'Conjuring 3' Features Nod to 'The Exorcist'

The Conjuring 3 debuted Friday in theaters and on HBO Max, and the chilling horror flick features a nod to The Exorcist. In the opening of the film, Ed and Lorraine Warren — played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga — are engaged in a spiritual battle with a demon that has possessed a young boy. [Please Note: Spoilers Below for The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It.]

They call for help from Father Gordon (Steve Coulter), a Catholic priest who is a friend and associate of the Warrens. When Father Gordon shows up, he arrives in a taxi cab to help treat David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), the child possessed by a demon. As the cab drives away, fans are hit with a shot of Father Gordon standing and staring up at the home. This shot is clearly a direct homage to The Exorcist, when Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) arrives at the MacNeil household.

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It was inspired by the real-life 1981 trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the "Devil Made Me Do It" case. Johnson was arrested and charged for the murder of his landlord, Alan Bono. The Warrens became involved with the case due to the bizarre nature of the circumstances surrounding it. Johnson's trial is said to be the first known U.S. court case wherein the defense set out to prove innocence based on the defendant denying personal responsibility for the crime due to claiming demonic possession.

The Conjuring Universe is made up of the main Conjuring films, as well as three Annabelle spinoffs, The Nun and the loosely connected Curse of La Llorona. Collectively, the franchise has earned a revenue of close to $2 billion. This makes it the second-highest-grossing horror franchise ever, after Godzilla. There are currently "in-development" projects for a sequel to The Nun, as well as for a brand new spinoff for The Crooked Man, a ghostly character that was introduced in The Conjuring 2. There have also been discussions of a fourth Annabelle film.

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The first two Conjuring films were directed by James Wan and written by brothers Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes. Notably, Wan and David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick co-wrote The Conjuring 2 with the Hayes'. The Conjuring 3 is a slight departure, however, as it is written by Johnson-McGoldrick and Wan, with Michael Chaves directing. Chaves previously directed The Curse of La Llorona.