The Conjuring movies have done an excellent job over the course of their relatively short existence to build up, and build out, on their own universe. Original director James Wan delivered two terrifying entries, and they in turn led to spinoffs centered around the demonic doll Annabelle and a creepy, crawly Nun. There are so many references to the Conjuring universe in the Conjuring films that we also end up doing a double take when we see a nod to an unrelated horror film.
Michael Chaves has taken over the Conjuring franchise from James Wan for the new movie The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Because the plot essentially revolves around demonic possession, there’s an early visual nod in the film to William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. Seriously, you can’t miss it. Later in the film, though, during a pivotal scene, franchise lead Patrick Wilson, playing paranormal investigator Ed Warren, contributes a Shining tribute as he assumes a very deliberate walk that recalls a possessed Jack Nicholson from the Stanley Kubrick classic.
We asked Michale Chaves about this Shining nod when he was a guest on CinemaBlend’s official ReelBlend podcast. Without giving away the details of the scene, he did say that putting Ed into a Shining-style sequence raised more than a few concerns at the studio. As Chaves recalls:
There was actually a lot of debate with that sequence. Not to get into spoilers, but we (talked about) how far we could push it. It’s interesting because, without a doubt, this is a franchise that people love. These are characters that people love. Everybody -- the studio, myself, James (Wan) -- would have conversations about, ‘We want to push the Warrens to the limit. We want to push the story to the limit. We want it to be filled with surprises.’ But we also need to take great care with what we put them through, and what they do because if you go too far, then you can’t ever walk that back. You can’t ever come back from it. So, there was… it’s probably great for a spoiler podcast discussion about how that was navigated.
It’s interesting because, while The Conjuring has led to a healthy number of spinoffs, Ed and Lorraine Warren are the bread and butter of this series, and they have plenty of unusual cases that could be used to power Conjuring sequels. And the best part about these movies, so far, has been the chemistry shared between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who have ownership over these characters and this franchise, so they don’t want to alienate their audience by turning viewers against them.
Then again, when Nicholson’s haunted author went off the deep end, audiences seemed to like him more. Who knows that works and what doesn’t anymore? Want to listen to the full interview with The Conjuring director Michael Chaves? Press play below.
You can watch The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in two ways. It’s currently available on HBO Max, if you are a subscriber. But it’s also in theaters, if you want to see it on the big screen.