I know the phrase ‘based on true events’ has become something of a cliched joke of late, but the background of what has been named the ‘LaLaurie Mansion Murders’ is just too grimly interesting not to adapt for a modern horror audience.
Closed to the public for good in 1932, the LaLaurie Mansion is known as one of the most haunted buildings in the entire whole world. Owned by a wealthy socialite and white supremacist called Delphine LaLaurie, the building is said to be inhabited by the souls of the black slaves she tortured and murdered before fleeing into exile in France, where she later died.
The circumstances of her death are unclear, but I’m sure the Hayes brothers will find a creatively suitable ending for her in their upcoming adaptation.
In a statement, the brothers said: ‘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.
‘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.’
The original house burnt to the ground in 1834, where the authorities were alerted to the horrors that Madame LaLaurie had been inflicting on her slaves. Although discrimination against black people was still the norm in the Deep South at that time, it was against the law for slave owners to abuse their slaves. Had LaLaurie not fled the city, she would likely have faced the full force of the American justice system.
Her legacy has led to the rebuilding of the mansion, which has attracted thousands of tourists a year and passed into the ownership of many a celebrity, the most famous of which being actor Nicolas Cage. It is now owned by Michael Whalen, a partner and collaborator with production company Faster Horse. Mr Whalen has granted the Hayes brothers access to the building, where they planning to write the first draft of the script for atmospheric inspiration.
Interestingly, Nic Cage claims to have had the same idea. In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Cage said that he purchased the private property for $3.4 million back in 2007 with the intention of using it as a base to write his first novel.
‘I once lived in the most haunted house in America,’ he said.
‘The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans used to belong to Madame LaLaurie, a well known 19th century socialite and serial killer. I bought it in 2007, figuring it would be a good place in which to write the great American horror novel. I didn’t get too far with the novel.’
Somehow, I doubt the Hayes brothers will have much problem coming up with some horrendous jump-scares and gratuitous violence, if the Conjuring films are anything to go by.
Faster Horse producers Cindy Bond and Doug McKay have dropped their own little teasers of what to expect from a LaLaurie Murders adaptation.
According to McKay: ‘The LaLaurie Mansion is as scary a place as there is in the world and we won’t hold back in giving audiences the full effect.
‘Chad and Carey will have their hands full, but they are true masters in cinematic retellings of disturbing material. We wouldn’t want this diabolical material in the hands of anyone else.’
Ms Bond followed with: ‘Building a horror franchise starts with the IP [Internet Protocol], 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 of the film series is set to begin in 2020. I say ‘film’ series – I tend to call them ‘radio plays’ on account of my covering my head with a towel to try and stop myself literally weeping with fear …
Max is an awkward Medievalist struggling with ever evolving technology. When not writing for The Hook, he can be found attending self-help classes for his decade-long addiction to KFC. His greatest achievements include getting blocked by Owen Jones on Twitter and completing the Metro quick crossword in just under twenty-seven hours.Follow