The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is packed with horror movie nods and Easter eggs connected to installments within The Conjuring Universe. Created by filmmaker James Wan, the cinematic franchise consists of eight films. Though Wan didn’t return to direct The Conjuring 3 after taking the helm of the other two movies in the trilogy, Michael Chaves tackled the role to expand on the lives of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). In doing so, Chaves effectively featured a slew of callbacks to the rest of the fictional universe as well as notable horror elements.
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Following the investigation of a Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971 featured in The Conjuring, married couple Ed and Lorraine took their expertise across the pond. The Conjuring 2 focused on the investigators helping the Hodgson family in 1977 Enfield, London, despite skepticism surrounding the bizarre case and their role as legitimate investigators in the paranormal community. The Devil Made Me Do It sequel moves out of the haunted house setting to an equally unsettling situation based on the real-life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson in 1981. Ruairi O’Connor plays the role of Arne, who commits a murder after becoming possessed, something the Warrens want to help prove as a defense in his legal case.
From start to finish, The Devil Made Me Do It presents clever connections that fans of all horror subgenres will appreciate. When Chaves shared The Conjuring 3‘s opening sequence during a virtual event (via IGN), the director commented on his “shameless nods” to other films. He also stated how much he loved seeing viewers make connections during screenings and stated, “The Conjuring movies are always these love letters to horror movies.” The Devil Made Me Do It is no different in that aspect, and here’s a guide to the movie’s Easter eggs and horror movie references.
Father Gordon’s Exorcist Arrival
When The Devil Made Me Do It begins, the focus isn’t on Arne Johnson. Instead, the spotlight remains on 8-year-old David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), who is suffering from a demonic possession requiring the help of Ed and Lorraine. As the paranormal investigators try to comfort the Glatzel family, Arne sends young David to his room as the group awaits the arrival of Father Gordon (Steve Coulter). Moments later, Father Gordon is dropped off at the family’s home by a cab while the camera lingers on the figure standing under a light while looking at the house. The scene is eerily reminiscent of 1973’s The Exorcist when Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) arrives for Regan MacNeil’s (Linda Blair) infamous exorcism.
David Glatzel’s Exorcism
Aside from The Exorcist nod featuring Father Gordon, The Devil Made Me Do It‘s opening sequence housed a few other tributes to William Friedkin’s classic horror movie. During David’s exorcism, he’s wearing light blue pajamas, which is very similar to the pattern on the nightgown worn by Regan during her exorcism. When the demonic entity takes control of the boy, his body gets contorted to mirror Regan’s spider-like movements. Arne turns out to be the one to save David after begging the demon to enter his body instead. This moment followed in line with Father Karras’ (Jason Miller) invitation for the demon to use him as a host rather than Regan in The Exorcist.
The Conjuring 3‘s opening sequence in the Glatzel family home also featured several references to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. In the scene where Father Gordon looks at the house before walking to the front door, he looks up at a figure in the window. The figure is actually Arne, who is in the process of comforting David. The moment is an intentional nod to Psycho when Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) spotted Mother in the window of the Bates mansion. Shortly after, David hears disturbing noises, forcing him to hide in the bathtub. As a reference to Psycho‘s iconic shower scene, David is sprayed with blood from the shower as he screams for his life.
The Perron Family
Ed suffers a heart attack as a result of David’s failed exorcism. Though the boy was saved, the demon jumped into Arne, now using him as a host, a fact unbeknownst to Lorraine or Father Gordon. The pair are obviously concerned with Ed’s condition, but he eventually wakes up in the hospital to inform them of Arne’s situation as the new host. While the Warrens continue to deal with Arne’s case after he murders the landlord, Ed is still on the mend. News of his heart attack must have gone around, considering the amount of flowers sent to the hospital and the Warren family home. Among those who send flowers are the Perrons, the family Ed and Lorraine helped in 2013’s The Conjuring. The couple came to the rescue of Roger (Ron Livingston), Carolyn (Lili Taylor), and five daughters when their farmhouse was being terrorized by an evil spirit named Bathsheba. Clearly, the Perrons still feel indebted to the Warrens.
