East Chester ‘Butterbox Babies’ inspire new horror film

by Charles Mandel

  • <p>Contributed photo</p><p>A still shot from <em>The Child Remains.</em></p>

A supernatural film loosely based on the story of the Butterbox Babies is set to open in Bridgewater, May 4th.

Titled The Child Remains, the movie includes a number of well known East Coast actors, including Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle).

Bruce Zwicker, the first assistant director on the film, is a native of Bridgewater and will attend Friday's opening for a question and answer session.

Other cast members include Suzanne Clement, who has a Cannes Award as Best Actress; Shelly Thompson (Labyrinth) and Geza Kovacs (Scanners, The Dead Zone).

Michael Melski acted as the film's writer, director and co-producer.

According to the film synopsis, "an expectant couple's intimate weekend turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and mothers were murdered."

Melski describes the film as "The Shining meets Rosemary's Baby in The Orphanage."

The true story of the Butterbox Babies is a horror in its own right.

Between the late 1920 through the 1940s, William and Lila Young operated The Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, according to the Ideal Maternity Home Survivors website.

The site reports that the home began as a maternity care sport "as well as a discreet location for unwed mothers to have their babies.

"At the time legal adoptions in the U.S. were not permitted across religious lines and with a shortage of available newborns, many American couples traveled to Nova Scotia to adopt from the Ideal Maternity Home. The cost of the adoptions varied but it is believed that some couples paid up to $10,000 for a baby."

The home had nearly 100 babies available for adoption at times, but the site goes on to say that babies that weren't considered fit for adoption because of skin colour or health issues "were left to die and [were] buried in the woods behind the home or dumped into the ocean."

They became known as the Butterbox Babys because of the pine butter boxes from a local dairy that were used as coffins, "just the right size for a newborn."

The film was shot in and around Halifax. The trailer for the film can be see at: https://vimeo.com/265066030

The screening takes place at the Cineplex Bridgewater Cinema at 9:20 p.m.

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