Saint Tammany Parish is a nightmare told through the eyes of the Billups children who've just moved into the parish from big city Dallas, only to end up living in a house that sits adjacent to the cemetery where a legendary evil awaits anyone who dares to remove the stakes surrounding the grave of ONIONHEAD.
Everyone knows about the legend, everyone in Saint Tammany Parish anyway, but the new kids don't have any idea about what they're messing with. The Billups brood consist of a high school teen daughter, a middle school teen boy, and a tween elementary school younger sister. Of course the stupid boy pulls up the stakes keeping evil at bay almost immediately, leaving youngest Lucy to ponder the possibilities that the legend might be real.
Of course it's real! And when the children of Saint Tammany Parish begin turning up dead, Lucy quickly realizes her brother screwed up royally. With parents who don't believe in Voo Doo monsters, an older sister who just doesn't care (about anything other than boys anyway), and an idiot for a brother, Lucy enlists the help of the neighborhood know-it-all and discovers the whole truth of the legend of Onionhead, but why are the Billups kids still alive?
Our elementary school heroines learn a local hoodoo has been conjuring protective magic to surround the Billups' house and keep the family safe. Everyone else sees a kindly janitor, a aging school custodian, but Lucy knows Etienne is the key to solving the creature problem currently terrorizing the parish.
While the monster does more and more damage, 8 year-old Lucy befriends the old black man, Etienne, and learns the one way that Onionhead can be stopped. In the end the old hoodoo's heart will cause him to give out, leaving young Lucy to face the giant terror known as Onionhead on her own.
She'll risk everything in a race through the cemetery in one last frantic attempt to put the murderous giant to rest for good. She's just a little girl, and Onionhead's hungry for a snack!
Will she be a dynamo superhero, or just an appetizer before Onionhead's next big meal? This is the recurring nightmare of Saint Tammany Parish!
THE BIRTH OF A NEW HORROR LEGEND: "ONIONHEAD"
St Tammany Times Picayune, Oct 30, 1993
“Lingering Legends,” by Sara Shipley, St Tammany Bureau
Somewhere amid the twisted, moss covered oaks of Haaswood lies something deeper and darker than soft marsh grasses and swampy pools that catch the moon.
In the heart of the sleepy community northeast of Slidell, a legend creeps larger than life. Ask anyone who has ventured down a gravel road at night to a secluded civil war cemetery, and they will tell you more than memories haunt these parts.
The legend of Onionhead is alive.
Onionhead, locals say, is a man whose tragic life has chained him to this cemetery. The story varies – some say he cared for children who died at his own hands. Others say he witnessed the deaths in a fire. His name is said to come from a disease that distorted his head.
He is now the perpetual caretaker of this cemetery, legends says, and he waits to capture those who wander into it. The cemetery, which has no clear owner since it was donated by the Edmundson family decades ago as a public burial site, has become a favorite haunt in recent years for teen-agers seeking the ghoul.
No one reports ever seeing him, but that doesn’t stop teens from looking around Haaswood and other secluded locations where he has been reported to lurk. Slidell High School sophomore Teresa Fotar, who said the cemetery is a popular gathering place on Halloween, said she’s been looking for Onionhead. “I as with a bunch of people. I didn’t see anything,” she said. “But still, it was spooky. I was scared,” she said.
Christy Brown, a Slidell sophomore, said she was frightened by her experience there last year. “The people I was with drove off and left me,” she said. “I started running down the road. I was so scared.”
Jarrod Lajaunie, a Slidell High junior, said he’s never ventured out, but he’s heard enough to curdle his blood. “The man killed (his kids), and wrote a sign in blood, ‘If you come here, I’ll kill you too,’” he said. “I think a lot of people take Ouija boards out there.”
One Salmen High graduate said he’d been looking for Onionhead for years ago, but added, “I don’t believe in that scary stuff now.” Northshore High senior Rachel Wilhelm dismissed the legend. “It’s for a thrill, it’s for a high. You go there to get scared,” she said.
