Although we now have to wait until the summer of 2021 to watch the latest installment in the Conjuring franchise, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It certainly looks to be worth the wait. Directed by Michael Chaves, who’s best known for directing The Curse of La Llorona, and written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, who also wrote The Conjuring 2, The Devil Made Me Do It has all the makings of another classic within the ever-growing Conjuring universe.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson will reprise their roles as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The plot of the latest film is based on the 1981 murder trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, the first known case in which the defense attempted to use a client’s alleged demonic possession to leverage a “not guilty” verdict. That defense strategy didn’t work, and Johnson was convicted of manslaughter—but the case remains a fascinating aspect of paranormal history.
June 2021 couldn’t seem farther away, but don’t get glum. There are plenty of other Conjuring movies and spin-off shorts set in the same universe to revisit while we await the release of The Devil Made Me Do It. Counting down to our absolute favorite, here are the best Conjuring universe movies.
12. Innocent Souls (2017)
11. The Confession (2017)
Winner of the 2017 My Annabelle Creation Contest in the UK, The Confession is a two-minute short directed by Liam Banks. The story revolves around a troubled young woman who looks to a priest for comfort after being stalked by demonic forces in her own home. As you may expect, her fears are only amplified.
10. The Nurse (2017)
Filmed over four days by My Annabelle Creation Contest winners Julian Terry and Alexander Anderson, this two-minute short packs a lot into its run time. Set within the Conjuring universe, the short introduces a horrifically demonic new character that takes the form of a disfigured nurse.
9. Blund’s Lullaby (2017)
Based on the Nordic version of the Sandman, who goes by the name of John Blund in that northern region, Blund’s Lullaby is the winner of the 2017 My Annabelle Creation Contest in Sweden. Featuring virtually no dialogue, the eerie building of quiet tension is very effective in this two-minute short directed by Amanda Nilsson and Magda Lindblom.
8. What’s Wrong with Mom? (2017)
Winner of the 2017 My Annabelle Creation Contest in Mexico, What’s Wrong with Mom? is truly terrifying. Directed by Raúl Bribiesca, the two-minute short skillfully uses slow-building tension and subtle insertions of creepy visuals and sounds. The fears of a young girl, who begins to suspect that her mother is changing in dreadful new ways, are proven correct.
7. The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
Inspired by Latin American folklore, this 2019 feature-length film was co-produced by James Wan. It tells the tale of a woman who drowned her two children, and is doomed to an eternally sorrowful existence. When Anna Tate-Garcia (Linda Cardellini) and her children come in contact with La Llorona, they have to figure out how to fight her off, or risk losing their souls to her forever.
6. Annabelle (2014)
Presented as a prequel to 2013’s The Conjuring, the story of Annabelle has real-life ties to a case investigated by husband-and-wife duo Ed and Lorraine Warren. As the story goes, a young nurse received the doll as a gift in 1970. The doll seemed to move around the house on its own and began displaying increasingly frightening behavior. The Warrens took possession of the doll as part of their investigation, and a series of tragedies fell upon them as a result. 2014’s Annabelle follows the haunted doll, thought to be possessed by a dead cult member, as it torments a young married couple and their newborn baby.
5. The Nun (2018)
Co-produced and co-created by James Wan, The Nun is a direct off-shoot of The Conjuring 2, which first introduced the demonic titular character. When an evil uprising torments the nuns at Saint Cartha’s monastery in Romania, Father Burke (Demián Bichir) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) set out to help. They find themselves face-to-face with the demon Valak, which appears to them as an evil, vengeful nun.
4. Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
The most recent release in the franchise, Annabelle Comes Home hit theaters in the summer of 2019, and was co-produced and co-created by James Wan. After causing years of havoc, Annabelle is back in the hands of Ed and Lorraine Warren. While that keeps it from harming others, their efforts have brought danger much closer to their own home.
The real Annabelle doll was on display for many years at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, held safely in its own protective encasing. Visitors were instructed not to touch it, and to even avoid looking directly at it for too long. The museum is currently closed due to zoning violations, and the doll is now in the care of Ed and Lorraine's son-in-law, Tony Spera.
3. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Loosely based on the 1977 Enfield haunting, The Conjuring 2 sees Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return to their roles as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. When they travel to Enfield to assist the Hodgson family with a particularly invasive poltergeist, they are also forced to battle with the influence of a demon named Valak, which takes the form of the evil nun we’ve all come to know and fear.
2. Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Written by Conjuring universe alum Gary Dauberman and co-produced by James Wan, this 2017 release is set before the events of Annabelle. The backstory of everyone’s favorite cursed doll is traced back to husband and wife dollmakers Samuel and Esther Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto). When the couple loses their daughter Annabelle in a tragic accident, they create a doll in her likeness to help fill the hole in their lives. Boy, does it ever.
1. The Conjuring (2013)
Directed by James Wan and written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, The Conjuring is the dark well that the rest of this cinematic universe drinks from. Released in 2013, the story revolves around the Warrens' investigation of the paranormal events terrorizing a family in a Rhode Island farmhouse. The wife and mother of the household (Lili Taylor) has become possessed by the spirit of a witch named Bathsheba, who owned the house long ago. The Warrens battle her head-on to re-claim the home for its current occupants.
Featured still from "The Conjuring 2" via Warner Bros.