Former Fango scribe Mark Wheaton sent them a few snapshots from his first produced horror screenplay, the as-yet-untitled Ghost House Pictures production that marks the U.S. debut of Danny and Oxide Pang, helmers of the THE EYE and its new-to-DVD sequel. Initially scripted by Todd (JASON X) Farmer and Stuart (COLLATERAL) Beattie and formerly titled SCARECROW, the film just wrapped in Regina, Canada and stars Kristen (PANIC ROOM) Stewart, Dylan (HARDWARE) McDermott, Penelope Ann (THE RELIC) Miller and John (MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING) Corbett. The story concerns an ominous darkness that invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, where the Solomon family (Stewart, McDermott and Miller) is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.
“This spooky old sunflower farm is where the Solomon family moves to get away from big-city life,” Wheaton tells Fango. “The two-story farmhouse itself is a build—constructed in Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle Valley—with the interiors being on stages in Regina 45 minutes away. The all-important sunflowers were grown throughout preproduction so they’d be high enough during the start of the shoot, but were later cut down for ‘arrival scene’ shots of the farm. The barn itself is real, having been driven in from a few miles away, where it was on a different farm.
“Just down the dirt road a little is the aviary where a number of the hard-working ravens used throughout the film—brought over from the Czech Republic—are housed,” he continues. “Similarly, about 100 yards from the front porch of the farmhouse, you can find the main house that Terry Gilliam used when shooting TIDELAND just before SCARECROW started up. Many of the SCARECROW crew members jumped from that movie to this one.
“When working on the script,” Wheaton notes, “the house I kept coming back to was the Bates house from PSYCHO with its imposing entryway and staircase leading up from the front door to the second-floor landing. Lots of closed bedroom doors, lots of dark hallways, lots of ghostly angles. So I described the house during preproduction to the Pangs as looking like ‘the PSYCHO house out in the middle of nowhere.’ I hope it’s got that vibe.”
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