Monday, February 2, 2015

The Ouija Files: Murch Goes to LA to Promote DVD/Blu-ray Release of 'Ouija'


HI FRIENDS! A few weeks ago I got an email from Joy Moh and Michael Gonzales from Think Jam, a digital marketing company that Universal Home Entertainment hired to organize the media release event for Ouija’s release on Blu-ray & DVD on Tuesday, February 3. They asked me if I wanted to be included and of course I said yes! A party and Ouija? They didn’t have to ask me twice.

No way around it – I’ve been lucky. I got to consult on the movie, was filmed by Universal for the extras on the Digital Download and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and was now going to be part of the release party. Does this stuff actually happen? Turns out the answer is YES.

Using my contacts at Hasbro, Winning Moves, and TCG Toys, three of the makers of Ouija today, each agreed to donate some of their Ouija boards as prizes for the event and we were even able to plan a hands on séance for the media as well.

Thank you Nicole, Philip, Joe, Michael, and Jacalyn - your boards made the event and gave everyone the chance to experience for themselves Ouija.

But, what would an amazing Ouija opportunity be without a little drama? By a little drama I mean a blizzard. I was scheduled to head out last Wednesday first thing in the morning but Mother Nature had other plans. New England and Boston in particular got slammed and buried with almost three feet of snow. The blizzard started Monday morning and went through Tuesday night. The mayor issued travel bans and the airport was closed. Things weren’t looking good for me to fly out Wednesday morning.

So I asked Ouija and it said I’d make the party. Everyone knows Ouija never lies so I packed up, shoveled out and my husband was determined to get me to the airport on time. Whether or not the plane would actually take off was another story. We left hours before the flight and I was one of only a handful of people at the airport. The nice lady at Delta’s check in counter felt confident the flight would leave on time so with new found confidence I went through security.

Universal asked me to bring a bunch of antique boards to make a display at the media event and show Ouija through the ages. Of course I was down for that but it meant bringing 15 boards as a carry on. I love the look on the TSA agent’s face as they scan a bunch of Ouija boards. They look from me to the stack from me to the stack until the line backs up and a bunch of impatient travelers snap then back into reality. That usually leaves a smile on my face until I have to ask the flight attendants on board if they can store them in their closet.

Ouija was right, my flight was the first one out on Wednesday and it was smooth as was the connecting flight in Minneapolis. When I landed in LA I was still pinching myself and a black car was ready to whisk me away to my hotel. OK, not just any hotel but the Loews hotel in Hollywood! The hotel was insane and because I arrived late they were ready to take care of everything and bring me up to my suite.

I was beat but there was no way I was going to fall asleep. I was in Hollywood to help host a party for Ouija! So what did I do? I ordered room service - chicken fingers and a “Grown up grilled cheese sandwich.” They were delicious.

The next day I met up with two very special people who I consider family, Laurie Fuld Stenger and her husband Bruce. Laurie is the great granddaughter of Isaac Fuld and the great grand niece of William Fuld. This is the family who made the Ouija board from 1890-1966 so even Ouija’s bloodline was represented! They were my guests to the party.

The festivities were broken into two parts. The first started at 5pm on Thursday and consisted of the #OUIJAHUNT. It was an amazing scavenger hunt up and down Hollywood boulevard. Our team was the Red Devils and we came in third…out of four teams LOL. Each team had a different color Ouija t-shirt and the looks and stares we got running up and down Hollywood Boulevard was priceless. If it wasn’t for Bianca Santos, who starred in Ouija, we probably would have come in a distant fourth. Bianca was ready for the challenge. She was beautiful, fun and smart, the total package and a wonderful pick to represent the cast! After we finished the hunt the actual party took place at an amazing haunted bar, Boardner's by La Belle where the media could experience spirits of another kind.

So, here I am saddled up to the bar and who comes up right next to me to order a drink? Stiles White, one of the writers and director of Ouija! This was the first time I met Stiles in person and after many emails and PMs on Facebook I was face to face with the man who made my passion into a number one movie. Stiles didn’t disappoint. He was excited to meet me too and we caught up while going over the collection of old boards I brought. He even signed a board for me reminding me to never play alone or risk possession – way too late for that!

We were interrupted as Jason Blum took the stage, announced the winners, gave them their prizes and let them know the winning team also got time with him and could ask him anything about the movie. A reporters dream! Then he introduced me. Yup, Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, the guy who’s brought us so many movies I can’t count. He introduced me…hilarious! Again, he was the nicest down to earth guy, not what you might expect from someone who’s accomplished as much as him in Hollywood.

After all the introductions were done I took my place at the Ouija séance table by all the old boards I brought. I did interview then séance and repeated that over and over until the night was done. The line stretched out all night long and the party was a hit! Everyone wanted to know about the history of the Mystifying Oracle and have their chance to lay their hands on the planchette. The interviews were awesome and it was really cool to be interviewed by so many of the publications and radio shows I read and listen to. The séances were so much fun! We had pre-made index cards ready with numbers, colors, countries, and continents. I led each séance with 4-5 members of the media at a time. They picked the subject, Joy placed a card face down and then we asked Ouija what the answer was. Ouija was quick to start moving each time but only got one answer right. The spirits were probably just busy at the bar.

In the end a good time was had by all and the event was a resounding success. I still can’t believe my good luck to be included in such a cool event. Special thanks to Stiles White, Jason Blum, Bianca Santos, Rebecca Wolfson from Universal, and Joy, Michael, and Mandy Rogers from Think Jam for asking me to take part in such an off the hook event and treating me so well. My #OUIJAHUNT was a trip if of a lifetime!

Brian Goldner and Hasbro, Universal, Bennett Schneir, Stiles White, Juliet Snowden, and Jason Blum, I have one more thing to thank you for. My biggest fear for Ouija had always been where it would fit in the digital age. With iPhones and iPads how would this generation ever discover the mystery of Ouija? Making a movie could do the trick but only if it captured the wonder, fear, and experience of lightly resting your fingers on the planchette and the feeling it moving, slowly spelling out the answer. Had it bombed, it would be a nail in Ouija’s coffin. What you managed to do was make a number one movie that’s taken in almost 100 million dollars worldwide to date. Yet, more importantly you managed to bring an entirely new generation to the board giving Ouija another chance to cast its spell over America and beyond. To me, that’s priceless. Thanks for letting me be part of that process, it’s been an honor.

Tomorrow, Ouija will possess households across the county via DVD & Blu-ray. So Let the Spirit Move You to experience the mystery in the comfort and safety of your home and oh yeah, don’t forget to check me out in the extras! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did taking part in it.

Wanna know more? Join me on reddit tomorrow at 7PM EST/4PM PST where I’ll be an IAmA(I am a) and host an AMA(Ask Me Anything) forum on all things ‪#‎OUIJA ‬

Still not enough? Join us at OUIJACON in Baltimore, MA on April 23-25 where we celebrate Ouija’s 125th anniversary!

For more on Robert Murch and all things Ouija, check out the links below:


Laurie said...

Loved the article. Well done! Thanks again for invite!