Compared to last year when Star Trek Beyond, Sausage Party, Don’t Breathe and Snowden screened at Comic-Con, there aren’t many studios this year previewing films for fanboys, which made New Line the exception last night.
The Warner Bros.’ label kicked off the confab’s preview night with a screening of their August 11 release Annabelle: Creation, but they also turned the moment into a mini horror preview aka “Scare Diego” with talent and clips from their September 8 Stephen King title It, and the Conjuring spinoff, The Nun.
Given how the studio is trying to keep a lid on It to fuel even more anticipation, the clips shown last night aren’t expected to appear online soon. The two new clips showed very little of Evil clown Pennywise. He made a cameo in the background of a rock-throwing fight scene between a group of bullies and the Losers Club as they try to rescue their friend Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs). Pennywise is seen shaking a baby’s bloody arm. In addition, a second trailer was shown, very similar to the footage that’s already out there, but the money moment was Finn Wolfhard coming to in a room full of clowns, only to be freaked out by a raging Pennywise. The feature adaptation of the 1986 Stephen King novel follows seven small town children who are terrorized by a child-eating clown.
A second clip showed the Losers Club assembling atop a river’s cliff for a summer dip. They’re blindsided when Sophia Lillis’ freckle-face Beverly Marsh joins them and one-ups them with a swan dive into the water (“Holy shit, we just got stood up by a girl!,” one of the boys yells). We later see the gang drying off in the sun and going over newspaper clippings about how their town has a higher disappearance rate of children than adults. There’s a lot of nuances and tonal homages throughout It to Rob Reiner’s 1986 film Stand by Me, another feature adaptation of a King tome about adolescent bonding. Director Andres Muschietti was present yesterday along with the Losers Club including Lillis, Jacobs, Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff. Given the multiple layers in King’s novel, Muschietti is currently prepping the It sequel which takes place 27 years after the Losers Club childhood.
Next, Gary Dauberman, the screenwriter of both It and The Nun, showed up with a teaser of The Conjuring spinoff. “Start praying San Diego, because no one is safe from the unholy terror that is…The Nun,” Dauberman read aloud from a note that director Corin Hardy had for “Scare Diego” attendees. The teaser, which is expected to drop next week, showed Taissa Farmiga’s Sister Irene waking up in a Roman monastery and wobbling around to find a group of dark cloaked figures praying before an altar. One of them arises and it’s a nun’s shrieking demonic face. Despite Taissa’s older sister Vera Farmiga starring in The Conjuring as paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren — their characters in the franchise aren’t related at all (or so we’re told).
Before Annabelle: Creation rolled, Conjuring director James Wan appeared in a clip to fans excusing his absence because he’s busy directing Aquaman in Australia. Director David F. Sandberg was present and informed the crowd how he wanted to take the franchise in a new direction with an origins tale about the nefarious doll. “I never did a horror film before, it’s a totally new genre for me,” Anthony LaPaglia revealed. “There was Innocent Blood but that was a comedy, not a true horror film. All I did (during Annabelle) was walk around the set and scare children all day.” Child actress Talitha Bateman revealed, “I never really had any dolls because I had six brothers growing up and they’d rip them up. No, I’ve never been that scared of dolls.” When asked by the moderator if that lack of fear has changed since performing in Creation, Bateman said, “A little bit.”