QUICK NEWS

Due to the overwhelming amount of e-mails we receive everyday from Bell Witch Fans wanting to know what is going on with the movie, we've created Quick News.(and now myspace) Quick News is a place where you can get all of the latest Bell Witch news and information daily. If something is happening with Bell Witch: The Movie you can find out here first. Plus, if you have any news, information or if you have seen an article about the movie that we have missed and you would like for us to post it, you can e-mail us here bellwitchmovie@aol.com For more detailed press releases and press coverage, please visit the media section of the BELL WITCH: The Movie website.

 

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BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE DEBUTS IN UK CINEMAS


BURBANK (USA) – Big River Pictures LLC announces plans for the UK digital cinema release of "BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE". The supernatural thriller, which features legendary scream queen Betsy Palmer (Friday the 13th), will be screened in 6 UK cities.

Based on a real life legend from Adams, Tennessee, "BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE" shows what it's like to be on the wrong side of the supernatural. Brothers Williams and John Bell Jr. set in motion a terrifying series of events by stumbling across an ancient burial site and unwittingly releasing a vengeful spirit, which then proceeds to terrorize the entire Bell family. "BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE", a family-friendly scary story, is set against a soundtrack of traditional Bluegrass and Americana songs.

More information about the cities, UK digital cinemas and companies involved coming soon

 

Press Release
Big River Pictures


FAMILY FRIENDLY & FRIGHTENING?
BELL WITCH: The Movie Combines Both
That’s Perfect for Families

Burbank, CA - Big River Pictures LLC, in association with Cinemarr Entertainment and Digital Films Distribution, announce the official release of the long awaited BELL WITCH: The Movie, a family-friendly movie that scares up thrills for the family.

The motion picture, which was shot and mastered in High Definition, stars Betsy Palmer (Friday the 13th) as the voice of the Bell Witch.

Closely following the historically documented legend of The Bell Witch of Adams, Tennessee, BELL WITCH: The Movie combines a chilling soundtrack of original and traditional Bluegrass and Americana songs with sweeping, scenic images to create an eerie backdrop for this 200 year-old legend.

The motion picture is described as a love story turned tragic when entangled with the legendary haunting of the Bell Witch. After stumbling across an ancient burial (in what is now known as the Bell Witch cave), brothers John Jr. and Williams Bell bring a strange curse home to their family causing their father, John, and sister, Betsy, to experience phantom attacks in the night and strange visions in the day. Nothing enrages the spirit of the Bell Witch more than Betsy’s relationship with her loving fiancé, Joshua Gardner. Their only hope of escaping the witch’s torment is death…a fate the Bell Witch is more than happy to deliver.

“With a proliferation of ‘slasher’ films filled with sex, violence and vulgar language, it’s becoming harder than ever to find movies that are appropriate for families while still providing suspense and fright,” says Director / Producer S. Shane Marr. “We wanted to make a movie that told the terrifying and true story of The Bell Witch and that stayed appropriate for the widest variety of viewers.”

Executive producer Doris Ogle echoes that saying, “BELL WITCH: The Movie has skipped the usual use of pervasive curse words, gratuitous sex and graphic violence and has still managed to ‘creep out’ viewers.” She adds, “It’s very much a Hitchcock style of storytelling. The more you think about it, the scarier it is.”

As with any motion picture, parents should review BELL WITCH: The Movie before allowing their children to watch so that they may decide what is most appropriate.

BELL WITCH: The Movie Special Edition is now available for purchase online at www.BellWitchStore.com in Standard Definition only - meaning it will play on standard DVD players. This DVD contains great extras including:
*"Making of Bell Witch," a 35-minute documentary containing cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
*20 minute excerpts from "Betsy Palmer: A Scream Queen Legend," a one-on-one sit down interview with the legendary actress.
*"All the Hay's in the Barn," a behind the scenes music video.
*Deleted scenes.
*Standard Definition
*Widescreen
*Surround Sound

BELL WITCH: The Movie and the motion picture soundtrack are both now available for purchase online at www.BellWitchStore.com.

July: Director talks new BELL WITCH DVD

Director/producer Shane Marr got in touch with Fango to give us an update on the DVD release of his supernatural horror flick BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE, which he previously discussed here. The film hits DVD September 1 after a long delay; it was shot in hi-def in 2002, and the filmmaker held up distribution until it could be released in that format. Lensed on location in Tennessee three years before the release of Courtney Solomon’s similarly themed AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, Marr’s movie “stays as true to the legend of the Bell Witch as possible,” he says. “In fact, descendants of John Bell used the September 2005 premiere at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium as a family reunion, and they say that BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE is true to the terrifying truth of the legend.

“We didn’t add anything for shock value—like the incestuous family relationship in AN AMERICAN HAUNTING,” he continues. “There was no need. The true story of the Bell Witch has been scaring the bejeezus out of people for nearly 200 years, and I believe we’ve captured that uneasy, suspenseful feeling you get whenever you hear the story. Sure, it’ll scare you when you first see it, but the longer it rolls around in your mind, the more frightening it becomes.” BELL WITCH, in which FRIDAY THE 13TH’s Betsy Palmer voices the title role, “was shown at the Ryman using Sony’s new—at that time—4K Digital Cinema Projector. In fact, that was the first time it had been used for a movie premiere. It was supposed to have shown that year’s premiere of SPIDER-MAN, but it wasn’t ready in time, so we got the first crack at it.”

BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE Will be presented on the DVD in widescreen with 5.1 Surround sound. Special features include:
• 35 minute behind-the-scenes documentary
• 20-minute excerpt from the Palmer documentary A Scream Queen Legend
• Deleted scenes
• Theatrical trailer

Retail price is $24.95 for the DVD, $34.95 for the HD-DVD. Check out the film’s official site here for more details. —Sean Decker

FILM GOES STRAIGHT TO HI-DEF VIDEO

STUDIO BRIEFING: April

For the first time, a movie is being released straight to high-definition video. According to the online High-Def Disc News, the horror film Bell Witch will debut on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. In a news release, director S. Shane Marr said that the movie had originally been shot using high-definition digital cameras and edited on digital post-production equipment five years ago. However, he said, "We decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

Indie film to go direct to Blu-ray, HD DVD
Trendwatch
By Mark Raby

Indie horror flick Bell Witch: The Movie will make its debut on HD DVD and Blu-ray, bypassing a theatrical release and a standard definition DVD version. This will make it the first full-length movie to go directly to the high deinition formats, according to TV Predictions.


"We shot 'Bell Witch' in 24p 1080 HD back in 2002, but we decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed," said director S. Shane Marr on the film's official website.

The movie is based on a 19th century myth concerning paranormal activity in a Tennessee suburb. It will be released on standard DVD a few weeks after its HD DVD/Blu-ray debut.

FILM GOES STRAIGHT TO HI-DEF VIDEO
Contactmusic.com - Burley in Wharfdale, Ilkley, UK

For the first time, a movie is being released straight to high-definition video. According to the online High-Def Disc News, the horror film Bell Witch will debut on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. In a news release, director S. Shane Marr said that the movie had originally been shot using high-definition digital cameras and edited on digital post-production equipment five years ago. However, he said, "We decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

FILM TO PREMIERE ON HI-DEF VIDEO
'BELL WITCH' to be first movie straight-to-HD By BRIAN THOMAS , News Editor

 

 

LOCATION: Your Home Theater

THE SKINNY: For the first time, a movie is being released straight to high-definition video.

According to the online blog High-Def Disc News, the horror film BELL WITCH will debut on both the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats.

In a news release, director Shane Marr said that the movie had originally been shot using high-definition digital cameras and edited on digital post-production equipment five years ago. However, he says, "We decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

The film stars Betsy Palmer in the title role. Horror fans will remember Palmer as the mad Pam Voorhees in the first three FRIDAY THE 13th movies. The disc release will include a documentary shot by Marr on his leading lady.

