No, this isn't a reality show – 50 States of Fright is a scripted horror series for upcoming shortform content digital service Quibi. The series explores urban legends and ghost stories from each of America's 50 states. Sam Raimi is at the helm and he's gathered a small army of familiar names to star and direct.
It goes right along with Quibi's commitment to producing high-profile, big name shows while keeping episode lengths short and watchable on mobile devices.
Oh – I almost forgot the best part – they released a short teaser and it looks amazing. Safe to say that "The Hype Train" has already left the station!
What we know so far: each episode will center on a different urban legend / scary story from a different state. The first season is said to include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, and Kansas.
The cast includes: Rachel Brosnahan, Travis Fimmel, Christina Ricci, Jacob Batalon, Ming-Na Wen, Taissa Farmiga, Asa Butterfield, John Marshall Jones, Ron Livingston, Victoria Justice, Karen Allen, Colin Ford, Alex Fitzalan, James Ransone, Emily Hampshire, Elizabeth Reaser, Rory Culkin, Warren Christie, Danay Garcia and William B. Davis.
Some pretty great horror directors are also behind the camera, including Isa Mazei, Daniel Goldhaber, Lee Cronin; co-writer of A Quiet Place, Scott Beck, is also involved.
One episode featured heavily in the trailer is "The Golden Arm". This folktale has strong ties to Mark Twain, which would make sense for this to be Missouri's episode – but it's not. Surprise! Sam and Ivan Rami keep this one for themselves and their home state of Michigan. The story stars Brosnahan as the wife, a woman with a prosthetic arm made of gold. After her untimely death, her husband digs up her grave to sell the arm out of greed. She haunts him, as she cannot rest unless her body is intact. The episode also stars Fimmel and Marshall Jones.
An episode called "Red Rum" is said to be Colorado's episode, but we don't know exactly what it's about, or (if it has any) ties to The Shining. It features Ricci, Batalon, Justice, and Ford in addition to being written and directed by duo Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber.
There also seems to be an episode centered around "America's largest ball of twine" (it's actually the world's largest ball of twine, but who's really keeping track) in Kansas, but try as I might, I can't find any dark past about this, other than the guy who started this giant twine ball being in a twine-ball-war with a guy in Minnesota (and the states are still in contention over the record to this day, despite both of the men being long dead). Even weirder though, it stars Wen, directed by Yoko Okumura and written by Mae Catt.
"13 Steps to Hell" is about a set of stairs in a Washington cemetery that are said to lead to hell, and anyone who reaches the bottom of the stairs (the thirteenth step) at night has a vision of hell, said to make the person go crazy. No word on actors yet, but it's written by Sarah Conradt-Kroehler and directed by Lee Cronin (The Hole in the Ground).
Considered to be one of the "most haunted places in Minnesota", "Grey Cloud Island" is home to a population of 300 living and a whole lot more ghost stories. It's unsure exactly which of the spooky stories they're telling about this island, but no matter what they go with, it's sure to be appropriately supernatural. Butterfield stars, written and directed by Adam Schindler and Brian Netto (Delivery: The Beast Within).
"Almost There": Farmiga and Livingston (A Million Little Things) star in the Iowa-set story, written and directed by Iowa natives Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (A Quiet Place). Any Iowa friends got a clue as to this one? Nearly every state has a "woman in white" hitchhiking ghost story, but could it be that simple?
"Dogwood – Azalea": It's set in Missouri, and written and directed by Missouri native Cate Devaney (Doctor Strange). They title is giving us no hints as to the legend or story told, other than it has to do with the trees, which bloom each spring?
"Santeria": This Florida story is written by Greg Hale (Mindhunter, The Avengers), Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) and Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), with Brugués to direct. Now, Florida is mired in myth, so it's not really a surprise that I can't find anything specific, but it sounds like from the title that this deals with some kind of occult nonsense. Spooky swampland, for sure!
"Scared Stiff": It's set in Oregon and written and directed by Ryan Spindell (Two Sentence Horror Stories). From the title it seems to be some kind of death legend, or something about the dead reanimating, maybe zombies? I can't find anything on this, other than a legend about the ghost of a logger who terrorized teenagers making out in their cars. I'm sure this is far better than that legend.