Since 2013, Warner Brothers’ Conjuring Universe has been going strong as the single successful shared universe in the horror genre (much to the dismay of Universal and their short lived “Dark Universe”).
Based around the paranormal cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, there’s no shortage of stories to pull from, given that they were in the paranormal business for well over 50 years! However, the cinematic adaptations of their exploits long predate 2013’s The Conjuring.
It was hardly the first movie made based around a case they investigated, and not even the first time they had been portrayed on film. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at 5 other movies that could make a strong case for membership in the iconic Conjuring Universe!
Note: We’re only looking at dramatized films, so any documentary or TV series which featured the real Warrens will not be considered.
The Amityville Horror franchise (1979-2017)
Arguably the most famous (or infamous) haunted house in the entire United States, Amityville is what also shot Ed and Lorraine Warren into the public eye, following their investigation of it in the mid-70s.
The opening of Conjuring 2 even shows them in the middle of that investigation. They’ve never actually been featured themselves in any of the movie adaptations, though to be fair, these movies usually focus on the Lutz family living there, and the Warrens didn’t show up until after they fled.
Although, Lorraine was credited as a “Demonology Advisor” on Amityville II: The Possession. The franchise has spawned countless sequels that have little to nothing to do with the original case. But the Warrens’ careers were very much tied to the notoriety of that allegedly haunted house on Long Island!
The Demon Murder Case (1983)
A mere three years after getting an arrow through the throat in Friday the 13th, Kevin Bacon starred in another horror film. This one was based on the real life murder trial of Arne Johnson, who plead not guilty for reasons of demonic possession.
The Warrens were deeply involved in this case, months before the murder actually took place, as the family had been experiencing a great deal of paranormal activity and reached out to the Ed and Lorraine for help.
Where this one got tricky was the fact that a murder took place, and thus the whole story and subject of paranormal investigations fell to the scrutiny of courtroom examination.
It’s a fascinating story that clearly ended in tragedy with an innocent person being murdered. It’s also one that’s garnered quite a bit of criticism, even for the Warrens, due to what it led up to.
It’s quite difficult to find a copy of this movie, however horror fans shouldn’t worry, because this very case is the basis of the upcoming sequel, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
The Haunted (1991)
Based upon the Smurl haunting in Pennsylvania, this Golden Globe nominated TV movie was the first time that Ed and Lorraine were portrayed in film. Long before Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga made the couple a household name among horror fans, they were played by Stephen Markle and Diane Baker, respectively.
According to the Warrens, the house (and family) were haunted by three ghosts and one demon who inhabited the premises. It’s a case that seems very similar to that of Amityville, however there were no murders or fatalities here, so it never quite gained the same recognition without something to sensationalize.
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)
Only a few years prior to the release of The Conjuring, we were all introduced to this frightening story of a family living in an old funeral home in Connecticut, that seemed to be haunted by restless spirits.
It’s a decent movie from a strictly horror genre perspective, however it makes absolutely no mention of the fact that it was a case investigated by Ed and Lorraine.
In fact, according to Tony Spera (the Warrens’ son-in-law), they offered their services as technical advisors, as well as their account of the story, but the producers of the film rejected it.
One might wonder if this is what led to the making of The Conjuring four years later, which put the Warrens as the primary focus of the story.
The Enfield Haunting (2015)
This BBC miniseries came out just a year before Conjuring 2, but it dealt with the very same subject matter of the Enfield Poltergeist, albeit from the British perspective. There had always been some disagreement and controversy over the Warrens’ involvement in this case, which was very much a larger group collaboration.
Some argued that they merely showed up for a few days, and didn’t do much. Even The Conjuring 2 does confirm that they weren’t there very long, and weren’t the driving force of the investigation, so this is most likely why they were left out.
But it does a great job of developing Maurice Grosse (played here by Timothy Spall), who was only a minor character in the Conjuring version of the story (there played by Simon McBurney). It makes for a great companion piece with that movie, for a more complete picture of the whole Enfield story.
We may have to wait until June 4, 2021 for the next Conjuring installment (assuming that release date remains), but we can still enjoy any of these movies listed here! Which one sounds the most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments!