Every Halloween season, crowds flock to haunts and theme parks in the hope of being scared in a safe environment. But what if a real masked killer decided to turn one of those venues into a personal hunting ground? That’s the premise of the new horror film Hell Fest (out Sept. 28).
The film stars Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, and Bex Taylor-Klaus and is produced by The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd.
“One of the executives at my company came to me with a pitch: Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a film about someone who is actually evil, who’s using that environment to kill people?” says Hurd. “What if one of those people in a mask, or one of those people who had a prop chainsaw, was actually a killer themselves? And that is where the idea came from.”
Hell Fest is directed by Gregory Plotkin, who previously made 2015’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and also edited the recent horror hits Get Out and Happy Death Day.
“The film basically takes place over one night at a Halloween haunt,” says the filmmaker. “And not just any Halloween haunt, essentially the best of the best, which is called ‘Hell Fest.’ It follows our main protagonist Natalie (Forsyth), and her best friend Brooke (Edwards), and their friend Taylor (Taylor-Kraus). It’s their one night at the park. The idea is, these parks are a place where people go to get scared, but there’s this masked killer who takes advantage of the anonymity of many masked characters and terrorizes our group throughout the night, all against the backdrop of these seemingly real haunts and mazes.”
Plotkin visited haunts around the country ahead of the shoot, but reveals that his most frightening experience came after he boarded the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios.
“I was with my kids, and I got stuck on a ride, and for the very first time in my entire life, I had a panic attack,” says the director. “My kids could care less, they thought it was the funniest thing in the world, but I literally had to pull out my phone and just read emails to take my mind off of it. It really occurred to me how scary it is and how little control you have in some of these places. It was a real big influence on the development of certain parts of the park [in the film].”
See exclusive first look images from Hell Fest, above and below.