Ed and Lorraine Warren

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Annabelle: Creation – A Little Sugar, a Dash of Spice and Heaps of Brimstone!

Published August 24, 2017 by rmpixie

 

Annabelle: Creation (2017, 1 hr, 49 mins.)

Our favourite possessed doll is back! After seeing her terrorize a family with her demonic presence in Annabelle (2014), of course the creators had to give us an origins story. I mean, it’s only fair, right? Horror producer extraordinaire James Wan and his horror universe needed to give the satanic doll her due with a full back story, and that’s what we get in Annabelle: Creation.

Taking place in 1943, 24 years before the first Annabelle film, we meet Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia), a doll maker hard at work in his shop. He has a mischievous daughter Bee (Samara Lee), who is doted on by him and his wife Esther (Miranda Otto). The family is well-loved by their community and Sam is known for his skill. When they lose Bee in a terrible car accident, they are devastated and mourn their loss for 12 years.  The couple become reclusive but come out of their grieving to open up their home to six orphaned girls and their nun, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) after their orphanage closed down.

Kate (Taylor Buck), Tierney (Lou Lou Safron), Linda (Lulu Wilson)Nancy (Philippa Coulthard), and Carol (Grace Fulton) as the orphaned girls.
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac Dune Entertainment 2017.

The girls can’t believe their good luck as they explore the huge house, thrilled with all the places to explore. Mr. Mullins is sombre but glad to have them there, only banning them from two rooms: Mrs. Mullins’ who suffered an injury from a mysterious incident years before and stays behind closed doors, and their dead daughter’s locked bedroom. Despite their odd hosts, the girls look to the future and hope for adoption, especially Janice (Talitha Bateman) and Linda (Lulu Wilson). Their bond has made them best friends and they hope to be adopted by the same family. Janice is recovering from polio, so her braced leg makes them both worry that she will be overlooked.

Sam (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther (Miranda Otto).
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac Dune Entertainment 2017.

When Janice wakes one night to find Bee’s bedroom unlocked, her exploration reveals a closet with a doll, our Annabelle, hidden inside. Once discovered, the demonic Annabelle unleashes her powers on the unsuspecting girls and torments the Mullins’, haunting them with the terrible mistake they made years before.

Janice (Bateman) and Annabelle getting acquainted
Photo credit: Warner Bros. 2017

The first two acts of Annabelle Creation give you a decent build up with a couple of jump scares to draw your attention back should you feel you’ve seen/heard this type of thing before. It’s almost as if director David F. Sandberg, who also directed Lights Out, gave you a couple of “I saw that coming” moments to pepper the building tension. The final act is a total horror movie playhouse, with nail-biting action, lots of well-placed scares and a nod to the real Annabelle doll to boot.

The young cast delivered some great performances worthy of a good old popcorn horror flick, and it was nice to see film and TV veterans LaPaglia and Otto back on the big screen. The angelic Bateman had to channel some major badness when Janice changes for the worse, and Wilson was just as good playing her conflicted best friend.  I must say that I was also excited to see Joseph Bishara play a demon again. With his talents used in Insidious and The Conjuring as various supernatural creatures, this composer and actor has stolen my monster heart. Look to him for giving the audience guaranteed willies with just a glimpse of his demonic grimace.

While I’m all for the indie or obscure vintage horror film, I love a good horror franchise. I enjoy revisiting the lore of monsters and recurring characters no matter how schlocky things get, and Sandberg gives us solid prequel to Annabelle. The fact that Annabelle Creation doesn’t do anything new shouldn’t stop you from seeing it, and for those who hated the first Annabelle film, they should know this second installment is really good.  Their ranking makes me think of the Ouija films. I disliked the first film Ouija that came out in 2014 for its weak story which was widely panned, but the prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) starring Lulu Wilson, was definitely stronger and gave us some really creepy scenes. It’s no wonder the second film was well-received since Mike Flanagan of the indie hits Absentia and Oculus fame directed and co-wrote it.

With a reported 1 billion made in total for The Conjuring series according to Variety.com, you could argue that these prequels and sequels are made for money not substance, but Wan has succeeded in bringing horror fans consistent films in his Conjuring universe with heroes and villains you want to see more of.  He also mines the very indie directors we support out here in horror land, taps into subject matter that has a wealth of material, and he hit the bull’s-eye with Annabelle. Who doesn’t want to see a great origin story about one of the creepiest haunted antiques that still sits in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum to this day?

