Joseph Mazzaferro’s ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ is an indie horror flick that tells the story of a young girl who finds herself embroiled in a skin-crawling haunting. Following a bad breakup, Julia Fields, a woman in her early 20s, moves out of her small town to Florida. Left to her own devices for the first time, Julia tries to ease into her new life in her new home. However, after a few nights, Julia starts noticing strange noises and occurrences around her house. Haunted by something sinister within her walls, Julia does her best to survive.
The film opts for a classic haunting story about a young woman in a creepy house that leads to menacing outcomes. Furthermore, other plot points, such as a creepy landlord and a stalking ex-boyfriend, bring other compelling threads into the picture. Despite the film’s basis in supernatural fiction, the way the story unfolds leaves the viewers wondering if ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ actually has any basis in real life. If the same question intrigues you, here is everything you need to know!
Julia Fields is Not Based on a Real Person
‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ opens with the narrative’s assertion that the following story is “based on a true story,” a claim the film uses in its marketing through the trailer as well. However, upon closer inspection, the statement disputes itself since there are no traces of a case similar to the one depicted in the film revolving around Julia Fields.
As such, it’s important to note that the film has nothing to do with the famous American writer and poet Julia Fields, who shared the same name as the film’s protagonist. Born in 1938 in Alabama, the woman was best known for her poem ‘High; on the Hog,’ alongside her three-act play, ‘All Day Tomorrow.’ Having charted a much different life path than the film’s character, it’s safe to assume the real-life Julia Fields has nothing to do with actress Callie Grayson’s character in the film.
Furthermore, none of the filmmakers or the actors involved in ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ have referenced the real-life incident that the film is said to be based on. Granted, the film is an indie, which allows little space for loud promotion. Nevertheless, Director/Writer Joseph Mazzaferro doesn’t elaborate on the “based on a true story” tag on his production company’s social media either. Therefore, as it currently stands, it’s safe to assume that ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ is not based on a true story.
By prefacing the film with a true story claim, the narrative finds the ease to build gripping suspense and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Throughout the film, the initial text keeps the viewers compelled to wonder how much of what is unfolding on the screen actually occurred in reality. Consequently, there is an increase in the spooky atmosphere the film naturally expels.
Such a practice of marketing a movie as having a basis in real life only for the plot’s majority to be fictional has been around for a long time in the horror genre. For instance, the cult classic ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ was only partially inspired by a real-life event and largely fictionalizes most of its elements. Other films like, ‘The Poughkeepsie Tapes’ and ‘The Last House on the Left,’ offer good examples of the same phenomenon.
Still, in the cases of those films, there is some real-life event that the film’s plot or characters can be traced back to. Meanwhile, the same is hard to say for ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields.’ For the most part, the film’s utilization of several tried and true horror movie tropes serves as its only significant source of familiarity.
As such, the film manages to hold the audience’s attention and intrigue through heavy suspense and built-up tension, with plot lines that avid horror fans will find familiar. Nevertheless, nothing else about ‘The Haunting of Julia Fields’ seems to have a basis in real life. Thus effectively marking the film as a fictional tale.