SCPC horror flick succeeds thanks to audience

Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Last Thursday, Oct. 17, Tech’s Student Center Programs Council showed the chilling horror film The Conjuring at the Student Center Theater. While this sounds like an ordinary event where friends would go, see a movie, and return home, it was in fact much more due to the great atmosphere that the SCPC provided; seeing The Conjuring at a movie theater would have made for a far worse experience.

The movie itself was mediocre at best. It was a typical horror story; an unwitting family, in this case, the Perron’s, moves from a hectic urban life to the country only to find that their new house, more specifically the house’s deceased previous owners, are trying to kill them. While this particular movie is apparently “based on real events,” it is so similar to other generic horror flicks that are entirely fictitious that the viewers are left with the impression that The Conjuring is also fabricated.

However, though the plot is nothing new, the actors do a fine job of portraying their characters; even the Perron children are convincing. It is not unusual to be watching a movie only to have it spoiled by a child actor who has not yet mastered his or her art. Fortunately, this is not the case when watching The Conjuring. Throughout the movie, the Perron children are shown playing, being terrified by the demonic presence or otherwise going about their daily lives, and the audience is easily drawn into film by these performances.

Each of the five Perron daughters is played by a rather talented actress. While all the daughters are represented superbly, the script is written in such a way as to let the audience see the five children as a whole, not really developing each as an individual. This might be why their acting is far better than the children in other, similar horror movies, though this explanation in no way belittles their individual performances.

Once everyone was seated and the movie started, the real fun began

As mentioned before, The Conjuring itself was not the highlight of Thursday’s event. The movie started an hour before midnight, a sufficiently spooky time for showing a horror film. However, in order to get a seat, people started gathering outside the theater early. Even coming early and waiting in line did not guarantee a place in the theatre; many prospective moviegoers were turned away once all the seats were claimed.

For the lucky ones who did get a seat, however, the night’s revelries started even before the movie began. SCPC provided milkshakes and popcorn, and while the milkshake making was a slow process, and they did eventually run out, those who received one greatly enjoyed the unique treat. Popcorn, on the other hand, is a staple at any movie theater. The popcorn was no better or worse than any other popcorn, which translates to being extremely good, and everyone had their fill.

Once everyone was seated and the movie started, the real fun began. In a normal movie theater, people are normally quiet, respectful and keep to themselves. At Tech’s Student Center Theater, no such norms are enforced. Throughout the movie, people voiced their own opinions with gusto. Some were just annoying, such as people asking their friends about tomorrow’s plans and other such trivialities, but other comments actually improved the quality of movie experience.

At one point in the film, Carolyn Perron, the mother (played by Lili Taylor, Say Anything…), is playing a game with her youngest daughter, April. Carolyn is blindfolded and trying to find April, who claps occasionally to help. The mother follows the wall into a bedroom with an antique wardrobe in it where the demonic presence in the house is seen (by the audience, not the blindfolded mother) to reach its hands out of the wardrobe and clap. Carolyn Perron, believing this to be her daughter, makes her way towards the wardrobe, ready to embrace April. Just as the mother reaches the wardrobe with the demon in it, someone in the audience cried out “Hello, Mr. Tumnus!” This perfectly timed Narnia reference cause the audience to burst into laughter during one of the movie’s most suspenseful scenes. While other commentary also improved the movie, this was by far the most memorable and the best fitting.

Once the end credits started, there was a mass exodus. No one seemed keen to stay until the very last name scrolled passed. This was no particular loss, as The Conjuring has no extra footage after the credits (but it does show pictures of the real people that the movie portrays). All in all, this SCPC event was a success but not because of the movie choice. Without the running commentary from the audience, the film would not have been worth watching. So, many thanks to whoever proclaimed: “Hello, Mr. Tumnus!”