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If Marlon Wayans Asks You to His House, Think Twice


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“A Haunted House,” a film that opens Friday and stars Marlon Wayans, is ostensibly a parody of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, down to the found-footage style and the setting in a generic Western tract house. Mr. Wayans’s character buys a video camera to document his girlfriend’s move into his bachelor pad, only to discover she’s brought a demon with her.

But Mr. Wayans, who is a co-writer of the film, used an “Exorcist”-like plot to make a horror comedy that explores the anxieties men and women have about moving in together. “The demon really serves as another man that came between their relationship,” the actor said. “He’s jealous of the demon. It’s just so silly, but it’s funny.”

Mr. Wayans, 40, is no stranger to horror spoofs; he was a writer on the first two “Scary Movie” films. But with “A Haunted House,” he said, he wanted to feature an African-American couple in a genre that frequently stars white actors who seem bizarrely unwilling to leave ghost-ridden houses. “Comedians have always said, ‘If this happened to black people, this is what we would do,’ ” Mr. Wayans said. “But we never saw it.”

So how do you think African-Americans would react differently than whites to living in a haunted house?

Photo BOO Marlon Wayans's latest film, "A Haunted House," is about the anxieties couples have about moving in together. Credit Amanda Friedman for The New York Times

White people are nosy. Black people are nosy, too, but in a different way. They’re like, ‘Is that a noise? All right. I’m out.’ So many times you watch a movie for an hour and the people haven’t even attempted to leave the house. The difficulty I had was trying to make this movie last more than five minutes.

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