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What You Need to Know Before Watching the TV Debut of ‘The Purge’

The Purge
Gabriel Chavarria in The Purge / USA Network

As Insidious and The Conjuring have shown us, scary movies sweep the box offices each year, raking in millions of dollars. It’s little surprise that many horror franchises move on to the small screen — Scream, Bates Motel, and The Exorcist are only a few recent examples. This September, The Purge will join the ranks of classic horror movies that became television series. Here is every grisly, thrilling detail that we dug up about the series, so get your night lights ready.

What You Should Know From the Movies

While never critical darlings, The Purge movies have become part of the American horror film mythology with four popular installations: The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Election Year, and The First Purge. The high concept movies, helmed by writer and director James DeMonaco, depict a dystopian America where all crime, including murder, is legal for 12 hours in an annual event called “The Purge.” The gruesome tradition emerged during a period of social unrest and economic downfall. A group called The New Founding Fathers of America seized the government as the turmoil unfolded and established a totalitarian state. Through a twisted 28th Amendment to the Constitution, they created The Purge to bring order to society.

The General Overview of the Show

The franchise’s small screen debut will be written, directed, and executive produced by DeMonaco, so you can expect a similar feel in tone and style from the original movies. It takes place 10 years after the events of The First Purge, the recently released prequel of The Purge. While it will feature a Purge event, the ten-episode season will primarily focus on the 364 non-Purge days of the year and elaborate on how the event affects society. In other words, the series will allow the time and space for world-building.

“We see how this society exists within the Purge landscape, how people act towards each other in this world. It’s a much more polite society. … And also questions we’ve been asked. What happens in hospitals on Purge night [for example],” DeMonaco explained during a San Diego Comic-Con panel.

The trailer itself is tense and fast-paced, revealing sparse plot details. It begins with a montage of people arming up for The Purge. It cuts to a scene of a Marine asking a group of people if his sister is purging. The news isn’t great. A man tells him that she’s being purged upon. A cult of girls wearing blue robes then line up to board a school bus. After this, we see a masked man pointing a gun near some corpses. Before the trailer cuts to flashes of scary moments, it reveals a couple at a ritzy party stepping back from a frantic muzzled man. Someone hands them a gun.

Everything We Know About the Cast and Crew

The show features a fairly impressive masthead of actors. The main cast in The Purge includes Gabriel Chavarria as Miguel, a man who returns to the United States on Purge night; Lili Simmons as Lila, a misfit socialite; and Lee Tergesen as Joe, a masked man who intervenes Purge violence. Chavarria, the show’s lead, is best known for his role as Jacob Aguilar on Hulu’s East Los High. Simmons has held small parts on shows such as True Blood and Westworld, but she’s best known for playing Rebecca Bowman on Banshee. Tergesen is a seasoned actor with many guest star roles, most recognized for his HBO roles as Tobias Beecher on Oz and Evan Wright on Generation Kill.

Besides its star-studded cast, the show’s crew boasts big players in the entertainment industry. The director is Anthony Hemingway, who has led episodes of Shameless, True Blood, and The Wire. The producers on the show include Blumhouse’s Jason Blum and Platinum Dunes’ Michael Bay, Bradley Fuller, and Andrew Form.

USA Network and Syfy will simulcast the show every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET, starting September 4th. Now, we’ll just be binging (not purging) our favorite horror shows on our queues while we wait for The Purge.

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