Is House of Chains on Lifetime based on a true story? Which location was used? Who is in the cast?
Lifetime’s House of Chains, a crime drama film directed by Stephen Tolkin, is about the McGrath family, a suburban family with many secrets. Laura and Tye McGrath isolate their six children from the outside world because of their devout religious beliefs. As children grow older, they begin to ask questions, leading parents to tighten restrictions and engage in child abuse, neglect, and incarceration.
The older McGrath children come up with a plan to try to get out of their incarceration and seek the authorities’ help, fearing that their younger siblings would suffer a similar fate. The film paints a frightening picture of what happens as a result of extreme religiosity. The film keeps audiences’ attention thanks to its great cast and stunning locations. However, many people have questioned whether the McGraths’ account is based on actual events. We jumped right in to find the answers you need to these questions and many more.
Is the House of Chains story real?
An actual story served as inspiration for some of House of Chains. Although numerous elements, including the actors’ names, were changed in the original Lifetime film, the 2018 Turpin case served as inspiration. The family’s parents, David Allen Turpin and Louise Ann Turpin, had 13 children, ranging in age from 2 to 29, when neighborhood police learned of their actions.
In the past, after graduating from Virginia Tech, David worked as a computer engineer for companies such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. When Davis and Louise married in Pearisburg, Virginia, in 1986, David was 23 and Louise was 16. Davis and Louise met while attending Princeton High School in Princeton, West Virginia. The two, who were Christians, believed that it was God’s clear purpose to have many children.
As a result, between 1988 and 2015, the Turpins had eleven daughters and three sons. The family moved to Perris, California in 2014 where the escape story took place. David and Louise had prepared to move again in 2018, but this time to Oklahoma. Jordan, her 17-year-old daughter, heard about her plans and realized it was now or never. It appears that some of the siblings had been planning their escape for more than two years; but if the locations were changed, the plan would inevitably fail.
Jordan and her 13-year-old sister then left the apartment and called the police. The younger girl kept walking, but eventually turned and came back in shock. She used a disabled cell phone she had obtained to call the police after going some distance. Jordan described how her parents abused her and her brothers during the call, detailing the foul smell coming from the house, among other things.
Jordan presented the photos she took of the inside of the house when a police officer visited her. The deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department entered the house on the pretext of conducting a social inspection. The sheriff’s department alleges that Lousie was baffled as to the importance of the police presence. The things that the police found in the apartment paint a frightening picture. The place was littered with debris and reeked of rotting food and dirt.
Police found the remaining 12 children, one of whom appeared to have been chained to a bed for several weeks. Two more were released just before the cops arrived. The children were badly injured, in poor health and in rags. Although more than half the siblings were of legal age, they were so malnourished that police believed they were all ill by the age of 18. The children’s diaries, which described their living conditions, were also found in the apartment.
Jordan Turpin speaks to ABC
The Turpin parents’ actions have a rather grim reality behind them. Over the years, they had beaten and jailed their children countless times. The children were only allowed one meal a day, and they had to shower once a year. Her 11-year-old had arms as skinny as a four-month-old baby, and her oldest child, who was 29, weighed just 82 pounds. In addition, the children lacked a basic understanding of the outside world, such as what law and order was. Turpin’s parents have been accused of assaulting six children, seven dependent adults and 12 counts each of torture and wrongful imprisonment.
David was also charged with indecent behavior towards a child under the age of 14. He was also charged with perjury for repeatedly submitting affidavits to the California Department of Education that his children attended a private school. Louise’s bond was priced at $9 million while David’s was priced at $12 million. Louise’s defense requested that she be admitted to a pre-trial distraction program so that her histrionic personality disorder could be treated. However, the judge denied the request because he felt she posed a danger to the public.
On February 22, 2019, David and Louise filed a guilty plea to three counts of premeditated child molestation and one count of torture. They also pleaded guilty to six counts of cruelty to an adult relative and four counts of wrongful detention. Given the seriousness of their crimes, the couple was sentenced to life imprisonment with the option of parole after 25 years. However, many people think that parole is never granted. Louise is currently being held at the Central California Women’s Facility while David, who was originally incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison, is currently completing his time at California State Prison in Corcoran, California.
