(at around 27 mins) The 'Pool Party '66' snuff film in Sinister was extremely difficult to film according to C. Robert Cargill. The actors/actresses who played the doomed family were tied down to lawn chairs and pulled underwater in reality, and the filmmakers had to be extremely careful that nobody was harmed while filming the scene took place. Further complications occurred while filming the killer underwater; Nicholas King (Bughuul) had to wear weights and stay underwater for several seconds while he was filmed. Since the scene was filmed entirely on super 8 film, care had to be taken to ensure that the camera was properly rolling and that the cartridge and light meter were working, otherwise the scene would have to be re-shot numerous times.
According to co-writer C. Robert Cargill, Bughuul "Mr. Boogie" was originally intended to look more like Willy Wonka (the version played by Johnny Depp). After going over this idea, it was decided that the deity looking like Willy Wonka would be "too silly for the film and not scary or mysterious enough". Finally a photo was found on Google Images that Cargill bought the rights to, and this was the basis for the final Bughuul as seen in the finished film.
The family that was hanged on a tree were all played by stuntmen, however when the scene was first done the stunt coordinator botched the preparations for the scene resulting in the actors being legitimately hanged and choked. Fortunately they survived, and the coordinator was fired soon after
Ethan Hawke had never seen the super 8 snuff films prior to the date of recording Sinister. When the scene where his character watches the snuff films was ready to be recorded, the soundtrack was matched up with the films and Hawke played out his role. His reactions to the films were recorded for Sinister and used in the final film.
The makers of Sinister scoured the Internet for weeks looking for the most obscure and creepy soundtrack they could find. While Christopher Young composed a large number of the background scores for the movie, C. Robert Cargill bought the rights to music by Ulver, JudgeHydrogen and Boards of Canada to use in the snuff film clips because of their mysterious and eerie noises. Christopher Young's soundtrack is available on CD, but the CD doesn't include the additional songs by other bands and has yet to be released on vinyl or as MP3s.
(at around 42 mins) The snake that is seen in the movie is a King snake. You can identify him as the non-venomous snake by doing the rhyme, "Red on yellow, dangerous fellow. Red on black, friend of Jack."
The bright colors in the super 8 home movies come from Eastman Kodak's Kodachrome (the K-14 process used is known for its vivid reproductions of reds, yellows, blues and greens). The same year that Sinister was released - 2012 - Kodachrome was discontinued and the K-14 film process became obsolete due to the market for digital cameras and Kodak's near-bankruptcy.
Bughuul's super-8 camera is a pro8mm hybrid Bealeau model, designed in the 21st century by Pro8mm from used cameras. Pro8mm often helps with films and music videos in an attempt to showcase the art and nostalgia of celluloid film. The film stock and projector used in the movie were from the Eastman Kodak company.
The 'missing' children were all dressed with fashions and hairstyles popular in the era that their families' murders took place. Lawn Work Girl's yellow rain slicker was popular for children in the era of her murder, BBQ Boy's t-shirt was popular in the era of his murder and so-on.
The movie was inspired by a nightmare writer C. Robert Cargill had after watching The Ring (2002). The Ring and its source film Ringu (1998) were both financed by Japanese film producer Takashige Ichise, who's first major box office success was the film Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988), a fantasy horror about a ghoulish entity who hypnotizes and kidnaps innocents.
The only one to survive any of Bughuul's super 8 snuff film reel murders in Sinister, was the Miller family's pet chihuahua from the "Sleepytime '98" reel. The dog seemingly survived, unlike its unfortunate owners, and the dog wasn't tied down with duct tape either the way the Miller family was.
Similar fictional characters to Bughuul include Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's "IT", Mearth from the fiction novel "Smog City", Slenderman from the Creepypasta Internet trend and the psychotic mystery murderer from the novel "Syndrome E".
The super 8 snuff reels in Sinister aren't unlike many of the snuff reels that came up in the latter half of the 20th century. The super 8 film format, when it was introduced in 1965, allowed amateur filmmaking to be much cheaper and easier for the average person, but unfortunately this also meant that a great amount of snuff reels, most of them fake, started surfacing as urban legends and in banned movies such as the Faces of Death series. Most real snuff films that featured actual murders were never revealed to the public and have been confiscated by police as evidence. The JFK Assassination was caught on a super 8 camera by an amateur filmmaker as an unintentional murder film and revealed to the public; since then it has been subject to several documentaries and conspiracy theories. Sinister's snuff reels were made to look like 20th century murder films on purpose to fit the story, which questions who the people or person behind all the snuff reels out there is.
The character "Deputy So & So", played by James Ransone, was never called by his name in this movie or the sequel. In the credits he is just listed as "Deputy", and in the credits for Sinister 2 (2015), he is listed as "Ex-Deputy So & So".
In each of the snuff reels in Sinister, there are two halves to each film. One half shows an ordinary family from a specific decade doing normal things, and the second half shows the same family being murdered in a creative but disturbing way. The only one that doesn't follow this pattern is the 'Sleepytime 1998' reel, which only features a murder and doesn't feature a family doing ordinary things. It isn't implied that the Oswalt family is being filmed on super 8 doing ordinary things, either.