Tag Archives: entertainment

Movies I Plan On Checking Out This Fall (2013)

In my last post, I listed the Top 10 Spooky Movies For Fall. After doing some research, I’ve come up with four classic spooky/fally movies that I haven’t seen but would like to see in the coming months. Tracking down at least one of these will be difficult, but I’m going to try. I hope to write a review for at least a few of them. 

Linked titles take you to IMDb. Photos take you to Amazon.com.

 

Session 9 (2001)

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Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Watch Trailer

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The Uninvited (1944)

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(...if I can find it.)

(…if I can find it.)

Dead of Night (1945)

Here’s a clip…

 


Top 10 Spooky Movies for Fall (2013 Version)

Well I held off for as long as I could stand it. Last year I posted this list a whole month earlier. It’s September. I have pumpkins. Just lit a candle. Just saw a witch flying in front of the moon in a meme on Facebook. I don’t care what you say it’s FALL! Alright let’s go.

 

In chronological order by release date. Linked titles take you to more info on the film. Photos take you to Amazon.com.

 

Psycho (1960)

There’s just something about a Hitchcock classic in black and white that gets me electrified for fall. And with the success and rise in popularity of A&E’s Bates Motel series starring Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), the original Psycho has made it back onto the scene for lovers of this spooky genre. As a kid, I was obsessed with this movie… a movie most known for the screeching strings in the score that in my opinion forever changed film music, and that horrifying shower scene. I was known to refer to it as simply “Bates Motel”. If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s time to dust this one off and give it a watch! Just be sure to shower BEFORE showtime! Watch the trailer.

 

The Innocents (1961)

I watched and fell in love with this film for the first time last year. The movie begins with a black screen and a creepy melody, “O Willow Waly”, which is sung a cappella by a young child. Much of the film is shot in beautiful outdoor garden-like settings, and the rest of the movie takes place in a beautiful large country estate. It really is beautiful to see on screen. And then, of course later, that same beauty creates the good old-fashioned spookiness that I love in a horror movie. No special effects needed. The storyline involves two children, their governess, and the ghosts of the former governess and valet who possess the children.

 

 

Carrie (1976)

This movie first played at screens just two years before I was born, but it was actually only like 6 years ago that I saw it. I’ve seen it many times since. The wonderful Sissy Spacek hasn’t aged a day since filming it. Also, at the time I had no idea that Betty Buckley (a Broadway star to me) was in the film. For many people, this was the first time they learned of a phenomenon called “telekinesis”. Carrie has an amazing film score that I think is really beautiful, but unfortunately it isn’t really accessible or recognized. The beautiful score from final scene that finishes with a surprise, is simply genius and is one of my favorite movie themes. Don’t waste your time with any of the remakes. They are horrible and just don’t even come close to the small budget original. Watch the trailer.

 

The Changeling (1980)

Like The Innocents, it was only last year that I saw this film for the first time. Starring the wonderful George C. Scott, it has that classic spooky movie feel that I always prefer. I very rarely enjoy all of the computer generated imagery (CGI) of modern-day films. I get a much bigger scare out of some good sound effects, an emotional score, an incredibly spooky setting, darkness, a ball bouncing down the steps, or a secret dusty room that has been untouched for decades. This movie has all of those things. Fitting right into the subject of this blog, The Changeling also includes a séance scene, and believe it or not… even some EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Watch the trailer.

 

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

I first watched this Disney Pictures film when I was very young. Until recently, I sort of forgot about it, which is unfortunate. I was two years old when it was released, and I can’t believe I’m old enough to mention that it stars Bette Davis… but it does. I never understood why it was the Disney company that made this film, simply because it is so incredibly creepy! Don’t believe me? Watch it! I remember having nightmares about it. But it is such a good movie. From imdb: “When a normal American family moves into a beautiful old English house in a wooded area, strange, paranormal appearances befall them in this interesting twist to the well-known haunted-house tale. Their daughter Jan sees, and daughter Ellie hears, the voice of a young teenage girl who mysteriously disappeared during a total solar eclipse decades before…”

 

 

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Ohhhh my beloved Hocus Pocus. I’m finding that I’m far from being the only nerd that enjoys a tradition of watching this film every year. As a young teenager I loved it because it had all of the elements a spooky Halloween themed movie needed to have… witches, spells, graveyard, a black cat, and a cute main character. But of course, what makes this movie fabulous is the hilarious trio of Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, and Bette Midler. It used to be on cable a lot more, but I try to catch it every time it’s offered. In fact, I think I’ll set the DVR now. Most of these movies are on my list because of the nostalgia that they bring, and this one brings back feelings of the excitement I’d get as a kid around Halloween. Watch the trailer.

