Is Hell Fest Based On A True Story?

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Scary Movies and Series

Is The Movie Horror Fest Based On A True Story?

Theatrical release date: September 28, 2018.

Horror Fest is an awesomely inspiring horror film concept. The movie is set in a theme park-like carnival during Halloween time: the lights are dimmed, the air is crisp, the scares are elaborate and the park is open late. A group of haunted house-seeking friends are expecting a few lame scares when the fear suddenly becomes extremely real. Despite the cries for help and desperate maneuvers, it appears impossible to outrun the very real killer stalking the group of friends. Onlookers (other theme park customers) all believe the victims are actors themselves, so no one helps.

Every year around Halloween people around the world get excited to visit their favor haunted house scares. Many people have thought about the possibility of a real act of violence occurring during one of these events. A lot of stories have circulated for as long as haunted house-style scares have existed, about real acts of violence, aggression, and molestation happening within these fun zones. And some of these stories have real substantiation, such as newspaper articles, police reports, and/or recordings of the incident. Here are some of the most significant acts of real terror or violent accidents which have occurred within a haunted house or Halloween-style theme park:

  • In 2011, a young girl by name Jessica Rue was working at a pop-up Halloween event like the one in the Hell Fest movie. She was an employee who was [purportedly by the lawsuit she filed against the company, Creepyworld] pressured to scare the patrons using a noose that was firmly bolted to the ceiling. She almost died and ended up in a coma for three days after being found dangling from the noose and having been unconscious. She still suffers memory loss and neurological damage and no one really knows what happened since Rue cannot remember the event or even working there (Thorsen, 2012).

  • In 2014, a man was found dead in a haunted house attraction out of Waukegan, Illinois. The man was elderly, worked his way up the stairs and leaned against a wall only to literally pass away in this position. He was there for almost two whole weeks before being discovered by children as dead. Patrons apparently thought he was part of the attraction, smell and all (Dvanl, 2014).

  • Also in 2014, a 16 year old Christian Faith Benge out of Middletown OH would meet her unfortunate demise right in the middle of a scare maze. It seems Ms Benge was born with only one lung and the fear of the maze created an overworked system and a fatal heart attack (Tenpas, 2018).

  • In 2016, an eerie haunted hayride in Chunky MS turned fatal for 3 of 10 passengers as a raging F-150 slammed into the tractor seemingly out of no where (Tenpas, 2018).

  • More recently, one man died in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park Halloween-themed haunted house (South China Morning Post, 2017).

scary halloween masks

Real events may have inspired Horror Fest, however, the President of CBS Films (Terry Press) has noted that Horror Fest has been a long-time coming, and an idea that could even inspire an entire franchise (Sneider, 2017). It is also worth noting that a very similar plot came far before Hell Fest in a movie entitled The Houses October Built (2014), featuring a group of friends traveling across country in search of “the ultimate haunted house.” That said, Hell Fest still cannot be ignored as it is definitely backed by grade-a producers (with Valhalla Motion Pictures at the top of the list). Valhalla is a very established motion picture company and has produced some pretty notable hits including: Terminators 1-3, Aliens, Armageddon, Hulk, Tremors and more. It is also responsible for the Walking Dead series. With a successful track record like Valhalla Motion Pictures, it is obvious Hell Fest deserves serious consideration as a horror masterpiece.

Sources:

Dvanl, (Oct 18, 2014). Man Dies In Haunted House, Mistaken For Prop For Almost 2 Weeks. Retrieved from EmpireNews.net

Sneider, J., (Apr 4, 2017). Get Out Editor Gregory Plotkin To Direct Hellfest For CBS Films. Retreived from Tracking-Board.com

South China Morning Post (2017). Ocean Park Closes Haunted house After Man Dies Inside. Accessed From SCMP.com

Tenspas, H. (2018). 5 Times People Were Actually Killed In Halloween Attractions. Retrieved from Ranker.com

Thorsen, L. (Oct 16, 2012). Teen Has No Memory of Haunted House Accident Near Fenton. Retrieved from STLToday.com

Wikipedia (2018). Hell Fest. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_Fest

Is the Saw Movie Based On a True Story

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is There a Real Jigsaw Killer (Like Saw)

The Saw Movie Franchise: Is It Based Upon A Real Story?