First Ever: Direct to HDTV DVD
Indie horror film will skip theaters and go to Blu-ray and HD DVD.
By Phillip Swann-Washington, D.C.

For years, the studios have released risky films directly on video in an effort to get back their investments.

But now, the time-honored practice is coming to High-Definition DVD.

According to the official Bell Witch web site, Bell Witch: The Movie will make its premiere this August on Blu-ray and HD DVD rather than be released in the theaters. It's believed to be the first ever 'direct to HDTV DVD' releaseThe film, which stars the veteran actress Betsy Palmer, was directed by S. Shane Marr and was shot with high-def cameras.

"We shot 'Bell Witch' in 24p 1080 HD back in 2002," Marr says at the web site. "But we decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

Bell Witch is the story of a reported haunting in Adams, Tennessee in the 1800s.

Marr says Big River Pictures, which owns the rights to Bell Witch, will release the film on standard definition DVD a few weeks after its HDTV DVD release.

The director says the film was actually first shown in 2005 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Tennessee using Sony’s new 4K High Definition projector, which offers a resolution four times greater than regular high-def.

First HD video release-Screen Africa - Johannesburg,Gauteng,South Africa

In what is believed to be a world first, a film has been released straight to High Definition (HD) video. The online High-Def Disc News reports that Shane Marr’s Bell Witch: The Movie will be available on both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats as from 15 August.

Marr was quoted as saying that he both shot and post produced the film on HD some five years ago and delayed its release specifically so that it could be released on HD. (Source: Studio Briefing)

 

'Bell Witch: The Movie' plans home video release

Executives of Big River Pictures and Cinemarr Entertainment say their first joint feature film, "Bell Witch: The Movie," will be released to home video on Sept..


The feature film from Sevierville-based director S. Shane Marr starring Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees in "Friday the 13th") was the first movie about the Bell Witch to be shot, with principal photography ending in November 2002. Marr said the film's release was held until HD viewing capabilities were more readily available to home viewers.


"We shot 'Bell Witch' in 24p 1080 HD back in 2002," he said, "but we decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

The movie's September 2005 premiere at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville was shown using Sony's new 4K high definition cinema projector. It was the first time that projector had been used for a movie premiere.

The movie will have an exclusive early release this summer on HD DVD prior to its wide release in September.

The movie will be available online at Amazon.com and bellwitchthemovie.com or it can be downloaded through Unbox onto one's TiVo. "Bell Witch The Movie" is also available for home rental at video stores.

The movie retells the legend of The Bell Witch of Adams, Tenn., a documented haunting that took place in the early 1800s

 

First Direct-to-HD Feature 'Bell Witch' to Debut This Summer on Blu-ray, HD DVD

In a next-gen first, the direct-to-video horror film 'Bell Witch: The Movie' will make its exclusive debut on Blu-ray and HD DVD this August.

Starring 'Friday the 13th's "Queen of the Slashers" Betsy Palmer and directed by helmer S. Shane Marr, the indie scarefest was produced with high-definition cameras, and completed entirely in the digital realm.

Though the major studios and other independents routinely release films directly to video without a theatrical release, so far there have been no such releases exclusive to the high-definition formats.

'Bell Witch' will make history as the first direct-to-Blu-ray and HD DVD premiere movie when it debuts simultaneously on both formats on August 15 via distributor Big River Productions, three weeks ahead of its subsequent release on standard-def DVD and on high-definition cable on September 1.

"We shot 'Bell Witch' in 24p 1080 HD back in 2002," said Marr via a press statement. "But we decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed."

No specs, supplemental details nor pricing is yet available for 'Bell Witch: The Movie.' But we'll certainly keep you posted as soon as further details on this notable release are officially announced.

We've also set up dedicated threads for 'Bell Witch: The Movie' in our Forums area -- click the following links to discuss the 'Bell Witch' Blu-ray release and the 'Bell Witch' HD DVD release.

PRESS RELEASE
BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE RELEASES

Burbank (CA) - Executives of Big River Pictures and Cinemarr Entertainment announced today that their first joint feature film, BELL WITCH: The Movie, will be released to home video via in September,

The long awaited feature film from director S. Shane Marr starring Betsy Palmer (Mrs. Voorhees - Friday the 13th) was the first movie about the Bell Witch to be shot, with principal photography ending in November 2002. Marr, a High Definition purist, says the film’s release was held until HD viewing capabilities were more readily available to home viewers. “We shot BELL WITCH in 24p 1080 HD back in 2002,” Marr says, “but we decided to hold the film until it could be released in HD so that people could see it as it was meant to be viewed.”

In keeping with the HD focus, the movie’s September 2005 premiere at the historic Ryman Auditorium was shown using Sony’s 4K High Definition projector. It was the first time that projector had been used for a public viewing.

BELL WITCH: The Movie will be available online at Amazon.com and bellwitchthemovie.com or you can download it through Unbox onto your TiVo. BELL WITCH: The Movie is also available for home rental at video stores. Contact your local video store to make sure their supplier is carrying the movie.

BELL WITCH: The Movie retells the haunting legend of The Bell Witch of Adams, Tennessee, a historically documented haunting that took place in the early 1800s.
-ENDS-

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VARIOUS ARTISTS -BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK


Don't run away,there's excellent bluegrass here. I haven't read the book. I haven't seen the movie. I find ghost stories, horror tales, superstition, and fantasy of every kind to lie somewhere between ludicrous and detestable.
But this soundtrack can be enjoyed without any attention to the film, the book, or their themes. It's full of the usual bluegrass fare,love, murder, revenge, rural life, gospel,and all of it is well-sung and well-played.
Jimbo Whaley sings fine traditional bluegrass lead on a half-dozen of the nineteen cuts; Jeanette Williams' clear, strong, sweet voice takes over on three numbers; Valerie Smith adds her wonderfully throaty, way-up-in-the-holler tones to four songs; and the Wells Family, whose marvelous harmonies are reminiscent of the Marshall Family, contributes two powerful gospel standards. Additional cuts by Becky Buller and the Jeff and Vida Band are equally effective.
Instrumentation ranges from standard contemporary mainstream 'grass to older, moodier sounds, some of it close to old-time music. All the fiddle, mandolin, and banjo performances are compelling, and there are lots of creative arrangements throughout the disc. Particularly exciting is the hyper-bluegrass drive of the instrumental takeout on the opening cut. You won't encounter "movie Muzak" here,it's all solid bluegrass.
The six bluegrass and gospel standards get nice treatments, but I found the originals (all written by various of the above performers) to be the freshest, most engaging material. Any of them would be welcome at a bluegrass festival, and none would sound like a show tune from Hollywood.
In summary, an extremely well-sung, scintillatingly played, lyrically interesting set, with lots of variety from these talented musicians. Bluegrass fans will not be disappointed, even if they have never heard of the Bell Witch. (Big River Pictures, 104 Church St., Sevierville, TN 37862, www.bigriverpictures.com.)JR

 

NEW! Get the full-size 27x39in. BELL WITCH: The Movie poster Limited Edition for
only $9.95! please visit

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the cannon falls beacon, goodhue county, minnesota

Rubbing elbows with stars at Ryman Auditorium
“It was just like the movie premiers you watch on TV. Everyone was dressed in their finest! Glitz and glamour everywhere! TV cameras and flashbulbs popping all over, stretch limos bringing the ‘notable’ personalities and, of course, the famous ‘red carpet’ for the ‘stars’ to make their entrance.”

That’s the way rural Cannon Falls Jan Johnson described the September 24 premier of the movie, “Bell Witch - the Movie.” The couple attended the event, which was held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN.

