Greystone Park is available on VOD and hits DVD today, October 16 through Xlrator Media. In the film, “Based on true events, the film follows three aspiring filmmakers trying to document unexplainable events in an abandoned insane asylum known as Greystone Park. Urban legend has it that anyone who ventures into the forsaken hospital will suffer the consequences and face their own horrors. The trio stumble across a mysterious realm of escaped patients, ghosts and demonic shadows, as they try to uncover the truth behind Greystone Park.”
I recently hopped on the phone with writer/director/star Sean Stone to discuss how he got involved in the real-life ghost hunting that led to the project. We also discuss his documentary style approach and how his father, Oliver Stone, influenced the project.
Greystone Park stars Sean Stone, Oliver Stone, Alexander Wraith, Antonella Lentini, John Schramm, Monique Zordan and Monique Van Vooren and written by Stone and Wraith. Head inside to check out the interview!
Found footage is an increasingly popular conceit. What made you want to head in that direction?
To me it’s not a found footage movie. To me it’s like End Of Watch, sort of documentary meets cinema. When we started the process in October of 2009, Paranormal Activity hadn’t even come out yet. So we went into Greystone ghost hunting, [co-writer and star] Alexander Wraith and I, just running around New Jersey and going to all of these old mental hospitals. And he was tired of being told by people, “you’re full of it.” So he decided to record it. And the place itself, its history really resonated like a real-life Shining. Lobotomies, torture, etc…
So we went in the first night for about an hour and then I came out and wrote the first draft of the script. Then I worked on it for 6 months. And it’s not found footage because we never said, “oh this footage was found. These filmmakers are dead.” We always presented it as, “we’re making this film.” We’re playing ourselves in it, this is our foray into the supernatural.
Out of the first hour of footage you shot on the initial night, did any of that make its way into the film?
I can’t say “yes” because legally there’s a big issue about trespassing. We were hoping to shoot the real Greystone, but we couldn’t get the rights. So we had to shoot in at least 5 or 6 mental hospitals, most of which had been abandoned and then piece them together in a way that makes it feel like a real live location.
So the character dynamics in the film, are those indicative of the dynamics unhand the first night you went out there?
Yeah. We’re getting some criticism, “oh Alex doesn’t have a license, that’s so preposterous.” But that’s Alex! He does go ghost hunting, he doesn’t have a license, his room is full of knives. And in the film you’re supposed to be wondering if he’s dangerous. Same thing with me, you’re allowed to wonder if I’m losing my mind.
What was the most difficult scare to pull off in the film?
At the end of the day I don’t know what’s going to have the most effect on people. There are somethings that weren’t designed to be scary that grab people. To me, the ending was the most important part. If you can really get the audience dreading what’s going to happen at the end then you’ve done your job.
If you walk away, even if people don’t think it’s scary [during the film] it makes you nervous afterwards. I know with me, I didn’t want to be alone. I was scared of my shadow. It made me think twice about my shadow, “what if it’s alive?” It’s all about light and shadows.
Your father [Oliver Stone] is in the movie. Did he encourage you to go to Greystone in the same way he does in the film? Everyone is using their own names.
He did. He even introduced me to Alex because he wanted us to work together. Alex was fascinated with the supernatural and he wanted us to make a movie about it, but I’m not sure he thought I had the guts to go!