Marlon Wayans: Horror and His GOP Pockets

Essence Atkins and Marlon Wayans in a scene from A Haunted House (Open Road Films)
Essence Atkins and Marlon Wayans in a scene from A Haunted House (Open Road Films)

(The Root) — For decades, the Wayans clan has created classic comedy, from In Living Color to the first two Scary Movie films. Marlon Wayans is set to add to that familial legacy having starred in, produced and co-written with partner Rick Alvarez the upcoming film A Haunted House.


The movie, set for a January release, is centered on a young couple — Malcolm (Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) — who score their dream house. But what seems like an ideal situation soon turns into a nightmare as Kisha becomes possessed, and a whole bunch of other wild things happen in this send-up of "found footage" films such as Paranormal Activity. And while the film is a parody of horror movies, Wayans insists that A Haunted House "isn't scary; it's a horror comedy."

He spoke to The Root about the new film, his thoughts on the Scary Movie franchise and having Republican pockets and a Democrat's skin.

The Root: Tell us about A Haunted House.

Marlon Wayans: It's a hard comedy [that answers the question, "What] if Paranormal Activity happened to black people?" I don't want to call it a spoof. It has comedy elements here and there, and it's really funny, but what's great is it's not desperate for humor. We dealt with all the things black people say in every movie like, "Girl don't go in there!" That's some of the fun … And even though A Haunted House is from a black point of view, the humor is colorless, and everyone can relate to it …

I had a ball making A Haunted House because this movie takes me back to my roots. So when people say, "I don't know if that movie's going to be good or not," look at my track record. Don't Be a Menace, Scary Movie, Scary Movie II, White Chicks — that's what we do. If you like those movies, come see it; if you don't, take your ass home.

TR: Halloween's approaching — what were some of your worst costumes growing up?

MW: We were so poor that I had to dress up as [my brother] Shawn for Halloween and Shawn had to dress up as me. We had the simplest costumes because we had no costumes — like, "Who are you?" "I'm-the-kid-holding-the-bag-man." One year I put a paper bag over my face, cut out the eyes and called myself the unknown comic. Basically, we were just begging; we weren't trick-or-treating.


My costumes are still crappy. Last year, I was Run-DMC because I wear Adidas tracksuits so much. I'm Run-DMC every year. One time I even messed my voice up and started talking like DMC.

TR: What do you think of the Scary Movie franchise now that your family has relinquished control?


MW: That's a tough one. When we first did part one, we loved doing that movie. Part two was kind of rushed, but part three, after all of the nonsense, the [new heads] went a different way. Looking at Scary Movie II, I felt like a father that raised a wonderful child, she turns 18 and is out of your care, and she gets this new boyfriend that turns her into a crackhead. Then people start telling you, "Hey, I saw your daughter! She's out there doing crack on the streets!" I still love her but I'm not responsible for her actions, and I keep thinking, "I raised her better than that." That's what I think of Scary Movie.

I wish them well with the franchise, but other than that, it's a crackhead … with crackheads in it. You've got Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen in it, and that's just a big crackhead explosion.


TR: Switching gears, it's almost Election Day, and you said something in the past like, "The more money I make, the more the Republican financial policies make sense to me." Do you still feel that way?

MW: I got Democrat skin but Republican pockets. It's a total big lump of confusion. At the end of the day, I care about my country, so whatever I need to do to make our country better, I'm for that. I know who I'm voting for. Obama has kind eyes, and he's tried. He's about the people and America and not about the 3 percent of America that I'm a part of. Yeah, it might seem a little crazy, and I know I'm the one that's probably going to be taxed, but if it's going to make my country better, let's do it.


Hillary Crosley is The Root's New York City bureau chief. Follow her on Twitter.