Between the possessions, the hauntings, the poltergeists, the demons, and the dolls, The Conjuring franchise has most of the horror world’s scariest tropes on lock. Starting with The Conjuring (2013), the franchise follows the paranormal investigations of demonologist Ed and psychic medium Lorraine Warren.
Each film in the series — The Conjuring, Annabelle (2014), The Conjuring 2 (2016), and Annabelle: Creation (2017) — is interconnected by common characters and, more importantly, common demons. One of those demons, the nun Valak, is the titular demon of The Nun, the upcoming fifth installment in The Conjuring franchise. Horror fans were first introduced to Valak’s pale face and haunting yellow eyes in The Conjuring 2. How The Nun will tie into the rest of The Conjuring films, whether through Annabelle or even the Warrens themselves, is yet to be known.
One thing is for certain, though: we’re in for some yelp-inducing jump scares.
The Nun promises to be the most terrifying entry yet; one of the film’s advertisements, a jump scare-inducing ads, was banned from YouTube for violating the site’s shocking content policy. Given how many other scary things are on YouTube, the trailer truly is shocking. But given that we’ve already seen this particular demon before, we’re more scared for poor Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) and Father Burke (Demian Bichir). At least we, the audience, have an idea of Valak’s terrifying powers — Sister Irene is alone.
We’ll finally get Valak’s backstory in The Nun, but, until then, walk with us down this terrifying memory lane. Here are the four scariest scenes in The Conjuring franchise.
The clap — The Conjuring (2013)
Whoever came up with this game in the first place was begging for a ghost to join in. Honestly. When Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) decides to join her daughters in a game of “hide and clap,” she’s lured into the basement by a mysterious additional player. Yes, that mysterious player is a demon-ghost thing and, yes, this is the jump-scare scene that first got to you when trailers for The Conjuring first started playing in theaters. You’d seen the trailers, but that clap still made your heart thump. Also, when will people learn basements are bad?
That’s not your kid — Annabelle (2014)
Part of the reason why The Conjuring franchise is so popular is because it combines two of the most commonly terrifying tropes: haunted children and haunted dolls. Corruption of our world’s ideals of innocence is always bound to make audiences uncomfortable. But what about when your haunted child transforms into a terrifying demon lady in the blink of an eye? That’s all the worse.
Meet the Nun — The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Dominique the singing nun she ain’t. While she may be the titular antagonist of her own upcoming film, audiences first met Valak in The Conjuring 2. Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine Warren has a few visions of Valak the demon nun while investigating the Hodgson family’s house (aka, the cast of the Enfield poltergeist), only to learn that Valak was behind the haunting from the very beginning. Any scene with Valak is terrifying in The Conjuring 2, but Lorraine’s visions are definitely the worst.
Terrifying tea party — Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Annabelle: Creation is filled with jump scares. But, just like the previous entry, this one is all about that drawn-out feeling of dread and, yep, more body horror. A different cross in hand, Esther Mullins (Miranda Otto) approaches her dead daughter’s spirit while the little demon is having a tea party with Annabelle. Bones snapping and skin shifting, Bee slowly shoots up four feet, pales, and becomes a horrendous monster before her mother’s eyes.
(P.S. all The Conjuring Universe movies are available to buy online)
We’re assuming if you’ve read this far you are MAYBE prepared for The Nun. Emphasis on maybe
Witness the darkest chapter of The Conjuring Universe when The Nun premieres in theaters on September 6.