It’s been a long and arduous journey for Darren Lynn Bousman’s NOLA-based comic book adaptation, Abattoir. While I was talking to the Saw alumn last week though, he revealed that his haunted house movie had numerous false starts that kept pushing back each hopeful start date, but when shooting finally wrapped about nine months ago, more than jubilation was felt. In the words of Bousman, he felt “vindicated.” Not only had initial production been completed, but he was happy with the final result.
Abattoir still has a long road ahead, though. While chatting with the director during his press rounds for Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival, I asked why we still haven’t seen any footage from the film besides an early-stages sales trailer. According to Bousman, the visual effects work has been more time consuming than anyone could have predicted, and his ambitious strive for perfection has been driving his ghost-makers crazy:
That’s why people haven’t seen it yet. I’ve rejected every ghost that’s come at me. The VFX company keeps sending me concepts of ghosts, and they HAVE to be unique, something people have never seen before, so I’ve been looking for the perfect ghost. We finally hit that, and I’m really excited for people to see what they look like.
My hope is you’ll be seeing Abattoir in the second quarter of next year…
For those of you who don’t know, Abattoir is about a mysterious house that’s been constructed wholly from rooms where deaths have occurred, and the investigative reporter who is led into the belly of this haunted beast. A prequel called The Dwelling has already been greenlit, but we haven’t seen a single reel of footage yet that hints at the first film’s existence. With nothing else to go on, I asked Darren how this hellish maze would differ from the other films in his eclectic catalog. Here’s how he described Abattoir, while name-dropping many films that I adore:
Darren Lynn Bousman: It’s my attempt to do a ghost movie. The one thing I like about my career is I tried never to stay safe. The minute I start feeling comfortable, I change and do something completely different. Abattoir is really weird. Have you seen the movie Brick, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt?
WGTC: Absolutely. I love Brick.
Darren Lynn Bousman: OK, so it’s Brick as a horror film, meaning they talk in modern noir. They’re talking in a hyper-stylized fashion that you have to listen to what they’re saying because it’s so stylized and specific. So even though the movie is modern, they’re talking like it’s the 1940s, which I love. It’s very reminiscent of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the way the characters are interacting, and the way that they look. Yet it’s set in a very hyper-stylized world.
Consider it Seven meets Dark City, and at the very end it turns into Hellraiser. That’s kind of what it is. Those are all movies I really fucking dig. I wanted to make a movie that’s a murder mystery for two thirds of it, and then at that two thirds mark, it turns and becomes an in-your-face, horrific film. The first two acts you think you’re following Seven, then it flips and becomes Hellraiser.
Damn, Darren. You know how to sell a movie. You sucker us in with the vague mystery of Brick, jump to the epic tension delivered by Seven, mention a cult classic in Dark City, and then end with a classic horror legend in Hellraiser?! Excuse me while I start letting my mind run wild with possibilities.
As indicated above, we still don’t have a release date for Abattoir, but we do know the film stars Jessica Lowndes, Joe Anderson, Lin Shaye, Dayton Callie, J. LaRose, and more. Stay tuned as we follow the film’s trajectory towards release, which hopefully will come sooner than later. Or if you REALLY can’t wait, just go build your own murder house! What could go wrong?
Be sure to look for our entire interview with Darren Lynn Bousman, which will be posted later today!