Will ANNABELLE: CREATION Crown the New “Evil Doll” Champion?

[Featured image courtesy ANNABELLE official Facebook page]

Ah, Annabelle. New Line Cinema’s inanimate darling may not have the pithy malice of Talky Tina (The Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll”), or the prolific swagger of knife-wielding, trash talking Chucky (the seven movies & counting Child’s Play franchise). But after only one feature film, the Raggedy Ann inspired collectible is already killing it at the box office; 2014’s Annabelle grossed $257 million worldwide from a production budget of $6.5 million.

Any killer toy with that much box office power deserves an origin story prequel. Annabelle: Creation arrives on August 11 to provide just that. Anthony La Paglia and Miranda Otto star as a grieving couple who open their home to (kindly?) Sister Charlotte and a gaggle of orphaned young girls. Since this is a movie in The Conjuring-verse, terror ensues.

David F. Sandberg directed 2016’s Lights Out, by far the better of that year’s two “don’t turn off the lights” horror movies (the other being The Darkness). Along with Jennifer Spence (production design), Michael Aller (editing), and Bejamin Wallfisch (score), Annabelle: Creation also features horror movie veterans Maxime Alexandre (director of photography, The Other Side of the Door) and Leah Butler (costume designer for Paranormal Activity 3 AND 4).

Here’s the latest official trailer for Annabelle: Creation

 

So far, so scary. Matches the tone of the official poster –

Fog, a full moon, a well with no guardrails – what could go wrong? Image courtesy New Line Cinema.

You may find this all very intriguing, but wonder “do I know enough about the whole Evil Doll subgenre to truly appreciate Annabelle: Creation?” Here are some handy articles, lists, and commentaries to help you along.

  • Wikipedia has (of course) an extensive list of Killer Toy movies, books, and television shows.
  • The fine folks over at TVTropes guide you through the many, many works featuring a Creepy Doll.
  • CultClassicHorror.com debates the eternal “Talky Tina vs. Chucky” issue here.
  • For old-school horror fans, the Ghosts & Scholars podcast guides you through the classic M.R. James short story “The Malice of Inanimate Objects”
Image: JohnSaul.com

On a personal note; even though Annabelle: Creation is set in 1960, the whole atmosphere reminds this 70’s Horror Kid of one of my gateway drugs into the genre –  John Saul novels like Comes the Blind Fury (1980).

If Annabelle’s backstory has even a fraction of the pulpy, nightmare inducing quality of those books, this movie should be a creepy, giddy, ride.

 

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