The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

The third installment of The Conjuring franchise sets the focus on the young man Arne Cheyenne Johnson – a case that is most noteworthy for being the first murder case in US history where the defendant tried to plea not guilty due to being under control of demonic forces. And as soon as the Warrens meets with Arne’s lawyer who believes he has no chance to get a plea deal, Ed delivers his rather thought-provoking phrase “The court accepts the existence of God every time a witness swears to tell the truth. I think it’s about time they accept the existence of the Devil.” This is a real quote from Ed, and possibly the most rational thing he ever said.

 

Arne received a reduced sentence of five years, and both he and his wife have later appeared in an episode of the TV series A Haunting on Discovery Channel, called Where Demons Dwell. The episode only deals with the possession of David, and not a single word about what happened to Arne later, oddly enough, which is the most interesting aspect of this whole messy case. In 1983, two years after the trial, a movie made for TV titled The Demon Murder Case starring Kevin Bacon in one of the roles was aired. The film seems to be completely forgotten and seen by very few. So we just  have to jump thirty years later and take a look at the latest film loosely based on the case, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.

 

We are at the home of the Glatzel family where the Warren couple, Ed and Lorraine, are in the middle of a chaotic exorcism seance of the young boy David. His sister Debbie and her boyfriend Arne Johnson are among the helpless witnesses, while all hell breaks loose which never seem to end. Arne finally gets enough, and pulls off a Damien Karras to urge the demon to rather take him – which makes Ed’s panic button go off just before he faints from a heart attack and gets rushed to the hospital in a coma. While everything seems to be back to normal, Arne and Debbie decide to take the relationship one step further by getting engaged and move to the country. Arne has clearly not been completely himself after he invited the demon into his meatsuit, and things take a really brutal U-turn when he one day gets piss drunk, starts to hallucinate and ends up stabbing his landlord, Bruno, to death 22 times. As soon as Ed wakes up from the coma, a battle is set to convince the justice system that Arne killed under the influence of demon possession, and they’ll try to save him from the death penalty. What happened in real life will always be up for debate, but it gets more tempting to assume that it was more the alcohol that made him do it than anything else, and only used his invitation of the demon as a desperate excuse. But this alone is of course not enough material to fill a supernatural horror film, so just like the two previous films, it diverges completely from facts to fabricated fairytales with its own imaginative mythologies, which includes satanism and an ongoing curse to find the source of.

 

James Wan, who directed the two first films, is only responsible for the story and worked as producer, while the newcomer Michael Chaves has taken over the torch as director with only The Curse of La Llorona and some short films under his belt. David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick got the challenging task to write the script, which was enough for me to not lower the expectation to zero, after watching Orphan, another great horror flick he also wrote. And the story is really good here, and more complex than the previous two, which mixes supernatural horror with elements of True Crime which opens everything up to a more adventurous field trip rather than just being stuck in a haunted house scenario, which honestly only James Wan is able to really master. The film is rich in locations such as scary basements, gothic underground tunnels, and a morgue where the Warren couple gets attacked by a giant monstrous man who could be something straight out of a Resident Evil game. There’s also a nod to The Exorcist as seen in the trailer, which was nicely done, and the scene with the waterbed made me think of a certain Elm Street film. Even though the film is not as edge-of-your-seat scary, it has a ton of atmosphere with some really great visuals, creative set-designs and a steady pacing that keeps the entertaining value on track, and overall a compelling story and mystery to get invested in. So yeah, Michael Chaves has proven himself to be a competent director to trust in, I would say. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are as usual great and convincing in their  roles with as good chemistry as in the first two, and the acting in general is strong and solid all over the board. It was also fun to see John Noble in one of the roles, whom I haven’t seen since the Fringe days.

