Director Lee Daniels to shoot horror film Demon House in Pittsburgh | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Director Lee Daniels to shoot horror film Demon House in Pittsburgh

click to enlarge Director Lee Daniels to shoot horror film Demon House in Pittsburgh
Photo: Courtesy of Freestyle Digital Media
Screenshot from the trailer for the 2018 documentary Demon House
Pittsburgh has boasted an impressive number of film and television productions recently, even in the midst of the pandemic. And based on some news coming out of the Pittsburgh Film Office, that number will only grow with a new project from Netflix and acclaimed director Lee Daniels.

According to reports by Trib Live and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Film Office confirmed that Demon House, an upcoming Netflix film based on a real-life haunting and exorcism case, will shoot in Pittsburgh. As of now, the Film Office website is taking applications for local crew members to work on the film.

Daniels, the writer, director, and producer behind films like The Butler, will lead the project. It is rumored that Demon House will see the reunion of Daniels and comedian-turned-actor Mo'Nique, who had a major falling out with the director after winning Best Supporting Actress for his film Precious. According to a Deadline story from April 1, Mo'Nique will take over a role originally filled by Octavia Spencer, who had to exit due to a scheduling conflict.

The film will also star Glenn Close, Andra Day, Caleb McLaughlin, Rob Morgan, and Aunjanue Ellis.

Demon House is based on the Ammons case, also known as the "200 Demons House," a famous alleged haunting and demonic possession that occurred from 2011 to 2012 in Gary, Ind. Latoya Ammons, her mother, and her three children moved into a house where they claimed to experience a number of supernatural events, which eventually led to some of the family members undergoing exorcisms. The family claimed the events stopped after they left the house and moved to Indianapolis.

The case became noteworthy as one of the few examples of an alleged haunting affecting a Black family. It became famous after Zak Bagans, a paranormal investigator and host of the hit Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures, bought the house in 2014 and filmed a documentary in it. He then demolished the house in 2016.

Demon House adds to a roster of recent projects shot in Pittsburgh and throughout Western Pennsylvania, including Archive 81, The Chair, Rustin, and Sweet Girl. It also comes at a time when Pennsylvania legislators are pushing to expand the Film Production Tax Credit, which is used to attract film and television production to the state. According to an April 20 story by The Center Square, two proposed bills, SB321 and HB1432, would "boost state assistance from $70 million to $125 million" and change the credit's name from the “Film Production Tax Credit” to the “Film Industry Incentive."

During a public hearing, legislators argued that the tax credit being capped at $70 million means that "projects are turned away each year due to lack of funding," with Pittsburgh Film Office director, Dawn Keezer, pointing out, “The incentive is key. Without the incentive, there is no work."