The highly anticipated latest spin-off in The Conjuring Universe, The Nun, is just days away, so we’re taking a look back at the universe’s previous entries, ranking them, and also looking at what the future hold’s for the franchise.
We’ve pieced together the timeline so far, with The Nun set to take take us to the early 1950s. Looking to the future of the universe, it’s probably fair to assume the The Conjuring 3, which was still having its script worked on when we last heard from Wan in August 2017, will take place following the events of the second film. However, earlier this year Wan confirmed that Annabelle 3 was in the works and set to release in 2019 with Gary Dauberman confirmed to return to the director’s chair. The plot details we’ve been given so far would lead us to believe this film takes place directly after The Conjuring 2 and will see Annabelle terrorise the Warren’s young daughter and bring the artefacts in their house to life. Wan said this third film is “basically Night at the Museum with Annabelle”
The Crooked Man, who we met in The Conjuring 2, is set to get his own spin-off. When asked about the film in August last year, Wan said the film was still in the early stages of development and that Mike Van Waes was penning the script. With Annabelle 3 already scheduled for next year, it looks like Wan and co. are in no rush with this film and they’re likely targeting a 2020 release.
Our team have come together to rank the four entries in The Conjuring Universe so far, the results of which you can find below! As always, the results are determined by combining the team’s individuals rankings and using a point based system to give us our final ranking, so their personal order may differ from the final combined results.
Well, someone has to be in last place and that just happens to be The Conjuring Universe’s first spin-off, John R. Leonetti’s Annabelle. We first met the Annabelle doll in The Conjuring and it only took 14 months before Annabelle was in cinemas across the globe.
This first spin-off is a prequel to The Conjuring and takes place in 1967. The plot follows Mia and John Form, a young couple expecting their first child. The same night John brings his wife home an old porcelain doll, two members of a cult brutally murder the Form’s next door neighbours, the Higgins, before breaking into their home. The police shoot dead one of the attackers, whilst the other slicers her own throat whilst grasping the doll. After their traumatic experience, the couple move homes and Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl, Leah. However, after throwing away the doll before their move, she appears in one of their moving boxes and it’s not long before paranormal activities begin to occur. The couple seek the help of Father Perez (who then seeks the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren) to help them exorcise the demon possessing the doll.
(#3) Annabelle: Creation
Coming in third place is a prequel of a prequel, Annabelle: Creation, which was directed by David F. Sandberg. The film was released in 2017 after the Annabelle doll made a brief cameo in The Conjuring 2, where we learn she’s locked in the Warren’s house.
Annabelle: Creation takes place in 1955 as doll-maker Samuel Mullins and his wife Esther open their empty home to Sister Charlotte and six young girls who have been left homeless after their orphanage is closed. We learn that the Mullins’ daughter, Annabelle, was killed in a car accident 12 years prior to the evens of this film, and the couple have locked her room to and forbade their new lodgers from going in there. Janice, one of the young girls, is crippled by polio and often feels left out when her friends are out playing and running around. One night, Janice finds a note that has ‘find me’ scribbled on it and sees that Annabelle’s room is now somehow unlocked. Janice discovers a porcelain doll locked away in a closet and unbeknown to her, she releases a powerful demon that begins to terrorize the Mullins couple and their guests. Sister Charlotte enlists the helps of Priests to help keep the spirit at bay, but the demon has other ideas…
SPOILERS AHEAD: After Janice becomes possessed by the demon, Sister Charlotte locks both her and the Annabelle doll in the closet where she was discovered at the beginning of the film. However, when police search the house the day after the incident the doll is the only thing in the closet. The possessed Janice managed to escape through a hole in the wall and relocates to Santa Monica to live in an orphanage. We then fast forward 12 years (1967) and Janice, who now goes by Annabelle, is adopted by the Higgins family.
Name ring a bell? It should.
The Higgins family are the couple brutally murdered at the beginning of Annabelle by none other that their adoptive daughter Annabelle and her boyfriend, who have joined a Satanic cult. We witness the murder of the Higgins through the window of their neighbours house, the Forms, and this immediately sets up the events of Annabelle.
Annabelle: Creation also included a short post-credit scene that teased The Nun.
(#2) The Conjuring
Coming gracefully is second place is the film that kick-stared this horror universe, James Wan’s The Conjuring, which was released in 2013. The film stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren, characters that are the heart of this horror universe.
In 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a run-down farmhouse with their five daughters and their dog. Not long after they move in paranormal events begin to occur, including mysterious clapping, one of the children encounters a malevolent spirit, and two of them are attacked by a spirit who is lurching on their wardrobe. Fearing for her families life, Carolyn, fearing for her families life, contacts Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens investigate the house and agree an exorcism needs to be performed, but they need solid proof the house is haunted so they can seek authorisation from the Catholic Church to perform the exorcism. With time running out, the Warrens are in a race against time to help the Perron family.
(#1) The Conjuring 2
Taking the crown as our favourite entry to The Conjuring Universe is The Conjuring 2, which was released in 2016 and saw James Wan return to direct.
This sequel takes place in 1977 and is set in Enfield, London where a family believe the spirit of the man that used to live in the house is still present. After the whole family witness the paranormal activity, the local church enlists the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Lorraine is hesitant to help the family following a vision during a seance in which she followed a demonic nun to the body of her impaled husband. During their time at the Hodgson family home with two other paranormal investigators, evidence emerges that makes it appear as if Janet, one of the children, is playing a practical joke and calling it paranormal activity. Lorraine soon learns that the threat is more serious than she thought and learning who the demonic nun haunting her visions is is the key to helping the Hodgson family.
(It still blows my mind that Valak, the demonic nun, was an additional character added during reshoots of The Conjuring 2.)
Whilst you’re here, we highly recommend you checking out The Nurse – a short film that won a competition held by Warner Bros. when Annabelle: Creation was released. The competition asked entrants to create a short film to introduce a new spirit/demon to The Conjuring Universe that could potentially be given it’s own feature film. We have an exciting interview coming soon with the director of the short film, Julian Terry, who has had some exciting news lately that we can’t wait to talk to him about!