The killer doll film, an oft-derided sub-genre of horror, can very easily fall into tongue-in-cheek camp. There’s just something innately funny about a small little toy attempting and often succeeding at killing a bunch of grown adults. Child’s Play, Puppet Masters, and, hell, even James Wan’s own Dead Silence have all walked that fine line between the horrific and the simply ludicrous sight of a homicidal doll. Annabelle tips way over that line – but not in the way one would naturally expect. This is a very serious film with not even the slightest hint to the arch or humorous. In fact, the film owes very little to the killer doll genre or even the demonic possession genre of its predecessor The Conjuring. Instead Annabelle fits more at home with the psychological ‘Yellow Wallpaper-esque’ horror of early Polanski. Think less Dolls or Demonic Toys and more Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby.
In the following interview with producer James Wan and director John R. Leonetti, the duo discuss what they learned from working on previous killer doll films (Wan on Dead Silence; Leonetti on Child’s Play 3), adding a more serious tone to the genre, and using Rosemary’s Baby as the cornerstone influence for Annabelle. For the full interview, hit the jump.
James Wan and John R. Leonetti:
- What did Wan and Leonetti take away from working on Dead Silence and Childs Play 3 and how did they apply it to Annabelle?
- What made the duo approach the genre from a more serious angle?
- What made them choose Rosemary’s Baby as the deciding influence for Annabelle?
- Why is skepticism always pushed aside in favor of blind spirituality in the ghost/exorcism genre?