The Nun, Taissa Farmiga

How James Wan's Conjuring universe was inspired by superhero cinema

Contributed by
Aug 27, 2018

James Wan made the leap from horror emperor to superhero newbie with his foray into the DCEU via the upcoming Aquaman movie, but Wan’s long seen the connections between the genres — at least when it comes to the narrative and financial benefits of linking stories.

After stringing together a few stories based on the paranormal adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren, superproducer Wan explained a bit about creating a shared world for all these scary films to exist in during a featurette for The Nun, the latest in The Conjuring and Annabelle universe of horror films.

Take a look:

Before we hop along the timeline documenting the demonic escapades of dolls, nuns, and a few unlucky investigators, Wan introduces the idea of a wide-ranging horror franchise that doesn’t necessarily share a Freddy or a Jason as being inspired by the prevalence of superhero universes.

“One of the things that occurred to all of us is, they have a superhero universe, why can’t we do that in the horror world?” asked Wan. “When we were making the first Conjuring, it became very apparent to us that there could be a bigger universe, so many other great stories that would be awesome to look into.” Linking these stories together with enough connective tissue that fans would feel like they could enrich their experience by seeing all of them is a great marketing tool -- and a bit of a novel concept in the horror world beyond slasher franchises and ones built on gory gimmicks like Hellraiser.

Pushing a history of a select few hauntings as connected by demons and objects is a savvy move that allows even films without strong antagonistic characters to feel sequential — so how long before the holy Avengers team up to take these demons down?

The Nun lays some terrifying backstory on Sept. 7.