By MICHAEL GINGOLD
A real haunted mansion in New Orleans will be the subject of a new horror-film franchise that gets rolling next year.
Chad and Carey Hayes, who wrote the original THE CONJURING, co-scripted THE CONJURING 2 and whose credits also include THE REAPING, HOUSE OF WAX and the upcoming THE TURNING, will produce a series of movies about The Big Easy’s LaLaurie Mansion with Faster Horse Pictures’ Doug McKay and Cindy Bond and Michael Whalen, the latter of whom owns the house. It’s said to be one of the most active paranormal sites in the world, and the PR explains its history: “Madame LaLaurie, a New Orleans socialite and serial killer, tortured and murdered enslaved persons in the house. On the outside, she was the center of attention—beautiful, wealthy, and famous in the town, and known for throwing extravagant parties. Unknown to most, her house had secret rooms and passages where horrific nightmares came to life. In 1834, an enslaved person chained to the stove set the house on fire, fearing her fate would end on the third floor of the house, where many of the victims would be led to never return. Firefighters discovered the horrors in the hidden rooms on the third floor and Madame LaLaurie fled the city, never to be seen again.”
Although it’s a key stop on haunted-New Orleans tours, the public is not allowed inside the LaLaurie Mansion, but plans are to shoot the films partially within its walls—and the Hayes brothers are considering writing the first draft of the script there. “We love writing films in which we get to tell true stories—incorporating moments that people can look up and discover did in fact happen,” the brothers say. “With the LaLaurie House we get to do exactly that…there is a wealth of documentation of a very dark and frightening past of true events. Not to mention that after spending some time there, what we personally experienced was truly unnerving. We haven’t been this excited about a project since THE CONJURING!”
“Building a horror franchise starts with the IP,” Bond adds, “and for us to be able to tap the LaLaurie Mansion, and its twisted history, is a major coup for Faster Horse. Put in the hands of such gifted storytellers like Chad and Carey, we feel there are many chapters to tell—one frightening occurrence after the next.” Production is set to begin in 2020.