Filmmaker Mike Flanagan is known mostly for slow build atmospheric horror with the likes of “Midnight Mass” and “The Haunting of Hill House”.
With this Friday’s “The Midnight Club” series though, he’s relented… like, really relented. In fact, the people at Guinness have officially presented Flanagan and his company with a certificate today for a Guinness World Record achievement with the series.
The record they set? “The most scripted jump scares in a single television episode” with the show’s premiere episode packing twenty-one separate instances of the famed horror trope into a single episode.
The certificate was presented during the show’s New York Comic Con panel on Thursday night that included a preview of the premiere episode ahead of the show’s launch on Friday. Flanagan told reporters (via Variety) during a press conference:
“This is particularly important to me because I hate jump scares and I think they are the worst. My whole career, people have been like, put more jump scares in, and do them faster! I hate them, because I feel like it’s very easy to walk up behind somebody and smash things.”
Flanagan says there was a method to employing the approach in the premiere – namely, that he wouldn’t have to do any more:
“The notes were already coming in of, ‘time to do jump scares.’ So I thought, we’re going to do all of them at once and, if we do it right, a jump scare will be rendered meaningless for the rest of the series and we’ll just destroy it and kill it, finally, until it’s dead.
But that didn’t happen. They were like, ‘Great! More of those!’ So my whole career I’ve completely just shat on jump scares as a concept, and now I want to make sure that it was pinned to me as much as it is to the show and Netflix and all of us who have inflicted this on everyone, now I have my name in the Guinness Book of World Records for jump scares, which means the next time I get the note I can say, ‘As the current world record holder in jump scares, I can tell you I don’t think we need one here.’ And that’s my whole strategy.”
The new series is set at a hospice for terminally ill young adults, where eight patients come together every night at midnight to tell each other stories – and make a pact that the next of them to die will give the group a sign from the afterlife. The ten-episode series launches on Friday on Netflix.