Appearances By Valak
Whereas Bathsheba was the antagonistic spirit wreaking havoc in The Conjuring, that honor went to Valak in The Conjuring 2. The demon took hold of Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe), forcing Ed and Lorraine to travel to the London area in 1977. Before Valak was known by name, the entity made itself known to both Ed and Lorraine, with the former painting a picture of the figure. This painting is later seen hanging in the Warrens’ collection room, seemingly framed and protected like the rest of their dangerous artifacts. However, this isn’t the only appearance by Valak. Earlier in The Devil Made Me Do It, Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook) wakes up Arne prior to the violent incident. In their bedroom, a little nun-like figure can be seen on a shelf, which is seemingly meant to be an Easter egg to Valak’s presence in The Conjuring Universe.
The Waterbed Link To Nightmare On Elm Street
In addition to The Exorcist and Psycho, Chaves made it a point to pay homage to a memorable scene in 1988’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. The fourth installment centered on the terror caused by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) featured a moment in which a character named Joey (Rodney Eastman) started to fall asleep on his waterbed before witnessing an attractive model swimming in the water-filled mattress. Freddy then bursts out from the waterbed, attacking Joey before killing him. The Conjuring 3 doesn’t take the same brutal approach, but the fundamental scare is still there. When the Glatzel family moves into their new Brookfield, Connecticut home, David discovers a waterbed left by the previous owner. He jumps on top of it before a hand bursts out in a Freddy Krueger-like fashion. It’s important to note that The Devil Made Me Do It‘s assistant director Jeffrey Wetzel also worked on The Dream Master.
Father Kastner’s Artifact Room
While investigating the cursed totem placed under the Glatzel house, which causes David’s possession, Ed and Lorraine wind up visiting Father Kastner (John Noble), a retired priest. The man had experience dealing with satanic cults, and they believe he could know how to help with Arne’s case. During their discussion, Kastner invites the pair to his basement, which acts like an artifact room that shares similarities with the Warrens’ room full of dangerous haunted objects. When Lorraine sees the satanic objects, she remarks how Kastner should burn the artifacts, to which he replies: “I’ve thought of it. But I felt it was safer to keep them locked. I like taking guns off the streets.” In The Conjuring, Ed almost had the exact same response when a reporter questioned why the artifacts in the Warrens’ room weren’t incinerated. Ed responded with: “Well, that would only destroy the vessel. Sometimes it’s better to keep the genie in the bottle. It’s kind of like keeping guns off the street.”
The Disciples Of Ram Cult
The incorporation of the Disciples of Ram cult might be a first for The Conjuring trilogy, but the sinister group had already been established in The Conjuring Universe, specifically in the Annabelle movies. 2014’s Annabelle explained how Annabelle Higgins (Tree O’Toole), a member of the Disciples of Ram, tried to conjure inhuman spirits before transferring her soul into the doll. The prequel, Annabelle: Creation, revealed how Annabelle, or Janice at the time, became the embodiment of the Ram at the focus of the cult. The Occultist (Eugenie Bondurant) in The Conjuring 3 is the daughter of Father Kastner, who became obsessed with her dad’s investigations into the Disciples of Ram, leading to her sinister fate. She turns out to be the one who leaves behind the totems that serve as beacons for demonic possessions.
The Palmeri Name
While investigating the deaths of Jessica Strong (Ingrid Bisu) and Katie Lincoln (Andrea Andrade) in Danvers, Massachusetts, Ed and Lorraine find a connection to a similar satanic totem. The findings lead to the location of Jessica’s body, which Lorraine believes can help provide intel into the Occultist’s hideout. To get access to the body of the deceased, Ed and Lorraine travel to Palmeri Funeral Home. The name Palmeri has a history in The Conjuring Universe, specifically the first Annabelle movie. When Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John Form (Ward Horton) relocated to Pasadena, California at the beginning of the movie, they moved into a complex named Palmeri Apartments. Interestingly, Mary Ellen’s (Madison Iseman) crush from 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home is named Bob Palmeri (Michael Cimino).
Ed Warren’s Link To The Shining
Before The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It came to a close, Chaves makes a major reference to yet another beloved horror entry: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the movie notably centered on Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a man coerced by spirits in the Overlook Hotel to kill his family. Jack terrifyingly hunted his family down through the halls of the empty hotel with his axe. Chaves replicated the sequence in his own way by giving Ed a sledgehammer as he chased Lorraine in the tunnels under Kastner’s house while possessed. To strengthen the reference, Ed even had a limp, just like Jack did in The Shining.
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