An unusual and controversial experiment took place in Toronto in 1972 under the management of world-renowned poltergeist expert Dr. A.R.G. Owen.
Could eight ordinary people manifest a ghost through expectation, imagination and visualization? The results became a classic study into the potential of projecting “thought forms” into the real world and its affect on paranormal activity. Now that “Philip Experiment,” named after the entity created, has inspired The Quiet Ones – Hammer’s follow-up to its worldwide box-office hit The Woman in Black – which completed shooting last week on location at Merton College in Oxford, England.
“The new Hammer wants to make frightening films that scare but entertain and exhilarate at the same time”, says producer Ben Holden. ”The Woman in Black proved what lurked in the shadows of the mind was far more terrifying than lashings of blood and violence and The Quiet Ones also delivers thrills building on elaborate suspense mechanics. It’s more in line with the Gothic literature that provided the basis for such past Hammer hits as the Frankenstein series; human themes explored through horrifying scenarios.”
Set in the early ’70s – “At the time the old Hammer was closing down feature production”, remarks Holden ironically – The Quiet Ones finds charismatic Professor Copeland convincing his best students to take part in covert research into creating a poltergeist from negative human energy. Jared Harris plays the unorthodox, arrogant teacher and the Mad Men star explains, “Copeland is out to prove paranormal events are caused by some external agency. His super objective is that if he chips away at the idea of spirituality he will undermine the concept of God. So, he’s using this psychologically damaged teenager to demonstrate the supernatural can be manufactured. Unfortunately, her sinister attachment to a doll named Evie means her invented possession might not be the case! I found the script gripping and thought-provoking earning its nerve-jangling chills fairly and squarely without relying on cats suddenly jumping out of closets”.
Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Hunstman) also stars as the documentary filmmaker recording the trial. Quarantine 2: Terminal director John Pogue adds, “Sam’s character is the audience’s viewpoint. Initially, he’s ethically and morally neutral, despite clinging to the idea that possession is something occult, hiding his fears by staying behind his 16mm camera. But then comes the time he just has to speak up and not be one of The Quiet Ones anymore.”
Keep your eyes peeled to Shock Till You Drop for a full set report as we near the film’s release sometime in 2013!