Jan and her husband Walt traveled to Nashville with Emory and Linda Buller, longtime friends from St. James, MN. The Johnsons and the Bullers met over 15 years ago while taking part in rendezvous, a demonstration and true-to-life recreation of the fur trade era. They’ve also gotten to know the Bullers’ daughter, Becky.

“At ten years of age,” Jan said, “Becky began violin lessons,” and her skills improved rapidly. During her junior year of high school, she played concert orchestra violin at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and she studied with a professor from St. Olaf College in Northfield. She also developed an interest in bluegrass music, and played at many rendezvous.

“I told her one day, that when she played on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium, we would be there,” Jan recalled.

Becky graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2000, and Walt and Jan were there. For four years, she’s played with the Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike Bluegrass band, based in Bell Buckle, TN. She has recorded two compact discs, and several of her songs, which feature other well-known bluegrass musicians, have appeared in the top 30 bluegrass music charts.

Three years ago, Becky was asked to write and perform several songs for a movie about a Tennessee witch who haunted the Bell family in the early 1800s. “It is, supposedly, the only documented case of a ghost or spirit who killed a person,” Jan explained.

Preceding the movie premier, Becky and other musicians were asked to perform music from the movie soundtrack. “Becky was on stage playing her fiddle before the movie, and it was a moment we had looked forward to for many years.

“We just knew she was good enough to get there!” Jan said.

Following the premier, the owner of Bell Buckle Records introduced Jan to vocalist Tom T. Hall and his wife. “What an extra surprise!” Jan said. “They are such gracious people. I was so excited, I didn’t even think about getting out my camera. Fortunately, Linda Buller was there and snapped a picture for me.”

The whole night was an experience the Johnsons will never forget.

“We couldn’t believe we were actually in Nashville, TN, at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous!” Jan exclaimed.

Bell Witch actress wanted 'to do movie in our backyard'

By: J.J. KINDRED


SEVIERVILLE - Beverly Gwinn Jones loves to act, and she is not afraid to let anyone know about it.
Having been an actress since high school and doing some acting in college and in community theaters, she capitalized on an opportunity.

Jones landed the role of Kate Batts in "Bell Witch: The Movie," made by local film studio Cinemarr Entertainment. The film premiered last month in Nashville.

"I thought I could do a movie here in our backyard," said Jones. "I did a movie when I lived in Nashville, being an extra in 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' and I knew how much fun it is to be involved."

"I've known the Marrs (Steven and Doris, the movie's producers, and son Shane, who directed) for a long time, but knew I was gonna have to really work to get a part because there were so many responses from all over the country," Jones said. "When I came down to try out, I came in a period costume to give them an idea of where I would try to take the character. I had done some research online before I came."

"We had 400 people here that day sitting all around the building and all over the place," said Doris Marr. "She had a cane and was in full costume as Kate Batts. She hit people with that cane and said, 'Get out of my way!' and scared everybody to death. Everybody was going, 'Oh my gosh, we're going up against her?' She came in as the character and she did a good job."

Jones described her character of Kate Batts as mean-spirited.

"She's John Bell's (the main character) archenemy," said Jones. "Kate Batts thought he had cheated her in a property deal. Her husband is kind of an invalid, so she has to fend for herself. She feels he's trying to take advantage of her because she's a woman.

Jones added, "I couldn't pop in and out of the character that much. The kids were scared to death of me, because they thought I was that way all the time. You have to get into the mindset and you have to maintain it, because you never know when you're gonna have to get back and do another take."

Jones works independently as a local abstract artist. She said she had an exciting time at the movie's Nashville premiere, and can't wait for the Marrs' next project.

"I'll be here when it comes out," said Jones. "Nothing's more exciting than signing autographs and people you don't even know telling you how much they love you. It doesn't get any better than that."

Bell Witch: The Movie Premieres At The Ryman

By: Janice Malone

It was lights, cameras and plenty of action for Music City this past Saturday evening. A real live Hollywood movie premiere was held at the world famous Ryman Auditorium for the opening of the new horror flix Bell Witch: The Movie.

The full-fledged red carpet treatment unfolded before eager star gazing fans of all ages who patiently waited behind the velvet ropes for snapshots of the film’s cast and crew. Bell Witch: The Movie, stars Betsy Palmer, one of films’ most famous scream queens. Ms. Palmer is best known to younger fans for her role as “Jason’s” mother (“Mrs. Voorhees”), in the original Friday The 13th horror-thriller. But to audiences age 50 and beyond, the 79 year-old actress is famous for her television appearances on the old TV game show “I’ve Got A Secret” and with the late Allen Funt on the original “Candid Camera” TV show.

Ms. Palmer looked elegant and radiant. Dressed in a long flowing emerald green gown, the veteran star exuded genuine old fashion Hollywood glamour. The movie and movie-novel, are both based on a true story that’s now become legend—especially for those who live in Adams, TN and for others throughout the state and the world. For years The Bell Witch story has built an international following of fan-supported websites. Ghosts, witches, murder and a haunted house can all be found within the eerie story of the John Bell family, which first dates the tale back to the early 1800’s.

Several descendants of the real-life Bell family attended the film’s screening. The red carpet gala was a motion picture premiere first. The entire program was broadcast via satellite and projected live in full-bandwidth, High Definition to several theaters all over the country. This new state-of-the-art interactive digital cinema broadcast is the latest technology introduced by SONY, who had several executives on the scene for the premiere.

The evening’s event was hosted by comedian/musician Phil Campbell, son of the late humorist/artist Archie Campbell, who was loved by millions of fans as a regular on the Hee Haw TV show. An hour long concert of various bands, performed country and blue grass-style music from the film’s soundtrack. It was a fun-filled evening of songs, stars, film and of course plenty of movie popcorn.

Local actress among many celebrating film's debut
By: J.J. KINDRED, Staff Writer

SEVIERVILLE - Donna Pearson may not be a household name, but after playing a major role in "Bell Witch: The Movie," released last week during a premiere event in Nashville, she is not shedding any tears over it.
Pearson, who lives in Sevierville, portrayed Lucy Bell, the wife of John Bell, whose family is being haunted by the legend of the Bell Witch. She is one of several local residents who had big parts in the movie or served as extras.

"A few years before the movie went into production, I had gone down to Ego Talent Agency (a subsidiary of Cinemarr Entertainment/Big River Pictures in Sevierville, which made the film) to give a resume and see about getting head shots done," Pearson said in an interview. "I went in and they were wonderful people. When auditions came up a few years later, I auditioned one day, and they called me back the next day and asked me to read with different men who were doing John Bell."

Pearson is employed at Dollywood and worked there when it was known as Silver Dollar City. At Dollywood she portrays a train robber and does some storytelling, among other things.

"That's where I really got interested in acting because it was so much fun," said Pearson. "I've done some local stuff with the Sevier County Theater Guild and West Productions. I also did extra and stand-in work for the TV show 'Christy,' and we filmed 'Bell Witch' on the same set."

Pearson said she was familiar with the character of Lucy Bell.

"My grandfather was a storyteller who loved to tell ghost stories," said Pearson. "When we would get rowdy, he would tell us the story of the Bell Witch - it was one where he would use her to get us to be quiet.

"What I was able to grab on to in playing this part was that for the longest time, I had no idea what was going on," Pearson continued. "The Bell Witch never hurt Lucy. She ended up helping her because Lucy caught pneumonia, and back in those days, there was no cure. People never got to see in the movie that Kate (the Bell Witch's name) liked Lucy and tried to convince her that John Bell was a bad guy and she was there to save her, but Lucy was devoted to her family."

Shane Marr, the film's director, and his parents, Steven and Doris Marr, who produced it, were great to work with, Pearson said.

