I could have sworn the word Ouija Board existed way, way before Parker Bros. ever turned it into a game, but apparently they do own the rights, according to Sci-Fi Wire. Ryan McKinney’s film Ouija Board, which stars Lou Diamond Phillips, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, Pam Grier, Ellen Albertini-Dow, and Christopher Holly, is a story about a married couple who move into a Victorian manse where the wife discovers and plays with an old Ouija board. But according to McKinney the film must be renamed, you can read the insane story inside. Why don’t they just call it ‘Ouija’?
Sci Fi Wire writes:
Writer/director Ryan McKinney told SCI FI Wire that his upcoming supernatural horror movie is based on a real incident, in which residents of a Northern California town took their obsession with the then-new Ouija board too far in 1920. But don’t use the term “Ouija board” to refer to the movie, McKinney said in an interview on the film’s set in Placerville, Calif. That’s because filmmakers couldn’t come up with the money to buy the rights to use the trademark, which is held by game maker Parker Brothers.
As a result, all references to “Ouija” have been taken out of the movie, which was originally titled Ouija Board. At this point, the movie, which stars Pam Grier, Megan Ward and Victor Browne, doesn’t have a title, though some people involved with the film think the movie may take its name from the production company, Dark Portal.
The film, from Green Flash Pictures, is based on the people of El Cerrito, Calif., and their experiences with the so-called “spirit board,” which some believe allows players to communicate with spirits. In March of 1920, the local newspaper carried this headline: “Whole Town Ouija Mad.” Seven people were arrested after police said they went insane in what was called “Ouijamania,” including a 15-year-old girl who stripped naked and ran outside after playing with the spirit board, McKinney said. The town eventually banned Ouija boards.
Intrigued by the story, McKinney teamed up with the Sacramento-area Green Flash, whose principals include Tony Chopelas and the husband-and-wife team of David and Eve Justice. They wrote a script based on the real incidents. “I looked into some of the stories of what happened, what was reported, and then took it a level further to see what happened to the people who participated in it,” McKinney said.
In the movie, a couple with a baby on the way moves into a house and finds a spirit board in the attic. Against her husband’s better judgment, the young wife uses it, and all hell breaks loose. A dark portal opens to the world of spirits who once lived in the house. The movie also stars Lou Diamond Phillips, Jacoby Shaddix, Ellen Albertini-Dow and Christopher Holly. A local state assemblyman and former state senator, Tim Leslie, makes a cameo appearance as a police officer who helps investigate the phenomenon.
The as-yet-unnamed movie recently wrapped production and is eyeing a 2006 release.