Mike Flanagan faced his worst fear: the fear of jumping.
The mastermind of ‘Midnight Mass’ and ‘Haunting of Hill House’ packed 21 distinct instances of the classic horror trope into the premiere of his latest netflix series, “The Nightclub“, a tally so high that it actually breaks the Guinness World Record for “most scripted jumps in a single television episode”.
A Guinness World Record official presented Flanagan and Co. with their certificate for the achievement at “Midnight Club’s” New York Comic-Con panel on Thursday night, which included a preview of the first episode ahead of the show’s launch on Friday.
“It’s especially important to me because I hate jump scares and I think they’re the worst,” Flanagan told reporters at a news conference earlier Thursday. “My whole career, people have been like, put on more scary jumps and do them faster!”
Flanagan’s Intrepid Pictures producing partner, Trevor Macy, chimed in, “There’s a meme about it, especially with the movies, ‘Put more spooky jumps in the first act, it doesn’t work!'”
“And I hate them, because I feel like it’s very easy to walk behind someone and break things,” Flanagan said, with Macy noting that “Midnight Club” character Spence (played by Chris Sumpter) “channels Mike” into the show when he calls the storytelling move “lazy as shit”, and the storyteller, Natsuki (Aya Furukawa), continues to abuse the device for comedic effect.
Flanagan says there was a crazy method used in the “Midnight Club” premiere, because if he was going to do what he considered the wrong thing, he was going to do it the right way.
“The notes were already coming in, ‘it’s time to scare the jump.’ So I thought, we’re gonna do them all at once and if we do it right, a jump scare will be rendered insignificant for the rest of the show and we’ll destroy and kill it, well, until it died,” Flanagan said. “But it didn’t happen. They were like, ‘Awesome! More of those! So my whole career, I completely shit on scary jumps as a that concept and now i want to make sure it’s been pinned to me as much as it is to the show and to netflix and to all of us who have inflicted this on everyone, now i have my name in the Guinness Book of World Records for scary jumps, which means the next time I get the score, I can say, “As the current world record holder for scary jumps, I can tell you that I don’t think we need it here. And that’s my whole strategy.
Based on the work of YA horror author Christopher Pike, “The Midnight Club” is set in a hospice for terminally ill young adults, where eight patients gather every night at midnight to tell each other stories – and wrap up. a pact that the next they die will give the group a sign from beyond. The show’s format allowed Flanagan and co-creator Leah Fong “to drop the tone at any time depending on who was telling the story,” according to Flanagan, which gave them the chance to hit 21. jump scares during the premiere, including the “stupid jump scare of throwing a cat across the foreground” and the “unexpected teleport jump scare”, among others.
“Filming a jump scare is ridiculous because right out of frame everyone is just waiting to do the scare,” Flanagan said, adding, “We have to have the kind of fun that I never have at work. “
“The Midnight Club,” which launches its 10-episode first season Friday on Netflix, stars Heather Langenkamp, Iman Benson, Igby Rigney, Adia, Aya Furukawa, Sauriyan Sapkota, Annarah Cymone, Chris Sumpter and Ruth Codd.