Set in Post-World War II America, Ted Geoghegan’s ‘Brooklyn 45’ is a historical horror film that follows the reunion of a group of military friends that leads to mystical outcomes. Grieving the death of his wife, Susan, Clive Hockstatter convinces his friends to partake in a seance and reach out into the afterlife. However, things soon take a turn for the worse when the group unearths ghosts — both metaphorical and supernatural — from their past.
Trapped in Clive’s parlor, Marla, Archie, Paul, and Bob are forced to face unlikely horrors. The film depicts an unconventional yet compelling story that cleverly combines paranormal terror with plausible scenarios. In doing so, it explores themes of moral ambiguity and xenophobia. Due to the film’s historical setting and underlying political motifs, viewers might wonder if there’s any reality behind the plot. Therefore, here’s all we know about the origin of ‘Brooklyn 45’ and its connection to real life.
Is Brooklyn 45 a True Story?
No, ‘Brooklyn 45’ is not based on a true story. Written and Directed by Ted Geoghegan, the film’s storylines and characters are works of the filmmaker’s imagination and creativity. Best known as a horror storyteller, some of Geoghegan’s most recognizable works include indie horror films like ‘We Are Still Here’ and ‘Mohawk.’ Growing up in rural Montana, he found excitement and thrill in sci-fi and fantasy stories and eventually discovered his love for horror.
However, Geoghegan’s love for horror doesn’t only come from a place of escapist fantasies. Citing George A. Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ series as a horror staple, he discussed the horror genre’s ability to act as a commentary on real life. As such, for Geoghegan, horror acts as the perfect medium to tell stories about social issues while keeping his films accessible and entertaining to the general audience. In an interview with Hammer to Nail, Geoghegan said, “I’m very political. I want to be able to talk about things that I care about. And sometimes, the movies themselves have an agenda. Sometimes they don’t.”
In the case of ‘Brooklyn 45,’ the all-encompassing xenophobic ideation that lends itself to the constant circle of generational violence forms one of the cornerstones of the narrative. Due to the same, the film finds some of its thematic roots in real life. Similarly, the story’s period setting also solidifies its relation to reality. Geoghegan found his initial inspiration for the story from his film ‘We Are Still Here.’ After a seance scene from the 2015 film elicited a positive response from the audience, Geoghegan started playing with the idea of an entire movie centered around a seance.
Since Geoghegan isn’t one for contemporary settings, he ended up basing his story in 1945, right after the end of World War II. Discussing the film’s historical setting, he said, “The year and a half after the end of the war was nightmarish. And it doesn’t get talked about a lot. Obviously, the suburbia and the post-war boom that occurred that was a thing. But in the months and the years right after the war, suicides were at an all-time high. People were absolutely broken.”
Geoghegan added, “The country was in shambles in 1945 and 1946. We look back on it with rose-colored glasses, like Hitler’s dead, everything’s great, but it wasn’t.” Therefore, fascinated by the time period, the talented filmmaker decided on the film’s setting. By doing so, he was also able to craft his characters with military backgrounds, allowing him to delve into different kinds of traumas and damages brought on by a hellish war.
While writing the script for his film, Geoghegan consulted his father, Michael Edward Geoghegan, a former military man. Consequently, Geoghegan was able to fine-tune his story’s factual credibility with the help of his father. Being a supernatural horror, ‘Brooklyn 45’ doesn’t have much basis in reality. It’s a work of fiction that utilizes its historical setting to examine deeply human emotions, both good and bad. As such, through its themes and well-written character, the film achieves a sense of authenticity within its gripping narrative.