Tag Archive: The Conjuring

Thanks to “Annabelle: Creation,” the Conjuring franchise has passed $1 billion.

James Wan directed “The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2,” which starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

Wan also directed the first “Saw” film. That series will see a new installment, “Jigsaw” later this year.

“The Conjuring” universe continues to flex its muscle at the box office. “Annabelle: Creation” earned $4 million from its Thursday previews.

That’s almost double the $2.1 million “Annabelle” earned and is also higher than “The Conjuring” (James Wan, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and “The Conjuring 2”.

Horror movies can be very front loaded, so it still may not reach the level of those first three films, but at this point, an opening above $30 million seems likely.

By Brandon Engel

October is by and large the unofficial horror film month. As the weather grows increasingly chilly and the leaves fall from the trees baring their skeletons there is a spooky feeling in the air (and it’s not just the trick or treaters). Of course, Halloween being the ending note to the month certainly helps solidify horror films popularity during October, but there’s just something about that autumn breeze rustling the leaves and shaking the tree branches that makes it optimal weather to get scared out of your mind.

When looking for some great horror films to watch people usually revert to the classics. Psycho, Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and Night of the Living Dead are often at the top of every horror buff’s list. Given the current (laughable) state of horror films, who could blame them for looking for older films to give them that fright? Fighting back against the typical overkill that’s dominating today’s horror films are a handful of directors who’ve been able to create this generation’s horror classics. Sure, you can watch those great horror marathons that many cable stations are airing right now (like the AMC Fear Fest, SyFy Channel’s 31 Days of Horror, and more – try here for ways to watch), or you can build your own marathon of the older greats and the new classics. Let’s take a look at the top five best horror films of the modern age that you can add to that list.

Donnie Darko

While not being a jump-out-of-your-seat typical horror film, this 2001 film is a psychologically thrilling film that stirs up an incredible amount of anxiety from it’s viewers. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular character it takes place in 1988 in Middlesex, Virginia. In the film Donnie starts to have visions of a man named Frank who appears to him wearing a rabbit costume, Frank warns Donnie the end of the world will happen in 28 days. The film follows Donnie as he struggles in school and in therapy, where he’s diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. We watch as Donnie’s mental state deteriorates and relationships become strained building up to a bewildering climax at the end of the film.

The Conjuring

This 2013 film directed by James Wan and starring Vera Farmiga made over $318 million during it’s run in theaters and became one of the highest grossing horror films of all time. Tens of millions of people all around the world rushed to theaters to watch this supernatural horror film set in rural Rhode Island in the 1970’s.
Farmiga plays Carolyn Perron who, along with her husband Roger and daughters Sadie, Cindy, Andrea, Christine, Nancy, and April, begin to experience paranormal events following the discovery of Sadie laying dead outside the house one morning. Following Sadie’s death the strange and unexplained events begin to take place more frequently and becoming more violent. In a state of panic Carolyn brings in paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who inform her that her home was once owned by a witch who placed a curse on the land before sacrificing a newborn baby and herself to the devil in 1863. As the Warren’s try to help the Perrons rid themselves of his curse, the activity takes a turn for the extreme and puts everyone’s lives in danger.

Drag Me to Hell

As if the name itself wasn’t frightening enough this Sam Raimi directed film tells the story of an ordinary bank loan officer named Christine (played by Alison Lohman). She enjoys her job but her boss tells her she’s got to be tougher with her loans if she wants to advance in the bank. She takes his advice and decides to deny a mortgage extension to an elderly woman who begins to beg and plead her to reconsider or she’ll lose her house. Christine asks security to take the woman away because she’s scared of the woman, and after she gets off work the woman attacks her, rips a button from her coat, and uses it to place a curse on her.
She later visits a fortune teller who informs her she has been cursed and and as long as she possesses the cursed object (the button) she will be haunted by the demon Lamia who will torture her for three days before dragging her to hell. As the three days progress Christine is visited multiple times by Lamia physically and psychologically attacks her and drives her toward madness. She continues to see the fortune teller who is her only hope to understand what is going on, but her three days are running out and she’ll soon be dragged to hell if she doesn’t find a way to break the curse.

The Cabin in the Woods

This film, which serves as an incredibly promising directorial debut forDrew Goddard, tells the story of a group of college students who take a weekend retreat to a remote cabin in the woods. The cabin and it’s surroundings are being controlled by two men who are working from an underground facility and part of a mysterious project or group that has drugged the group and is monitoring them.
After one of them inadvertently summons the zombies of the sadistic former owners of the cabin the group must fight for their lives while trying to understand what is going on. With the zombies attacking and the group frantically trying their best to escape, their efforts are fought by those at the facility, who are watching with bated breath. The film not only creates a sense of fear from the zombie attacks, but also mystery from never fully knowing what the men monitoring the situation are motivated by until the end.

Let the Right One In

While this Swedish horror film may require you to read subtitles, the sense of fear it projects is international. Set in the suburbs of Stockholm in the film follows a bullied 12 year old boy named Oskar. When he meets a strange girl his own age named Eli, he immediately falls in love with her despite her eccentricities. Those eccentricities, Oskar soon finds out, are due to the fact that Eli is a vampire, and her father is the one who’s bringing her blood from the bodies of those he’s killed to keep her alive. Despite his young age Oskar is in an all too real mental battle between feeling love or repulsion towards Eli.

James Wan already had horror hits like “Saw” and “Insidious” on his hands. Now he can add “The Conjuring”, which earned more than $41 million. That’s more than twice its budget already! The other films like “RED 2”, “Turbo” and “R.I.P.D” starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges ranged from OK to out right bomb.

With the limited access to computers I’ll be having over this week and next this will be an abbreviated version of the Box office battle.

This week, four films hit theaters. Will any break out?

“Turbo” features the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and more. And it’s premise about a racing slug has the possibility of attracting the same kind of crowd that Pixar’s “Cars” brought in. But, it’s being released after “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2” and with the much more anticipated (ugh) “The Smurfs 2” still to come, one has to wonder if this will be the odd animated film left out. Still, it still should do better than say “Rise of the Guardians” but probably not by much.

Opening weekend: $30-35 million

James Wan is back with “The Conjuring”. The director of “Saw” and “Insidious” has Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga starring in this film, which is gaining a ton of buzz about how scary it is. It’s not opening in as many theaters as the other films, but this one could make a strong play for first place.

Opening weekend: $28-33 million

“RED 2” stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Brian Cox and Neal McDonough. But the star power won’t help this film. The first film opened to $21 million on its way to $90 million domestically and nearly $200 million worldwide. I doubt it matches those numbers domestically as many view it as an unnecessary sequel to an OK first film, though it should open around the same level.

Opening weekend: $20-25 million

Finally we have “R.I.P.D.” The presence of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds won’t help this film escape its “Men in Black” knockoff feel and, frankly, it looks like this summer’s “Jonah Hex”. Never a good thing.

Opening weekend: $10-15 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

So far this summer, “World War Z” has been my biggest positive surprise. Starring Brad Pitt, the film was shockingly fun. But there’s another film I think might be my biggest surprise. That would be “The Conjuring” starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. From James Wan, the director of “Saw” and “Insidious” the film is being called one of the scariest in decades and got an R rating not because of blood or gore…but for just being too scary. Word is New Line is already looking at developing a sequel. Horror sequels are a tough sell, but if the first one is as good as people are saying, I’d be up for it.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.