The Conjuring came out on July 15th, 2013 and was directed by James Wan, director of several other successful films such as Insidious and Saw. The film had a $20 million dollar budget and grossed over $319 million worldwide. The film follows Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate the home of Roger and Carolyn Perron in 1971. The Perrons move to a new farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island (not too far off from where Kiley and I currently reside). The Perrons notice very quickly that something isn't quite right in their new home and their five daughters notice it too. Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy and April as well as their parents experience several unexplained occurrences before calling in demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. It becomes clear to the Warrens that the demonic entity harassing the Perrons has attached itself to Carolyn Perron, the mother and wife of the family. They weave through a history of paranormal goings to determine the entity's origins and defeat the evil that burdens the family.
When this movie came out I was in high school. Whenever you go to see a horror movie with your friends in high school, especially if they have no appreciation for good horror, they spend the time laughing and goofing off about how the movie is "stupid". There was no laughing during this movie. James Wan is a magical genius and similar to his Insidious films the movie is straight up terrifying.
Not only was it a great movie, but it was a great idea. The film was originally going to be called "The Warren Files" before being entitled "The Conjuring", but the "Warren Files" would be a great name for the franchise as a whole. The franchise has been super successful. The Conjuring has been succeeded in the franchise by The Conjuring 2, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, The Nun, Annabelle Comes Home, the Curse of La Llarona, and the Conjuring 3 which is currently in production. Each of these movies deserve an episode on its own, they're fantastically made movies. The ones that lack in plot such as the Curse of La Llarona or Annabelle Comes Home make up for their shortcomings in terrifying scares. Kiley and I actually saw both recently and were literally screaming. This summer we traveled to Salem, MA to see Annabelle Comes Home before it hit theaters and took a picture with the doll used for filming so I'll add that to the blog but Annabelle needs its own episode on here for sure.
Some fun facts about this film:
The film was given an R rating by the MPAA. The film contained no sex, nudity, little profanity, bloodless violence, no smoking, and brief depictions of alcohol so the fillmmakers asked the ratings board for clarification on their choice of rating. The MPAA said that the film was so scary that no cuts or edits could possibly make it viable for a lower PG-13 rating.
Eight generations of families live in the house in Harrisville before the Perrons moved in. Deaths in these families included two documented suicides, a poisoning, the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, two drownings, and the passing of four men who froze to death. The real house has seen its fair share of horror.
Another fun fact for us Rhode Islanders out there: in the state of RI, sellers are not required to disclose documented histories of a location's criminal activity to potential buyers.
Andrea Perron wrote a three-part book based on her family's experiences in the house titled "House of Darkness, House of Light". I actually contacted her on facebook about a year ago, and if you want she will send you a signed copy of the book with little details inside it. I spoke to her for a bit, she seemed incredibly friendly and willing to speak with me.
Her whole family actually visited the set during filming. The Warrens were also involved in the making of the film and Patrick Wils on playing Ed and Vera Farmiga playing Lorraine visited Lorraine prior to filming. Lorraine Warren actually has a cameo in the beginning of the film when the Warrens' are presenting to a class. She also served as a consultant and partial screenwriter for the film.
Those are all the fun facts I have. Living in Rhode Island, the tiniest of states, this movie was a huge deal. People were driving by the Harrisville home constantly and the current family living there had to have police outside their home every day while the hype was up. The family stated they had never experienced anything paranormal there. The family that has most recently moved into the house this year claims there are several goings on; however, they also state they want to turn the home into a place for paranormal tours and perhaps shoot a documentary. I'm not sure I trust their paranormal sightings when it could just be a money making scheme. On the other hand, the past owners may have also said it wasn't haunted to diminish curiosity and avoid crowds snooping around their property.