 

Halloween H20 (1998)

The events taking place in this film, along with the year it was released, marks twenty years after the original. It is one of those nostalgic college movies for me. I used to be into these old slasher movies a lot more than I am now. Don’t get me wrong, if a Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or a Michael Myers (Halloween) marathon catches me on the right day in October, I just might get sucked in. But even though this is probably on many lists for being a really horrible movie, it is my favorite of the Michael Myers films, with the possible exception of the original Halloween, which I haven’t seen in a long time. It is the Halloween movies that has forever changed the meaning of  The Chordettes’ Mr. Sandman for me. And of course, there is the unforgettable classic Halloween theme. Watch the trailer.

 

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

People often make fun of me for loving this movie. It is a movie I have often watched late on Halloween night by myself after the trick-or-treaters fizzle out. I’m not sure why, because this movie doesn’t exactly scream “HALLOWEEN”, but ah well. I think the improvised faux reality style in which it was made was ground breaking and shocking. Several films have used this technique since. If you’re not familiar with this movie or the way it was filmed, it might be worth checking out its wikipedia page. Then again, that might ruin it for you. Watch it first and then check out the page. Though a lot of people complained about getting nauseous in the theaters due to the amateur shaky film footage, I think they’re whiners! Watch the trailer.

 

What Lies Beneath (2000)

Again, college nostalgia for me. I was lucky enough to have HBO in my apartment back then, and this was shown a LOT for a year or two. It’s just a creepy movie with some pretty intense spirit communication, including a funny scene with a Ouija board. Right up my alley. Plus, who could forget the amazing bath tub scene? I’ve never personally had one of those “lounge in a tub” kind of bath tubs, but when I see one I immediately think of this scene. Sadly, this is one of those movies that is becoming hard to find unless you own the DVD. I do not.

 

  

 

The Others (2001)

The last movie on our list tries to give us a glimpse into what happens when we die and what it might be like. That, of course, is probably not how Hollywood describes it, but that’s the question that is pondered and brought up so many times in this blog and in other paranormal circles. Again, like most the movies from this list, it has all of the spooky elements to it. Creepy old house, creepy children giggling, lots of darkness, and a séance scene that includes some automatic writing. And then… the creepy old woman… with the little girl’s voice! I thought this was a very well-made movie.

 

 

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Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden on Lifetime?  (Photo Credit: David Shankbone)

Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden on Lifetime?
(Photo Credit: David Shankbone)


The Uninvited (1944) will finally be released on DVD

A year ago I very much wanted to watch the classic 1944 haunted house film, The Uninvited, based on a 1941 novel by Dorothy MacardleI even included it on my list of Movies I Plan On Checking Out This Fall from last year, and I was interested in reviewing it here at The Big Séance. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Not even a bootleg version on YouTube. Well I decided to search for it again tonight and was excited to see that thanks to The Criterion Collection, The Uninvited is finally being released to DVD in late October! The film has a new and improved cover that you can see here (a major improvement). According to Criterion, the features also include a new visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda, two radio adaptations from 1944 and 1949 (both starring Ray Milland), the trailer, and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme and a 1997 interview with director Lewis Allen. I’m so incredibly pumped to receive my copy on October 25th, just in time to get a review posted before Halloween!

 

A pair of siblings from London (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price—and soon they’re caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, The Uninvited,directed by Lewis Allen, was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night—this gothic Hollywood classic has it all. – Synopsis from Criterion.com

 

Check out the super spooky trailer!

 

 

You Might Also Like These Classic Spooky Movie Reviews

The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents (1961)

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The Changeling (1980)

The Changeling (1980)

 

 

 

 

 

 


My Personal Experience with Mediums by David Almeida

Please enjoy another article that is very well written by David Almeida. Please check out his bio at the end of the post. Once again, Mr. Almeida has kindly given me permission to share this with you. Thanks, David!

