right when I asked that question downstairs, I, it took me a second cause I got what I mean, we’ve been spoiled and I’ve also done motion capture movies, which you have absolutely nothing. That’s why it is such a treat in and the special effects makeup. Like they’re so brilliant.
Lin Shaye: And having a real actor like Javier Botert, you know, play this character who wasn’t just a jerk and makeup if you pardon the expression, who is a skilled fine, actor, who really understands the character and what he, he needs to portray a in terms of what he makes us feel.
SR: I mean, it’s a whole different skill set.
Lin Shaye: It is a whole different skill set. He’s really something else. I mean that’s unsung heroes. These as an actor like himself who really imbued the character with a investment of wanting to hurt people or, and what he wanted from them.
Spencer Locke: Yeah. I mean, physically too, he did have these key fingers and how he, being in his presence, you know…
Lin Shaye: He’s a big six foot seven and he’s a very big, man.
Spencer Locke: You know, it could be dangerous it, but you could tell he was in complete control always of what was happening, so I always felt safe.
SR: I know you (Lin Shaye) talked a little bit about where you kind of like to see your character go, what hasn’t been exposed to the comedy side and you’ve talked a little bit downstairs about where you like to see your character go, but talk about that a little bit more because I think that that’s, that’s great because it’s so funny because watching this movie, I almost completely forgot this is a female driven films and it totally is.
Lin Shaye: I didn’t really, you know, and I didn’t think about that either (Laughs), but yeah, this is just, you know, family. It’s about family and survival.
Spencer Locke: Yeah. I would love to explore, uh, what else Caitlin and I, our characters might have in common with the Elise. We know she has abilities, but what, you know, learning to hone those abilities and what other demons we might be able to encounter. I don’t know. I’m just as curious as you are. Caitlin and I, you know, got, gush it out, different ideas and stuff.
Lin Shaye: Be sure to tell Leigh.
SR: Any fun stories that happened offset by the way?
Lin Shaye: It wasn’t a barrel of monkeys for me. I mean, it was a very, uh, emotional shoot, the whole thing. I pretty much stayed… For me, the, the levity became from Specs and Tucker in the trailers, you know, cause they are so funny. The two of them, I mean, I really from the minute they don’t even say hello, they just go right into one-ups-manship and comedy and they’re both brilliant. They’re brilliant. Both of them, I mean both intellectually and comedically. And so I honestly can say that was probably the levity for me in the film, but unset it was, it was pretty… I had to stay in a pretty dark place and, so I did and uh, didn’t laugh a lot on set.
Spencer Locke: I enjoyed, you know, scaring people throughout the day because I was usually in some pretty crazy makeup, you know, in the further. By the end of the shoot all day you hear, oh have you seen a mirror, and we’re like, oh rough day, it was just kind of, it’s so true. At least that have light hearted feel when you’re dealing this.
Insidious: The Last Key is now available on digital and Blu-ray.