Over the last 15 years, Lee Daniels has slapped his name in front of a Butler, a Paperboy, a Precious, and a United States vs. Billie Holiday. Finally, though, we’ll get to see “Lee Daniel’s exorcism thriller based on the real-life Ammons haunting case by Latoya Ammons.” Per Deadline, Netflix conjured up $65 million at auction last night to win Daniels’ next film, a star-studded possession movie based on a supposedly real-life exorcism.
Because Daniels’ name is above the title, he’s amassed a heavenly cast of stars, including Octavia Spencer, Andra Day, Glenn Close, Rob Morgan, Caleb McLaughlin, and Aunjanue Ellis. The movie is set to begin production in mid-2022.
“Lee Daniel’s Exorcist Babies,” which we assume will be the title, is based, in part, on the real-life case of Latoya Ammons, who in the early 2010s claimed her three children suffered from demonic possession. Daniels used the story as the basis for a fictional retelling, much like how The Amityville Horror and The Conjuring emphasized “based on a true story” to upsell scares.
Ammons’ children reportedly exhibited violent behavior with a supernatural bent. According to an Indianapolis Star article from 2014, a nine-year-old boy walked backward up a wall, like a gosh-darn Spider-Man, and levitated like dang-ass Superman. “He walked up the wall, flipped over her, and stood there,” registered nurse Willie Lee Walker told The Star. “There’s no way he could’ve done that.”
Still, being that demonic possession isn’t real, psychologists at the time were skeptical that this was not the spirit of Beezelbub inhabiting the children. Instead, they called the situation “an unfortunate and sad case of a child who has been enduced into a delusional system perpetuated” by his mother and, possibly, other relatives.
Nevertheless, local priests reportedly exorcised the demons, solving their spiritual problems and allowing Ammons to option the rights to her story. Previously, the incident was the subject of a documentary, Demon House, directed by Zak Bagans, who purchased the home for the film. Unfortunately, he had the house demolished in 2016, putting to rest any chance of a visit from Ghost Adventures. How we would’ve liked to see those guys notice a temperature change in that house. C’est le vie.