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A person can easily say that mediumship is foolishness (I guess that sort of gives away my position on the matter).  It is my policy to report on my personal experiences in the “It’s what you actually saw, not what you think you saw” manner.  (Please note this remark is directed towards events that occur in the physical environment such as shadow people or hauntings).  I’m not certain if I have always stuck to this policy in my past writings.  With the supernatural, as with any topic whether it be politics, economics, or entertainment, people’s opinions naturally enter the discussion.  This article clearly demonstrates that fact.

 

When an unbeliever is personally touched by the spirit world, their attitude often changes. It’s like the people that we see on the Long Island Medium television show who receive spirit messages through Theresa Caputo.  We see the client exclaim in similar words “Wow.  How could she know that about me?” 

 

Being a spiritualist I can relate to this kind of wonderment.  It startles the person receiving a reading when a medium says something of a personal nature that could not possibly be known to him or her.  The first time I had a half hour session with the pastor of my former Spiritualist church, she made a statement that amazed me.  The pastor said, “You are into concepts.”  She barely knew me at the time.  This was during the time that I was writing The First Truth: A Book of Metaphysical Theories

 

While anyone can say that my pastor’s concept remark was coincidence, I find it interesting that she could have said just about anything concerning my character.  I believe it was during this session that I inquired with her about my suspicions regarding the Arthur Waite.  This question came from her mention of the name Arthur in a previous session and my realization of his connection to me.  She positively confirmed his identity, by asking me if this Arthur person swayed back and forth between good and bad.  This piece of information was among the few facts that I knew about him at the time.  Many people may find this sufficient evidence for what might be considered a grandiose claim, but it is consistent with several other experiences I have had with Mr. Waite.  I have discussed these experiences in other articles.

 

I am extremely careful in writing down my thoughts.  When I reduce my thoughts to writing, I intend to stand by it.  If I later find myself wrong about a particular statement I have written, or I discover a conflict with one of my theories, I am obliged to acknowledge my error.  In such a situation, all I can say is those famous last words “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”  While I am prepared to leave my ideas open to debate, I am duty-bound to defend my ideas.  Otherwise, there would be no point in sharing my articles with curious readers on the Internet.  Any theory can be refuted, no matter how well supported and officially endorsed they are.

 

I have seen the search results on Google that claim Theresa Caputo is a fake.  I did not venture onto any of these websites.  I have never met Mrs. Caputo, so I cannot personally attest to her mediumship ability.  However, I’m not sure that the show would air if the producers thought her spirit messages were bogus.  That revelation would reflect terribly on everyone involved in producing the show.  I know people will do anything for money, but even so, it’s seems to me that no one would risk their reputation on a faker. Putting your career on the line for a hoax is risky.  I would never knowingly associate myself with anything I recognized as a sham. 

 

I want to state for the record that a certain amount of skepticism is healthy and necessary in evaluating supernatural phenomena.  It goes without saying that one should not take everything he or she hears as the irrefutable truth.  In that regard, I consider myself to be a true skeptic, despite my feelings towards spirit communication and metaphysics.  My observations and conclusions are reliable when it comes to documenting what actually occurred in a particular situation. 

 

I have to admit that the practice objectivity is challenging when dealing with the supernatural.  Objectivity tends to be of little use in assessing spiritual or mystical experiences.  These are the kind of experiences that are labeled hallucinations and dreams by the skeptics.  If my statements in this article seem contradictory, then you are beginning to understand the deceptive and limited nature of objectivity.

 

I am not saying it’s impossible for Mrs. Caputo to be faking her talent.  Having seen her show a number of times, I feel it is reasonable to believe her mediumship ability is genuine. Many people would agree with my opinion.  Again a large number of people giving approval to a supernatural event, or to any situation, does not necessarily mean it is true.  However, the people I am referring to have first-hand knowledge of Mrs. Caputo’s mediumship ability.  If one chooses to disregard their personal testimony, then I do not know what to say.

