'Conjuring 3' Connects to 'Annabelle' in Unexpected Way

The post contains spoilers for The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.

The popularity of The Conjuring franchise has been a bit of a surprise, inspiring three films in the original series and five spinoff films. The latest film in the extended universe, The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It, hit theaters and HBO Max on June 4, catching fans up with the latest adventures of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The terrifying film has been met with mostly favorable reviews, largely due to the continued chemistry between Wilson and Farmiga. Not only is it another successful installment, but it also offers a subtle connection to the spinoff film, Annabelle.

In The Devil Made Me Do It, the Warrens investigate the case of Arne Johnson, a young man who murdered his landlord and claimed that he was possessed at the time. While this was a real-life case -- the family involved in the case even claimed that the Warrens exploited the trauma for financial gain -- but The Devil Made Me Do It brings a fictional twist that connects it to Annabelle. In the film, the Warrens discover that the demon that possessed Johnson was summoned by an occultist using witches' totems in order to tap into the satanic power. This occultist is the adopted daughter of retired priest Father Kastner, played by John Noble. Kastner had ties to The Disciples of the Ram and worked for years to bring down the cult from the inside.

The Cult of the Ram terrorizes the couple Mia (Annabelle Wallace) and John Form (Ward Horton) and connects them to the possessed doll Annabelle, who eventually ends up in the Warrens' artifact room. With this reference to the killer cult, the universe is tied together and even opens up the possibility of more classes with the Disciples in future films.

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Considering the popularity of these films, it's a given that more installments are on the way. "I know producer James [Wan] has some cases up his sleeve," director Michael Chaves told Entertainment Weekly. "I think that there's a lot of things they want to explore. I think this film has shown how diverse the Conjuring films can be and how they are willing to take chances and surprise audiences. I've heard of things they're developing and I'm very excited to see what comes next. I come at this first and foremost as a fan of the franchise and so I'm excited to see what happens."