The Saw horror franchise is notorious for its sick and twisted death scenes (even being produced by a company called “Twisted Pictures”). The Saw franchise takes advantage of a very real fear in all of us: sadistic torture and body horror.  Given torture is a fairly realistic fear, free of supernatural elements, it is more logical that there could be a real life killer like John Kramer (Jigsaw from the movie). After all, many of the traps (or similar mockeries) could be devised from simple components and parts available online and from hardware stores.

Is There Any Real Life Killer Like John Kramer (aka Jigsaw) From Saw?

Who could possibly come up with such sadistic torture strategies like those employed by Jigsaw, if they weren’t basing it off of some type of real life event? Twisted Pictures.  Twisted Pictures is responsible, along with James Wan and other directors and writers, for coming up with the deranged story line that is the Saw franchise.  That said, there is one really strong media push to WANT a jigsaw killer, probably due to the movies themselves. In 2009, Jeffrey Howe was murdered by Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush. Howe was dismembered completely and the body parts were found scattered throughout multiple places. Because the many body parts turning up, the media referred to Howe as the “Jigsaw Man,” and later referred to Marshall as the “Jigsaw Killer.”  Truly, Howe was Marshall’s only victim, and Marshall was no where near as smart as John Kramer. In fact, Marshall was a body builder who killed Howe, his friend, in order to steal his food and housing benefits…hardly an intelligent move!

Ultimately, there is no real life Jigsaw killer, however, there are still several notable murders and deaths which ACTUALLY DO resemble Saw-like devices.  And it is most certainly reasonable to assume a fair amount of murderers and conspiring-to-be murderers would draw inspiration from Jigsaw, Saw and the traps from the movies.

drawing of knife machine from Jigsaw Killer and Saw Movies

Notable Murders, Deaths & Plots That Resemble Saw Movie Deaths

Real Death Like Saw #1: The Death of Brian Douglas Wells

A device was attached to Brian Wells’ chest and he was ordered to rob a bank.  The device armed and exploded, leaving a huge baseball-sized hole in his chest, instantly killing him.

Real Death Like Saw  #2: The Death of Richard Hamilton

In 2013, a murderer was spawned who copied a scene out of a Saw film directly by slicing through his victim, Richard Hamilton’s spine until he revealed his ATM card’s PIN number. The murderer was Matthew Tinling, who owned a copy of the very Saw with the torture scene itself. Turns out he only wanted £240, specifically to spend the money on crack cocaine.

Real Death Like Saw  #3: A Triad Murder

Although the murder occurred before the time of Saw, the famous Hello Kitty Murder in Hong Kong (1999) left the world shocked in a similar sense of sadistic. A woman was murdered, decapitated, and her head stuffed into a Hello Kitty doll as an intimidation tactic.

Real Death Like Saw  #4: Canadian Serial Killer Cody Legebokoff

Cody was a fairly young serial killer and decided to murder those he felt sorry for, similar to John Kramer’s reasoning for trapping and murdering his victims in the Saw franchise.

[Close Call] Saw Inspired Plot #5: Recreating the Movie

Two teenage boys (15 and 14 years old) were turned in by one of their mothers after she heard them discussing a plot to recreate the saw movies by kidnapping a police officer and 2 girls around their age, who they believed deserved the saw treatment. They had even begun collecting their necessary supplies, including camcorders for documenting their recreation.

[Close Call] Saw Inspired Plot #6: Saw-Like Phone Calls

Two 13 year old girls from Tennessee got into a little trouble after harassing an older woman with a Jigsaw-like voice, leaving messages that insinuated a game had begun in her home.  The voice messages exclaimed her friend was trapped, hidden in fact, in her home and that she needed to risk dying of toxic gas poison while trying to find her friend, or immediately save herself by escaping the home.  The poor woman instead had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital!

Final Notes About a “Real Jigsaw Killer”

Although many people are inspired by movies, and there may most certainly have been some notable murders that could have been inspired by Saw’s fictional killer Jigsaw…there is no real Jigsaw killer.  The Saw franchise, no matter how creative, is not based upon a true story.

