U.S. Release Date: 9/3/14
“There are realms beyond our senses we can’t comprehend and there are entities we can’t fathom,” says filmmaker John Leonetti. “The mythology of demonology will always fascinate people—and mess with their heads.”
Leonetti is the director behind Annabelle, a new chiller concerning the titular demon possessed doll which cropped up during the opening moments of last year’s horror hit, The Conjuring. In fact, as that movie rolled before the cameras, James Wan, its director, and producer Peter Safran were already envisioning an Annabelle feature film.
“We know she’s so bad that, after all this time, she has to he locked up,” says Wan. “But how did she get that way?”
For the answer to that question, fans will have to go and see the movie.
“I couldn’t wait to play in this playground with these guys,” says screenwriter Gary Dauberman. “Everyone loves a good scare and that was our number one goal.”
The tale begins when John Form (Ward Horton) buys a vintage doll, dressed in a white wedding dress, for his expectant wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis). But things turn crazy for the couple when they are attacked, within their own home, by members of a satanic cult – an event which eventually causes the doll to take on its own deadly life form.
“I love stories with female protagonists,” says Leonetti, “and Mia is the linchpin of this movie.”
Describing her character as a “lovely storm of a woman,” Wallace says:
“She’s intelligent and vulnerable and fighting a battle very much on her own because people assume motherhood has just heightened her anxiety and made her paranoid. But her situation is more complex than that, and so is she.”
The star doll in Annabelle is apparently based on a real doll bought as a birthday present for a college student back during the ’70s. According to the story, it came to life, scratched and clawed at living people and was even responsible for at least one death.
Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the case and placed the doll behind a glass cabinet in their Connecticut based Occult Museum. Today, it sits behind a sign that says “Positively Do Not Open.”
“It was really important that Annabelle look somewhat human,” says Wan about the doll’s design. “I think that kin of sensibility plays into the scary psychological factor of the film. When you see her propped up against the chair or in a corner of a room, you have to look again to realize ‘Oh, that’s not a person, that’s a doll.’“
Two versions of the Annabelle doll were created. The pristine version appears during moments when Mia receives the doll as a gift, while, while a demonic doll stars in scenes where Annabelle comes to life.
“Before I met the Annabelle doll on The Conjuring, I thought, ‘It’s a doll, so what?’ But then I saw her. She’s the size of a small child—that in itself throws you. And when she looks at you, she looks at you. But watching her transform from pretty to pretty creepy this time was even more unnerving.”
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: John R. Leonetti
Stars: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodward, Kerry O’ Mally, Brian Howe, Sharon and Pete Higgins, Tony Amendola and Eric Laden.
Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman
Producers: James Wan and Peter Safran
Executive Producers: Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Dave Neustadter and Hans Ritter
Quote Source: New Line Cinema