The Conjuring and other not so scary stuff

Part of what you’ll see on my blog from time to time is a discourse on movies, comics, general pop, fan girl culture which feeds my soul. I am a Geek at heart. But first off, I sent in book two, The Necromancer’s Betrayal, to the publisher for the first round of edits. I’m excited about book two but wary as well. The events really test the characters and change some of them, for better or worse? Betrayal is one of those fulcrum books that tips the lever, sending everyone reeling. They also spend more time in the demon realm which was fun to write.

I hadn’t realized how tightly I was wound up until I hit send on that book. My stress levels were pretty high, trying to meet deadlines and take care of all my other responsibilities. Now I basically only have book three to write and polish up my pirate book for self publishing later this year, and fit in time to polish up my short story about the werewolf Brandon, featured in Necromancer Seduction. I feel pretty relieved.

So I did manage to catch the Conjuring, which I’d been anticipating for a long time. Directed by James Wan, the auteur of the first Saw and Insidious. What got me hot and bothered about The Conjuring was Wan intended to harken back to the traditional, atmospheric scary haunted house movies, and did he, but more on that later.

The movie is based on an actual haunting investigated by Lorraine and Ed Warren portrayed wonderfully by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Say what you will about the Warrens (who also investigated Amityville), I’d love to visit yet not touch their collection of haunted artifacts. Lorraine Warren actually had a brief cameo in the classroom scene. She was seated in the audience.

Wan did a great job portraying a haunted house movie set in the seventies. It felt like a movie filmed in the 70s, kind of like The House of the Devil, directed by Ti West. I saw lots of 70s horror flicks as a kid, so watching these types of movies, where the director calls upon that atmosphere really appeals to me. Ti West also did The Innkeepers which had its share of jump in your seat moments. I give lots of credit to directors who can still get you on the edge of your seat with scenes in which a character is stepping into a dark basement, or walking down a darkened hallway. Wan accomplished that and more. (And I will never play a hide and seek game involving hand clapping. Never.) It’s too easy to rely on gore or some such to get the audience to react. Wan doesn’t need to in the Conjuring. He gives us plenty of scary dolls, and one scene that really did make me hop in my seat and sent my heart racing. I also enjoyed some homage moments to movies like Poltergeist.

The ending was scary, but not in the sense of what actually happened, but by the set up, the implication. I did like his take on the possession sequence, giving something a little different than what we’ve seen in movies like the Exorcist. And Lili Taylor portrayed that perfectly. I can’t imagine having to act out a scene like that. For any Lili Taylor fans, of which I am, she did a movie called The Addiction in the 90s about a grad student who turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her frequent craving for human blood. It was a great, little known vampire movie.

So if you like good, old atmospheric haunted house type movies, definitely check out The Conjuring. Oh, last but most definitely not least, the sound track is incredibly unnerving. In fact, the scene where the family arrives at the house with the music playing just gave it that epic feel, same feeling when watching Halloween and that god-awful, yet brilliant movie score starts playing. That’s what I’m talking about.

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