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WonderCon 2016: James Wan terrifies with ‘The Conjuring 2’ and ‘Lights Out’

James Wan has become a WonderCon staple and NewLine/WB love to parade him and his scary films to adoring fans. Wan came to the Con with two projects, The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out, debuting trailers for both and answering questions. Here are the highlights:

On the Inspiration for The Conjuring 2
James Wan mentions that the first was successful was because of the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren and that the movie had characters you could root for. Moving forward in the story meant keeping that but also touching upon their most famous case, Amityville. This led them to actually doing the Enfield case because it was seen as the London version of Amityville and one of their most documented cases.

On His Style as an Artist
Wan mentioned that he prefers a classical style of filmmaking (Saw notwithstanding). The Conjuring and Insidious films are better representations of his work because they allow him to explore his love of practical approaches to filmmaking, such as in camera effects and cool camera moves. This style is what is helping Wan go from horror to big action films. Wan remarked that by grounding his style in classical cinema, he’s actually able to keep his approach the same. What is perhaps most interesting is that Wan mentioned that though he routinely gets approached to do horror franchise remakes, he actually has no desire to reboot any moribund franchise, preferring to do original material.

On Lights Out
Fans got their first look at the film based off this insanely scary short. In the film Maria Bello plays the mother to a family that’s being haunted. She’s also a schizophrenic, which Bello mentioned really allowed the film to take on another layer of scariness because you don’t know who to trust. Filmmaker David F. Sandberg and his wife Charlotte never thought that the short they made in their house would become a motion picture, particularly because they couldn’t get the film funded in Sweeden.

Finding New Voices
Producer Lawrence Grey mentioned that he was super attracted to the material because it spoke to a universal experience of seeing something out of the corner of your eye or in the shadows and thinking it might be more than it is. He also said that the studios want to discover new talent and new voices, particularly within the horror genre, but you have to come to a knife fight with an armored tank division. Wan then remarked that because of the genre and the smaller budgets that studios would be more willing to take a chance.

You can check out the trailers for these two films below:


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Written by Terence Johnson

When he's not enduring Shade Samurai training from Victoria Grayson, you can find Terence spends his time being an avid watcher of television, Criterion film collector, Twitter addict, and awards season obsessive. Opinionated but open minded, ratchet but with class, Terence holds down the fort as the producer of the Power Hour podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeNoirAuteur.

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