While there are a great many things to love about the Conjuring Universe, one of the unique delights of the franchise is Ed and Lorraine Warren’s artifact room. Located in the couple’s house, the space is used as storage for objects known to be touched by demons, and one of the neat things about the movies has been seeing the collection both grow and explored. This tradition is set to continue with the upcoming The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, as director Michael Chaves has confirmed that the spooky archive will be returning to the big screen – but what may surprise you is that early versions of the script didn’t feature a moment where a new item is added to the shelf.
I spoke with the director last week during a socially distanced visit to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, and during the conversation specifically asked if the third movie in the Conjuring series would be taking audiences on a trip back into the artifact room. Chaves enthusiastically replied in the affirmative, and further added that it was at least partially his urging that made it part of the movie, as the original script by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick didn’t feature a moment where a new demonic object is placed in the room. Said the filmmaker,
Oh, they absolutely have to add to the artifact room. Even if it's a total bust and they don't get the demon, they unleash more demons, they have to put something in there. It's their memory room. What was so funny is in the original script, nothing goes in there. I was like, 'Guys, we need to put something in the artifact room; that would be criminal if we didn't do that.' So yeah, that definitely is in there.
As Conjuring fans know, the artifact room was introduced in the franchise’s first movie, specifically a scene when Ed is giving a journalist a tour and explaining the whys and hows. Ed adds the music box from the Perron house to the collection later in the film, and in James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 he adds the Crooked Man zoetrope right next to it. So what will the Warrens be bringing home in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It?
The most in-depth exploration of the artifact room in the Conjuring Universe so far is featured in Gary Dauberman’s Annabelle Comes Home, which sees the various objects/demons torment the Warrens’ daughter and her babysitter. When I was on the set of that film a few years ago, one thing I learned about the production design of the space is that there is a secret trap door that has been installed just in case any filmmaker wants to utilize it in a future story. And while it won’t be featured in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, I did ask Michael Chaves about it, and he told me that there was a version of the script that did see it come into play before ultimately getting nixed:
Yeah, no, there totally is [a trap door]. And it's so funny cause there actually was a version... Now I'm getting confused on the versions of the film, but there was a version where that actually was used. Now I'm just like thinking that I don't want to misspeak… But yeah, that was definitely used.
Fans won’t have to wait to much longer before getting the opportunity to revisit the Warrens’ famed artifact room, as The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is now less than a month from release. The film will be in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously come June 4, and we’ll be waiting with bated breath to discover what the couples’ latest haunted prize will be.