New York Comic-Con: THE CONJURING Panel Recap; A Cool Take on a Real Haunted House Story in the Vein of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE HAUNTING

     October 13, 2012


I went into the panel for The Conjuring knowing nothing about the film other than James Wan (Insidious) directed it and it starred Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston.  I came away thinking that Warner Bros. might have a surprise horror hit on their hands for 2013, and I say this as someone who is not a fan of Wan’s breakthrough film, Saw (I have yet to see Insidious).  We got to see a solid trailer and a clip that really got the crowd going, and it looks like Wan may have created a nice period flick that puts a nice spin on the paranormal investigators-vs-haunted-house horror sub-genre.

Hit the jump for my recap of the panel, click here for all of our New York Comic-Con coverage.

warren-files-haunted-room-annabell-dollThe panel begins with moderator Chris Hardwicke inviting Wan, Wilson, Taylor, and Livingston on stage.  Wan says The Conjuring is a film about original real-life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Wilson and Farmiga).  The story concerns a young family and their five kids who move into a farmhouse where they’re beset with evil spirits, in particular, the malevolent spirit of a witch.

Then the panel shows us the trailer, which will probably be online soon enough.  We’re the first audience to see it, and the crowd responded really well.  I like the period-setting (1970s), I like the cast, and there’s definitely some potential to break the mold of a familiar ghost-hunters/haunted-family vs. evil entity story.

Then we jump straight into an extended clip where the matriarch of the family (Taylor) learns the importance about not playing hide-and-seek in a haunted house.  Later that night, Taylor’s character investigates the weird noises and happenings in the house.  It’s not scary in a comic-convention hall environment, but the crowd was still really into the scene by loudly urging Taylor’s character not to go down the creepy hallways and the spooky cellar.  But the clip ends with a great moment, and it left the crowd cheering.

james-wanAfter the clip, Wilson talks about visiting the Warrens’ home and seeing the “Haunted Room”, where they keep items from their ghost-busting travels, stuff used in rituals, and “the Annabelle doll”, where horrible things happen to people who touch it.  Wilson said the visit helped informed his and Farmiga’s performances.

Notes from the Q&A:

  • Wan says that while The Conjuring is in the same wheelhouse as Insidious, this one is more grounded in reality, which makes it scarier.  He says he’s trying to honor the point of view of the family this happened to.
  • He says he might have one more ghost story out there, but there are other genres he would like to explore such as action, sci-fi, or a comic book movie.
  • Wan wanted to make his film feel like if they had gone back in time to the 1970s and shoot a movie in the time period.  He always wanted to pay tribute to movies like The Haunting and The Amityville Horror.  He sees The Conjuring as a classic ghost story.

The Conjuring opens July 19, 2013.

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