Every Horror Movie Based On Ed & Lorraine Warren's Ghost Cases
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren recently returned to the big screen with the third Conjuring franchise installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, but how many movies have been based on the couple’s demon-hunting adventures – and how many of them are worth watching? Released in 2013, The Conjuring was a huge hit for director James Wan that soon spawned a lucrative paranormal horror franchise and numerous successful spinoffs. The film followed the characters of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a portrayal of the real-life married couple who claimed to have intervened in numerous hauntings and exorcisms throughout their decades together. Here are all the Ed and Lorraine Warren movies.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga returned for the sequel The Conjuring 2 in 2016, which transplanted the action from America to the inauspicious burg of Enfield in England. The third film in the franchise, the less scary Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It, returned to the states for a look at the trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who claimed demonic possession led him to murder. Meanwhile, a trio of Annabelle spinoffs was released between 2014 and 2018, and centered on the story of the eponymous cursed doll that the Warrens eventually locked up in their cursed objects museum. The Nun was a period piece that detailed the origin story of The Conjuring 2’s villain Valak. And, while it's essentially a standalone movie, 2019's The Curse of La Llorona is also technically part of the Conjurverse, though it's based on Mexican folklore rather than a Warren case.
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However, while the mega-successful Conjuring franchise may be the most lucrative iteration of the Ed and Lorraine Warren movies, the series was far from the first to adapt their stories for the screen. Before the Conjuring franchise began, there were numerous films based on cases that the duo was involved in, with two of these even earning unrelated, fictional sequels. The Warrens’ cases have been seen on the big screen in outings that range from 1978’s extremely famous The Amityville Horror (remade in 2005 with a young Chloe Grace Moretz) to 1991’s largely-forgotten TV movie The Haunted.
The Amityville Horror
Based on the supposed haunting of the Lutz family in Amityville, The Amityville Horror was the first of the Ed and Lorraine Warren movies and also the first of a whopping thirty movies (and counting) to address the contentious case. The Amityville Horror was a huge hit upon release despite some brutal reviews and is still fondly recalled as a classic of the haunted house genre despite being cornier even than some older releases, like 1963’s The Haunting. Interestingly, the Warrens aren’t mentioned in the movie at all and are replaced in the story by a string of priests and nuns brought in to relieve the house of its haunting. This may be because, as iconic horror author Stephen King wrote, this hit was actually as much about the financial woes of the family as their experiences with the supernatural, an idea that was expanded on more explicitly by later entries into the genre.
1991’s The Haunted was a television movie directed by School Ties helmer Robert Mandel, and one that fared fine in terms of reviews but has been largely forgotten in the decades since its initial release. The depicts the story of the Smurl family, who claim that they were haunted by a demon that caused all manner of horrifying incidents in their home. Notably, this was the first film to feature Ed and Lorraine Warren onscreen, here played by Marnie’s Diane Baker and Stephen Markle. Despite this, though, the outing is mostly a merely serviceable horror with little to distinguish the Smurls’ on-screen ordeal from that of the Warrens’ more famous clients.
The Haunting in Connecticut
Starring Kyle Gallner of the woeful Nightmare On Elm Street remake, this 2009 horror did not fare much better than that later slasher with critics. The movie is purported to be based on the true story of Carmen Snedeker, whose home the Warrens proclaimed haunted after launching an investigation into reported paranormal occurrences on the property, a former mortuary. However, the author of the book on which The Haunting in Connecticut’s story is based did later state that he was told to sensationalize the story and embellish reality, and the movie further exaggerates his version of the case. So, what made it to screens was likely not particularly close to the Warrens’ investigations, although none of this creative retelling did The Haunting in Connecticut any favors as the film was derided by critics upon release.
