Truth is stranger than fiction…and a lot more frightening. No one knew that better than Ed Warren and his clairvoyant wife, Lorraine, whose lifelong personal experiences combating inhuman forces garnered them respect in the field of demonology long before the immense popularity of the paranormal on the screen. And long before Ed and Lorraine tackled the foreboding menace in a little place called Amityville, they encountered the most perilous evil even they would ever come up against. This terrifying case is the subject of the new horrror film “The Conjuring” from New Line Cinema.
James Wan, who had known of the couple’s work prior to taking the directing reins of “The Conjuring,” relates, “I've always been a big fan of the Warrens. I really admire them. They pioneered the modern-day style of ghost hunting with technical equipment, capturing evidence on film and audiotape. Since they've inspired so many stories, books and films, it was cool to actually make a movie where who they are is as much the focus as the family’s home they are investigating.”
The film reveals the real horrors lurking within a secluded centuries-old farmhouse in the seemingly peaceful countryside of Harrisville, Rhode Island, bought in 1970 by Carolyn and Roger Perron. However, the couple and their five daughters soon find themselves directly in the path of extreme, yet indefinable, danger. When Ed and Lorraine meet the family and the unnatural enemy waging war against them, they know they are in for the battle of their career...and lives.
Producer Peter Safran believes the case was seminal for the Warrens because they wanted not only to safeguard the Perron children, but their own young daughter, Judy. He conveys, “I think what they went through with those girls really laid the groundwork for their life path, including Amityville and beyond. I was particularly drawn to the events because I also have a daughter, and I can't even think of a limit to what I would do to protect her.”
Producer Rob Cowan comments, “Everybody identifies with the notion that something’s under your bed or in the closet, but this really happened, so it makes it all the more chilling.”
Screenwriters Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes had a unique take—telling the story via the tandem points of view of the Warrens and the Perrons. Chad remarks, “What we loved about writing this script is the contrast between two couples: there are the Warrens, who are devout Catholics and respected demonologists, and the Perrons, who aren’t at all religious. And then their lives collide. Who fixes what and how does it get fixed?”
“These strangers crossed paths over some very ugly entities,” Carey adds. “They took a very daunting journey, and going through their steps, we just got hooked. It became an obsession.”
Wan remembers, “When I read the script, I said, ‘Wow, this is great, here is a chance to do something different.’”
During the project’s development, Wan and the Hayes brothers went through the Warrens’ files—some 4,000 cases. “We found a lot of great material,” says Wan. “My goal was to incorporate some of the wildest things they'd encountered in their lifetime, yet still stay true to this particular family’s story. We drew a lot of inspiration from the Perrons’ recollections as well. I thought it was even more frightening to show the scares through the eyes of the pros along with the perspective of this family that has no inkling of the supernatural world.”
“We wanted to honor both families,” says Cowan, “so it was really rewarding when they said we’d achieved a genuine level of accuracy.”
Wan concludes, “Most people will, at some point, relate that they know someone who has, or that they themselves have, experienced something paranormal. On my other films, it was comforting to tell myself those things weren’t real, I’d just made them up…but for ‘The Conjuring’ I didn't have that luxury.”
Opening across the Philippines on August 21, “The Conjuring” is a New Line Cinema production and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.