 

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

 

Director: Michael Chaves
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook, Julian Hilliard, John Noble, Eugenie Bondurant, Shannon Kook, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Keith Arthur Bolden, Steve Coulter, Vince Pisani, Ingrid Bisu, Andrea Andrade, Ashley LeConte Campbell, Sterling Jerins, Paul Wilson
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt7069210/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)In this third “Annabelle” horror movie, we follow the doll to its final destination: the Warren’s occult museum, which houses all kinds of cursed and possessed items. After the Warrens bring the doll back home with them, they quickly realize that the doll has the ability to possess and control the other things around her, and so they put it inside a glass case and lock it, containing the evil presence and prevents its influence on the other items around it. When a teenage girl is babysitting Ed and Lorraine’s daughter, one of the babysitter’s friends decide to invite herself in order to check out the place for its occult items. Having recently lost her father in a terrible accident which she blames herself for, she wants to use the place to get in contact with him…and takes a peek inside the occult museum after finding the keys. She is immediately drawn to the Annabelle doll in the glass case, and uses the key to open it…and soon, the evil presence in the doll is awakened.

 

“Annabelle Comes Home” is the third installment of the “Annabelle” horror movies (which are spin-offs from the first “Conjuring” movie). In many ways, it could also be considered the third Conjuring movie as well, since the story takes place inside the home of the Warrens, and bringing forth small glimpses from several of their “cases” throughout the years. The premise behind this movie is that Annabelle awakens the other cursed and possessed items in the museum, and it actually works pretty well. It gives us the claustrophobic haunted house feel, with some really good atmosphere and even a few truly creepy scenes. The director, Gary Goberman, is making his debut as a director with this movie, and it’s a pretty solid one. Earlier he’s also been the writer of the first “Annabelle” movie.

 

We are also being presented to several ideas for upcoming movies in the “Conjuring” universe: The Ferryman, a haunted bridal dress that possesses people and turn them into killers, a Samurai armor that apparently holds a gruesome backstory, and…a werewolf. Now, there’s been a few rumors that the third Conjuring movie would include a werewolf story (from the story about Bill Ramsey) but this is not confirmed. Personally I’d love to see the third Conjuring movie deal with the story of Maurice Theriault (Satan’s Harvest), which was actually referenced at the end of “The Nun”…but no such luck, I guess. That being said, there appears to be tons of ideas for any sequels, prequels and spin-offs, so I’m fairly certain we haven’t seen the last of the Conjuring universe yet…far from it.

 

The real Lorrain Warren passed away a few months prior to this movie’s release, on April 18, 2019, at the age of 92 (Ed Warren died several years back, on August 23, 2006). In some ways this movie can be seen a nice little tribute to her.

 

Annebelle Comes Home

 

Director: Gary Dauberman
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Michael Cimino, Samara Lee, Kenzie Caplan, Sade Katarina, Michael Patrick McGill, Brittany Hoza
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt8350360/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




The Haunted (1991)

The Haunted (1991)Before The Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun there was an obscure movie made for TV called “The Haunted”.

 

In the 1970’s, Jack and Janet Smurl moves to a big house in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, together with Jack’s parents who resides in one part of the house. Janet, being a housewife and spending most of the time alone in the house, starts experiencing strange things like unexplained noises and a dark shape showing up while she’s cleaning the house. As things escalate, they contact a pair of priests who, instead of helping them, advice them to seek family counseling. In desperation Janet seeks out the well-known paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, and the war against the paranormal has started.

 

“The Haunted” can in many ways be seen as the first “Conjuring” movie, and is based on what the Smurl-family experienced in the period between 1979-89. However, this TV-movie is pretty obscure and doesn’t even have any official dvd release. Which is quite sad, as this is a pretty good haunted house horror movie.

 

My first meeting with this movie was in the early 1990’s when it was shown on “TV3” under the norwegian title “Hjemsøkt av djevelen” (which means “Haunted by the devil”). At that time (and age) it was the scariest movie I had seen and it caused a couple of sleepless nights afterwards. There are several scenes in the movie that are quite effective because they play the good game of “less is more”. There is, however, an incredibly cheesy scene where Jack Smurl is attacked and sexually assaulted by a demon in the living room, with pink lighting effects and a smoke machine. Aside from that, the movie does have a serious tone and is suspenseful and creepy, and it would be nice to see it released on dvd someday. Or, at the very least, on streaming (like Netflix, Prime, and so on). As of now, the only options you have are bootlegs or YouTube.

 

The Haunted

 

Director: Robert Mandel
Country & year: USA, 1991
Actors: Sally Kirkland, Jeffrey DeMunn, Louise Latham, George Wallace, Joyce Van Patten, William O’Connell, Stephen Markle, Diane Baker
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0102007/

 

Tom Ghoul