“The Conjuring” spinoff “Annabelle” is arriving in theaters this weekend, and believe it or not, it's actually expected to outgross David Fincher's hugely-anticipated “Gone Girl” in its opening frame. There goes Ben Affleck's career! Before you help the horror flick to a box-office win, educate yourself with this list of five things I learned from cast members Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton and Alfre Woodard, director John R. Leonetti and producer James Wan at the film's recent press junket. After scrolling through the full list, check out the embedded video interviews above and below.
1. It's not a killer doll movie.
“I don't make killer doll movies,” said Wan after I compared the film to the classic “Twilight Zone” episode “Living Doll.” “I don't know if people know the difference between psychological ventriloquist puppet, right, ventriloquism, and killer doll films, right? I'm a big fan of 'Child's Play,' I love Chucky, but I don't think 'Annabelle' lives in that world. 'Annabelle' lives more in the psychological ventriloquism world.” In other news, “psychological ventriloquism” is my new favorite sub-genre.
2. There are several different versions of the ventriloquist dummy in the film, and they fall on a spectrum ranging from “creepy” to “get the hell away from this ventriloquist dummy immediately and never look back.”
“We actually had 3 1/2 versions, I guess you could call it,” said Leonetti. “You know, we end with the doll that was in 'The Conjuring,' so we had to back up from there. It worked backwards. And through the movie organically and story-wise I wanted to start with a pristine, sort of porcelain-faced, but still frickin' creepy doll, version of Annabelle, and then as the story goes along…for example, one thing that I think is really cool that i love is that only for one scene, I created the demon eyes for the doll.”
3. Even the actors were scared when they watched the movie for the first time.
Horton: “I was definitely scared. I mean, I think for one, yes, you maybe know what's gonna happen. But so much of the stuff happens in post where they…compose it, and the editing…just, I jumped. Many, many times.”
Wallis: “I felt incredibly sorry for myself. Like…'Oh, poor me! Oh, no! Oh, no!'”
4. If the baby in the film started acting up, they'd hand her right over to Annabelle. The actress or the doll? Who can say.
“If the baby needed to cry, we'd give it to Annabelle,” said Horton. “No, I'm just kidding.” Right.
5. If a doll suddenly and inexplicably started talking to Alfre Woodard, she'd be like, “ok, guess I have to deal with this then.” And then calmly roll up her sleeves and get to work.
“You know what scares me? People with ill intent. A demon wouldn't scare me. A doll suddenly talking to me, wouldn't scare me, because you just deal with it. …If your doll talks to you, there must be a reason, you gotta deal with it!”
In other words: call Alfre Woodard if you have a problem with basically anything.
“Annabelle” hits theaters this Friday.