Five Nights at Freddy’s Director Discusses Recreating FNAF Lore

Five Nights at Freddy’s Director Discusses Recreating FNAF Lore

The game Five Nights at Freddy’s gained an immense cult following not just for its jump scares, as popularised by the then-burgeoning “let’s play” YouTube channels back in 2014, but for the swath of theories and hidden lore behind the series’ murderous animatronics and the history of the haunted Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.

The movie version of FNaF is taking most of its cues from the first game in the franchise, but it does borrow a fair bit from the more esoteric part of Freddy’s lore, according to director Emma Tammi. In an interview with io9 at New York Comic Con, she gave us a spoiler-free idea of what game fans could expect when the movie arrives in theatres on October 26.

“The lore of the ghost kids that are operating the animatronics is hugely traumatic, and on top of that the protagonist, Mike, is dealing with his own trauma about child abduction,” Tammi said. “That was a huge theme.”

FNaF director Emma Tammi.

The Five Nights universe now encompasses several games—including a VR experience and spin-offs—as well as a trilogy of novels written by Scott Cathon (the creator of FNaF) and Kira Breed Wrisley, and even a pop-up physical Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in Southern California. Tammi, who also has a writing credit for the film’s script, put herself in the security guard chair for the game that first released more than nine years ago.

“I did play the first game—I focused on the first game because Scott Cawthon was very specific about that for this movie,” she said. The film’s team also drew upon their own memories from visiting Chuck E. Cheese-like locations as kids, while referencing images of old, dilapidated family fun centers and amusement parks to really get that sense of one’s childhood being corrupted and twisted.

Like most players doing their first run of FNaF, Tammi had her share of frights from the jump scares, but realized that what makes the game work is the sense that something is creeping up on the player, especially since you can’t watch every hallway and air duct at once. Tammi’s team and production company Blumhouse worked with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to create the possessed animatronics, and she said that “feeling of unsettlement” was something they tried to interpret in a movie context.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie was first positioned by Warner Bros. back in 2015, but after a few years of development hell Blumhouse picked up the torch. The script went through several rewrites before filming started earlier this year. Foremost, Tammi said, the goal was to make something fans of the cult game franchise would enjoy.

“These characters are really beloved by the fanbase so we wanted to make sure their design was really faithful,” Tammi said. “We were able to choose textures and incorporate details that really brought them to life.”

Five Nights at Freddy’s premieres in theatres October 26.

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