Horror Master Tobe Hooper Directs Arabic Horror—But Not Going To Be Released

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well as the three-time Academy Award-nominated, Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist, will helm Imagenation Abu Dhabi’s Arabian horror film DJINN. Penned by U.S writer David Tully (Hepzibah), this unique new take on the haunted house thriller uncovers the dark truth behind classic fairytales of the Genie. DJINN tells the nightmarish story of a young Emirati couple who return home from the U.S. and discover that their new apartment in a luxury high-rise built on the site of an abandoned fishing village is also home to the malevolent beings known as djinn.

DJINN, which was announced at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is scheduled to begin shooting in the UAE March 20th.

Tobe Hooper said: “The horror genre speaks an international language and I am so pleased to be involved in a project with Imagenation Abu Dhabi that will transcend cultures and borders. Simply put, this movie will scare everyone, no matter where you live or what you believe in!”

Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman Elect of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, said: “We are very proud to have Tobe on board for Djinn; he is a pioneer and legend in the horror genre. With our second production, Imagenation Abu Dhabi continues to work toward its promise of helping to develop the Abu Dhabi film industry, by bringing international talent and expertise into the region and of producing commercially viable and distinctly Arab stories for a global audience.”

As one of the producers, Imagenation Abu Dhabi Vice President of Development Daniela Tully continued: “From the very beginning, Tobe was at the top of our list to take the reigns of this project. The horror genre has rarely been explored in this region, and Tobe’s involvement will not only leave a lasting impact in the Arab world, but will also carry Djinn into international markets. Combining this highly original story, and its new breed of bogeyman with Tobe’s outstanding directing skill, this production has huge potential to initiate a new horror wave globally, much as Asian cinema did a decade ago.”

Hooper is a director, writer and producer best known for his work in the horror genre, with credits that include the Emmy-nominated Stephen King adaptation Salem’s Lot, several episodes for Showtime’s Masters of Horror, The Funhouse, Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Invaders from Mars, and the Toolbox Murders. Hooper will soon add author to his dossier when his novel, MIDNIGHT MOVIE, co-written with Alan Goldsher, is published next year by Random House.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi is focused on establishing the foundations and infrastructure for a vibrant and enduring Arabic film industry, by developing collaborative relationships with the region’s talent, and developing films based around strong, commercial and traditional Arabic stories. Their Emirati slate includes six very diverse films, in addition to Djinn: the coming of age story Sea Shadow (which recently wrapped principal photography in Abu Dhabi); the drama Million’s Poet; the adventure comedy Alaska; the romantic comedy Monsoon; and the romance Alis and Aishas.


“Rumors are swirling that someone close to Abu Dhabi’s royal family has seen the movie and does not appreciate its portrayal of the UAE and considers the movie to be politically subversive, and that they’ve paid off the studio’s chairman, Mohammed Al Mubarak, to bury it.

We have heard that even after the movie had a very successful earlier test screening in London, two other film companies even offered to buy it outright, but the chairman refused to hear their bids.

The whole cast and crew is furious with Imagenation [the studio]. They are telling everybody different stories. One actor in the film was even told by someone at the studio that it would never be released because it portrays a ‘witchcraft belief that the country does not acknowledge’. “That’s unbelievable!,” one source close to the production said. “Everybody knows what’s really going on but they’re afraid to talk because they think Al Mubarak will start a smear campaign against them in the Emirati press – which is not exactly fair or free.” ”