Blumhouse Investigates Satanic Panic in New England

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The quiet New England town was shaken by a vicious murder spree nearly 90 years after Lizzie Borden’s notorious acquittal.

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Growing up in Massachusetts, I heard many stories about Fall River and its infamous axe murderess Lizzie Borden, who spent most of her adult life in seclusion after being acquitted of two heinous crimes. In college, I wrote a screenplay about the Borden murders, and because every good story requires its writer to have a keen sense of the time and place in which it takes place, my mother gifted me a very heavy book called Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River, which offered an incredible history of Fall River around the 1890s.

Nearly 90 years after the Borden case put Fall River on the map, so to speak, the quiet New England town was shaken by another series of vicious crimes that sparked a satanic panic and brought back memories of the region’s infamous Salem Witch Trials. Now, Blumhouse Television (The Jinx) has teamed with Epix (Helter Skelter: An American Myth) on Fall River, a docuseries about the killing spree featuring illuminating new evidence that will shed light on murders that were long thought to have been solved.

The four-part series begins in 1979, when three young women were killed in a streak of brutal murders that prompted police to alleged a satanic cult was practicing human sacrifice. The cult leader, a man named Carl Drew, was captured and sent to prison for life without parole.

Twenty years after the trial, lead investigator Paul Carey became so haunted by inconsistencies in the stories that he re-investigated his own case after he retired. Evidence surfaced that brought the entire story into question. Through exclusive interviews with new witnesses and intimate conversations with Drew, Fall River will tell the true story of a town caught in the grips of the paranoia and fear around the 1980s Satanic Panic.

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Image via Epix/Blumhouse Television

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The series hails from director James Buddy Day (Oxygen’s Manson: The Women), who also executive produces under his Pyramid Productions banner alongside Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, Mary Lisio, Jill Burkhart and Epix president Michael Wright.

“James Buddy Day and Blumhouse have brilliantly told this story of a town rattled by crime and caught in the throes of the satanic panic,” Wright said in a statement “This series uncompromisingly seeks justice for the vulnerable who fell victim to their dangerous surroundings, and closure to those that have gone for so many years without it.”

Fall River does more than chronicle the sensational murders that beset this town, but gives a face and voice to the marginalized victims, women who, because they were sex workers, did not receive the care and attention warranted during the investigation into their deaths,” said Blumhouse TV’s Lisio. “Over the course of filming, we uncovered aspects of the investigation that were previously unknown, [including] new evidence that 41 years later bring us closer to the truth of what really happened to these women.”

Fall River will premiere May 16 at 10 p.m. on Epix, and the series will be distributed internationally by MGM. Watch the first teaser trailer below, and brace yourself for plenty of those Massachusetts accents you’ve come to love over the years.

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