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"Seventh Heaven" star Barry Watson goes through hell in the new thriller "Boogeyman" as Tim, a man haunted by the traumatic events of his childhood. Seeking to prove to Tim that it's all in his head, his therapist recommends that he spend a night in the house he grew up in so he can see for himself that there's no such thing as the Boogeyman. MTV News' Kelly Marino recently hid under Watson's bed and kept him up all night with questions about what makes him scared, and what makes "Boogeyman" such a mindbender.

"Boogeyman" photos

MTV: This is the kind of film that really keeps an audience guessing about what parts are real and what parts are the character's imagination — or is the whole thing in his imagination? In your own mind, what was real and what wasn't?

Barry Watson: Well, as an actor ... I wanted the audience to be kind of guessing back and forth, "Is it real? Is it not? Is he crazy? Is he just going through a crazy breakdown?" Which, I also wanted him — Tim — to be going through as well. I think there's parts of the movie where you're like, "This guy is just losing it. He is losing it. What's wrong with this guy? Just get it together." I think in the end you still don't know. ... I think that people are probably going to walk out of it and this one person is going to be saying, "Oh, it was real," and this other person will say, "No, no, no, it was all in his head." I think that's good to get at least people talking after they've seen the film.

MTV: Throughout this movie you had to act afraid, whereas in a lot of movies that are scary, some actors don't really bother to sell that to the audience. Was that a challenge?

Watson: Well, it was interesting because I couldn't sit there and go, "OK, I'm scared," you know? I had to put myself in a dark place through a lot of it, but there were days where I would be homesick or I'd be a little more emotional where there would be a little more emotion coming out than anything, and I just kind of played on whatever I was feeling that day. I mean, there was a scene in the movie where I fall out of the closet and I start laughing, and it's a great scene because it's like you can either think, "OK, he's crazy, or he's just laughing at himself because he just had this stupid experience inside a closet." And probably nothing happened except for his own imagination kind of taking over. That was a day that everything to me was funny. I mean, I was laughing at everything.

MTV: It seemed like a genuine laugh.

Watson: Yeah, well, it was real. It was real. I mean ... it's one of the hardest things as an actor, to be able to laugh [and have it seem] real. I mean, you see it in the movies all the time and you're like, "That's so forced." But yeah, it was definitely real.

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MTV: In the movie your character at first tries to avoid his fear and move away from it, and then he's forced to face it to make it go away. What's your take on that in real life? Is it always best to confront your fears?

Watson: I think it's better to confront them. But what's interesting is this guy never confronts until his inner voice really kind of guides him in that direction. He's had help his whole life, and that's how everybody is in their own lives — they have, like, this therapist and that therapist or whatever. They've got all these people who are supposedly trying to help them, but it's really just within yourself, you know, and if you can hopefully get in touch with that part of yourself to take care of that, whatever fear that might be, that's better. Hopefully this movie can help people with that in some sense. I mean, I didn't make that movie to try to go, "God, I really think I'm going to help a lot of people out with their fears as a child," but it's definitely something everyone relates to. Everybody has their own boogeyman — not physically, but their own inner boogeyman, whether they're willing to deal with it at some point in their life or not. This guy happened to wait 20-something years to do it. It wasn't just about every childhood fear he had ... it was probably abandonment from his father, it was probably guilt for leaving his mother. It's a combination of a lot of things, you know?

MTV: Is there a childhood memory or something that is your own boogeyman?

Watson: I never had anything like [what my character goes through]. I mean, still to this day, there's times where, like, I hear a noise or something like that in the middle of the night — not a normal noise that my house makes, like the creaking floors or anything — and I won't go in that room. I might kind of turn on the light going to that room, but I won't go all the way in. And there's nothing there. It was just a noise. I mean, it's those little things — that's when your inner child, I think, comes back out in people and you let your imagination go, which is a good thing, for adults to let their imagination go like you did when you were a kid, where it could go anywhere and forever. So, yeah, I mean, I still freak myself out, but it's just me.

MTV: "Boogeyman" does seem at least a little bit influenced by the current wave of Japanese horror films making its way to our shores. Why do you think movies like "The Ring" and "The Grudge" are able to translate so well when they're remade my Hollywood?

Watson: Well, because they're making really smart films, you know? I mean, I'm so glad that these horror films are kind of taking what the Japanese are doing. And sure, we're kind of ripping them off and remaking them, but Stephan Kay, who directed this, and myself are both big fans of Japanese horror films. And, in fact, I watched a lot of them before I started working on this film. But I think the reason why they're doing so well is because they're not playing the audience like they're stupid and not just giving them a slasher film with a bunch of blood and guts and people screaming and chainsaws or whatever the hell it is. It's making people think. And the little tiny little things that are very inexpensive to do, like just little camera tricks and stuff like that, that makes scares more effective than anything. You know, they're not just throwing it right in your face. They'll do a camera angle where you wouldn't be able to see everything around somewhere and you're wondering and you almost want to turn your head even though you're watching a TV. And you can't see in the TV. They're definitely more psychological, and I think that's kind of where horror films are going now — they're more psychological than anything.

MTV: Do you have any other movies in the works?

Watson: Right now I'm concentrating on this movie, and I'm going to be a dad in May. So that's my biggest job, being a Papa Watson, and that's what I'm most excited about.

MTV: Congratulations. And how are things on "7th Heaven"?

Watson: I just got done directing an episode, so hopefully that should air sometime in February and that should be a good one. It's just all the families back and all these outside characters that nobody knows who the hell they are. It kind of deals more with the family. It should be fun.



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