 

Quite often the professed skeptics are nothing more than perpetuators of conspiracy theories.  I am thinking of the misinformed groups who continue to link the legendary Illuminati to various world domination conspiracies.  I fell for this nonsense in my early twenties.  I have out grown them since that time.  I like to be flexible in considering other people’s beliefs, but having followed many conspiracy theories in my younger days, I am of the opinion that the majority of these overblown rumors are unfounded.  There may be some truth to a few of these theories, but it’s hard to determine which parts are factual.

 

I could come up with many plausible reasons for why Mrs. Caputo and many other mediums are frauds.  By continuing in this manner, I would be doing a disservice to my readers.  Humans are meant to reach out to the hidden universe in search of new ideas and information.  I do not understand why some individuals feel the need to resist spiritual growth.  If we protect the status quo, we are only hurting ourselves.  The Truth will never be uncovered by thoughtlessly convincing people to maintain the notion of a closed universe.

 

Spiritualist mediums go through training.  After this, they spend what I believe is a year or two as student mediums.  They ply their skills once a month by giving readings to church attendees.  At some point, the student’s mediumship skills are tested for accuracy by an independent certifying board.  I have met some remarkable student mediums. 

 

Am I of the opinion that all mediums are equal in their ability to communicate spirit messages?  Of course not.  Many mediums maintain an outstanding track record, while others have moderate success in their readings.  The disparity in accuracy between mediums can be wide.  It’s important to remember that the medium is reliant on unknown entities for their information.  There is no known system for getting consistent results.  Even the best mediums can have an off day through no fault of their own.  I should also acknowledge the fact that there are excellent mediums who are not certified by any Spiritualist church. 

 

Interestingly, I have noticed that few mediums in the Spiritualist tradition make future predictions.  It confirms my suspicion that common spirits are no more capable of predicting the future than living beings.  I liken future predictions to the principle of cause and effect.  This universal law is responsible for the infinite possibilities that exist as our future realities.  Some of these “alternate realities” become future probabilities.  Both spirits and mediums are able to perceive the probable future.  This does not mean that a particular probability will unfold in the present.

 

Based my personal experience with mediums, I am convinced that spirit communication is a reality. A close-minded person will never acknowledge the truth.  No matter what a medium says to the skeptic, he or she is more than likely to deny the accuracy of the message given.  I do not feel the statement of an absolute skeptic is a reliable measure of a medium’s competence.  The assessment of reasonable and balanced person is much more useful in gaging a medium’s ability.

 

As a side discussion, I would like to make a brief comment on the paranormal investigator.  These special investigators are helpful in substantiating or disproving a supernatural claim.  By their nature, paranormal investigators are inclined to believe in the supernatural.  Otherwise, they would not be interested in pursuing the unexplained. As I already stated, I feel that this open-mindedness is an excellent quality for an investigator to possess.  Paranormal investigators minimize their natural curiosity with reasonableness and sensibility.  They look for “proof” or “evidence” of supernatural manifestations by using modern technology. 

 

I once requested the assistance of a paranormal investigation group to document the existence of supernatural activity in my former residence.  This was more than ten years ago and took place before I became acutely aware of nonphysical reality.  The investigators did not obtain the evidence I was seeking, but I was impressed with their professionalism.

 

 

Bio

David Almeida is a Spiritualist and researcher of Rosicrucian philosophy and esoteric knowledge. David is a past article contributor to the Sedona Journal of Emergence. He is also a Board Certified Hypnotist and Reiki healer. David is the author of The First Truth: A Book of Metaphysical Theories and Illusion of the Body: Introducing the Body Alive Principle. Both books can be purchased at Amazon.com. Visit http://www.findyourdivinelight.com

 

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How to Evaluate the Authenticity of an Observer’s Supernatural Encounter (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: In her own words (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: Are members of the “spiritual community” turning on her?  (Big Séance)

 


The Conjuring Sequel and the Enfield Poltergeist?

Evidence of supposed levitation from the Enfield Poltergeist/Haunting case.

One of the many photos of 11-year-old Janet Hodgson supposedly levitating.

There are rumors floating (no pun intended) around the internet that suggest the story line for the sequel of The Conjuring, now a major box office success, will involve the 1977 Enfield Poltergeist in England. This case involves two young sisters, mainly Janet Hodgson, who were really either great at psychokinesis (PK) or were tortured by an unseen spirit, perhaps the spirit of a man named Bill (who reportedly died in the same house years before), who apparently possessed and spoke through one of the girls. The video below includes the famous levitation photos from the case and audio of the creepy and traumatizing  supposed voice of Bill during investigations.

