Annabelle: Creation Released Last Week
The next movie in the Conjuring family was released last week. Annabelle: Creation, the second in the Annabelle storyline, has grossed $72 million since debuting on August 11th. The popularity of the movie may be attributed to the highly successful Conjuring family of films beginning in 2013 by James Wan. Wan’s films are produced on low budgets (hard to believe that $15 million is a low budget film!); however, they are incredibly profitable. For instance, consider these statistics: The Conjuring (2013) cost $20 million dollars and grossed $318 million worldwide; Annabelle I (2014) cost $6.5 million dollars while grossing $252 million dollars worldwide. Next up are The Nun and The Crooked Man. And this isn’t Wan’s only film franchise. He’s got the Saw films and Insidious. Even though Annabelle doesn’t rake in the most money, it makes enough to secure a third installment. Audiences are drawn to these horror films for various reasons. One is pediophobia, the fear of dolls.
Museum collections have dolls of all types. The oldest doll is made of stone and dates back 4,000 years. The toy doll industry grew 10% from 2015 to 2016 and comprises $2.88 billion dollars of the $26 billion dollar toy industry. Dolls are popular. They serve various purposes, such as teaching how to tend to babies. They also console children. But somewhere in their evolution, they became creepy.
The horror genre has lots of creepy dolls. Think Child’s Play, Puppet Master, and Poltergeist. In 1970, Masahiro Mori theorized that people didn’t like dolls because their minds could not reconcile the fake doll face with reality. The more realistic looking the doll, the more unsettling people felt about the doll. He called this the “uncanny valley.” See the chart for a better understanding. Basically, the more strange, or creepy, the face, the more uneasy people felt around them. This may explain while Wan changed the original “Annabelle” Raggedy Ann doll and decided to use a porcelain doll. The porcelain doll is creepier on the “uncanny valley” scale.
Film audiences love creepy dolls. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, give Annabelle: Creation a try. In the meantime, read this excellent scholarly article about dolls: “The History of Creepy Dolls,” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/history-creepy-dolls-180955916/.