Still, James Wan, Twisted Pictures and everyone else involved in the production of the Saw movies, deserve a standing ovation for their originality within a wildly-saturated industry that is the horror genre.

Teddy bear with fake murder scene imagery

Is the Slender Man Movie About the Murders?

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Behind the Scenes: The New Slender Man Movie (2018)

Slender Man is a world renown horror figure in form of a tall, slanky man without a face or real defining characteristics. He is ghostly in appearance and has abnormally long arms. Slender Man haunts children and is responsible for the disappearances of many of them. This horror icon was born long before the upcoming theatrical release was even conceived.  So, was the plot for the Slender man (2018) movie (release date of May 18, 2018) based upon the myth and legend of Slender Man himself?  Does the Slender Man movie have anything to do with the murders attributed to the monster? Horror Enthusiast probes internet lore and mystery surrounding Slender Man, and compares details about the script for the film, to determine the true origin of the movie.

The Real Story of Slender Man

The real Slender Man is scary, because many people believe that he is real.  He is a tall, long-armed face-less man that sometimes wears a black suit.  The truth is, the real Slender Man started out as a simple meme. People swear, however, that they see Slender Man. They claim they see him in their dreams, in the mirror, in photographs, out their window (almost like a Mothman type of entity), and in their house.  Usually he is a stalker or abductor of children.

Unfortunately, the Slender Man fiction inspired a series of violent activities, most notably an almost-fatal stabbing of a teenage girl in Wisconsin.  This stabbing would be known as the “Slender Man Stabbing.” Two teenage girls lured one of their peers into the woods to stab her in order to impress and gain notoriety with Slender Man.  They truly believed he was real, so much so that they were declared not guilty by reason of mental insanity.  Instead, they would be sentenced to a mental institute for 25 years.

About the Slender Man (2018) Movie

The Slender Man movie most definitely capitalizes on the mainstream attention that the Slender Man Stabbing achieved…however, it does not appear to be directly about the incident, at least, not from what has been leaked so far.  The movie seems to be about a man on a mission to find his missing daughter. The trailer is grotesque, including actual maggots and a disturbing collection of Slender Man clips.  One character exclaims that he gets into your mind…and another girl is depicted as delusional and in psychiatric care.  There is no doubt the movie would be an instant horror classic and it appears to be a unique representation of the horror villain, rather than a true crime or “inspired by true events” type of movie.  The movie appears to focus on the true essence of Slender Man and his reputation as a horror icon.

Slender Man’s Painful Backlash

Regardless of whether the movie is about the actual Slender Man Stabbing or not, the victim’s father and several others noted the film as “distasteful” or otherwise poorly timed.  Many theaters have vowed not to screen the Slender Man movie.  The mother of the victim has revealed how traumatic the event has been for her family and her daughter, explaining that the stabbing has defined their lives.  This was not the only Slender Man-inspired crime, either.  Two more young girls are on record in the same year (2014), also wreaked violent havoc, attributing their criminal activity to Slender Man’s beck and call.

No Matter What Slender Man Gets the Final Say…

Slender Man would make for a scary horror movie killer. And there is no doubt he would be responsible for a lot of deaths, and probably have a really high body count.  Though, it is hard to make a horror movie directly about a string of high profile violence so close to the time of occurrence…the exact reason many critics spoke negatively after the release of the Slender Man trailer.  Still, Slender Man set its release date for May 18, 2018 and there does not seem to be any going back!

The Beleaguered Buckner Building of Whittier, Alaska

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Buckner Building stands in Whittier, Alaska—the gateway to Prince William Sound—as a relic to a forgotten past. It is tucked away in the hidden port town of Whittier, a town that can only be accessed by boat, plane, or through a single train tunnel that moonlights as a passage way for big rigs, and automobiles. The bay area that surrounds Whittier is solely deep-water ports that stay ice-free year round and the railroad port is one of two, all-weather ports that supplied Anchorage with military necessities and during times of war was of key importance in order for it to stay functioning and safeguarded. The climate that the port operates under is one of nearly constant cloud coverage, which is beneficial in the respect that it protects the port and its facilities from air strikes. With all aspects of this port town taken into consideration, Whittier was possibly the most perfect place to have a military base of this caliber.

