This past weekend I was in the theater to see World War Z (superfast review: the book is better, but the movie isn't half bad on its own) and I saw the trailer for The Conjuring. I have to tell you, I'm a big horror fan, but I had to watch the damn thing while peeking between my fingers, since I had my hands held over my eyes in my patented Protective Viewing Method Which Soothes Via Peripheral Blockage. And this was a trailer, for crying out loud.
What's interesting about The Conjuring is that it reportedly earned its R rating not through violence or gore or sexual content, but for the simple fact that it's seriously scary. Having seen the clip, I believe it -- I only saw a couple scenes, but the tension was cranked so high the inevitable jump-out-of-your-seat moment had quite the impact.
There's another interesting thing about The Conjuring, and that's this: the whole terrifying supernatural story is reportedly based on actual events that happened over 20 years ago.
The Conjuring, which is directed by James Wan (director of both Saw and Insidious), is "based on a true story” about the Perron family. In 1970, the Perrons claim they were terrorized by demonic entities which ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga in the movie) were called upon to investigate.
My mom just wanted a place in the country to raise her kids. It is an extraordinary place. We started seeing spirits as soon as we moved into the house. Most of them were completely benign and some of them didn’t even seem to notice we were there, but eight generations lived and died in that house prior to our arrival and some of them never left.
At first the activity seemed to be harmless, but after a seance accidentally called forth a vengeful spirit called Bathsheba, it began to terrorize the mother, appearing to her in the night with "a gruesome, misshapen face and a broken neck." Perron said,
What she put my mother through, no human being should ever have to endure. (…) When she would appear to my mother, I would see the encounter in a dream state at the same time it was occurring, though I was rendered immobile and helpless to offer any assistance while she was appearing to torment my mother.
Her mother once described Bathsheba thusly:
Its head was leaning off to one side. It was round and gray, resembling a desiccated hornet’s nest. I couldn’t see anything underneath it… no eyes or mouth…it looked like the cobwebs hanging in the corners of the cellar.
Andrea Perron waited thirty years to tell her story, finally releasing a book titled House of Darkness House of Light: The True Story. She says each member of her family saw the spirits -- along with everyone who lived in the house before them and those who have lived in the house since.
Everyone who has lived in the house that we know of has experienced some type of supernatural phenomena. Some have left screaming and running for their lives. The man who moved in to begin restoration on the house when we sold it left screaming, without his car, without his tools, without his clothing. He never went back to the house and consequently the people who owned it, the adjacent landowners, moved in only briefly and it sat vacant for years.
The screenplay for The Conjuring is based on paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren's case files as well as information that Ms. Perron provided to the producers. Interestingly, the Perrons themselves appear in the most recent trailer for the movie.
Here's the clip I saw in the theater (the one that almost DID make me jump out of my seat -- gahhhh, the clapping hands!):
And here's the trailer featuring the Perron family:
What do you think? Do you believe any of this story is actually true? Either way, will you see the movie when it comes out on July 19th?