The Conjuring debuted this day four years ago in 2013 and took the horror genre in a whole new direction. In many ways it made the genre scary again and breathed new life into a world of out dated ideas, a world of remakes, and played out gimmicks such as the found footage angle.
The opening scene where Ed and Lorraine Warren are addressing a young college campus crowd is very much the way I found out about the couple and their stories. I grew up in their home state, and truth be told they were sort of local celebrities. When I was am impressionable middle schooler, an angsty high schooler, and eventually a young college co-ed I followed their lectures across the small state, listening to their stories and buying their books.
When Halloween rolled around each year you would usually find a news special about the married couple and their history in the state, their journeys across the world, and local Connecticut haunts they investigated. Sometimes an hour long documentary would follow around Hallows Eve. If you wanted to further your education about their stories, their books would be available at their lectures and on the early days of their website. Remember, this was pre-Amazon people!
When news hit the rumor mill that one of their investigations was going to hit the silver screen in the near future people automatically assumed it was going to be about the haunted doll Annabelle, or their involvement in the infamous Amityville house. To the surprise of many the focus landed on the haunted Rhode Island home in Harrisville and the Perron family who came under paranormal attack and desperately sought out the help of the Warrens. This is a lesser known case the couple was called into, but for locals of Rhode Island and the immediate tri-state area the house is quite famous. In fact, it still stands today and has had its share of residents, many of whom still report unusual occurrences in the house!
When the story was combined with movie magic directed by genre veteran James Wan a new breed of horror was created. Sure, there have been many, many movies “based on true events” but this one was a horse of a different color. This story took many elements from the actual haunt and Wan enhanced it with his gift for building suspense, penetrating scares, and beautiful cinematography. The fact Wan was also intrigued by the challenge of creating a movie based around real life people and their real life story also added an element of respect and realism to his storytelling through the lens. The working title of The Warren Files changed to The Conjuring and the series was born. I believe it was this angle that has led to the chain of successful sequels in the series following the Warrens real life investigations and keeps viewers coming back for more.
Read about the latest spin off from The Conjuring series titled The Nun here!
See Lorraine Warren talk about the real life story of the Perron family here.