The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska Photography by Mary Farnstrom
The Buckner Building in Whittier, AK
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
Photography by Mary Farnstrom

The Construction and Function of the Buckner Building

Early in the course of World War II General Simon Buckner, the commander of the defensive forces of the state of Alaska was highly concerned that the state would be vulnerable to air attacks. Buckner also believed that the best type of facility would be one that autonomous, with its own power plant, sufficient storage space, and bomb-proof. The Cold War began two short years after the end of World War II and in 1953, six years into the second red scare, the construction of the Buckner Building was completed, and having been cast in place by reinforced concrete on a bedrock of slate and greywacke the building was on stable ground not susceptible to seismic shifting from earthquakes, or from thawing of any remaining permafrost.

The building was once listed as one of the largest in the state, it stands six stories tall, is approximately 500 feet long and between 50-150 feet wide (depending on which part of the floor plan it is)—all of this adds up to around 275,000 square feet of space. This massive concrete building was built in seven sections, each section having been separated by eight-inch gaps—as a means to have the structural flexibility to ride out large magnitude earthquakes and concussive forces.

In its heyday, The Buckner Building once housed the entire city of Whittier, Alaska—within its walls were also all of the relevant services were located. There was a small hospital, a 350 seat theater, four-lane bowling alley, six-cell jail, church, bakery, barbershop, library, radio station, rifle range, photography lab, commissary, officers’ lounge, as well as a mess hall, and innumerable sleeping quarters for military personnel and their families.

The Earthquake of 1964

In March of 1964, Alaska was hit by the most powerful earthquake in the history of North America (second most powerful throughout world history)—registering at a magnitude of 9.2 and lasting a full four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the Great Alaskan earthquake caused multiple ground fissures along south central Alaska, but it also collapsed structures and caused multiple tsunamis—all of this resulted in an estimated 131 deaths. Whittier itself was not immune to the natural disaster, with thirteen people dead and damages to private and federally owned property that were over five million dollars. The Buckner building itself was also slightly damaged, although the structural integrity was not compromised due to the foundation upon the bedrock—the rest of the town received considerably more in damages due to the unconsolidated sediment that it rests on.

The Abandonment of the Base

The building was in operation until 1966, when the military finally pulled out of the Port of Whittier, the building was then transferred to the General Services Administration; after being vacated by the military, however, the ownership of the building changed hands several times. At one point Pete Zamarello, a man dubbed as the “Anchorage Strip Mall Czar”, obtained ownership of the Buckner Building with ideas of turning it into the state prison—but his deal with the state fell through and it was purchased by the citizens of the new City of Whittier in 1972. By the 1980s, the building had fallen into disrepair, windows and doors were missing, so the building began to decompose—being exposed to the elements allowed water to begin accumulating, and the building itself being in a constant state of freeze and thaw.

By 2014, nearly every inch of the building, inside and out, had been vandalized—the floors were covered in at least an inch of water, and was riddled with asbestos, mold, and mildew—suffice it to say it was no longer a safe environment for people to go exploring in. The problem was, was that there was hardly any regulation in place to keep people out of the building—so they began to crack down on trespassers on the property.

The city of Whittier came under the ownership of the Buckner Building in 2016 when the building officially went into foreclosure, it was at this point that a fence went up around the building to keep trespassers out. While the Whittier Department of Public Works and Public Utilities has done work on the property, and the city continues to express their desire to maintain it in order to preserve history, the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation has recommended demolition. While there have been many discussions to demolish the building, it has been ruled as being cost-prohibitive—this is due to the sheer amount of asbestos that is in the building and that the only land route in and out of Whittier. This route is through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a two and a half mile railroad tunnel which allots thirty-minute windows for cars to travel through at certain times during the day—the only other option to remove debris would be on ships.

Having been abandoned for over forty years has taken its toll on the interior—where the ceilings are falling in, the light fixtures are and some parts of the exterior of the building which is tagged and degraded. The Buckner Building does still stand as of July 2020—it stands as a crumbling, darkened, cracked, and adulterated monument of an era of military and government ambition that has not since returned.

