What will be the next big horror franchise? Horror remains a big earner at the box office, and while Saw was recently revived, and the Conjuring Universe is still going strong, you have to wonder: what comes next? Well, we might have the answer. Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, who wrote The Conjuring and co-wrote The Conjuring 2, are teaming with Saw franchise director Darren Lynn Bousman to create a horror franchise centered around the infamous LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans.
A Dream Come True (Or Should We Say Nightmare?!?)
Back in 2019, we learned that Conjuring team Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes were planning a new horror franchise built around the LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans. But there’s been very little news about the project – until now. Deadline is reporting that Darren Lynn Bousman, the filmmaker behind most of the Saw movies – including the recent Spiral: From the Book of Saw – has been tapped to helm the first film in the nascent franchise.
“Joining this project is a dream come true for me,” said Bousman. “For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the paranormal. Anyone who studies the supernatural knows the legends and lore of the LaLaurie Mansion. It’s the holy grail of these types of environments. Recently I was allowed access to the house, and was able to stay there with the Hayes brothers. There is no way to articulate my 72 hours inside those walls. The house consumes you. Its history cripples you. The Hayes Brothers have crafted such an emotional, suspenseful, and scary narrative that I cannot wait to introduce the world to this unbelievable location.”
“Not only is Darren an incredibly creative director, but he also knows how to build a franchise. We are beyond thrilled to have him on this one, and can’t wait to see what he brings to the screen,” said the Hayes Brothers. And as an added bit of showmanship, the Hayes’ wrote the screenplay for the first film inside the actual LaLaurie mansion. The film will shoot scenes at the real house, too.
The franchise will “unfold in multiple installments covering the history of the house from recent events back to the origins of the house’s history and its sinister owner,” with the first movie being set in the present day. Casting is expected to begin soon. There’s no distributor attached just yet, but according to Deadline, “studio and streamer interest is already high in the project.”
The LaLaurie Mansion
The LaLaurie Mansion is a ghost hunting hot spot – while you can’t go in the house, you can still go on ghost tours that will take you to there. I went on one myself when I was in New Orleans, where the tour guide told us that at one point Nicolas Cage actually owned the house. But Cage’s one-time ownership isn’t what makes the house famous, or infamous.
The New Orleans residence was once home to Delphine LaLaurie, who was born in 1787 and died in 1849. LaLaurie, the wife of Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, gained notoriety for torturing and murdering several of her slaves. Her crimes were discovered when the house caught fire, but she evaded any sort of repercussions by fleeing the city. Ever since then, the legend around the house has grown – and been embellished. The story has also been fodder for several ghost hunting specials, and it was further fictionalized in American Horror Story: Coven, where Kathy Bates played Delphine LaLaurie.
Any house with such a dark past is bound to be considered haunted by some, and as Ghost City Tours states:
“For almost 200 years, there have been reports of paranormal activity coming from this house. It shouldn’t surprise many that a lot of the hauntings can be traced back to the slaves that Madame LaLaurie kept on the property. Reports of moaning coming from the room where the slaves were kept are common. Phantom footsteps echo through the house with regularity. Many people who have stood near the house have reported feeling as if they were taken over by a negative energy.”
Now, I’m all for a new horror franchise, and I’m also a sucker for historical horror. That said, basing an entire horror film franchise around a house where slaves were tortured and murdered sounds a bit…questionable, to say the least. I’m hoping everyone involved handles this respectfully to the real lives lost. We’ll have to wait and see.
When the project was first announced, the Hayes 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.”
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