First, we have director James Wan, who we actually have spoken to for all five of his movies now, and this time, we talked about:
* Why they changed the title from "The Warren Files"
* He tell us the story for "The Conjuring"--which we didn't know at the time--and how the work by Ed and Lorraine Warren influenced all the other paranormal investigators that have come since
* Working with Patrick Wilson again after "Insidious"
* Trying to avoid comparisons to "Insidious" and how "The Conjuring" is more based in reality
* Why he decided to direct someone else's script
* How this will be the first project James' partner Leigh Whannell isn't involved in at all
* How hard it is to be original while working in the horror medium
Next up, we have Wan's leading man for a second time in a row, actor Patrick Wilson, talking about:
* Why he wanted to work with James again on this particular project
* How Ed and Lorraine Warren differ from the paranormal investigators in "Insidious"
* Why working with Vera Farmiga added to his decision to do it
* Why horror tends to be better when you have strong dramatic actors involved and how he approaches the movie like he would a normal drama
* He says that things get pretty dark and crazy in the movie and how it pushed him to the limits emotionally and physically
* He talks about a project he finished shooting called "Space Station 76" which he compares to "putting 'The Ice Storm' on the set of 'Buck Rogers'
You can also read what they both had to say about Insidious 2 here.
At the panel that followed, James and Patrick were joined by Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor, and they talked more about the movie that involves the latter two moving into the farmhouse with their five kids where they start encountering various entities including a particularly malevolent spirit of a witch that's messing with the family.
The panel had barely begun when they showed the first trailer for the movie that introduces Ed and Larraine Warren, as played by Wilson and Vera Farmiga, talking about how they'd solved thousands of cases during the '60s and early '70s. It sets up the basic plot of the movie as we see the family being plagued by some of the spirits including a witch who leaps at them from the top of a wardrobe. Larraine is psychic but whenever she detects things, it takes a little bit more out of her and this case is really taking its toll. Farmiga hears a spirit whispering in her ear, "Look at what she made me do," something that's repeated later in the trailer when Larraine is looking at a strange music box that has a clown puppet and a mirror behind it. One of the girls is sitting in front of her and she says that the spirit will appear in the mirror. Larraine looks into the mirror but there's nothing there, so she turns around, still nothing and looks back into the mirror but when she puts the mirror down, the little girl has been replaced by a demon. The titles that ran through the faster-cut section of the trailer, proclaimed "Not a haunting… not a possession… but the truth will consume you."
Not long after, they showed a clip of Lili Taylor playing hide and seek with her kids while blindfolded, a version of the game in which the hiding kids clap twice to give the seeker clue. So we see her walk into the room blindfolded looking for her kids and then behind her, the doors of an old wooden wardrobe open up and she starts walking away from it but then we see two hands come out of the clothes and clap twice so she turns around and heads towards it and begins to feel around in the clothes. When she realizes that it's the wardrobe, she takes off her blindfold and one of her daughters appears behind her saying that she loses because she took the blindfold off.
It then cuts to late at night when she's in her room doing something when she hears two claps from down the hall and she yells out "It's way past your bedtime!" but she leaves the room trying to figure out which of the kids is up, but doesn't see anyone in the hallway. She goes to the railing and looks downstairs and all of a sudden, all the portraits on the staircase crash down to the ground sending glass everywhere, but she walks down the stairs, the glass crunching beneath her feet, and starts flicking on lightswitches in rooms to try to figure out which of the kids is clapping. As she walks into one room, a grandfather clock chimes three times, and behind her, we see a door creaking open to a darkened room and the claps come from within. At this point, people are getting freaked out enough in the audience to yell "Don't go in there!" but it gets worse when she goes over and turns on the light and we realize she's looking down into the basement. She calls down into the dark and slowly walks towards the top of the stairs and then the door slams behind her and the lightbulb explodes leaving her completely in the dark. Just as she lights a match, a pair of small hands appear just over her shoulder and clap twice.
Everyone was buzzing and pretty freaked out by the trailer and the clip shown and it got one of the best reactions to footage we've seen in some time, at least at New York Comic Con.
Even weirder was the fact that in the audience of the panel were two people originally from Harrisville, Rhode Island, including someone who lived next door to the house featured in the movie. They mentioned that it looks nothing like the house but were told that because it was told from the Warren's perspective, they decided to model it after their house. Wilson said that he and Fermiga visited the Warrens' house, on which the house in the movie is based, and visited "The Haunted Room" where they had collected items that were presumably haunted from their various cases including the "Annabelle Doll" that was supposed to be possessed. Apparently, someone who touched it died in a motorcycle crash on the way home adding to the mythos of the Warrens' work. Also in the audience was the person who claimed to have called the Warrens onto the case depicted in the movie and they said that they had some information that the filmmakers may not know. When we spoke to Wan later, he did say that he spoke to that woman, but who knows if anything they talked about might be added to the movie in reshoots now that they have a few more months before its release?
The Conjuring opens nationwide on Friday, July 19, 2013.
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