Originally called Rightful, this is the story of two black brothers who have come back from the grave to avenge their deaths and reclaim the land that’s rightfully theirs.
It’s actually based on the true story of Thomas and Meeks Griffin, who were forced to sell their land after being framed for the murder of 75-year-old Confederate veteran John Q. Lewis. The Griffin brothers were convicted based on the accusations of another black man, John “Monk” Stevenson. As he had the murder weapon in his possession, he was given a life sentence, while two other black men, Nelson Brice and John Crosby, were also executed for the same crime.
The truth may have been in Lewis’s suspected sexual relationship with 22-year-old Anna Davis, who was black. Davis and her husband were never tried, possibly for fear of the scandal that would arise when it came out that a white older rich man was sleeping with a black woman.
The Griffins were the richest black men in the area and had to sell their farm to pay for the trial. Despite more than a hundred people — including the town’s mayor, sheriff, two of the jurors and the grand jury foremen — petitioned Governor Richard Manning to commute their sentence, but they still went to the electric chair.
In 2009, Tom Joyner — a former member of the Commodores before they were famous and the host of The Tom Joyner Show — learned that he was related to the Griffins. He sought their pardons from the Columbia, South Carolina state appeals court and received it, finally setting things right.
Obviously, this is a sensitive subject to base a horror film on.
The tale of the film is about the property itself, which is about to be claimed by Judge Carroll Johnson “CJ” Ramage, who is the grandson of the judge that sentenced the Griffins to die. The farm is still worth plenty of money. However, his lawyer Roger Newbold(Jonathan Fuller, Castle Freak) has discovered that a woman named Lyndsy (Ashley Whelan, The Houses October Built) actually in the true heir to the land. They decide to scare her off, just as the brothers come back The Fog style.
The film really tries to hit so many other hot button topics like police brutality and workplace harassment, but it already has a great story to be inspired by. That said, for the state of horror in 2021, this is pretty interesting and worth checking out.
Blackstock Boneyard is available on demand and on DVD June 8 from Uncork’d Entertainment.