I’ve been reading rumors about a sequel for weeks now, and though nothing is official, apparently the film will again involve the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren. So many thoughts circle in my head about the details of this news. First off, I don’t believe I knew about about the Warrens being involved with this case. It is well documented that two members of the well-respected Society for Psychical Research (SPR), Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair (see mentioned book below), were involved in investigations. Also, I get somewhat annoyed that we’re still using the term “poltergeist” for psychokinesis or telekinesis, which is the ability of one’s mind (often an adolescent girl as the agent) to influence solid matter, such as moving a chair across the room, rapping on the wall, etc. Many times the agent creating this phenomena has no knowledge that they’re the one causing the activity. Using the term “poltergeist” (a German word popularly translated as “noisy ghost”) makes people think “ghost” or “entity” when it might not be. If one of the sisters was truly possessed by the spirit of a man named Bill, then this may have simply been a haunting. Or was it both psychokinesis AND a haunting? Or… was it all cleverly faked?

Many people have considered the fact that the last scene of The Conjuring hints at the famous Amityville case being their next visit. I thought that was an interesting treat to leave for the fans at the end of the movie, but I certainly hope they aren’t literally making a sequel about Amityville. We’ve seen and heard enough of that over the years. If the Enfield case is the direction the next film is going, I’m SO there!!

 

 

Guy Lyon Playfair, mentioned above, wrote about the events in This House Is Haunted: The Amazing Inside Story of the Enfield Poltergeist. I have yet to read this, but it is on my “To Be Read Shelf”. 

 

For more on the poltergeist phenomenon and extensive details about the Enfield Poltergeist, check out The Poltergeist Phenomenon: An In-Depth Investigation Into Floating Beds, Smashing Glass, and Other Unexplained Disturbances by Michael Clarkson.

 

 

Related Articles: 

The Conjuring Movie Review (Big Séance)

What IS the truth about the Enfield Poltergeist? (Daily Mail UK)

Could this be the plot of The Conjuring 2? (Ain’t It Cool News)

The Conjuring Sequel To Feature Demons and Levitating Sisters?! (Bloody Disgusting)

Andrea Perron’s House of Darkness House of Light Trilogy (Big Séance)

Flies and Hauntings: “You can’t really kill what’s already dead.” (Big Séance)

 

 


Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden on Lifetime?

 

Christina Ricci Photo Credit: David Shankbone

Christina Ricci
Photo Credit: David Shankbone

This is apparently not breaking news, but it was news to me today. I was watching Christina Ricci’s interview on today’s The View, where she was promoting the new movie, Smurfs 2, in which she lends her voice for the character of Vexy, a bad Smurf. Early on in the segment it was briefly mentioned that she is working on a film about the famous ax murderess, Lizzie Borden, and she plays the role of… duh… Lizzie. The ladies were poking fun at the fact that she has played so many dark characters. Christina talked about how she loved the darker roles and often saw humor in them. (It was funny seeing her talk about these darker roles while wearing a bright and sunny polka-dotted outfit.)  

According to The Herald News, the Lifetime movie (bummer) just finished filming a few days ago. No word yet on when we’ll get to see it.

Also from The Herald, it is interesting to find out that the curators of the famous Lizzie Borden house were not even contacted or used as a resource for the film, other than asking to borrow the famous couch that resembles the original. They turned them down (good for them).

Anyway, I’m totally still pumped.

Just in case you didn’t grow up learning the chant, or if you don’t watch SyFy or the Travel Channel and are therefore unaware of the Lizzie Borden story, let me catch you up.

 

Your Lizzie Borden Study Guide

In 1892, in Fall River Massachusetts…

Lizzie Borden…

did this…

to her father…

and this…

to her stepmother.

She used this. 

The jury…

announced that Lizzie (cough cough murderer) was not guilty. (Rrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…)

She died in 1927. 

Be sure to come back and visit the Big Séance for all your remedial learning needs. 