The tale has been popular for teens for at least 10 to 15 years, but Haaswood hasn’t always been Onionhead’s alleged stomping ground, Other places include the old Camp Salmen, Our Lady of Lourdes cemetery, and Greenwood cemetery.
Julius Hale, who has been maintaining the Haaswood cemetery since vandals broke into a tomb last year, said Onionhead has never been associated with Haaswood. “Last year and years back it would have been a good cemetery to get scared in because it was all shaggy, but now it’s kept up,“ he said.
Hale said he and another man plan to keep post at the locked cemetery on Halloween night to make sure no one disturbs it. A spokeswoman for the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office said deputies will patrol near cemeteries that night as well.
Junior Crowe of Pearl River, who has relatives buried in Haaswood, said he never heard of Onionhead, but that the cemetery has been the setting for many a ghost story. “I think it’s an excuse for these young boys to take these girls out there,” he said.
THE LOCATION: LOUISIANA KILLER MOVIES
Louisiana has always been a favorite for horror fans. Its rich history, remote locations and penchant for the supernatural lends itself perfectly to an urban legend horror movie. The writer, Anthony Troy Garriga, grew up in Louisiana and heard stories of Onionhead first hand. He gives an authentic voice and attention to detail to St. Tammany Parish that few other movies in Louisiana have ever had.
Creatively these films below give an idea of what a killer movie in Louisiana may feel like, although St. Tammany Parish is largely a teenage horror movie set in houses, schools, fields and the places that teenagers find themselves when a legendary killer is hunting them down.
THE CHARACTERS: TEENS IN PERIL
Teens in peril have been a staple of horror movies. The main characters in St. Tammany Parish are 3 children, Tara(17), Chad(14) and Lucy(8). It's the playful dynamic and the crackling dialogue by Garriga that propels the movie forward on a level beyond teens getting chased and chopped. A couple of good examples of how St. Tammany Parish will expertly utilize the young cast are the recent horror movies "It Follows" and "Unfriended."
IT: The film is set in the summer of 1989 and tells the story of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by the eponymous being, only to face their own personal demons in the process.
Unfriended: High school students in a Skype conversation are haunted by a student who was bullied and committed suicide.
Unfriended: Dark Web:$1M budget, $9.6M box office gross. This film follows a group of friends who find a laptop that has access to the dark web, only to realize they are being watched by the original owners.
It Follows: The film follows a teenage girl named Jay, who is pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter.
THE FEAR ENGINE: URBAN LEGENDS
Horror fans flock to urban legend horror movies because these thrills come from inside of us. People, towns, and communities collectively fear a great evil. When fear overcomes a population then it's ripe for a horror movie franchise that's ready to tap into the deepest, darkest parts of our souls.
The Writer/Producer: Troy Anthony Garriga
Troy Anthony Garriga is the writer of Saint Tammany Parish, an amalgam of two local legends he grew up with as a child in the Deep South. Garriga's been a writer most of his adult life, working with magazines and periodicals out of college, before going to film school in New York in the late 1990s and move to Los Angeles in 1999/2000 to begin a career has a writer of film & television. Garriga has worked as a staff writer for various production companies over the last twenty years, first doing coverage, then doing pitch and pilot work, and finally working as a ghost writer and doing script fix work. His work has been made into feature films and published books. He's had shows in development at major networks, and is currently developing a show for USA Network.
The Director/Producer: Walter Boholst
Walter Boholst will be the director of St. Tammany Parish. Walter is an experienced creative who wrote/directed/co-produced the horror feature film "Voodoo Possession" with Danny Trejo that was distributed in the US by RLJ Entertainment and is available worldwide. He is also an entertainment attorney of almost 20 years with a specialization in film/TV distribution and foreign sales. His business consulting clients and employers have included RLJ Entertainment (distributor), Dean Devlin's Electric Entertainment (production, distribution, foreign sales) and XYZ Films (foreign sales). His previous industry stints include Assistant Story Editor for MGM Pictures, as a reader for John Davis' Davis Entertainment (Predator, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and in foreign sales at Initial Entertainment Group founded by Graham King (The Aviator, The Departed)