ByRedmond Bacon, writer at
Have realised my dream of finally living in Berlin. I like movies, techno, and talking too much in bars.

2016 has been a landmark year for horror lovers - whether its the low-budget thrills of invasion horror Don't Breathe, the poltergeist shocker The Conjuring 2, or the social satire of The Purge: Election Year, there has been a success to satisfy nearly every variation of the genre. Yet has this film had a great snow-based horror yet? Well arriving in theatres soon is Shut In, which promises to fully utilise its winter setting. Check the trailer below:

Starring Naomi Watts and Room star Jacob Tremblay, it looks like this could sit nicely alongside Let The Right One In, The Thing and Stephen King's The Storm of the Century as a classic horror based around what happens during the coldest time of year. The script for Shut In was on the 2012 Black List, which looks at the best un-produced screenplays submitted for consideration that year, meaning that the final result should be a success. Nevertheless, the vital question remains: is any of this horror based on a true story?

Deadly Snowstorms


It's telling that the film is set in New England (even if it had to film in Quebec to get the right snow level) as this is one of the areas in America most beset by extremely low temperatures come winter time, sometimes reaching below 0 °F. This has caused devastating results for its residents, causing brutal deaths and even tiding over into national emergencies. Nevertheless, despite some of the coldest winters traditionally being recorded on the upper East Coast, they have been known to strike nearly all over the country.

So although the screenplay for the film is an original written by British screenwriter Christina Hodson, it is rooted in the very real fact of cold and dark winters that can be life-threatening for the residents. This can be exacerbated when somebody lives in a rural area where they are cut off from emergency services. So, in honor of Shut In, and its tale of a child lost amongst the snow, its time to take a look at three of the worst blizzards in American history.

1. The Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888

Preceding the Great Blizzard of 1888 by two months, the Schoolhouse Blizzard was so deadly as it came as a great surprise. The weather immediately preceding it was warm, tempting people to come outside and go to school and work, and catching them on their everyday journeys. As a result, 235 people across the Midwest of America died. It was known as the Schoolhouse Blizzard for all those children caught in one room schoolhouses who suddenly found themselves snowed in.

The most incredible case in the story was that of Minnie Freeman in Nebraska, who managed to take thirteen children from her schoolhouse an entire mile back to her home. One legend purported at the time was that she used a rope to keep all the children together. Many others were not so lucky. Some even ironically died in fires they started to warm up their houses.

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2. The Northeastern Blizzard of 1978

Formed from a extratropical cyclone off the coast of South Carolina, hardly anyone at the meteorological office saw this one coming, or at least not this severe, creating record-breaking snow levels in Boston, Atlantic City and Providence. Some people caught at work couldn't make it home for days. A state of emergency was called, as public services couldn't clear the snow at the rate it was falling, and 10,000 people had to move into temporary shelter.

The aftermath was positively catastrophic. A total of 100 people died, either from falling electrical wires, lack of food, or in the case of one ten year old, being frozen under the snow for a total of three weeks. An additionally, 4,500 were injured. It also ended up costing the American economy a total of $1.89 billion. It was considered the worst storm in American twentieth century history until:

3. The 1993 Storm of the Century

The Storm Of The Century was vast enough to impact over 26 different states, and knock out power to over 10 million households. In fact it was so remarkably widespread that it closed every airport from Nova Scotia to Florida. This storm was extremely terrible for Americans and Cubans in and around the Gulf Of Mexico, despite the severity of the cyclone being predicted around five days in advance.

Creating the rare meteorological phenomenon known as thundersnow, in which a thunderstorm occurs but snow falls instead of rain, and multiple whiteouts, in which nothing but snow can be seen, the storms claimed a total of 318 fatalities. The Sunshine State was the worst hit, with 18,000 homes being damaged and a total of 47 lives lost.

With the disastrous impact of snowstorms embedded in the American consciousness, Shut In will know the metaphorical potential of setting its film in such a way, hopefully using the full potential of the weather to create an unforgettable horror film.


Will Shut In Be A Great Snow-Based Film?


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