Sources: 
http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x273440786/Lizzie-Borden-film-is-a-wrap
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/LizzieBorden/bordenhome.html

 

Related:

I Still Watch Ghost Hunters... So What? (Big Séance)

I Still Watch Ghost Hunters… So What? (Big Séance)

Have you “Liked” Big Séance on Facebook yet? 


Survey Says (Answers!)

Because I know Renae Rude has been holding her breath for days to find out how close she was (You totally rock, Renae!), I wanted to reveal the answers to the teaser post from earlier this week. The answers are accurate as of July 14, 2013. Ready? Here we go with an exciting link-filled post!

 

What are the all-time top 4 search terms for Big Séance?

 

 

  1. Thomas Edison and the phonograph (By far the winner… I’m convinced this post is used in a curriculum for a course somewhere. When fall gets here there will be a few days where old Tommy will get 60 or 70 hits each day. One day it was over 400.)
  2. Jimi Hendrix (Can you believe it? I think the name exists ONCE on ONE of my earlier posts. Fascinating.)
  3. Black Eyed Kids
  4. Marcello Bacci

 

What are the all-time top 4 Big Séance blog posts?

 

 

  1. Thomas Edison and the Phonograph (Naturally… he thinks he’s so brilliant.)
  2. Communicating with Dead Celebrities and the Famous (Same post where Jimi Hendrix resides… there’s a pattern here.)
  3. Memories of the Stanley Hotel (Yay! **In my announcer voice** –> This is Stanley’s first nomination and first win for his role on the Big Séance blog.)
  4. Black Eyed Kids (They’re sneaky. Can’t get rid of them.)

 

 

Care to know what the all-time LEAST viewed (as of today) post from the Big Séance is? (This was not asked in the teaser earlier this week.)

  1. Holiday Spirits (Kind of shocks me! Since I know you missed it, check it out.)

 

Out of 132 countries, what are the top 5 all-time countries that represent my readership? (This one might not be so tough.)

  1. USA
  2. UK
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. France

 

Who are the all-time top 4 commenters? (Apparently not a word.)

  1. Randy Keller (Renae’s correct answer! 🙂 )
  2. Brandie Sellers/Maria Laing (A tie!)
  3. Lee Allen Howard

 

As always, thank you all for supporting the blog, being loyal readers, sharing posts with friends, and for playing along! Till the next post… 

 

Peace!

 

Related Posts:

One-Year Anniversary and 173rd Post! (Big Séance) 

Big Séance 2012 in Review! (Big Séance) 

The First Semi-Whenever I want Big Seance Statistics Awards! (From June 2012) (Big Séance)

 


The Conjuring movie review

First of all, if you are a fan of this genre of film, YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE! You WILL see this movie! (Although… some of you may want to see an afternoon matinee so that when you leave the theater you can go to a park, watch the bunny rabbits play, and soak in the last hours of sunlight before you’re home checking rooms and corners.)

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, we can get to the review and the details. Last night I attended an advanced screening of the much anticipated film, The Conjuring, starring Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Evening), Vera Farmiga (A&E’s Bates Motel), Ron Livingston (The Odd Life of Timothy Green), and Lili Taylor (The Haunting, HBO’s Six Feet Under, and TV’s Hemlock Grove). The film is directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious), is rated R, and opens in the United States on July 19, 2013.

There are multiple reasons why I’ve been so excited to see this film, but one of them has to do with the fact that the screenplay for The Conjuring (written by Chad and Carey Hayes) is based on the case files from actual events involving the Perron family in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. These files are from two of America’s earliest, most experienced, and most loved paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Wilson and Farmiga). Outside of the paranormal circle, this married paranormal team will be most remembered for their involvement in the real events of the Amityville haunting that later spawned a book and movie. Many of the people more intimately involved in the field know this duo to be paranormal rock stars.  But the events depicted in this film happened before Amityville and before this rock-star status.

Even though the film is told from the perspective of the Warrens, there is a tormented family in this story as well (as is common in the haunting genre) … the Perrons. Livingston and Taylor take on the roles of real life Roger and Carolyn Perron who struggle to keep their five daughters safe and protected from the horrors going on in their secluded country house (built in 1736) which has an incredibly dark history. Many of the ads, trailers, and TV spots for the movie have been playing up the fact that this case might not be known to you because it was just too disturbing for you to know and was kept quiet for almost 40 years. But now the world is ready … or so the ads say.

