Monday, November 4, 2013

The Conjuring and Help for the Haunted: Fictional Depictions of the Warrens (SPOILERS)

I read Help for the Haunted earlier this year and I mentioned how I really liked the experience of reading the book even though I didn't like the conclusion of the book. In fact, I had such a reaction to the end of it that I made a spoiler post for discussion.

I thought I had put the experience of reading it behind me and then I watched The Conjuring. The Conjuring brought it all up again because it clued me into something key I hadn't known while reading for Help for the Haunted and made me have conflicting feelings about the book all over again.

So, Ed and Lorraine Warren were real life--ghost hunters basically. They believed in demons, apparently worked with the church, traveled to give lectures, and had an occult museum in their home. A museum that included a doll in a case with a warning sign to never open it. And there's a picture of Lorraine Warren holding this doll in the front yard.

I didn't know this when I read Help for the Haunted, so when I started watching The Conjuring and there was a story about a freaky doll, it didn't ping me at all. Until they put the doll in a case warning to never open it. Man, suddenly what had seemed original and fresh about Help for the Haunted no longer did. After watching The Conjuring, I did some research to find out this stuff about the Warrens.

For my taste, The Conjuring is more the kind of story I want to watch. It one hundred percent treated the Warrens like legitimate demonologists. When I'm reading or watching a scary story, this is what I want! I want a story that makes me believe all this scary stuff could happen or else who cares? I mean you won't be scared if at the end everything has a rational explanation.

Also, Vera Farmiga played Lorraine Warren. Once I realized that Lorraine Warren was also sort of like the mother in Help for the Haunted, I was thrilled with this casting. I love Vera and she was perfect. Warm, empathetic, the kind of person people would trust.

This isn't to say that I think the Warrens were legit, though. I read some stuff about them and also watched the documentary about the Amityville Horror and to be honest Lorraine seemed not quite all there. But if I'm watching a movie meant to scare me or a book meant to scare me...I want to believe.

So now I guess Help for the Haunted wasn't just a book dismantling people who believe in ghosts/demons, etc, but a book that specifically imagines what the Warrens might have been like, the things they might have done, and why. I don't man, it makes me like the book even less. Like, did he have to rip off the doll? Couldn't it have been a stuffed toy or something?

Eh, for what it's worth, The Conjuring is a fun horror flick and Help for the Haunted was a fun read...up until the end.


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