"The way we did this movie, we had special kinds of cameras and it was something different, but he had it in his head what he wanted to do," Pearson said of Shane Marr. "He stayed true to the many books written about the Bell Witch as he could."

Bell witched, bothered and bewildered

Home-grown movie opening this weekend stays true to the Tennessee legend

By KEN BECK
Staff Writer


If you can't keep a good witch down, what kind of chance do you have at stopping a bad one?

In the case of Tennessee's storied Bell Witch, the witch wasn't a witch at all, but a ghost or spirit.
Saturday night's world premiere at Ryman Auditorium of Bell Witch: The Movie makes this the second of three films about the Adams, Tenn., haunt to be released in a 12-month period.

"The Hollywood pitch would be 'Little House on the Prairie meets Poltergeist.' It's neither a slasher nor a body-count film. We kept it real family-friendly, no T&A, no cussing. We just tell the story of the Bell Witch and keep it as true to the legend as possible," says Shane Marr, the film's co-writer, producer and director, an eighth-generation native of Gatlinburg who bases his Big River Pictures company in Sevierville, Tenn.

With a $3 million budget on the flick, his biggest name in the movie is film and TV personality Betsy Palmer, who movie buffs will recognize as Jason's mother in the original Friday the 13th. In Bell Witch, Palmer is not seen but heard — as the voice of the witch.

"I didn't know doodly squat about this legend," says Palmer from her Manhattan pad, adding that she has seen the finished project. "It gave me chills. The presence of the witch is very, very present. You really feel there is something going on there even though it is only a splattering of light."

Actor J.D. Hart, who has lived in Nashville since 1985, had heard the tales of the Bell Witch but never took them seriously, that is until he got the role of John Bell, the victim of the spirit that began haunting the Bell family in 1817.

"It's funny because I've never been a believer in witches or evil spirits, but once I researched the story about John Bell and his family, I believed it," says Hart, formerly the singer in the Heartbeat of America jingle for Chevrolet and now a veteran of 10 independent films and a couple thousand commercials.

"We kept the movie old school, the story comes first," says Marr. "I had a wish list. I wanted to do a true story, a Tennessee story, a period piece — so we could do a sort of an O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack — and I wanted a spooky film.

"At a production meeting, I said, 'What about the Bell Witch?' We got to researching it and realized it had this enormous fan base. So I brought a friend of mine from L.A. in, Jay Guffey. We rented a couple of motel rooms here in Sevierville, and about two weeks later, we emerged with a working draft of the story."

Marr gives a quick preview of the film, saying, "In 1817, a witch shows up on John Bell's farm. The witch is really a ghost or spirit. For whatever reason, she decides she is going to kill him. She shows up, starts scratching the walls and talking, and, what is so cool about this legend is whoever you talk to has their own theory."

A passion for film

The director, now 32, made his first homemade movie at age 8 with an 8-millimeter camera. He shot Bell Witch over six weeks in the fall of 2002 in Townsend, Tenn., plus he spent one day in the recesses of Sevierville's Forbidden Caverns.

Marr, who worked at a Knoxville TV station while in high school, went to a Universal Studios school in Florida and spent several years in Santa Monica, Calif., before opening Cinemarr in Sevierville in 1999. He has produced music videos and TV commercials while biding his time to make his first feature. One of the final roles cast was the voice of the title character.

"About two weeks before
finishing, I needed a witch's voice, and it was Halloween, and I was watching a show on scream queens, and Betsy started talking and telling her story, and I said, 'That's the witch.' It's just awesome, the perfect voice, really creepy," Marr says.

"I've never messed around
with my voice. It becomes what it is because of the character. . . . I didn't try for anything. It just sort
of comes out the way it does," Palmer says.

Red-carpet night

Marr has big plans for the Nashville world premiere.

"It's gonna be a really cool, red-carpet event. We're gonna have Betsy show up in a driverless carriage at about 6 p.m. and have some cement for her to put her hands in. The whole event will be simulcast, going to six cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. This will be the first time for high definition to be shown there, so people will see the movie in the truest form of high definition that is available," Marr says.

After having it in theaters through Halloween, the filmmaker hopes his haunting work will go to cable (on a high-def network) and then to home video and DVD in about four months. "Films usually fight you the whole way, but this film wanted to be made," he says.

"Shane Marr has absolutely made this spectacular film. He's taken his time. He's done everything a filmmaker should do to make his film excellent," Hart says.

"This is a true ghost story that's 200 years old. He shot it with a great director of photography, had a great backdrop of the Smoky Mountains, and he stuck closely to the true story of John Bell. This is just as good as an independent film gets." •
Donna K. Pierson plays Lucy Bell and J.D. Hart is John Bell, the victim of the witch, in Bell Witch: The Movie. "John Bell and I had a lot in common," Hart says. "I really think I related better to a 19th-century man than a 20th-century man." (BIG RIVER PICTURES)
An apparition representing the spirit of the Adams, Tenn., witch enters the Bell cabin in Bell Witch: The Movie. (BIG RIVER PICTURES)
Betsy Palmer lends her voice as she speaks for the Bell Witch. Palmer played the mother of Jason in Friday the 13th.

Shane Marr is the mastermind behind Bell Witch: The Movie. The Gatlinburg native co-wrote, directed and produced the film. (BIG RIVER PICTURES)

While the legend of Tennessee's Bell Witch is set in the community of Adams near Clarksville, Bell Witch: The Movie was filmed in Townsend, in view of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (PHOTOS COURTESY BIG RIVER PICTURES)

BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE You heard about the new Bell Witch movie with Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek, right? Of course not—in the interest of historical accuracy, the thing was shot in Romania. Not so with Shane Marr’s retelling of the terrifying Bell family legend, shot in Tennessee with a cast led by Betsy Palmer (best known as the killer mom in Friday the 13th). The movie gets its world premiere Saturday at the Ryman, preceded by a red-carpet event. For more info, see www.bellwitchthemovie.com. —Jim Ridley

Adams' 'Bell Witch' to spook Nashville

Suspense thriller reveals horrors behind the legend

By STACY SMITH SEGOVIA
The Leaf-Chronicle It won't be the first time something earth-shaking has happened at The Ryman Auditorium, the mother church and ancestral home of The Grand Ole Opry.
As the Opry changed music forever, director/producer S. Shane Marr hopes the premiere of "Bell Witch: The Movie" will change movies forever.

Saturday's red carpet world premiere will be broadcast via satellite to theaters in 80 cities. The story dates back 200 years to the havoc wreaked by a malicious ghost in Adams, 15 miles east of Clarksville.

Marr says the followers of the Bell Witch legend are rabid enough that the movie stands a good chance of being a sensation. "The fans are fanatical about the Bell Witch, like 'Star Trek,'" Marr says. In case you've missed out on the story of what producer Doris Marr calls "Tennessee's oldest spirit," here's a primer:

The Bell Witch was "a sinister entity that tormented a family on Tennessee's frontier between the years of 1817 and 1821," according to www.bellwitch.org. Farmer John Bell was plagued by sightings of unearthly animals, strange sounds, illness and physical attacks. He was finally murdered by the spirit, according to witnesses.

"The 'Bell Witch' haunting involved real people and places — just like us and the land we live on — and has been substantiated by eyewitness accounts, affidavits, and manuscripts penned by those who experienced the haunting first hand," Pat Fitzhugh writes at www.bellwitch.org.

