The ‘Conjuring’ Universe: a Horror Franchise You Can Rely on

I’m a big fan of the movies in the Conjuring Universe, and I was reminded why after watching The Conjuring 2 recently.

It was my second time watching the movie, but I was still as terrified as the Hodgson family when they discover their Enfield house is haunted. Kudos to director James Wan. He did a great job ratcheting up the tension, and used the dreary London weather and 1970s-era dim lighting to good effect.

On a side note, the haunting at Enfield, a suburb in London, allegedly occurred between 1977 to 1979. The Enfield poltergeist was well covered by the media at the time. It’s been the subject of several documentaries, movies and television programs. See, for example, this British TV mini-series from 2015: The Enfield Haunting.

Netflix is currently streaming The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2.

So what makes the Conjuring movies so successful?

Like any good franchise, you can count on the quality of the movies. The acting and scripts are good. The movies are fast-paced, with plenty of jump scares and on-the-edge-of-your-seat tension. Then there are those unforgettable images. For example, that nun painting in Conjuring 2 really stayed with me. I don’t care how experienced Ed and Lorraine Warren are at demon hunting or how much evil they’ve witnessed—no one would hang that painting in their homes. And don’t get me started on Annabelle. I guarantee nobody (child or adult) wants a doll that looks like that.

I usually don’t like movies set in the 1970s—think shaggy hair, brown décor and awful clothes—but this doesn’t seem to detract from the Conjuring movies. In fact, the time period heightens the horror. I guess it’s scarier when you can’t whip out a cell phone and immediately call or text for help.

I’ve so far watched five out of the six movies in the universe. I would rate them in the following order in terms of scare factor.

  1. The Conjuring (2013)
  2. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
  3. Annabelle (2014)
  4. The Nun (2018)
  5. Annabelle:Creation (2017)

I haven’t yet seen Annabelle Comes Home (2019). The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is scheduled for release on June 4 this year, via the HBO Max streaming service.

By the way, I don’t consider The Curse of la Llorona (2019) part of the universe. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the movie. I feel its connection with the other Conjuring movies is just too tenuous.

If you haven’t seen any of the flicks, you can actually watch them in chronological order (in terms of the year in which they are set) rather than the year in which they were released:

  1. The Nun (takes place in 1952)
  2. Annabelle: Creation (takes place in 1955)
  3. Annabelle (1967)
  4. The Conjuring (1971)
  5. Annabelle Comes Home (takes place after the Warrens put the doll in their haunted artifacts museum)
  6. The Conjuring 2 (1977)
  7. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (1981)


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