Director James Wan has managed to get a lot of mileage out of creepy dolls over the course of his career in making horror movies - even his Twitter handle is @creepypuppet. Saw took the voice of a sadistic killer and put it in the body of the pale-faced Billy the Puppet. Dead Silence took True Blood star Ryan Kwanten and placed him inside a nightmare of living mannequins controlled by the spirit of a dead ventriloquist. More recently, Wan's paranormal thriller/drama The Conjuring featured a possessed doll called Annabelle, which was based on the "true story" of a toy encountered by the Warrens.
The image of Annabelle was so striking (and scary) that the doll is now getting her own spin-off movie: a prequel to The Conjuring called (you guessed it) Annabelle. Since Wan has said that's done making horror movies, Annabelle was directed by The Conjuring's cinematographer John Leonetti (The Butterfly Effect 2) and scripted by Gary Dauberman (Swamp Devil).
The first teaser trailer for Annabelle has now been released, and features a slightly less aged version of the doll being given as a gift to the heavily pregnant Lydia (Annabelle Wallis) by her partner John (Ward Horton). Instead of throwing the nightmare fuel immediately out of the window, like a rational person would do, Lydia seems delighted and puts it with the rest of her creepy doll collection. After night falls, however, the doll draws some unwanted attention. Check out the trailer above, and the first poster for Annabelle below.
Annabelle is the first of three micro-budget spin-offs about the Warrens' cases that are being made in addition to the upcoming sequel, The Conjuring 2. Obviously the design of the doll has a big built-in fright factor, but this first teaser just isn't all that scary - and since James Wan isn't involved on the creative side of things, fans of his horror work will need more of an incentive to give this spin-off a chance.
While the story of Annabelle that was told via flashback in The Conjuring is based on the version of events documented by the Warrens, this seems to be an original story about the people who owned the doll before it ended up in the hands of college students Donna and Angie and, in turn, the Warrens. Based on this short scene, it seems like the movie will show the genesis of Annabelle's nasty nature, as the doll becomes "infected" by the spirit of one of Lydia and John's attackers.
There is a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is that you should never, ever buy creepy dolls or accept them as gifts. It doesn't end well.
Annabelle arrives in theaters on October 3rd, 2014.