John David Hart, the actor who plays the Bell Witch's victim, says he never would have believed he would one day swear that evil spirits walk the earth. "I really wasn't a believer in the Bell Witch until I did the research and did the movie," he says. "Now I'm damn sure she exists." What changed his mind? It was a grasp of John Bell's values, and how unlikely it was that Bell would attempt to deceive people with a hoax. "When I understood this was something that happened in 1817 to a Christian family who were farmers ..." he says. "They had no reason to concoct this. The Bell family was embarrassed of what was going on." Hart says the similarities between his and his character's lives helped him identify further with the poor man's plight. "John Bell was born and raised in North Carolina. So was I. He moved to Tennessee. So did I. He was raised on a farm. So was I. He was a churchgoing man. So am I," Hart says.

It wasn't easy for Hart to come around to the idea that the witch, who identified herself as "Kate," was real. "I'm a very conservative, pragmatic person," Hart says. "It's just a feeling I got that changed my belief — yes, there was an evil spirit after this man and his family."

Although the movie doesn't fit squarely in the "horror" genre, Hart says it's unusual to find a frightening story, a suspense thriller, based on pure fact. "When you have a true story about a witch killing a man," Hart says, "that piques my interest." Marr is hoping millions of others will feel the same.

digital cinema report cover

The September "Bell Witch" Premiere Promises a New Kind of Movie Experience

 

digital cinema report article

Bell Witch: THe Movie
The September Premiere Promises a New Kind of Movie Experience

Tickets go on sale this month for Bell Witch: The Movie and the September event promises to change the way we think about entertainment in America.

In what the producers say is a motion picture premiere first the entire program will be broadcast via satellite/fiber and projected live in full-bandwidth high definition to theatres throughout the United States. Approximately eighty theatres are currently being set up to receive this digital broadcast on September 24th. Actual venues for the event TBD.

The red carpet gala will also feature interviews with the director and producer, S. Shane Marr and with stars from the movie, including Betsy Palmer. There will also be an hour-long concert showcasing music from the soundtrack followed by the world premiere of Bell Witch: The Movie.

The project is the realization of event creator and co-executive producer Randall P. Dark's creative vision, one he has had since the early 90s.

Artists for Bell Witch: The Movie premiere concert will include: Jimbo Whaley, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The Jeannette Williams Band, The Jeff and Vida Band and Becky Buller.

The live broadcast to digital cinemas will originate from the historic Ryman Auditorium, a 2,300 seat theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, and the former home of the Grand Ole Opry.

 

Bell Witch: The Movie explores the terror experienced by members of the Bell family during the infamous haunting of the Bell Witch in the early 1800s. Tennessee is the only state that recognizes a "spirit" killed a person.

"The Ryman's historical importance makes it the perfect setting for this event. Not only is it the home of country music, it is also near the site of the legendary Bell Witch haunting in Adams, Tennessee," says Marr.

In addition to the live broadcast aspects, the groundbreaking event will also demonstrate the interactive capabilities of the new digital broadcast technology. During the concert, the cameras will cut away to the director and celebrity guests who will then offer a prize to the first person to call his cell phone. The first caller will be heard in all the other theatres and he or she will win a CD, signed poster and the opportunity to be an extra in the director's next feature film.

 

Dark is one of the pioneers of HD filmmaking and worked on his first high definition feature in 1985. His company, HD Vision Studios in Hollywood, has been involved in a variety of film and television projects. He has spearheaded a growing number of E-Cinema and D-Cinema efforts including producing live concerts seen in multiple movie theatres across the country by such recording artists as Sandi Patty, FFH and the Grateful Dead.

Several factors worked towards making Bell Witch: The Movie the ideal motion picture for introducing the concept of a multiple theatre concert and movie premiere. One was the digital high definition format itself. Added to that is the strong soundtrack full of original, traditional, bluegrass, country and Americana songs, and the incredible fan base of the Bell Witch legend.

Big River Pictures is a motion picture production company focusing on the development of quality productions in an all-digital format. Big River Pictures completed Bell Witch: The Movie in cooperation with its sister company, Cinemarr Entertainment. This is the first joint project for the two companies.

HD Vision Studios www.hdvstudios.tv
Bell Witch www.bellwitchthemovie.com
Bell Witch www.bellwitchmusic.com

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

GROUNDBREAKING DIGITAL CINEMA EVENT SET FOR SEPTEMBER

BELL WITCH: The Movie to make motion picture history with technological advancements at red carpet, live concert and movie premier

Hollywood – BELL WITCH: The Movie, produced by Big River Pictures, premieres September at the historic RYMAN Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The red carpet gala will feature interviews with the director and producer, S. Shane Marr, and stars from the movie, including Betsy Palmer, an hour-long concert showcasing music from the soundtrack and the world premiere of BELL WITCH: The Movie. In a motion picture premiere first, the entire program will be broadcast via satellite and projected live in full-bandwidth High Definition to theaters throughout the United States. Eighty theaters are currently set up to receive this digital broadcast. Actual venues for the event TBD. Tickets go on sale through TicketMaster, BellWitchTheMovie.com, and Ryman.com at 10am Central. The cost is $30.

The live broadcast to Digital Cinemas originates from the historic RYMAN Auditorium, a 2,300 seat theater in Nashville, TN, a former home of the Grand Ole Opry. “The Ryman’s historical importance makes it the perfect setting for this event. Not only is it the home of country music, it is also near the site of the legendary Bell Witch haunting in Adams, TN,” says director and event Co-Executive Producer S. Shane Marr.

In addition to the live broadcast aspects, the groundbreaking event will also demonstrate the interactive capabilities of the new digital broadcast technology. During the concert, the cameras will cut away to the Director and celebrity guests who will then offer a prize to the first person to call his cell phone. The first caller will be heard in all the other theaters and he or she will win a CD, signed poster and the opportunity to be an extra in the director's next feature film.

This project is the realization of event creator and Co-Executive Producer Randall P. Dark’s creative vision, one he has had since the early 90s. Several factors worked towards making BELL WITCH: The Movie the ideal motion picture for introducing the concept of a multiple theater concert and movie premiere via digital broadcast. Those factors include: BELL WITCH: The Movie’s High Definition format, strong soundtrack full of original, traditional, bluegrass, country and Americana songs, and the incredible fan base of the Bell Witch legend.

BELL WITCH: The Movie explores the terror experienced by members of the Bell family during the infamous haunting of the Bell Witch in the early 1800s. Tennessee is the only state that recognizes a “Spirit” killed a person.

Big River Pictures:

Big River Pictures is a motion picture production company focusing on the development of quality productions in an all-digital format. Big River Pictures completed Bell Witch: The Movie in cooperation with its sister company, Cinemarr Entertainment. This is the first joint project for the two companies.

-ENDS-

BELL WITCH: The Movie FACT SHEET

Event Concept:
This is the WORLD PREMIERE for BELL WITCH: The Movie. The event will begin with red carpet interviews, an interactive interview with the film’s director, S. Shane Marr, an interview with the film’s star, Betsy Palmer (Friday the 13th), a live concert, and the first public screening of BELL WITCH: The Movie.

Creative Concept:

Randall P. Dark is the creator and Co-Executive Producer of this event. His 19 years of work exclusively in the High Definition medium have distinguished him as both an artistic and technological visionary.

Producer / Director:

S. Shane Marr is the producer and director of BELL WITCH: The Movie and Producer / Director of the premiere event. A veteran of film, Marr stopped shooting in 35mm and began working exclusively in High Definition in 2000.

BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE SCREENED IN NEW YORK AT TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL & TOWER, One Central Park, New York, NY.

A private screening held in the Trump Tower Penthouse Suite, BELL WITCH: The Movie, was honored by the special guest appearance of Ms. Betsy Palmer (Friday the 13Th) who becomes the ‘spirit’ in the movie.

When Ms. Palmer viewed the film she is quoted as saying, “This is not a stage play, this is not a film, this is a legend that has come to life” with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face she got up from her seat and went to producer/director S. Shane Marr and hugged him and said, “Shane, you have given me the jewel in the crown of my career, I thank you”.