The conjuring is based on a true story about Ed and Lorraine Warren. Ed was born on September 7, 1926 and Lorraine was born on January 31, 1927. Ed was a world war 2 United States Navy veteran as well as a formed police officer. He grew up in Connecticut in a house that he claims was haunted. In one interview he said, "my family would all go to bed and just around two to three o'clock in the morning, many times I would hear the closet door beginning to open up. At first I'd look into that closet and see only shapeless darkness, then slowly id start to see a light beginning to form and it would morph into like a ball shape, sort of like a basketball and then id begin to see a face in that ball. That is called a ghost globule. In that globule was a face. Face of an old woman and she was not looking at all pleasant. The globule would then come out into my bedroom and then accompanied by audible footsteps and heavy breathing. The room would then become icy cold, an unnatural cold, a psychic cold." At the age of 16 he began working as an usher at "The Colonial Theatre" in Bridgeport CT where he met Lorraine because they used to go there every Wednesday night. Lorraine was a clairvoyant and a light trance medium.
Around a year later, Ed and Lorraine got married and ended up having 5 children in Willimantic, CT. In his free time, he began studying demons and eventually called himself a demonologist. Ed started going to school at Perry Art school for about two years before he decided to drop out and sell his paintings of houses. He would hear about places that claimed to be haunted, stand in the middle of the road and sketch the house. The owners would get curious and Ed and Lorraine would give them the paintings. This opened a conversation with the homeowners to see what occurred to make them feel the house is haunted. Together, the Warrens claimed to have investigated over 10,000 cases in total.
Many of these cases inspired horror films, documentaries and tv series. The conjuring was inspired by the haunting of the Perron family. In January 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron moved themselves and their five children into a 14-room farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island. They reported that almost immediately, the hauntings started. An article in the Providence Journal in august 1977 read, "Mrs. Perron said she awoke before dawn one morning to find an apparition by her bed: the head of an old woman hanging off to one side over an old gray dress, There was a voice reverberating, "get out. Get out. I'll drive you out with death and gloom." The demon that haunted this house was Bathsheba Sherman. Bathsheba lived there in the early 19th century and was an accused witch as well as a practicing Satanist. She had sacrificed her week-old child to Lucifer in order to remain on the premises and haunt the house for eternity. The child was examined, and the cause of death was determined to be a large sewing needle that was impaled at the base of the child’s skull. At 3:07 am in 1893, she cursed all who would take her land and then killed herself.
Carolyn had researched the history of her home and found that many previous families had died under mysterious and horrible circumstances. She said that many of the children had drowned in a nearby creek, one was murdered and a few of them hanged themselves in the attic. She told Ed and Lorraine about an incident where she was lying on the sofa and suddenly felt a piercing sensation in her calf which caused her muscle to spasm. She then noticed a pile of blood and a "perfectly concentric circle" where the pain came from. Lorraine theorized that Bathsheba took the sewing needle she used to murder her child to the afterlife and used that to stab Carolyn.
One night, Carolyn was possessed by Bathsheba. The warrens arrived with a priest, and a medium in order to perform a seance. Andrea stated that it was not technically an exorcism, but she and her sister Cindy had seen everything that happened. She said this was the only time that she was truly terrified. She said her mother spoke in a voice that she had never heard before and that her mother's body was thrown 20 feet into another room. She said, "I thought I was going to pass out, my mother began to speak a language not of this world in a voice not her own. Her chair levitated and she was thrown across the room." Husband Roger stated, "she was possessed, her entire body was distorted… and it lasted several hours, until they de-demonized her".
Andrea Perron, the oldest child said, "some elements of the film are very accurate, and some are fiction" she also noted that both she and Mrs. Warren had handed over all of their files and writings. She even said that the cast was perfect, and the children resembled her and her siblings as children and had their personalities. She also stated that the director James Wan accurately captured the essence of what they went through.
The movie does however differ from reality in how the Warrens were brought to the house. In the movie, Carolyn seeks the warrens out for help, but Andrea said the warrens were brought in by a paranormal group in RI. She said that Mrs. Warren entered the house knowing absolutely nothing and as soon as she stepped in the kitchen she said, "I feel a dark presence, and her name is Bathsheba."
The movie also portrayed an exorcism being performed on Lorraine rather than a séance. Lorraine has stated that she and her husband were never perform an exorcism because they must be performed by catholic priests.
It also portrayed the ending of the hauntings differently. The movie showed that the hauntings ended the night Ed completed the exorcism on Carolyn and lifted Bathshebas curse forever. In reality, due to financial instability, the Perrons had to spend 10 more years living there and ended up coming into contact with as many as nine spirits. They finally had to just accept the fact that they were not there alone.