Names

NAMES

R.I. couple sues Warner Bros. over ‘The Conjuring’

Norma Sutcliffe and Gerry Helfrich’s house in Harrisville, R.I.
Norma Sutcliffe and Gerry Helfrich’s house in Harrisville, R.I.

For years, Norma Sutcliffe and her companion Gerry Helfrich lived happily and without incident in their Harrisville, R.I., home. Then in 2013, Warner Bros. released “The Conjuring,” a supernatural horror film starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life husband and wife ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Everything changed after that. The movie, which Sutcliffe and Helfrich say they knew nothing about until it showed up in theaters, is based on a spooky story that the home’s previous owner, Carolyn Perron, told the Warrens in the early ’70s. What’s happened since the movie came out is the real nightmare, says Sutcliffe.

She and Helfrich have filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros., claiming they have been under seige by curiosity-seekers, horror fans, and others who want to get a glimpse of the allegedly haunted house in “The Conjuring.” If you’re wondering how anyone knows where the house is, there’s an on-screen message at the beginning of “The Conjuring” that says the movie is based on a “true story” that occurred in a home in Harrisville, R.I. Spend a few minutes with Google and you can find the address.

Advertisement

“Ever since the movie came out, we’ve been harrassed, trespassed, stalked, and beseiged,” Sutcliffe told us. “They come at all times of the day. Last Saturday, I called police at 3:30 a.m. because there was a whole group of them outside the house. It’s horrendous.”

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Paul McGuire, a Warner Bros. publicist, said the studio hasn’t seen the lawsuit so has no comment.

Sutcliffe, who’s 69, and Helfrich, 73, say they posted “No Trespassing” signs and built fences soon after the movie came out, but nothing has deterred people from coming onto their property.

“I’ve had fences broken down and had people try to break in,” Sutcliffe told us. “I fear the worst every single day.”

In their lawsuit, she and Helfrich request unspecified monetary damages as well as a security system and security plan.

Advertisement

“It won’t end. It’s like ‘Amityville,’ ” Sutcliffe said, referring to the film “The Amityville Horror.” “I mean, can you imagine the horror of trying to sell this house?”