BELL WITCH: The Movie is the true story set in the early 1800’s of John Bell, a farmer who moved his family to Tennessee to start a new life. but as fate would have it all he found was terror and spirit who called herself “Kate” who tormented and killed him. She said she would return in 107 years, she is long overdue.

Tennessee is the only state to recognize that a spirit killed a person. The movie is set in the Smoky mountains and is surrounded by 19 Original, Traditional, Country and Bluegrass songs. It features fresh new faces and extraordinary young talent.

BELL WITCH: The Movie is a HD Digital Film in 5.01 surround sound, produced and directed by S. Shane Marr and Big River Pictures is being released this September to Digital Cinemas throughout the country.

BELL WITCH THE MOVIE NOVEL PREMIERS IN NEW YORK

New York - BELL WITCH: The Movie NOVEL premiered last week in New York City at the International Book Expo America drawing worldwide attention from industry professionals.

the book, written by Dr. Robert Maughon, is a whimsical story based around the BELL WITCH: The Movie screenplay by S. Shane Marr and Jay Guffey. Produced/Directed by S. Shane Marr. BELL WITCH: The Movie NOVEL, which includes over 35 full pages of photos from the BELL WITCH: The Movie, is currently available through online retailers Amazon and at www.BellWitchTheBook.com. Publishers plan to have it available for nationwide in-store retail soon.

BELL WITCH: The Movie NOVEL is a true story of terror in the 1800s. The legend is centered on the Bell family and its patriarch, John Bell. A spirit, who called herself “Kate,” tormented the entire family for years and eventually killed John Bell. To this day, the State of Tennessee recognizes that “The Bell Witch” killed John Bell.

Dr. Maughon surrounds the legendary tale with an updated twist in which a descendent of John Bell and his daughter face off again against “Kate, ” the Bell Witch.

BELL WITCH: The Movie NOVEL is published and distributed by Sugarlands Publishing. BELL WITCH: The Movie is produced by Big River Pictures. For more information about the book and BELL WITCH: The Movie visit www.bellwitchthemovie.com .

-ENDS

 

Bell Witch the Movie Mixes in THX surround Sound

Hollywood (CA)--Big River Pictures announced that "BELL WITCH: The Movie" was mixed in THX 5.1 Surround Sound.

Re-recording mixers Paul Ratajczak and Gary Alexander (Oscar™ award winner - "Out of Africa") completed the project's mixing.

"Paul [Ratajczak] and Gary [Alexander] were able to bring the Bell Witch sound to a level we never thought possible with a THX 5.1 surround sound mix," says Bell Witch Director Shane Marr.

"BELL WITCH: The Movie," a film detailing the legendary 1800s haunting in Adams, Tennessee, is scheduled to premiere

-ENDS-

THX Mixing Stage 1 THX Mixing Stage Console
Gary Alexander and Paul Ratajczak mixing BW: TM

BETSY PALMER TO STAR AS THE BELL WITCH
Big River Pictures Announces Today

Hollywood (CA)--Big River Pictures announced today that Betsy Palmer will play the lead voice-over title
role ("Kate" the Bell Witch) in the upcoming "BELL WITCH: The Movie." Palmer will fly in from New York to
record the voice-over role at Burbank’s Mercury Sound Studios.

Palmer, one of the most famous scream queens, is best known in the horror genre for her role as Jason's mother (Mrs. Voorhees) in the original "Friday The 13th." But she is also famous for her numerous television appearances and series such as "I've Got A Secret" in the '50s.

After searching for "the right voice," director S. Shane Marr heard Palmer’s voice on a Halloween television show and said, "she’s the witch!" Now he comments that they are thrilled to "have such an incredible legend of 'screen scream' bringing to life the Bell Witch."

"BELL WITCH: The Movie," a film detailing the legendary 1800s haunting in Adams, Tennessee, is scheduled to premiere

-ENDS-

Betsy Palmer in the studio Betsy Palmer autographs the
BELL WITCH: The Movie Poster

BELL WITCH: The Movie GRACES PAGES OF FANGORIA

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Hollywood (CA)--Big River Pictures is pleased to announce that an article about BELL WITCH: The Movie is in the current issue of FANGORIA #239, with a circulation of 214,500. This issue will be available until January 2005.

The article, written by Sarah Kendzior, features an interview with the film’s director, answers questions about the making of BELL WITCH: The Movie and includes production photos from the motion picture.

"We’re thrilled that Fangoria chose to write about BELL WITCH: The Movie," says director S. Shane Marr. "Their coverage was great - and, after all, it’s very exciting to read about this project in a magazine I grew up reading."

For more information about BELL WITCH: The Movie, visit www.bellwitchthemovie.com

For more information about FANGORIA visit www.fangoria.com

-ENDS-

Betsy Palmer with Fangoria Magazine

PRESS RELEASE: BELL WITCH: American Songwriter Magazine

The Movie, just got wonderful recognition in the latest copy of American Songwriter Magazine. You can pick up the magazine, which is filled with many great stories about music in the film industry at your favorite book store.

-----BELL WITCH THE MOVIE HANDPICKED

When BELL WITCH:The Movie releases later this year, the music heard in the movie and on the 20-song soundtrack will have been handpicked by the principals of the project.

Doris Marr of Big River Pictures LLC, based in Sevierville Tenn., says they went out of their way to find the best possible music for each scene. They chose songs from [Jimbo Whaley]*, Beck Buller with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike Band, Jeff and Vida, the Wells Family, Jeanette and Johnny Williams and Marshal Andy, all of whom are acoustic-based singer/ songwriters and musicians.

The movie takes place in the 1800’s, and is the true story of John Bell and his family who lived in Adams, Tennessee. John Bell is the only person in Tennessee history to be terrorized by a spirit who called herself Kate.
Marr says they were looking for music that would sound like it came from early 1800’s. They used some traditional songs along with new material that sounds like it was from that era.

One of the songs [Jimbo Whaley]* wrote is titled “The Dreams We Dream.”Whaley was standing in the studio, listening to the actors who portray Betsy and Joshua; when he saw the hurt in their eyes and desperate situation they were in, the song came to him.

“He sang the chorus to us that day,” Marr relates. “He couldn’t even hear what the actors were saying, but he could tell what the scene was all about from the expressions on their faces.”

Another of Whaley’s songs is being used on the trailer for the movie, Shane Marr had a copy of [Jimbo’s]* CD when he started listening to music for the trailer. He tried several different songs from other artists before he remembered a song on the PMR album called “The Foundation.”

When I put that song behind the scene, it just came together perfectly,” Shane says. “I put a low droll at the first of it, and we all saw it and got chills. So I called Jimbo and ask him to come down and see it, and he couldn’t believe it was his music. The trailer won a National TELLY Award. Jimbo’s music made the trailer strong enough to be able to move the music to the next level.”

Valerie Smith and Becky Buller wrote “Old John Bell,” which Doris terms their Bell Witch Song, “They came and watched the scene from the movie and on their way home, wrote the song.
“Old John Bell” is haunting and brings chills to the listener. Valerie’s unforgettable voice lends a thriller dimension to the movie.”

Doris says they found some of the music by wandering the halls during a National Folk Aliance Assn. Meeting in Nashville. “We were just walking around the halls, and there were people playing everywhere, and in the lobby was a couple, Jeff and Vida. He was playing claw hammer banjo; he was so good and their energy was so high. We listened to a lot of different bands but many were not playing the music we were looking for to put in the movie. “So I ask them if they were doing original songs, and they said yes. One thing we loved was ‘Dead and Gone,’ and it was one of their original tunes. I ask her to send a CD because the song was perfect for the movie. We listened to their CD and called and ask them to come to Nashville to record the song for the movie.