It is my understanding that after Andrea Perron, one of the daughters, wrote two volumes about the experiences in 2011 entitled House of Darkness House of Light, it drew more attention to the story. The movie is not based on this book, but as I mentioned earlier, the screenplay is based on the Warrens’ case files. As far as I’ve read, the family and Lorraine (Ed Warren passed away in 2006) seem to approve of the film and are fully behind the events depicted in it. In a YouTube video where Andrea reviews the upcoming film, she states “I expected something entirely different. I expected Hollywood to do what Hollywood does, and yet in some ways this is a very quiet and studious film. You would never know that from the trailers, but that’s their job… to entice an audience. It’s also about the love of a family. It’s also about people who came to help, who felt that this was the most significant and compelling, and dark and disturbing story that they had ever heard in the course of a fifty year career.” She also mentions that the film “truly captured what we endured.”

According to the production notes (a lengthy but fascinating read that can be downloaded from the movie site), Lorraine Warren, who is looking good and in her 80s, is quoted as saying “When I walked inside, I immediately knew it was haunted. There’s a feeling that comes over you, almost like a veil, it draws your energy because the entity needs it in order to manifest; the only way to get that energy is from you. It was really heavy in that house and being on the set brought all that back. It was uncanny. I’m very fond of James. He wanted to get everything right, and I’m excited about the film.” According to the Warrens, this case was the “most intense, compelling, disturbing and significant investigation.”

I found the film incredibly spooky and satisfying, and in a way felt like I was watching something that was released from a time capsule. You really do feel as if you’re watching events from 1971. I don’t have the film production vocabulary to accurately describe it, but the whole thing was shot in a stylistically retro way. Even the design of the ads and the title seem very period. Along the same lines, I’m a huge fan of minimal special effects and computer generated imagery in horror films, and I feel like this had to have been a goal of the production team. Instead, for the most part they used sound, dark corners, squeaky doors, and a really good makeup team… just like the old days. It made the whole thing way more believable, and spookier, in my opinion. The last film from this genre that I saw do this so well was The Woman In Black. But before I move onto the next paragraph, let me be very clear. Like me, you may be fascinated with the history and story, and it is truly a great film, but… This. Film. Is. Scary.

I’m going to avoid busting out spoilers, but the acting in this film was spectacular. Lili Taylor for sure had what must have been some incredibly difficult scenes to film. In the production notes she has some interesting things to say about preparing for her character and blowing her vocal cords. I love Patrick Wilson (who doesn’t?) and Vera Farmiga earned my respect after being hooked on the first season of Bates Motel this year. In such an uncomfortable story, seeing the very loving and beautiful relationship and camaraderie between Ed and Lorraine made me very comfortable when I needed it.

A few interesting bits of information about the production. James Wan decided to film The Conjuring in chronological order. I don’t know why this always makes me happy to hear, but it just makes sense to me. Also, as with many famous films of this type, according to production notes there were apparently several strangely paranormal incidents that happened to various individuals involved in the production of the film, including incidents involving Lorraine Warren and the Perron family members visiting the set.  

Now before you run off to buy your tickets (and remember, it doesn’t open for a few days), let’s stop for a minute and discuss the ads and trailers. Don’t try to pretend like the television spots with the two claps and the sharp tug of the leg in bed didn’t horrify you. And if you think those were the only two scary parts that were thrown away for advertising, think again. I find it interesting that in only one of the three main movie trailers do they even introduce us to perhaps the two main characters, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The other two are your typical “family in a haunted house” trailers, although in the third trailer they made an interesting decision to add commentary from the real Perron family members. So depending on what trailer you saw, you may have been expecting a slightly different movie. The shorter TV spots have had a mix of all of the trailers and include the Warrens.

Thank you for visiting the Big Séance! Check out the trailers below and make sure to go see The Conjuring! (Leave the bunnies at the park.)

 

 

Related Articles:

The Conjuring and its True Story (rhinews.wordpress.com)

‘The Conjuring’ commercials are freaking me out! (Entertainment Weekly)

 


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