This past Wednesday saw the start of my San Diego Comic-Con coverage with Preview Night. As this was my first time ever attending Comic-Con, I made sure my schedule touched upon everything from activations to panels to interviews, so that I could experience all the different elements that Comic-Con was known for.
I began Preview Night at the Exhibit Hall where I made stops at Entertainment Earth, to pick up the exclusive Cereal Monster Tiki Mugs, and Weta Workshop, where I purchased the teddy bear from Krampus, before making my way over to the Seer’s Lair, an activation for the History Channel’s upcoming season of Vikings. During this experience, guests had the chance to sit with the Seer to ask him questions about what to expect from the new season of Vikings, as well as questions about their own fate. I decided to ask this all-knowing Seer more personal questions, and though I’m not sure what his answers meant, I took it as a positive sign I wasn’t going to die at the convention. With that said, I had a great time speaking with the Seer and was highly impressed with the amount of creativity that went into creating his lair, as well as the costume and makeup application used to create his look. Once guests finished learning about their fate and had exited the experience, they would receive a shareable photo of themselves with the Seer which was great for social media interaction.
After learning my destiny, I made my way over to the Insight Edition booth to speak with the VP of Marketing, Darren Williams, about their upcoming release “Harry Potter: Creatures: A Paper Scene Book.” The book, which is a multi-layer diorama, captures the many amazing creatures scene in the Wizarding World. Though they didn’t have a copy of the book on hand while I was there, I had the chance to look at their Game of Thrones book that was similar in vein, and I have to say, if the Harry Potter one is anywhere close to the Game of Thrones one, then fans of the beloved series are going to be in for a real treat. After speaking with Darren, I had the chance to put myself inside an eight-foot-tall Harry Potter paper scene, which was such a magical experience as I am a die-hard fan of the series. This is definitely a book not to be missed, so make sure to check out “Harry Potter: Creatures: A Paper Scene Book” when it’s released on October 2nd.
After living my best life inside a full-size diorama, I proceeded to head outside and make my way towards the Horton Grand Theatre for the panel I had been looking forward to for weeks: New Line Cinema’s ScareDiego! Prior to the panel starting, I had the chance to attend a cocktail hour and meet other journalists as well as some of the stars of the upcoming films The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona. As exciting as this was, I was chomping at the bit to see what surprises New Line Cinema / Warner Bros. had in store for horror fans.
As the cocktail party came to an end, we were ushered into the theater where we met the extremely enthusiastic Sr. Editor of Rotten Tomatoes, Grae Drake, who blew me away with her charisma and humor. Shortly after she came on stage, she announced a special guest: the one, the only, James Wan – at which point I promptly began to lose my shit. Listen, I love writing and critiquing horror films for all of you, but there are moments when I think it’s healthy and important to be a fan first and foremost and this was one of those moments. James Wan is a huge inspiration not only for me but for the horror genre as a whole, so to see him come on stage and be embraced by the audience was such a wonderful experience. While on stage he discussed The Conjuring Universe and his next producing project, The Curse of La Llorona.
Prior to this panel, I was not aware that there was going to be a film surrounding the legend of La Llorona, so when it was announced I was completely stoked on the idea. Grae Drake then brought out part of the cast which included director Michael Chaves and actors Linda Cardellini, Patricia Velasquez and Raymond Cruz. During this segment, audience members got to watch three exclusive clips that centered around the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, otherwise known as the Weeping Woman. The film, which is set in the 70’s, stars Linda Cardellini as a social worker whose two children become the focus of La Llorona’s wrath. One of my favorite moments during the Q&A was when actress Patricia Velasquez recounted her story of growing up and hearing about the urban legend from her abuela. She then went on to explain how she fully believes in the existence of La Llorona and even had her own personal encounter with the Weeping Woman. From the footage that was shown, The Curse of La Llorona looks like it won’t be holding back in terms of scares and I’m beyond excited for audiences to learn more about a legend that is so prominently displayed in the Latinx community. Be on the lookout for The Curse of La Llorona, slated to arrive in theaters April 19, 2019.
Next, Grae Drake brought some of the cast of the upcoming film The Nun onto the stage which included director Corin Hardy, writer Gary Dauberman, and actors Taissa Farmiga and Ingrid Bisu. Since his debut feature film, 2015’s The Hallow, I’ve been a massive fan of Hardy and have been anticipating a standalone Nun film since our first glimpse of Valak in The Conjuring 2. During this portion of the panel, we got to see exclusive clips from The Nun, which had never been shown prior, and I’m here to tell you that y’all aren’t ready for this film. As much as I love The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, I had an inkling that The Nun was going to stand apart from all of the films in the Universe James Wan has created. The tone, atmosphere, and dread that this film has is unlike any of the previous movies in this franchise and there is a thread of evilness throughout that is hard to shake. After the clips aired, the house-lights came on, followed by a murmur of surprise from the audience as we turned in our chairs to find that we were surrounded by dozens of faceless nuns. I’ve never been afraid of nuns, but I’ll be honest, that moment gave me pause. Keep an eye out for The Nun, which will be arriving in theaters September 7th.
I didn’t think things could get any better after the announcement of The Curse of La Llorona and the extended clips of The Nun, but boy oh boy, was I wrong. Though none of the cast from IT: Chapter 2 could attend the panel due to filming, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t something special for the audience. Director Andy Muschietti had sent along a special behind-the-scenes video that featured a mash-up of moments from It and quick splices of Bill Skarsgard dressed as Pennywise. However, even more exciting, was that we finally got to see a brief clip of the entire Losers’ Club all grown up, most notably Bill Hader, who plays the adult version of Richie Tozier, in front of a very familiar gong in a very familiar Chinese restaurant. You could feel the electricity in the air as fans clapped and cheered. It’s safe to say that September 6, 2019 can’t come soon enough.
As the panel came to a close, Grae Drake brought Gary Dauberman packed on stage to make a special announcement. Dauberman, who penned the screenplay for It, Annabelle, and The Nun, turned to the audience and informed us that Annabelle was returning next summer and he would be taking the driver’s seat as the director of the next chapter in Annabelle’s story. I was shocked, the whole theatre was shocked, as we gave a resounding round of applause to the man who has been pivotal in crafting nightmare fuel for movie-goers over these last few years. There is no information as of right now on what the third film will be about, but from the reaction of the audience, it was apparent that there was a lot of excitement over this announcement.
With all that said, San Diego Comic-Con Preview Night was a huge success. I got my first taste of some of the activations, experienced the wonders of the exhibit hall, and was privy to exclusive clips and announcements of some of the most talked about horror films coming in 2018 and 2019. All in all, I was as happy as a horror fan could be and I could only imagine what would be in store for me in the coming days.