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Event Recap: ‘The Conjuring’ Advance Screening in Chicago

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Sometimes it’s good to be a journalist and live in or near Chicago because every once in a while you get to attend some very cool functions.  Tonight I had the extreme pleasure of being invited by Warner Bros. and Horror Society to attend an advance screening of the upcoming chiller The Conjuring (review coming soon) from director James Wan (Saw, Insidious).   Every screening I’ve attended seems to be different, some are fairly straight forward while others are a lot of fun.  Tonight’s screening was nothing short of fabulous to attend.

Upon checking in and entering the theater, a Warner Bros. anti-piracy agent made sure we all knew that we MUST have our cell phones and any other electronic device turned off or risk being ejected from the screening.  Those in attendance were treated to a pre-show talk with Father Jason Malave, a Catholic priest from the Chicago area.  Warner Bros. had invited Father Malave to talk with the audience about good vs. evil in the world today and how that related to the film we would be seeing.   He warned of not giving in to evil and to put our faith in God.  This all was in accordance to the plot of The Conjuring where the characters were struggling with a battle of good vs. evil.

Father Malave said some prayers to protect us from evil and blessed the goody bags that were handed out to those in attendance.  The goody bags were demon protection kits which consisted of a prayer card for protection against evil, a rosary and a vial of holy water.   The Warner Bros. reps also announced that Father Malave would be available after the screening to talk to anyone who was disturbed by the film.   This was all in good fun and it really showed Warner Bros. was having a good time with promoting this film and they really made it a fun time.   Their antics really reminded me of the 50’s and 60’s era of William Castle and other film gimmicks of the time, simply brilliant on the part of Warner Bros.

As far as the film itself, my review will be forthcoming but all I can say now is Wow!  The Conjuring is an awesome film and extremely scary.  It will have you looking under your bed and over your shoulder for days afterwards.   Director James Wan has hit this one out of the park!

I had the chance to chat briefly with Father Malave after the screening to get his thoughts on the film from his perspective and this is what he had to say:

The movie like many film that have been out starting with The Exorcist and forward have reminded us the power of evil exists, that’s what all of these movies do.  We put ourselves here for entertainment, but more than entertainment we have to remember that it’s real – the power of evil is real.  We don’t want to domesticate the power of evil, we don’t want to get too comfortable with the power of evil, we don’t want to become friends with the power of evil, we want to rebel the power of evil.  So that’s why I’m here to push prayer.

Push constant prayer, inviting people to call upon the Holy Spirit to be part of their lives, not the evil spirits, but the Holy Spirit, that’s what I thought of the movie.  We don’t want to domesticate evil, we don’t want it to be a part of our lives but when we see it we have to remember that prayer has to be a part of our lives.

When asked whether he found the movie to be frightening or not, this is what he had to say:

Sure, I find evil frightening.  I find the power of evil frightening…absolutely!

From New Line Cinema comes a feature film drawn from the case files of married demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Conjuring stars Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel, Orphan) and Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, Insidious) as the Warrens and Ron Livingston (HBO’s Band of Brothers) and Lili Taylor (Public Enemies) as Roger and Carolyn Perron, residents of the house.

Joey King (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Shanley Caswell (Detention), Haley McFarland (TV’s Lie to Me), Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), and newcomer Kyla Deaver play the Perrons’ five daughters, and Sterling Jerins (upcoming World War Z) is the Warrens’ little girl, Judy.

James Wan (Saw, Insidious) directs from a screenplay by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (The Reaping). The film is produced by Peter Safran, Tony DeRosa-Grund, and Rob Cowan with Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter serving as executive producers. Reuniting with the director are members of his Insidious creative team, director of photography John Leonetti, editor Kirk Morri, and costume designer Kristin M. Burke, and his Saw production designer, Julie Berghoff. The music is composed by Joseph Bishara.

Plot Synopsis

Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. Based on a true story described in the book House of Darkness, House of Light: The True Story by Andrea Perron, The Conjuring tells the horrifying tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.

New Line Cinema presents an Evergreen Media Group/Safran Company Production of a James Wan Film:The Conjuring. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

The film opens in the US and the UK on July 19, 2013.

The Conjuring screening

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Watch the third trailer here,

 

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A very special thanks to Warner Bros. and Horror Society!!!

Written by Michael Juvinall

I am a Horror journalist, producer, ravenous Horror fiend, aficionado of the classic Universal Monsters, Hammer Horror, Werewolves, and all things Horror.