Demonic 'Annabelle' draws on classic horror films for nostalgic scares

Thu Oct 2, 2014 6:44pm EDT
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There's a new demon in town, and she's hiding among the toys.

"Annabelle," out in U.S. theaters on Friday, kicks off October's Halloween offerings at the box office with the origin story of a porcelain doll that masks a sinister secret, a spin-off from last year's Warner Bros. Horror hit "The Conjuring."

Set in 1970s California, young newlywed couple Mia and John, played by Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton, settle into a small house in Santa Monica.

Soon after pregnant Mia receives Annabelle, a gift from her husband for her growing doll collection, the couple endure a terrifying break-in, and then strange things start happening.

The couple move to a new home, but something dark follows them and haunts their baby daughter.

"It was set in the '70s at a time where movies of the genre were very well respected," said Wallis. "I think the element of truth to it, that it stems from real events and whether or not you believe in occult, there are documented things that happened."

Dolls are usually associated with innocence and playfulness, but have been distorted into dark creatures in numerous horror movies, such as 1987's "Dolls" and Chucky the serial killer in 1988's "Child's Play," which spawned numerous sequels.

In "The Conjuring," directed by James Wan, Annabelle is possessed by a twisted supernatural force, and the doll's porcelain face becomes warped into an evil grin.   Continued...

Cast member Annabelle Wallis poses at the premiere of "Annabelle" at the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California September 29, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni