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Screenwriter talks Amish chiller “THE DEVIL’S HAND”

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Having gone through a few title changes on its long road to release, THE DEVIL’S HAND debuts in theaters and on VOD this Friday, and FANGORIA got a few words with its scripter, MR. JONES writer/director Karl Mueller.

Opening from Roadside Attractions and previously known as THE OCCULT, THE DEVIL’S RAPTURE and WHERE THE DEVIL HIDES, THE DEVIL’S HAND stars DARK CITY’s Rufus Sewell, Alycia Debnam Carey, Adelaide Kane, Leah Pipes, Thomas McDonell, Colm Meaney and Jennifer Carpenter of DEXTER and THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. Christian E. Christiansen directed the film, set in the Amish community of New Bethlehem, where six girls are born on the same day to different mothers. The elders who keep strict control of the town believe it’s an omen of evil to come and want to kill the newborns, but the father of one of them convinces the elders otherwise. Years later, however, as the girls approach their 18th birthdays, they start disappearing one by one.

“It’s a fun setting for a horror movie,” says Mueller, who also co-scripted THE DIVIDE. “When I went in to meet with the producers, basically what they had was, ‘We want to set a horror movie on an Amish commune.’ I was like, ‘Well, then, I’m your man, because I think that sounds awesome.’ Any time you’re making a horror movie or a thriller, you need to find these kinds of closed communities, places that are a little outside the mainstream, because setting things in regular America, where we all have cell phones and live on top of each other and everyone is very well-socialized—it’s somewhat difficult to work a story out of that. But if you can go to some isolated place, where people can be left alone and get weird, you can spin that into some fun stuff.”

Mueller also notes his story’s kinship to both a classic tale of persecution and current events. “It’s got this kind of Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE vibe, where there’s a very strong theocracy—almost a Taliban-like theocracy—that controls all the younger people in this commune, and it kind of takes off from there. It’s fun, and it should be a good change of place for people.” Check out the trailer for THE DEVIL’S HAND below.

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About the author
Michael Gingold

Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.

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