“When they got here Vida said they had only been in Nashville three times. The first time they just drove through the city. The second time was when we saw them playing in the lobby at the Folk Aliance, and we found them just before they ran them off. And the third time was when they were there to lay down this track for the movie.”----Varnell Hackett

Editors Note: Shane and Doris Marr were part of a panel at the Songwriter’s Workshop in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
BELL WITCH: The Movie www.bellwitchthemovie.com


American Songwriter Magazine is a National Magazine visit: www.americansongwriter.com

BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE STORY ON JIGTIME: MUSIC AT YOUR FINGERTIPS WEBSITE

Bell Witch – The Movie

Many of you will have seen me mention the Bell Witch Movie in the weekly newsletter recently and may be wondering what all the fuss is about. I am a great fan of movies that tell the folklore style stories of the places I know and love and the story of the Bell Witch is one that has intrigued people for many years in the hilly world of East Tennessee .

Not only that but the movie boasts a rich soundtrack of authentic mountain music featuring people like Jeff and Vida Band and [Jimbo Whaley]*. This rich musical backdrop only serves as a nice diversion for the strange story that inspired this movie.

People all over this part of Tennessee know the Bell Witch story well. Most believe it is based on real events. In the 1800s a North Carolina native John Bell moved to Tennessee to start a new life. Not a huge move in this day and age but back then it was a major relocation. In the years that followed it is told that John and his family were haunted by the Witch who called herself Kate. It all started they say with a strange encounter that Bell had with a mysterious animal in his corn field which he tried to shoot but which disappeared. Later that night the Bells started to hear beating on the outside walls of their cabin. Of course that was just the beginning of a torment that would end John Bell's life and haunt his family until 1828 when the entity vowed to return in 107 years. The year she was due to return was 1935 and although no real reports of the Bell Witch have surfaced since then many believe that she has taken up residency in Adams, Tennessee.

Director Shane Marr has kept a very authentic feel for the real lives of the characters with this telling of the story. Shot as an independent production and already complete, the only delay in the movie's release seems to be the huge interest from distributors. In the wake of recent paranormal hits such as The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project and movies like O' Brother Where Art Thou and Songcatcher rekindling a love of American folk music and folklore this film has all the makings of a hit. Shane and the production company has promised that we will be the first to know when the release date is finally set and has hinted he may even let us have a well coveted seat at the premiere. And why shouldn't I attend. I have been haunted by a girl called Kate before. But that was a long time ago in my heady youth.

Excerpts from JigTime

Be sure to check out the JigTime website: www.jigtime.com

ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY: "POP CULTURE STILL KEEPS LEGEND OF BELL WITCH ALIVE"
REACHES ALL OF U.S.

The Bell Witch Team would like to give thanks for all the e-mails that we have been receiving from all throughout the country concerning the Associated Press Story that has been running for the past couple of days. Please continue to e-mail us if you happen to see this story in your local hometown newspaper and we will add it to the ongoing list below. Due to the overwhelming response and to keep this page from taking a while to load we are going to list the name, city, logo of the TV/Newspaper/Radio station coverage of this story. Thank you again for all the e-mails, keep them coming.

Sincerely,
The Bell Witch Team

Here is the Associated Press Story in it entirety:

By KARIN MILLER, Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - John Bell kept it to himself in 1817 when he first spotted strange-looking animals in his cornfield that mysteriously vanished when he tried to shoot them.

Then came the rapping, gnawing and scratching sounds in the night, and complaints from his children that an unseen hand was pulling their hair, tugging at their bedcovers and slapping their faces.

As Bell eventually invited people to stay in his home in hopes of solving the mystery, they told of a spirit who whispered, whistled, quoted Scripture and sang hymns. Even Andrew Jackson, who later became the nation’s seventh president, was said to have had a haunting encounter.

When Bell died in 1821, the family blamed a spirit known as the Bell Witch for poisoning him. They also say it broke up his youngest daughter’s engagement to a neighbor.

Although reports of the hauntings tapered off after Bell’s death, the legend of the Bell Witch has only seemed to grow stronger.

This month, a ballet on the subject was produced in Nashville. A movie shot in eastern Tennessee may be in theaters or on video before the end of the year. There are untold numbers of books and popular Web sites that focus on Bell Witch tales.

Carney Bell, the great-great-great-great grandson of John Bell, is portraying his ancestor in the only production authorized by the family: ‘‘Spirit: The Authentic Story of the Bell Witch of Tennessee.’’

The final performance of the year is scheduled for Halloween night on an outdoor stage – about a mile from the old Bell homestead northwest of Nashville in what is now the town of Adams.

John Alford, a Nashville actor who wrote the play, says the Bell Witch legend remains interesting to audiences today.

‘‘The most fascinating thing about it for me is that all the major participants were real people,’’ he said. ‘‘Either it was a hoax on a massive scale or group hysteria on the level of the Salem witch hunts or something very strange happened that no one can explain.’’

Alford based his play on an 1894 book by Clarksville newspaper publisher M.V. Ingram, who recounted stories from a diary of one of Bell’s sons.

‘‘There have been a number of versions that portrayed the Bell family as less than intelligent or unsavory morally and sometimes both,’’ Alford said. ‘‘I know the Bell family and it was important to me to do something they could support and stand by. I don’t try to offer an explanation. The legend is without one.’’

Carney Bell, 70, said he got involved when the play was first presented last year as a fund-raiser for the Adams Museum because he wanted to make sure it didn't portray his family negatively.

He says family members – many of whom moved to Mississippi after John Bell’s death – have continued to experience strange events that could be manifestations of the Bell Witch, but nothing as blatant as the events of the early 19th century.

According to Ingram’s book, neighbors were invited to spend the night in the home to confirm the strange things the family had claimed. Some of the guests shouted out questions. Eventually came the reply: ‘‘I am a spirit; I was once very happy but have been disturbed.’’

It reportedly gave many answers about its origins but came to be known as ‘‘Kate’’ after claiming at one point to be ‘‘Kate Batts’ witch.’’ Batts was an eccentric neighbor who had battled with the Bells over a slave purchase.

The spirit reportedly delighted in discussing the Bible with guests and was able to repeat two sermons given simultaneously at churches 13 miles apart. But it also was known to cuss and spit, and on at least one occasion attacked a man who doubted its existence.

But most of the physical attacks were directed at John Bell and his youngest daughter, Betsy, Ingram wrote. After Bell died and Betsy broke off her engagement, the manifestations lessened and eventually stopped.

There were reports that the spirit promised to return in 1935, and that is the premise used by Sevierville director Shane Marr for a movie now in post-production. He hopes to have a distribution deal soon.

‘‘When I moved back to Tennessee from L.A., I wanted to make a true story, a period piece with a good soundtrack and I wanted to make a spooky story,’’ Marr said. ‘‘The Bell Witch fit into that perfectly. It’s a campfire story that I heard when I was little.’’

New York choreographer Ann Marie DeAngelo said she had never heard of the Bell Witch until she was asked to participate in the production that opened Nashville’s ballet season.

‘‘I really worked with three themes, a force that disturbs, a marriage that can’t happen and a death. The overriding theme is about love and loss,’’ she said. ‘‘I think it’s a good story even if you don’t know anything about the Bell Witch.’’

BELOW IS A LIST OF ALL THE NEWSPAPERS, RADIO STATIONS, TV STATIONS AND WEBSITES THAT WE KNOW OF THAT RAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STORY, IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS STORY IN YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER AND WE DON'T HAVE IT LISTED PLEASE E-MAIL US [bellwitchmovie@aol.com]

MSNBC

WASHINGTON POST - WASHINGTON, D.C.

