Early arrivals at San Diego Comic-Con were treated to a preview night scream-fest Wednesday as New Line Cinema unleashed exclusive footage of its most hotly anticipated horror movies.
The Warner Bros-owned studio kicked off the evening at a packed downtown theater with an exclusive first look at “It: Chapter Two” and its terrifying antagonist, Pennywise.
There was also world-first footage from the upcoming “Conjuring” spin-off “The Nun” and a look at “The Curse of La Llorona,” a frightening myth from Hispanic folklore.
The two-part feature adaptation of “It,” Stephen King’s 1986 novel, follows seven smalltown children who are terrorized by a killer clown.
While last year’s “It” was tonally an homage to Rob Reiner’s 1986 film “Stand by Me” — another King coming-of-age story — the second installment looks scary as hell.
“It: Chapter Two” is set 27 years after the first film, and the Losers Club have grown up and moved away — but a devastating phone call brings them back together.
The sneak peek gave the audience their first glimpse at the grown-up cast, which includes Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, in a reunion at a Chinese restaurant.
Director Andy Muschietti, who made the first film, promised the sequel, due for release on September 6, would be an altogether more terrifying prospect.
“It’s going to be scarier, it’s going to be more intense, so bring your adult diapers,” he joked after the climatic jump scare provoked a cacophony of shrieks.
New Line also offered a first taste of “The Curse of La Llorona,” a story that barely needs any introduction in the Latin world, where it has struck fear into the hearts of generations.
– Weeping apparition –
Coming to theaters on April 19 next year, it is inspired by a childhood story about a weeping apparition who drowned her own children and is now said to haunt waterways.
The film stars Linda Cardellini as the mother of two children in 1970s Los Angeles who are haunted by the Mexican folklore figure.
“You don’t realize how much physical activity (there) is in making a scary movie and now I know that,” said Cardellini, who appeared to get roughed up a fair bit in the footage.
The audience saw several clips of Cardellini’s children being terrorized by the creepy, spectral figure, first in a children’s home, then by a river and in the bath at home.
New Line saved its most talked-about upcoming release, “The Nun,” for its big finish, teasing the audience — or scaring the living daylights out of them — by bringing 20 or so spectral looking women in habits into the auditorium when no one was looking.
The horror figure in the “The Nun,” the creepy sister Valak, was a last-minute addition to “The Conjuring 2” but was so popular she ended up with her own spin-off.
Fans were treated to an extensive look at the movie, with a Catholic delegation from Rome — Taissa Farmiga and Demian Bichir — variously beaten, whipped and buried alive by the shrieking demonic entity.
Due for its US release on September 7 and helmed by Corin Hardy (“The Hallows”), it also features a hanging and a giant snake emerging from a child’s mouth, so it’s possibly not one for a family outing to the movies.
The Comic-Con fan convention brings 130,000 visitors a year to San Diego, where they spend four days catching up on the latest movies and TV panels, collecting comics and dressing up as their favorite pop culture characters.