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Creepy dolls are a touchstone of the horror genre. Maybe it has something to do with the theme of lost innocence, or maybe it's just because they look terrifying, but there's something about ghoulish children's toys that frighten audiences to no end. As it turns out, even performing alongside an Annabelle doll can get pretty intense for an actor. I recently had the chance to ask Annabelle: Creation star Miranda Otto about the difficulties of delivering the film's exposition, and she explained that doing it next to the Annabelle doll only made things more challenging for her on-set. Otto explained:
That was challenging actually, because that's a moment where you have to explain everything and make people believe it. Make them understand exactly what is going on in the movie in a very dramatic moment. So that was really the toughest scene to do. It was also tough because I had Annabelle sitting there watching me. It really freaked me out when we were rehearsing. I was like, 'Please, can you turn the doll away from me? Because she's freaking me out at the moment. Until I get my scene right, I don't want the doll watching me.'
It's really a testament to the design of the Annabelle doll and the skill of The Conjuring universe directors that she has become so scary. Unlike characters like Chucky from Child's Play or the clown from Poltergeist, Annabelle pretty much never moves or says a word. She only sits there and stares off into the distance, and the effect still works. Even for someone like Miranda Otto, the simple act of working alongside the doll ultimately became a bit too creepy, and she needed the doll turned away so she could finish her dialogue scenes. I can't say that I blame her.
Of course, Annabelle isn't the only Conjuring monster to have this effect on people. The franchise has thus far done a fantastic job of creating memorable villains with the potential to create entirely new solo film series. Annabelle was the first, but we will also soon see spinoff films for The Conjuring 2's Valak (a.k.a The Nun), as well as The Crooked Man.
Annabelle: Creation chronicles the birth of the titular doll and her first haunting of an unsuspecting family. After the death of their young daughter Annabelle in a tragic accident, Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia) and Esther Mullins (Otto) decide to channel mysterious forces to see their little girl again. However, things soon take a dark turn, as a supernatural entity soon enters the Mullins' home and begins haunting the young orphan girls that they have taken in. The film was directed by Lights Out helmer David F. Sandberg and is the latest entry in James Wan's ever-expanding Conjuring universe.