By now, most of us have seen the promising commercial (and when I say “promising”, I mean “let’s-hope-it’s- realistic-and-doesn’t-put-us-to-sleep”) for the new film, The Conjuring. It’s set for wide release on July 19th. It’s
based on a true story (no, really…a sure enough, “it really happened” true story).Going into this, I had my doubts.
Let me toss my disclaimers out there – the whole paranormal popularity of recent years has served one purpose: it’s at least opened conversations and debates on what happens when we die. Depending on what faith
you practice and maybe even the way you were raised, you too have your own deep rooted beliefs. On the other hand – those efforts, which I believe were genuine at first, have become a cash cow for the networks. If you’re like me, you’ve learned to either pull from those various television shows what you want and leave the rest in the networks’ collective lap. Personally, I feel like these ghost hunters and adventurers have done a great disservice to those who are working from a foundation of better understanding both the human and spiritual condition. And for the record, I don’t believe we abandon our faith in God when we seek answers or at least a better understanding. I just don’t.
Back to The Conjuring…
The People Behind The Conjuring
While the story is about the Perron family – Roger, Carolyn and their five daughters – you’ll see that much of the story is built from the perspective of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are demonologists and respected around the world. You may recall they were the ones who investigated (that’s not the right word…”battled” may be more appropriate) the demonic presence in the Amityville, New York home of George
and Kathy Lutz. And by the way – did you know that family was only in that house for 28 days?
But again…back to The Conjuring…
The Perron’s oldest daughter, Carolyn, began working on a manuscript that covered her family’s time at the farmhouse in Rhode Island. The family remained for ten years after they realized they “lived among the dead”. Her manuscript grew to a trilogy, aptly titled “House of Darkness House of Light” and most recently, the movie rights were purchased and the Perrons are able to see those memories come to life again, courtesy of Hollywood.
I will say you should most certainly read Perron’s books before you see the film. Once you’ve read the first two volumes, you’ll be able to approach the film with a far deeper understanding of the mindsets of this family.
Not only that, but Perron does a remarkable job in her efforts of bringing the Warrens to the pedestal they so richly deserve. I imagine with a job title of “demonologist”, this couple endured more than a few uncomfortable moments in their everyday lives. If you’ve ever watched any of the paranormal shows, specifically, Ryan Buell’s A&E series, Paranormal State, you’ve surely seen the soft-spoken Lorraine Warren, a petite woman who looks as though she should be baking cakes for the church social instead of walking around a haunted house with a blindfold.
I think that’s part of what sets Conjuring apart; the genuine efforts of the filmmaker to remain true to the real life characters Perron presents to him.
Get to Know Those Who Lived it
At a minimum, you should explore the story prior to seeing the film. The insight you’ll gain will come in handy as you get to know the characters in the movie. Perron is a lovely woman who I immediately realized had no ulterior motives. She simply has a powerful story to tell and she does so succinctly, with passion and a commitment to the truth. You can visit her official website, House of Darkness House of Light to learn more of her and her family.
On a side note: If you’re a fan of A&E’s Bates Motel (and if you’re not, why?), you’ll be happy to know Vera Farmiga, who plays Norma Bates on the show, fills the role of Lorraine Warren beautifully in the movie. Pretty sure Hitchcock would have loved to have her amongst his blonde beauties he was so famous for casting.
The official The Conjuring site -the home page is totally creepy – let’s just say a rope swaying from a tree limb with the shadow of a body swaying with the wind is more than a little hokey. Oh – and if you’re interested, you can access the Production Notes from the film.
Finally, if you do see it after it opens, let me know what you thought.