'Annabelle' Director John Leonetti Talks About Shooting on a Haunted Set

The director and producer of the new horror film say they witnessed at least two supernatural occurrences during filming

On Monday at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, New Line Cinema presented a special advance screening of Annabelle, the prequel/spin-off to last year‘s hugely successful supernatural horror film The Conjuring.

Annabelle, a demonic porcelain doll, played a terrifying supporting role in the 2013 film from director James Wan (now Annabelle producer), and like the original this movie is another true story based on the case studies of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Read more 'The Conjuring' Film Review

To add to the chilling plot line, director John R. Leonetti (cinematographer of The Conjuring) confirmed that at least two supernatural occurrences happened on the set of the movie. "Really creepy," he told The Hollywood Reporter during the movie‘s after party at The Emerson Theatre.

"The first [incident] was when we were prepping," says Leonetti. "We went into the apartment where we were shooting, and in the transient window above the living room window. It was a full moon, and there were three fingers drawn through the dust along the window, and our demon has three fingers and three talons. [The markings] were being backlit by the moon. I have a picture! It was sick."

Peter Safran, producer of Annabelle and The Conjuring, confirmed the haunted hijinks and offered up the second incident Leonetti hinted at, that was "much worse."

"We shot in this amazing, old apartment building near Koreatown and we had some funky stuff go down," Safran told THR. "In particular, the first day that the demon was shooting in full makeup, we brought the demon up in the elevator. He walks out and walks around to the green room to where we’re holding the talent, and just as he walks under — a giant glass light fixture is being followed by the actor playing the handyman of the building — and all of a sudden the entire glass light fixture falls down on his head, the janitor‘s head. And in the script the demon kills the janitor in that hallway. It was totally freaky."

Read more Box Office: Will David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Be Upstaged By a Demonic Doll?

Perhaps the goosebumps really start to set in knowing that the real-life Annabelle doll is still intact to this day, sitting behind a glass case in the Warren‘s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut. It has since been exorcised and gets blessed by a priest twice a month.

Leonetti has yet to see the doll in person, but says he finds that the authenticity of the doll and its existence gives the film an authentic push.

"The fact that it is real is awesome because it really sets the tone [of the film] because it‘s real," said Leonetti. "It could really f—ing scare people. Actually one guy I knew died after he saw it, crazy shit."

Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodward, Eric Ladin, Brian Howe and Tony Amendola star in the film.

Annabelle opens in theaters Oct. 3.

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