Nerds and Beyond has been bringing you some daily spook-tastic coverage on horror month and today will (hopefully) be no different!
Life is your walk home, and October is the creepy, unlit back alley you can’t avoid passing. But don’t worry, we’re shining a spotlight on all the darkest corners, just for you. Today, I’ll be illuminating the depths of The Conjuring corner. Note: this is not on the series, just the individual film.
Alright, don’t hate me, but I’ve got to say this…I am not an October person; I don’t live for Halloween, and I don’t really even like the holiday (is it considered a holiday? Whatever, you get my point). I am by no means a horror movie fanatic either, and honestly the only reason I watch horror movies is to see if they can scare me (most don’t even come close). However, with that being said, I did really enjoy watching The Conjuring. There’s something about it that others have missed for me. Below are a few things this movie got right that others didn’t.
This isn’t a movie of jump scares, and it isn’t a movie without a plot. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This movie is a story with scary aspects rather than a scary movie with hints at a story. The characters have more to them than just the horrific things happening in these moments, and we actually get to see that. We get a setup, we get an understanding for who these people are outside of the demonic happenings, and the door is left wide open for us to form a connection with at least one of the characters. We see what Ed and Lorraine Warren do outside of their hands-on investigating. We see what the young girls are like interacting with one another, and we see what the Perron parents are going through and trying to hide from their children. We see everything, not just the horror; we get something to latch onto.
Enhancing the Fear
Not every moment of this film has you feeling like your heart is going to beat out of your chest. Yes, at some points your adrenaline is pumping and your blood pressure has spiked, but at others you almost think you might get a wholesome little moment. Like I said, this horror movie actually has a plot; a near-perfect blend of story and scary. Throughout the beginning of the film, we see several things happen that aren’t scary. I’ll highlight one: we get a simple interaction between sisters. We get to see them play “hide-and-clap.” It seems like a fun twist on the game everyone knows and has played too many times to even attempt to ballpark a number, but when the youngest daughter, April, wants to play it with Mommy while everyone is out, it turns scary.
What should have been a fun, bonding time between mom and daughter suddenly turns into a nightmare situation. Think about it from mom’s perspective: you’re blindfolded, playing a simple game of hide-and-clap with your youngest daughter. You call out for her second clap, trying to narrow down her location. You hear a clap in front of you, so naturally you extended your hands. When you reach out, the only thing you feel are clothes. Where is your daughter? She has to be there. You remove your blindfold, maybe thinking you reached just to the left or to the right of her, but no one is there. Your daughter is another room, but you heard an unmistakable clap right in front of you, and there’s only two people in the house: you and her. Nothing is in front of you now, but there was…wasn’t there? That moment of uncertainty, that moment of doubting your senses, it enhances the fear you feel in that moment.
Now, I know at the start of this I said this was going to be focused on the individual movie rather the series, and that’s true, that is the focus here. But I am going to mention the rest of the series as well. We all know this was just the first movie in a line of others in this same universe. We have this one, The Conjuring. We have The Conjuring 2, The Conjuring 3, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, Annabelle Comes Home, The Curse of La Llorona, and The Nun. This first movie opens the door for the others, but luckily for us, it didn’t blatantly yell out “HEY, HERE’S WHAT’S COMING NEXT!” It simply gave a subtle nod at the possible different directions. The nod to Annabelle (the movie I’ll narrow the list down to) was the most obvious, with the film starting with the story of how she came to be possessed, and several lingering shots throughout the film. Knowing what we know now, it does make it quite a bit more obvious that it would be the focus of a future film, but if you forget about the fact that you do already know this, you just might be able to see it in a different light.
While doing a short interview with a man, Ed Warren finds that his daughter has snuck into the room with them, and her attention (and fascination) is on the doll. Later, when the demonic presence has attached itself to Lorraine and attempts to go after their daughter, she is holding Annabelle. That seemed to be the connection, and it wasn’t blatantly obvious that Annabelle would be the focal point of another movie; she just seemed to be attached to Judy Warren. Turns out subtlety is a strong suit.
Check back in with us tomorrow for another highlight on one of our favorite spooky films, and let us know what your go-to October film is below!