Right here in Atlanta, we inhabit the land of the free-range, the home of the Braves… and the dead. This diverse city has made itself so available to the constant growth of the film and television industry that you could easily find yourself face to face with zombified extras walking the sides of Highway 85 in the middle of the day. The Walking Dead television series no doubt opened the doors from Hollywood to Hotlanta (Fun Fact: absolutely no one actually calls it that here) and its producer, Gale Anne-Hurd (Aliens) is keeping horror on this sunny side of the Bible Belt with the upcoming Atlanta-filmed horror Hell Fest.
Directed by Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), Hell Fest finds three young women relentlessly trying to stop a killer from brutalizing the patrons of a seasonal amusement park-style attraction on Halloween. The story takes an interesting angle in that the killer is able to enjoy and openly commit his heinous acts while everyone looks on thinking it is all part of the show! Good stuff, right?
Think about how many times you’ve visited a pop-up haunted house and thought:
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“How scary would it be if one of these actors went insane and started to really butcher the customers?”
I know it’s crossed my mind more than once before. Perhaps the inspiration came from the 2014 news reports, later proved to be a hoax, of a man taking a real chainsaw to people as they exited a haunted house attraction in East LA? It’s definitely an interesting and fresh premise.
Plotkin promises future audiences that the combined efforts of a worthy screenplay drawn up by Seth M. Sherwood (Leatherface), a story created by writers William Penick and Chris Sey (Secrets in the Walls), and the acting talents of Bex Taylor-Klaus (Scream: The TV Series), Amy Forsyth (Channel Zero), and Reign Edwards (Snowfall) will be one hell of a thrill ride. When commenting on the three female lead up-and-comers, Plotkin describes them as
“Talented, energetic heroes we have been looking for to face-off against our killer.”
With Happy Death Day and, hopefully, the new Halloween 2018 film successfully resurrecting the masked slasher villain, Hell Fest seems to be smartly riding on those same coaster tracks. This one is checking mumble-core genres at the gate and bringing back that 90’s nostalgia us thrill-seekers can’t shake.
Now, even though Hell Fest has that ‘throwback’ feel, its marketing is obviously taking a more modern approach. Like most films pre-release, it has its own Instagram account and Facebook page. Both sites boast the wickedly cool Hell Fest logo as well as a few pictures of the cast wrapping production. Check out the pages and give them a ‘follow’ before Hell Fest is released on September 28th, 2018.
I’m sure it won’t break the boundaries of horror or filmmaking, but if we go into Hell Fest anticipating it for exactly what it is – a fun, possibly campy, bloody good ride – we may just be surprised in the end. You know, like those unsuspecting people who went into a seasonal haunted house and wound up being chased around by a real madman with an active chainsaw.