Related: How The Conjuring Made Ed & Lorraine Warren Popular After 3 Movies Failed
Based on another infamous Warren case, The Conjuring is notable for making the Warrens the focus of its story rather than the Lutz family. Directed by Saw horror franchise co-creator James Wan, this tight, tense, and terrifying horror won critical acclaim for its fictionalized account of the Perron family’s haunting in their Rhode Island home. Bolstered by some supremely effective scare sequences and a stellar central turn from the always-underrated Lili Taylor, The Conjuring was the first of the Ed and Lorraine Warren movies to make the pair its heroes and stars and remains the most positively received movie made about their adventures.
The Conjuring 2
Released three years after the success of the original Conjuring, The Conjuring 2 story nonetheless proved bigger doesn’t always equal better. This louder, more action-packed horror story told the famous story of the Enfield poltergeist, a famous British haunting that occurred in a family’s council house during the '70s. Although imperfect, The Conjuring 2 was largely seen as a solid sequel and introduced the terrifying Conjuring franchise demon Valak, who received a film spinoff of its own in 2018’s The Nun. The real-life case of the Hodgson family was certainly exaggerated for the movie, although this sequel did at least feature an appearance from a skeptic calling the whole affair into question.
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
Based on the real-life case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, The Conjuring 3 brings the Warrens back to the screen in the form of a courtroom drama rather than their normal haunted house format. Here, the pair are attempting to establish a precedent for Johnson’s claim that demonic possession was responsible for the manslaughter he committed. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It's less demon-focused approach is new ground for the couple in terms of genre, but this third film in the franchise is nonetheless a solid entry.
Though the Annabelle sequels were fictional stories, the first was based on another real-life case that The Conjuring franchise heroes Ed and Lorraine Warren encountered, despite them not being in it. As with many of the movies based on the Warrens' cases, it takes some creative liberties; in real life, the haunted doll now in possession of the Warrens is actually a Raggedy Ann Doll, not an antique porcelain doll. It tells the story of two young nurses who were haunted by a doll possessed by the spirit of a little girl, but the Warrens were called in when things took a sinister and violent turn and it was determined a demonic spirit was attached to the doll.
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Annabelle Comes Home
Both Ed and Lorraine Warren are in the sequel Annabelle Comes Home, and it marks the seventh installment of The Conjuring franchise. The story follows Ed and Lorraine Warren as they take Annabelle back to their museum and lock the doll in her famed case. The Warrens invite babysitter Mary Ellen and charge her with babysitting their daughter Judy for a night while they go out on another case. Mary Ellen's friend Daniela comes over and lets Annabelle loose, causing a string of events in which other spirits begin to wreak havoc on the home while the Warrens are out. Ghostbusters: Afterlife's McKenna Grace plays Judy, while Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. While the Annabelle case is based on a real doll, much of the narrative was made up for the movie. Interestingly, the scene where Ed drives the doll home and faces supernatural forces is a story that has been corroborated by the Warrens, though it was dramatized for the film. Out of all the Ed and Lorraine Warren movies, Annabelle Comes Home is dedicated to Lorraine, who passed away on April 18th, 2019.
Other Ed & Lorraine Warren Movies
There are other movies based on cases picked up by Ed and Lorraine Warren that aren't a part of The Conjuring universe — namely, the Steven Spielberg classic Poltergeist. The parapsychologist, Dr. Lesh, who visits the home is rumored to be based on Lorraine Warren. Not only that, but the entirety of the Amityville universe, which contains 30 films and counting, is based on the famous Warren case. The film The Nun and its upcoming sequel, The Nun 2, stars Vera Farmiga's sister, American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga, and is based on cases built by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Crooked Man has no release date yet, but the upcoming movie is supposed to be set within The Conjuring universe and will likely feature the couple. In addition, the Spanish tale of The Curse of La Llorona makes no mention of the Warren couple, but it is based on the Mexican folklore of the Weeping Woman. All in all, there are plenty of horror movies both outside of and within The Conjuring universe that are based on the experiences of Ed and Lorraine Warren, and there will surely be more to come – they've led a fascinating life.