Archive for Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stull residents wary of rock guitarist Slash’s film project

January 26, 2012


Even for the Stull Cemetery this showdown seems a little surreal.

In one corner, there is Slash — the heavy-metal rock icon and former lead guitarist for the band Guns N’ Roses. In the other corner, there is Iona, an 86-year-old rural Douglas County resident intent on keeping riffraff out of her neighborhood’s historic cemetery.

It sure appears a clash is coming.

According to reports in The Hollywood Reporter, a trade publication that covers the movie industry, Slash’s newly formed film company has signed a deal to produce a horror movie with a plot that centers on the Stull Cemetery and the urban legend that the cemetery about 10 miles west of Lawrence is one of the seven gateways to Hell.

News of the production has created a fury, not of the demonic type but more of the neighborhood type.

“I would like to get a hold of whoever this fellow is,” said Iona Spencer, who has lived near the cemetery for the last 65 years, “so I can tell him to just shut it up.”

The movie is scheduled to begin filming next month, but none of the shooting will happen at Stull. Instead, the movie is slated to be shot in Louisiana, according to The Reporter. But Spencer said that doesn’t do much to ease her mind because the movie undoubtedly will spread the “lies” that the cemetery is haunted, which will lead to more sightseers and vandals.

“People don’t understand that what they do to this cemetery is very hurtful to those of us who have loved ones here,” said Spencer, who has 10 family members buried at the cemetery.

Neighbors in the area have tried to ward off the cemetery’s association with the occult for decades now. Spencer estimated that it was in the 1970s that Kansas University students started showing up at the cemetery on Halloween — she thinks because a professor and a report in the student newspaper billed the cemetery as haunted.

“One time we had several hundred kids standing on graves because they were told if they stood on a grave, the devil would come up,” Spencer said. “Well guess what? He didn’t come up.”

The no-show, however, did nothing to stop the legend from growing. On the Internet, it is easy to find stories that one of the graves at Stull is of a witch who was a girlfriend of the Devil. Or that the place is so demonic that Pope John Paul II once ordered his plane to not fly over eastern Kansas.

All nonsense, neighbors say, but not all harmless.

The caretaker for the cemetery, who asked that his name not be published, said he still has to repair vandalism at the cemetery about two times per month, with broken tombstones the most serious infractions. As the legend has taken to the Internet, the vandals and onlookers have become much more than just college students, he said.

The old church — where Satan’s “unholy son” is entombed, according to one version of the tale — was suddenly torn down in 2002.

The caretaker, though, said that hasn’t done anything to slow down the unwelcome visitors. Now, Spencer and others worry how many new onlookers may come to the site if an entire movie is devoted to the legends of Stull.

Indeed, that appears to be the focus of Slash’s venture. Attempts to reach representatives with Anchor Bay Films, the company that signed a deal to distribute the movie, or Slash’s Slasher Films, were not successful on Wednesday.

But according to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie, titled “Nothing to Fear,” is being dubbed as a tale of “a family whose journey towards a better life in a small town is savagely derailed by a charismatic but emotionally conflicted man of the cloth.” The Reporter article goes on to say the movie will be set in Stull, and then suggests a “road trip” to see the alleged gateway to Hell.

That, of course, is what residents don’t want to see. Spencer said several neighbors keep an eye on the property and call the sheriff when they see suspicious activity. The cemetery is posted as a no-trespassing area, which Spencer said is perhaps the saddest part of this story.

“A cemetery is supposed to be the most peaceful place on earth,” Spencer said. “It is supposed to be the one place you know that you can go and no one will ever hurt you.”

— City reporter Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-6362. Follow him



Chad Lawhorn 6 years, 5 months ago

Guitar World ranks him No. 15 on its list of "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time." Mmmmkay. Thanks, Chad

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

and Jethro Tull received the Grammy for Best Metal Act (took it away from Metallica in 91') so labels that others put onto things don't make them true. GnR were "hard rock." Mmmmkay.

Pastor_Bedtime 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't know, Chad. Looking at that list there's lots of great guitarists, no doubt. But Heavy Metal? Hard rock at best in several of the guys on the list. Guns n Roses always seemed more glam rock or maybe arena rock than metal to me. I know there's a wide range of music under the term though.

Liberty275 6 years, 5 months ago

I'd put Slash and Angus in the same genre, rock.

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

Now now son, Angus is much more flash (80's meaning of flash) than Slash

Amesmb 6 years, 5 months ago

It's not a gateway to hell, nothing unusual ever happens there, it doesn't even LOOK cool anymore since they tore the church down, so leave those people and their cemetery alone already.

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 5 months ago

justanotherface wrote: "Have a professional paranormal team come to investigate and give the all clear."

Yes! And to further lend credibility, they can air it on the SyFy channel as part of the Ghost Hunters program!!

Then, follow it up by having the Finding Bigfoot show film in Stull, too. Finally we can have someone troll for a Loch Ness-like monster living in the bottom of Clinton Lake. Those three things combined will conclusively put to rest all the notions of whether or not those things are real right here in Douglas County!!

audvisartist 6 years, 5 months ago

Professional and Paranormal don't belong in the same sentence together.

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

People, people, people, you think the devil lives in Stull? No, he don't! That god darn devil lives in Topeka and I have proof:

That is the real devil as he inflicts pain on the poor, old, young, non-white people, women, animals and any thinking person. Lets exorcise (with your vote) the demon!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 5 months ago

Rich dude wants to whizz away a bunch of money making a movie? Go for it!

Shane Garrett 6 years, 5 months ago

Had friends once whom visited that cemetery. Said they saw a dog with glowing red eyes. And the ground turned all mushy and they had a hard time running away. (but then don't most animal eyes glow when a light is shinned upon them? And would not the ground be soft in a grave yard with dew? And I suppose the LSD they was on didn't help.)

Gareth Skarka 6 years, 5 months ago

I love that this is somehow being treated like news.

Stull was the subject and setting of the season finale of the CW TV show "Supernatural" two seasons ago, and the residents didn't make a stink because a) It wasn't filmed there and b) they most likely hadn't heard of it, despite the fact that the viewing figures of the show guarantee it has a larger audience than any potential low-budget film.

Assuming this gets made, I doubt it will be filmed there either, because Kansas sucks at attracting film production to this state.

So, basically, you went out to the middle of nowhere, and asked a bunch of hayseeds their opinions for no reason.

imastinker 6 years, 4 months ago

I love how out of all the articles about the church coming down in '02 none point out that it happened on Good Friday!

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