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Teri L. Lanza,
Vice President

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Amy Campbell,

Self-Storage, Slasher Films and Paraskevidekatriaphobia

By Teri Lanza Comments
Posted in Blogs

Go ahead. Say it three times fast. Say it even once, if you can (I'm still struggling). What does it mean? Paraskevidekatriaphobia, also referred to as friggatriskaidekaphobia, is a morbid and irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Did you awake this morning with a sense of foreboding? Have you imagined yourself unlucky today? If so, you may be suffering from this anxiety disorder. It might also chill you to know three such Fridays exist in 2012, and they are each precisely 13 weeks apart. Oooooooooo.

Friday the 13th***Though superstitions surrounding the number 13 date back to ancient civilizations,  those of you who have researched the history of Friday the 13th know the fallacy has mixed origins and is a fairly modern construct. But in light of the popularity of the "Friday the 13th" slasher-film series, which no doubt drives much of modern paraskevidekatriaphobia, I thought it an appropriate day to share details about an intriguing new self-storage horror film that's in the works.

Woodhaven Productions began early production work on "Self-Storage" in East Greenwich, R.I., this week. Written and directed by Tom DeNucci and produced by Chad A. Verdi, the movie shares the story of Jake, a night watchman at a "highly secured self-storage facility." Jake invites his college pals to the property for an evening of partying that (surprise, surprise) becomes a night of terror. Starring Eric Roberts, Michael Berryman and Jonathan Silverman, the film is slated to open in February or March 2013.

Now, I love horror films (especially grossly ridiculous productions like "Basket Case"); and I don't have superstitions about Friday the 13th. In fact, I genuinely enjoy the day because so many other people do have superstitions about it. It tends to open opportunities. For example, ever need a last-minute doctor's appointment? Call on the morning of Friday the 13th. Folks don't seem to want to leave their house let alone see a doctor—too afraid they're going to get bad news! But my penchant for the macabre aside, I'm curious to know how other self-storage professionals feel about the new film project.

The promotion for "Self-Storage" includes the phrase, "Barbed-wire fences are meant to keep people out, but these fences keep people IN!" Other than the location, we don't know anything about the facility the producers have chosen as the movie set. Based on the film title and description, I'm curious to see what kind of property they consider to be representative of our industry. It might be anything from a modern upscale facility to an average traditional building with roll-up doors to ramshackle sheds. Whatever they've chosen, rest assured it will lodge in the minds of moviegoers as illustrative of the business as a whole.

Like it or not, movies can shape public perception and opinion. I'll be watching to see what kind of image "Self-Storage" creates on our behalf. Or is all publicity good publicity? Do you give the movie-consuming public credit for discerning fact from fiction, fantasy from reality?

I thought an open discourse with Woodhaven would be a great way to generate dialogue on these topics. I've e-mailed the studio with my interest, inviting cast and crew members to submit personal insights to the making of the film. If I get any kind of response, I'll share it here in the blog.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this exciting new project. On one hand, it's pretty cool to see our industry showcased in mainstream entertainment—in something other than "Storage Wars," that is. On the other hand, we can't predict the impact it will have on viewers' awareness of the self-storage product. Give me your thoughts: What are your initial impressions of the project and its potential impact on the industry? Does it sound like something you'd like to see? Is self-storage a good setting for a horror flick? Do you think this kind of film could spur "copycat" behavior? If you're a resident manager, does the idea of this film give you the creeps?

Whether or not you're a paraskevidekatriaphobe, be careful out there today. Folks do strange and unpredictable things when they're on edge. If you're on site at a storage facility today, keep an eye on your customers. If you see one in a hockey mask, maybe decline the rental. 


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