The six youths were placed in two different foster homes after the Turpin siblings received the necessary care. Her health problems included heart disease caused by malnutrition. They were also treated for neuropathy and cognitive impairment. A single family adopted five of the Turpin children, who were later also abused. It was reported that Mr. and Mrs. O’s foster parents physically abused the children, including pulling their hair, slapping their faces with sandals, and other things. They were reportedly fed heavily and then forced to eat what they vomited.
Jordan and Jennifer Turpin
The foster family was eventually arrested and charged with many child molestation charges. The foster father was also accused of inappropriately touching the children and “kissing them on the mouth”. Although the Riverside County Assistant District Attorney claimed in 2020 that the children are now living independently and continuing their education, with one earning a college degree, the truth may not be so positive.
In the November 2021 ABC investigative play “Escape from a House of Horror,” it was revealed that some of the children were neglected by Riverside County Social Services and some of them were living homeless. Reportedly, none of them could use the tens of thousands of dollars they had been given for their needs. The funds were held in an escrow account managed by a court-appointed trustee.
According to Joshua Turpin, he was unable to access the funds and was turned down to buy a bike. Jordan further claimed that she was left out of her foster family without justification or significant life skills. The social services allegations were reviewed by a private law firm hired by Riverside County.
The siblings sued the foster organization on July 19, 2022 in numerous lawsuits alleging placing the children in an abusive home. The two older and four younger of the six children were represented separately in the two lawsuits filed in California’s Riverside County Superior Court. Riverside County, Foster Family Network and ChildNet Youth and Family Services are the defendants in the lawsuit.
The Turpin case and the McGraths’ story have undergone numerous changes. Compared to the 13 Turpin siblings, the McGraths only have 6 children. Due to this and numerous other important facts that were changed during production, the film is only loosely based on reality. But Jordan Turpin’s portrayal of the abuse and neglect, as well as brave acts, appears to have been faithfully used in the Lifetime film.
Filming locations for “House of Chains”
Most of House of Chains was filmed in Ontario, specifically Ottawa. With the working title The House Next Door, filming on the film reportedly began on June 13, 2022 and ended on July 5, 2022. Let’s learn more about the filming location.
The film’s aesthetic settings underscore the damage done by the McGrath parents due to their extreme religious beliefs. House of Chains was filmed in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, which is in the Canadian province of Ontario. The film’s Laura McGrath, played by actress Mena Suvari, found the film-making process quite difficult. She admitted to Entertainment Tonight that “it was very, very bad.” Every night I felt like I needed to relax for at least two hours.
The city of Ottawa is home to a number of neighborhoods that provide the ideal backdrop for scenes set in suburban communities. The variety of filming locations in and around Ottawa, as well as the facilities the city offers for an effective filming process, have helped Ottawa maintain its status as a filmmaker favorite. Ottawa has been used to produce a number of other Lifetime films in addition to the Stephen Tolkin film, including Ice Road Killer and Love Triangle Nightmare.
Cast of House of Chains
Laura McGrath is portrayed by the brilliant Mena Suvari in the Lifteime original film. Actor Greyston Holt plays Tye McGrath in House of Chains; His previous acting credits include Chesapeake Shores and Riverdale. Natalie Jane stars in the crime thriller River McGrath. You may recognize her from her work on What Lies Below and The Greatest Inheritance. She also took part in the bands Sinister Switch and Vicious Fun.
Along with Callum McAllister as Rain McGrath, Owen Irvin McCullough as Prairie McGrath, Joey Carson as Summer McGrath, and Grayson Taylor-Day as Forest McGrath, the film also stars Madeleine “Maddy” Kane, best known for her roles in Ginny & Georgia” and “Antigone: Presented by The Girls of St. Catherines” as Meadow McGrath. Aias Dalman, Hudson Robert Wurster and Carina Battrick all also appear as Young River McGrath, Young Rain McGrath and Young Prairie McGrath.