With the absolute monster success of The Conjuring franchise – think a combined US$1.9 billion (AU$2.4 billion) against a combined budget of US$178 million (AU$229 million) – it appears the appetite for that particular brand of self-assured, supernatural based-on-a-true-story horror is always going to be a box office gold mine. The latest film in the franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, is only reinforcing that cash-cow reputation, so it makes sense for the creators to look towards new ways to keep the cinematic fear flowing. It’s then no surprise that they’ve teamed up with prolific horror director, Darren Lynn Bousman (who has helmed four of the Saw films) to introduce a prospective new horror franchise called The LaLaurie Mansion.
If the LaLaurie Mansion sounds familiar then you’re obviously deep into your true crime podcasts. This real-life mansion is widely considered one of the most haunted houses in New Orleans’ notorious French Quarter, and was the estate of socialite, prolific serial killer and shockingly vile torturer Delphine LaLaurie. Also commonly known as Madame Blanque, the sadistic serial killer has been portrayed in popular culture plenty of times before. Kathy Bates’ character in American Horror Story: Coven was based on her, and she has been mentioned several times in other works of fiction.
Nicolas Cage even lived there once, apparently in an attempt to draw inspiration for an American horror novel he was planning to write. According to interviews he has given on the topic, he didn’t get very far into the book.
This project is obviously going to be much different. The Conjuring creators have already proven incredibly nifty when it comes to the supernatural, and Bousman’s experience with Saw should be holding up the excessive gore and torture side of things. Fortunately, for the more unshakeable horror fans, the story of LaLaurie Mansion is rife with both.
Anyone familiar with the story should know The LaLaurie Mansion as the place where tortured, murdered, and mutilated slaves were discovered in 1834, after the estate caught fire. Delphine’s eventual escape to, and exile in, Paris followed. But it’s unclear just how much of her story will be included in the screenplay, or the film will just focus solely on the various happenings at The LaLaurie Mansion pre-fire.
As Deadline report, Conjuring creators Chad and Carey Hayes have already written the film’s screenplay in the actual house, and the production will shoot portions of the film on-site – this despite public access being banned since 1932. Bousman, who most recently directed new Saw spinoff Spiral – the one with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson – will direct the first film in the proposed franchise, which will be a series of movies each apparently dealing with different aspects of the house’s history and its sadistic owner.
The first movie will be set in the present and is scheduled for release later this year. As it’s early on in the production, casting hasn’t even begun but Deadline report that studio and streaming interest is already very high.
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