CBS films have locked in the three leads for its female-centric horror film Hellfest, which comes from the prolific producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead). The film is one of several genre offerings to hit theaters in the run-up to Halloween 2018, and has been in development for at least seven years. CBS films are hopeful that it may lead to a franchise if successful.
Hellfest was originally announced in 2011, with Neil Marshall attached to direct it. That deal eventually fell through, with Jennifer Lynch (American Horror Story) announced as his replacement. She also left the project and Blumhouse regular Gregory Plotkin (Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension) stepped onboard to helm the film. The plot sees a masked serial killer infiltrate an amusement park at Halloween. Using the gory decorations and celebrations to hide his handiwork, he hopes to kill patrons of the themed scare show taking place there. However three female friends discover his existence and try to stop his killing spree before a massacre takes place, although nobody is likely to believe them.
In a report from Deadline, the studio has formally announced the actresses chosen to play the three heroines. They are: Amy Forsyth (Channel Zero), Reign Edwards (MacGyver), and Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow). Forsyth played the lead in the second season of Channel Zero (titled No-End House) and was the main focus of the twisted plot about the sentient attraction that ate memories. Taylor-Klaus played Sin (Sara Lance's sidekick) in Arrow, but is also well-known from her role in the Scream TV series as Audrey Jensen and her vocal work as Pidge in Voltron: Legendary Defender. Edwards is possibly best known for The Bold and the Beautiful, but has also played recurring characters in MacGyver and Snowfall.
The CBS Films president Terry Press has apparently been a longtime supporter of the project, and believes it could kick-start a new horror franchise. Director Plotkin has been praising his cast and promoting the film with the statement:
“We are going to take audiences on a wild and terrifying ride, and Amy, Reign, and Bex are exactly the talented energetic heroes we have been looking for to face off against our killer,”
The film is currently scheduled to open on October 12, which is now the same release date as Goosebumps: Slappy's Revenge. It will also face some stiff box office competition in the following weeks from the rebooted Halloween and the wartime horror film Overlord (which is thought to be the next entry in the Cloverfield franchise). Hopefully the long gestation period, the production backing of Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures, the strong cast, and the current thirst for the genre will help it attract some attention. It may prove to have cinematic legs at the perfect time for an original slasher movie.
Hellfest will be released in theaters on October 12, 2018.