An American Haunting movie
An American Haunting is a 2006 American thriller film written and directed by Courtney Solomon. It stars Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood and James D'Arcy. The film was previewed at the AFI Film Festival on November 5, 2005 and was released in U.S. theaters on May 5, 2006. The film had an earlier release in the U.K. on April 14. The movie was panned by critics and audiences and performed poorly at the box office.
The film is based on the novel An American Haunting, by Brent Monahan. The events in the novel are based on supposedly true events from the legend of The Bell Witch that have been validated by the State of Tennessee and President Andrew Jackson as the only case in United States history where a spirit or entity caused the death of a man. The film switches from the 19th Century to the 21st Century and features a side story about a recently divorced mother whose daughter is going through something like the same experience as Betsy Bell.
Tagline: Possession knows no bounds.
- Donald Sutherland as John Bell
- Sissy Spacek as Lucy Bell
- Rachel Hurd-Wood as Betsy Bell
- James D'Arcy as Prof. Richard Powell
Between the years 1818 and 1820, the Bell Family of Red River, Tennessee was visited by an unknown presence that haunted the family and would eventually end up causing the death of one its members. Starting with sounds around the house at night, and the sighting of strange animals around the farm, the "sounds" eventually escalated into full brutal contact with certain family members which caused severe psychological and physical torment.
The attacks grew in strength, with the spirit slapping, clawing, dragging and beating the Bells' youngest daughter, Betsy. The spirit, whom the locals came to refer to as Kate, seemed to reserve her most hateful attacks for John Bell, Sr. The Bells searched for rational explanations and ways to rid their house of this entity, but to no avail.
The spirit began to communicate with them through sounds at first, then later by actually speaking in a powerful voice. Once when the spirit was questioned about where it came from and why, it referred to itself as "Kate Batts' witch" and claimed the only mission it had was to eventually kill John Bell. The spirit could seemingly predict the future, reveal secrets of those present, quote any Scripture flawlessly, and foresee events happening great distances away, reporting the events later perfectly. The haunting ended later with the poisoning death of John Bell. The spirit claimed that when he was asleep, she gave him a dose of some strange liquid that was later found in the room. When this mystery "medicine" was tested on a cat, the animal went into seizures and died. It is said that at his funeral, the witch laughed, screamed and sang songs happily while others mourned. Soon after, the witch departed, promising to return in seven years.
She did return in 1828 for a few short weeks. During this visit she came to the home of John Bell, Jr., and had long talks with him about the past, present, and future. She made some predictions for the future. Kate also said there was a reason for John Bell's death. However she never said what the reason was. After the second visit, she said her next return would be in one hundred and seven years. That would have been in 1935. But some believe that she (Kate) never left the area at all due to the strange things that have occurred in and around the town of Adams and the Bell Witch Cave over these many years.
Some believe there was no Bell Witch, but rather that the injuries incurred by the Bell children during this period were actually caused by John Bell, Sr., who supposedly abused his children and instructed them to blame their bruises on a ghost to ward off any outside suspicion. According to this account, the family eventually turned on Bell and poisoned him, later blaming the same Bell Witch for his death.
Inconsistencies with legend
While modern research and even some earlier accounts of the legend seem to suggest that the poltergeist only referred to itself as Kate Batts, as she may have outlived John Bell, there have never been any accounts of Betsy Bell creating the Bell Witch to protect herself.
The film also ignores the tradition that the spirit eventually transitioned from being a poltergeist, a spirit which cannot communicate through speaking, to an unmanifested spirit who spoke to the family often.
The allegations of John Bell's sexual abuse and subsequent death are new additions to the story. The movie adds and subtracts many things from the traditional legend of the Bell Witch. For instance, the movie ends with the idea that Betsy created the Witch to protect herself from her father's abuses; while the traditional legend tells that the family still believed that the witch was Kate Batts. Though it cannot be ruled out because abuse may have been too delicate a topic during the time period, this may have been invented to answer why exactly the poltergeist seemed to warm to other members of the Bell family.
John Bell's actual death in legend has traditionally been the fault of the poltergeist, Kate Batts or otherwise. In the film, a muddled turn of events seem to instead suggest that Betsy is responsible for John's death, and that his wife is complicit in the act.
The movie was panned by critics with the review tallying website rottentomatoes.com reporting that only 12% of critics reviews for the movie were positive.
Other Movie Websites
What is "The Bell Witch Haunting" movie?
"The Bell Witch Haunting" is Willing Hearts Production's acclaimed motion picture based on America's greatest true haunting. It is a powerful supernatural thriller that boldly mixes a frightful ghost story with a great suspense plot. This historic thriller is based on actual events that happened from 1817 to 1821, in which a vengeful spirit tormented John Bell and his family, leaving him in a terrifying fight to save his children and his own life! Over a four year period, hundreds of people witnessed the Spirit's amazing demonstrations and heard it speak... Click here for more information and to see trailer
"The Bell Witch Haunting"
"I would rather face the whole British army, than face the Bell Witch again!"
-Andrew Jackson, President of the United States
Edgar Allan Poe film "Nightmares from the Mind of POE"
About the movie...
Throughout Edgar Allan Poe’s life he was plagued with nightmares and the deaths of those he loved. Those nightmares and his tragic life were many times the basis for his stories and poems; often he found himself in the middle of those nightmares and stories as the victim or antagonist. “Nightmares from the Mind of Poe” brings to life those nightmares with Poe as part of the stories, as he dreamed and wrote them. In the movie, he struggles with nightmares, insomnia, sadness and despair in his own life as he creates his stories. The film brings to life four of the most well known tales from the master of suspense and horror - “The Tell-Tale Heart”, “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Premature Burial” and “The Raven” ... CLICK HERE FOR TRAILER AND INFO
"Nightmares from the
Mind of POE"