NEWSDAY.COM - NEW YORK

NEW YORK NEWSDAY- NEW YORK,NY

THE MODESTO BEE - MODESTO, CA

BEAUFORT GAZETTE - BEAUFORT, SC

WBIR.COM - KNOXVILLE, TN

KANSAS CITY STAR - KANSAS CITY. MO

FEDERAL NEWS RADIO.COM

THE NEWS TRIBUNE - TACOMA, WA

FORT MILL TIMES - FORT MILL, SC

CAROLINA NEWSPAPERS - SOUTH CAROLINA

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS - ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

THE SAC TICKET - SACRAMENTO, CA

COAST TO COAST AM WITH GEORGE NOORY

NEWSOBSERVER.COM - RALEIGH, NC

TRI-CITYHERALD.COM - VOICE OF THE MID-COLUMBIA KENNEWICK, PASCO AND RICHLAND, WA

THE SACRAMENTO BEE - SACRAMENTO, CA

WORLD NEWS NETWORK

KNOXNEWS.COM - KNOXVILLE, TN

THESTATE.COM - SOUTH CAROLINA'S HOME PAGE

ISLAND PACKET ONLINE - BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC

COURIER & PRESS - EVANSVILLE, IN

NEWSCHANNEL 5.COM - NASHVILLE, TN

STAR TRIBUNE - MINNEAPOLIS - ST. PAUL, MN

VICTORIA ADVOCATE - VICTORIA, TX

EVERYTHING NEW ORLEANS - NEW ORELEANS, LA

THE HEARLD ONLINE - SOUTH CAROLINA

STATESMANJOURNAL.COM - SALEM, OR

MEMPHIS REVIEW - MEMPHIS, TN

MIDSOUTHNEWS.COM

OHIO UNIVERSITY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION - ATHENS, OH

THE OAKRIDGER.COM - OAK RIDGE, TN

THE ANOMAILIST - UNITED STATES

HAUNTEDBAY.COM

MYTHOLOGY WEB

UNEXPLAINEDMYSTERIES.COM

PARANORMAL NEWS

PARANORMAL PHENOMENA WITH STEPHEN WAGNER

Paranormal Phenomena

WICCANET.COM

WiccaNet

BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE FEATURED IN LATEST JIGTIME: MUSIC AT YOUR FINGERTIPS NEWS ISSUE

JigTime News
Issue Seven

It doesn’t seem like a week since we last saw each other but maybe that’s because it has only been 5 days. They don’t call me Mr Math for nothing now do they? This week I still have no solid proof that the Bell Witch Movie will be making an appearance as predicted by some. The only possible spooky encounter that may be attributed to this ghostly legend was an eerie voice ordering tickets for Merlefest. If you think you have spotted this scary movie don’t approach it but contact us at JigTime and we will check out the apparition.

Excerpts from JigTime News

BELL WITCH: The Movie ARTICLE FEATURED IN JIGTIME: MUSIC AT YOUR FINGERTIPS NEWS SECTION

The Bell Witch is a new movie about some spooly goings on in Tennessee. The great mystery though seems to when it will be out. There are a few reports of it being sighted by various people but so far no concrete proof that the movie really exists. JigTime will be heading into the woods in the coming days to uncover the mystery of the disappearing movie. Or maybe I will just e-mail someone and ask them. If anyone spots this phenomenon please don't approach it as it may be a little eerie.

Oh and the reason it's on JigTime is because not only is the movie set in my beloved Appalachians but the soundtrack is full of great mountain music and is looking like a winner, too.

Excerpts from JigTime


WXIA-TV ATLANTA NEWS 11 ALIVE: BELL WITCH PROJECTS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- John Bell didn't tell anyone in 1817 when he first spotted strange-looking animals in his cornfield that mysteriously vanished when he tried to shoot them.

Then came the rapping, gnawing and scratching sounds in the night, and complaints from his children that an unseen hand was pulling their hair, tugging at their bedcovers and slapping their faces.

As Bell eventually invited people to stay in his home in hopes of solving the mystery, they told of a spirit who whispered, whistled, quoted Scripture and sang hymns.

Even Andrew Jackson, who later became the nation's seventh president, was said to have had a
haunting encounter.

When Bell died in 1821, the family blamed a spirit known as the Bell Witch for poisoning him.

They also say it broke up his youngest daughter's engagement to a neighbor.

Although reports of the hauntings tapered off after Bell's death, the legend of the Bell Witch has only seemed to grow stronger.

There are untold numbers of books and popular Web sites that focus on Bell Witch tales.

There were reports that the spirit promised to return in 1935, and that is the premise used by filmmaker Shane Marr for a movie now in post-production.

Excerpts from WXIA-TV Atlanta News 11 Alive

"BEWITCHED" - BELL WITCH: The Movie FEATURED IN ARTICLE IN THE TENNESSEAN

By KEVIN NANCE, Staff Writer, Tennessean -

There are at least 35 books, thousands of Web sites and half a dozen plays about the Bell Witch, a supernatural spirit who, according to the beloved local legend, haunted a farmhouse in Adams, Tenn., in the early 1800s.

'BELL WITCH: The Movie' -
''It's a good, old campfire story,'' says Shane Marr, director/producer/co-writer of BELL WITCH: The Movie, shot last year in East Tennessee. ''We've gotten over 4 million hits on our Web site (www.bellwitchthemovie.com) since the first of the year, which tells you what an incredible cult following the story has.''

When he was looking for a spooky story to turn into a movie, Marr says, he remembered the Bell Witch story, which he'd heard as a child.

He wrote the script with Jay Duffy, a Los Angeles-based screenwriter, and shot the picture in Townsend on the set of the old Christy TV series, wrapping up principal photography in November.

He says his Sevierville-based production company, Big River Pictures, is in negotiation with a distributor. Early indications are that the movie will be released next spring.

''We've tried to stay as true to the original legend as possible, mainly for the fans,'' Marr says. ''It's not a slasher-type film, with a lot of bad language. It's just a good, old spooky movie — a family-style horror film, if there is such a thing."

Excerpts from The Tennessean


BELL WITCH: The Movie AT THE IBMA AWARDS

Bell Witch: The Movie had a strong presence at this year's International Bluegrass Music Association Awards in Louisville, KY. Three of the bands that are on the soundtrack for the movie were there with booths set up in the convention center. Those bands were: Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The Jeanette Williams Band and Jimbo Whaley. Click here to read more.

VALERIE SMITH & LIBERTY PIKE INTERVIEW WITH BLUEGRASS MUSIC PROFILES MAGAZINE

Valerie Smith talks about "BELL WITCH: The Movie" in the latest Bluegrass Music Profiles magazine. In the interview she talks about how she and Liberty Pike were involved with the soundtrack for "Bell Witch: The Movie". To read more click here

ENCOUNTERS: PARANORMAL RADIO SHOW

"Bell Witch is the Mother of all Ghost Stories..." - Lonefeather

Hosted by Lonefeather, this 1 hour radio show, which airs Coast to Coast on the IBC Radio Network, features an interview with director S. Shane Marr about the upcoming "BELL WITCH: The Movie" and the Bell Witch Legend. Find out more here.


BELL WITCH PICTURE CAR WINS BEST OF CLASS IN CAR SHOW

Herman McGhee, owner of the Bell Witch Picture Car, wins 1st Place, Best of Class in Rarity Bays Harvest Moon Festival Auto Show. To find out more about Herman and the Bell Witch Picture Car, you can read his lastest newspaper article by clicking here.

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE BELL WITCH: The Movie WEBSITE

*Band name has changed since original pubication.

 

BACK TO THE OTHER BELL WITCH MOVIE SITES

BELL WITCH THE MOVIE

BELL WITCH SOUNDTRACK

BELL WITCH PREMIERE

BELL WITCH STORE