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James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring’ Thrills At L.A. Film Festival

Director cites 'Exorcist, 'Amityville' as influences

On the first night of summer, Warner Bros.’ “The Conjuring” made its official North American debut as an eerie throwback to the 1970s.

“‘We can’t wait to see you guys squirm,” declared Hayley McFarland, who plays one of the five Perron sisters, just prior to ‘”The Conjuring” screening at Los Angeles Film Festival.

SEE ALSO: “The Conjuring” – Film Review

Director James Wan, noting that the film’s release date has been moved back six months to July 19, evoked plenty of laughter during the Q and A following the screening.

“I had forgotten how intense this film is,” he said.

Wan admitted that he was very aware of similar demonic possession films of the era, particularly “The Exorcist” and “The Amityville Horror,” which was also based on the work of “The Conjuring” paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

“I didn’t want to make an action film,” Wan noted. “I was trying to exercise restraint … I wanted to stay true to the Warrens and the Perron family and show this through their point of view.”

Wan — whose credits include “Saw” and ‘Insidious” — admitted that he believes “somewhat” in the notion of demonic possession but noted that things were generally light and bright on the North Carolina set once the cameras stopped rolling.

“I run a happy set,” he said at the end of the session. “I’m nothing like the films I make.”

Shanley Caswell, who plays Andrea Perron, agreed with that assessment during the pre-screening bash at Rick’s Place at the Hotel Figueroa.

“I wasn’t able to get much sleep at all because I was too wide awake,” she added. “I’m an adrenaliine junkie — skydiving, bungee jumping, all that.”

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