Edmond Town Hall’s movie theater hosted a run of The Conjuring a few weeks ago, but will host a special one-night encore of the film on Thursday, October 24.
The special event will begin at 7 with a screening of the supernatural horror film directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious, Death Sentence), and will continue with a question and answer session with Lorraine Warren and Tony Sera.
“I decided to do this because of Lorraine,” said Edmond Town Hall Manager Tom Mahoney. “She and [her husband] Ed were our regular customers for years. I’ve known her for a long time, and thought this was a good opportunity to get her here. She’s a very nice lady.”
Tickets for the event are the regular movie ticket price of $2.
The film follows one of the biggest cases investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren, Monroe residents who spent decades working as paranormal investigators and authors. Their cases have included the Lutz home in Amityville, N.Y., upon which the book and film The Amityville Horror were based; a 1981 homicide in Connecticut, which was described in Gerald Brittle’s 1983 book The Devil in Connecticut; and a home in Southington they found to be infested with demons, the story of which was turned into the 2009 film The Haunting in Connecticut.
The couple also founded the New England Society for Psychic Research, the oldest ghost hunting group in New England (and of which Mr Sera, her son-in-law, is now the director of); and opened The Warrens Occult Museum, which features items from their cases.
In The Conjuring, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film follows the Warrens as they visit Carolyn and Roger Perron (played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) after the couple buys and then moves into a farmhouse with their children in 1971. The farmhouse, the Perrons soon discover, is haunted by a demonic witch. The Warrens are called on to investigate and help the family.
The film is similar to classic horror films, rather than a gory slasher movie.
“The director, he’s done Saw and a few others, usually gorefests,” said Mr Mahoney. The Conjuring is “a very well made film,” he continued.
“He was very restrained with this one. He went for a creepy, spooky film, and it works.”
As with many horror films, some audience members left without being frightened or otherwise affected during the film’s initial release. Others called The Conjuring the scariest film of the year, of the decade, and in some cases, the scariest film ever.
“Some people thought it was really scary, others didn’t think it was at all,” said Mr Mahoney. “It depended on the individual.”
Movie theaters posted Warning signs when they were hosting the film over the summer. The warning called the film “psychologically and emotionally disturbing.
“People who have attended early screenings of the film have complained about many unusual circumstances that they have experienced after seeing the film,” the warning continued.
Some theaters even opted to invite local priests to be available following the screenings. The priests, the notice said, “will be available after the film to provide spiritual support and/or conduct a personal blessing should you feel the need. Please do not hesitate to seek help. Ask a representative where you can sign up for a session with our priest.”
Lorraine Warren spoke with The Newtown Bee on October 17, one week before she will be in town for the Edmond Town Hall event.
“It was a very, very bad case,” Mrs Warren said of the work she and her husband did for the Perron family four decades ago. “People would say, ‘Was there really levitations?’ And I’d say ‘Yes, there really was levitations.’”
Mrs Warren spent time on the West Coast well before the screenplay was written for the film.
“They interviewed me all about the country, and about the case itself,” she said. “It was great, it was very good. I explained everything to these people, as best I could, and that’s how [the screenplay] got started.”
Before principal photography began in March 2012, Mrs Warren was also visited by two of the film’s stars, including the woman who portrayed her onscreen.
“They came here, to our home,” she said of a visit from Farmiga and Wilson. “They really wanted to know me, as a person, how I related to things,” she said. “It was very nice. It was very thorough.”
The film was reportedly made with a $20 million budget. It has made $137 million domestically, and just over $305 million internationally as of the beginning of this month. It has become one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time, currently the sixth highest grossing horror film of all time in the United States (behind Jaws, World War Z, What Lies Beneath, Gremlins and The Blair Witch Project, according to IMDb.com).
Mrs Warren is aware of how well the movie has done, and said she isn’t surprised at how well it has been received.
“I’m really not,” she said, “because the case itself was fantastic. And being able to be there, when they were filming, and watching how thorough they were about everything they were doing, that made me very reassured.”
Ed Warred died in August 2006. Mrs Warren, now in her mid 80s, does not “run all over the country, she said, for investigations any longer. She does continue to do some investigations locally,” she said this week. She is also very busy with “a lot of speaking engagements, at colleges and universities, across the country,” she said.
Nevertheless, “this time of the year is always the heaviest” in terms of people wanting to book her for a public program, she said. She never accepts an invitation to speak on Halloween, however.
“I never take a date on Halloween,” she said. “I don’t want to, really. I don’t consider this to be a Halloween type of thing.”
She will, though, talk during the weeks leading up to and following October 31. This past week she and her son-in-law participated in a screening of The Conjuring and a Q&A with an audience in Monroe. She enjoys events like this, she said, and the opportunity to meet people.
“It was great, it was really, really great,” Mrs Warren said of the October 16 program at Masuk High School.
“The lines of people, it was something,” she said with a laugh. “I love people.”
Edmond Town Hall is at 45 Main Street in Newtown. The Conjuring is rated R, and contains sequences of disturbing violence and horror. It has a running time of one hour, 52 minutes. Tickets will only be available at the door.