To sum it up, there’s no shame in saying Annabelle Creation is a fun Friday night horror movie that does the Annabelle story justice and leads to another potentially solid addition to The Conjuring franchise (If you haven’t figured out what that means, you’ll have to stay right until the very, very end of the credits).  Go see it now!

 

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The Conjuring: Old School Creep Fest!

Published August 4, 2013 by rmpixie

the conjuring

The Conjuring (2013, 1 hr 52 mins)

As you may know, I have a great love for paranormal reality T.V shows like Scariest Places on Earth (with host Linda Blair), Most Haunted, Paranormal State, and more recently Ghost Mine, Paranormal Witness, and American Haunting .  Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (most famously known for investigating the Amityville house) were consultants on a few of these programs in the early 2000’s and Lorraine more recently, giving their insight and advice on many haunted or paranormal incidents.  This was my first exposure to the paranormal duo, and I was so excited when I heard there was a movie being made about them by James Wan (who also directed Saw, Insidious and their sequels), a worthy director in my eyes.

Even though The Conjuring is a re-enactment of true events, this film is special because it goes for broke and is incredibly authentic.  I’m going to rank it in my top 5 films of this year and also the top 5 for darn good scares. We are taken to 1971 where a series of paranormal events plague the Rhode Island home of the Perron family.  Ed and Lorraine (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively) are portrayed as seasoned investigators, with Lorraine’s clairvoyant abilities and Ed’s demonologist expertise taking them from lectures, haunted objects and homes where they debunk or confiscate “conduits” where needed (if you have a doll phobia, this movie will freak you out).  When they are approached by a terrified wife and mother Carolyn Perron for their help, they can’t say no, and descend into a world of classic haunting fare, major creepiness and a battle for innocent souls.

This pixie is a stickler for details and so was the production team for this film.  Having grown up in the 70’s immediately makes me nostalgic for that era and all its trappings.  The Perron home was reminiscent of every house I’ve lived in during my childhood:   old plaster walls, bad lighting, and creaky wooden floors.  Oh yes, and the creepy, cement floored cellar.  The wardrobe was spot on, down to the high collared, embroidered nightgowns that I got every Christmas, and Vera’s wardrobe really represented Lorraine to at T since I have seen her wearing ruffled shirts to this day.   I also remember having those weird ceramic-like mugs with the screened florals on the side which were staples in every kitchen in the 70’s, including the Perrons’.  The movie almost felt like it was made in that era.  That helped set the tone for a classic horror film, as well as the creepy scoring by Joseph Bishara (who also played the angry entity Bathsheba) which included the old school “horror tuba” (my name for it) that I love so much.

The performances were pretty incredible.  In my eyes, Lily Taylor can do no wrong.  My sis and I were talking about her career, and we remember her in Mystic PizzaSay Anything,  Six Feet Under, and more recently Hemlock Grove.  Her heartfelt portrayal of Carolyn Perron was convincing and made me cringe with anticipation when the shit hit the proverbial fan. Vera Farmiga got Lorraine’s tone of voice and mannerisms down pat, and Patrick Wilson?  So dreamy, and I can’t say I didn’t like him saying my name with such intensity.   Just wished it wasn’t under such um, soul sucking circumstances .  The girls who played the 5 daughters were pretty amazing as they kept the fear and intensity at a constant, and Ron Livingston held his own as the bewildered father and husband Roger who just wanted his family safe.

I don’t shriek and tell, but if you are sharp, you will see the real Lorraine Warren’s cameo somewhere in the film.  I am also so glad that she was a consultant on the film and met with the lead actors.   Sadly, Ed Warren is no longer with us on this plane after his death in 2006,  but Lorraine has said that he wanted her to continue the paranormal work.  That little lady has a lot of spirit (please excuse the pun) and wisdom, and I believe she is still doing the occasional investigation (the last one I saw was on Paranormal State).   You can check out some interesting links here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4WvDfLYr74

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJfeN2Kej-0

http://www.warrens.net/Warrens-Bio.html

Andrea Perron, the eldest daughter from the Perron family, discusses the happenings and her book House of Darkness, House of Light.  Very interesting background on the actual events:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9VtUo9q2NI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfNrDYJ72KI

I highly recommend seeing The Conjuring as I think it harnesses old school horror with conviction and from what I’ve gathered, stays respectful to all involved in the actual events.

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