A Look Inside the Abandoned Buckner Building

Is the Buckner Building Haunted?

While this enormous abandoned building in Whittier looks incredibly spooky against the typically overcast, grey dreary skies of this hidden port town, there are also rumors of the building being haunted. While this writer’s personal investigation didn’t result in the capture of any evidence of the paranormal, other people have reported encounters and experiences that they have been more than happy to share. The Buckner Building is closed to the public, so going into the building itself is a no-go unless you want to risk health complications (mercury, lead, and asbestos poisoning is possible), injury, death, or–most likely, a hefty fine from the local police. Locals of Whittier are pretty vigilant to keep people away from and out of the building, but it doesn’t mean people haven’t ventured in to get an up-close and personal experience inside of these reportedly haunted walls. There are believed to be multiple presences within the building, although there are no records to explain these hauntings.

Due to the dilapidation of the building, the first basement is only accessible through a hole in the wall now, where the second basement is now only accessible through a hole in the floor. These two rooms are said to house an entity of “pure evil,” and people are warned to stay away from the area completely, especially the stairwell that has red, detached wiring hanging from the ceiling. Far southwest stairwell, the second corridor on the second floor, the jail, and the third floor are all haunted by apparitions–in particular, an entity that is witnessed hanging from water pipes on the second floor, and a little girl who is seen wandering the third floor crying. Room three to the right of the mental ward of the hospital, within the corridor right before the jail is reported to be especially haunted, to the point that the entity within will only allow certain people to enter the room. If this entity does not accept the person trying to enter, the door will slam shut before they can enter and seems to be locked from the inside.

The Ghost of McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

Other than perhaps the Shanghai Tunnels in Portland, Oregon—the Grand Lodge located in Forest Grove, Oregon is known as one of the most haunted places in the state.

History of the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge

The Grand Lodge sits on approximately thirteen acres of park-like land, which has an old school brick lodge sitting right in the center. The Grand Lodge was originally constructed as a Masonic Lodge in 1922, featuring the iconic white columns, marble accents, tons of natural light, hardwood floors, and fireplaces. When the McMenamin’s restored the building, they filled it with furniture, added stained glass, original ironwork, and artwork by local talent. This historical monument to rich splendor, it boasts more than just guest rooms and a very nice restaurant with bars; it also features a spa, a soaking pool, a billiards room, and a movie theater. Other than these lavish features, the main building has multiple parlor rooms with fireplaces, comfortable couches, and a table to play board games. Aside from the main building, there is a Children’s Cottage—which exists because the adult residents of the lodge preferred that the Mason’s orphans to live in separate quarters—and a Masonic Museum, for the days in which it was used as a Masonic Lodge.

The Haunting of the Grand Lodge

Every bedside table in the Grand Lodge comes with complimentary earplugs because there is no room in the entire lodge where people didn’t complain about unidentifiable noises in the night. One particular guest reports that they had a set of keys that inexplicably disappeared—at first believed it to be absent-mindedness—then they all-but turned over their entire room in search of them only to discover that they were still nowhere to be found. The keys reappeared miraculously on their bedside table, which only the night before was completely bare. They reported their experiences to the lodge’s staff, they were told they were one of several of such similar reports—they were even allowed to borrow a binder that was full of witness statements to learn more about all of the ghostly experiences that had occurred inside of those walls.

Over the years since renovation, staff and guests have both reported having seen a woman with white hair and wearing a patterned dress with slippers. This particular apparition has been described in such a way that it matches the large portrait of a woman that hangs on the premises. They believe that this ghost is the spirit of a woman who lived there for many years and died just before her hundredth birthday and that her name was Anna.

Another Haunted McMenamin’s Location

So it’s true that the McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove is supposedly haunted, but what you may not realize is that there is another McMenamin’s location that is haunted as well! The White Eagle Saloon—the other McMenamin’s location—is home to a couple of apparitions, the ghost of an old housekeeper and Rose, the prostitute that was killed by one of her lovers.