Thursday, February 07, 2013

"Prison," the horror film that almost destroyed the old Wyoming State Pen, gains cult status

My wife and I watched the recent "Ghost Adventures" episode set in the Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins. Intimations of ghostly presences were everywhere, as always, but the most interesting part was the prison's history.

Zack and his G.A. crew aren't the only ones to film at the prison. Back in 1987, Renny Harlin ("Die Hard II," "Cliffhanger," "Deep Blue Sea") filmed a horror movie there. The film, "Prison," stars actor and poet Viggo Mortensen "("Lord of the Rings," "A History of Violence," Hidalgo")" and Lane Smith. Its recently gained status as a cult film and will be released Feb. 19 in a Blu-Ray disk from Scream Factory. The following info comes from Laramie Live:
Tina Hill, Historic Site Director for The Wyoming Frontier Prison, says that the production company made serious alterations to the historic site that still present problems to this day. One of which is a large hole that was made in the wall of the exercise yard. In the movie the hole was used to construct a second entrance for the prison, but after shooting wrapped the hole remained. 
“We still have the hole in the exercise yard. Which allows people to get in when they’re not supposed to be, and so there’s vandalism on our exercise wall,” Hill says. ”It’s a security issue. You can’t really get spray paint off of concrete. And being that we’re a historic site, we can’t paint over the graffiti because the walls weren’t painted. It would be inaccurate to paint them.”  
Hill also says that the historic site is currently repairing damages the production made to the prison’s A-Block walls. Plaster had been chipped off to expose the brick walls underneath to make the prison look older for the movie. Hill said that the plaster damage was being repaired at the time of the interview.  
Despite the damages, Hill says there’s no sour-grapes about the production of Prison coming through the site. ”Now, we’re pretty much happy that [the production] happened. We wish that the people who were in charge of the prison at the time would have taken a little bit better care, and maybe have not let the production do the damage that they did.” Hill goes on to say the historic prison now has measures in place to prevent further damage from film and television productions.
The "serious alternations" done to the prison caused locals to form a joint powers board that took over the facility and turned it into a museum. It now is on the National Registry of Historic Places. More than 15,000 visitors a year tour the place that's famous for its spooky Halloween tours.

See the "Prison" trailer at It's an action-packed flick, gory in spots, and  you can see how some damage might have been done.

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