Producer James Wan explains why he wanted The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It to take place in the 1980s, a decade he had in mind for a while.
Director James Wan had the 1980s setting for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in mind while shooting The Conjuring 2. Wan is stepping away as director on the third film but has remained onboard as a producer, shepherding the franchise into new territory. Wan is a prolific director in the horror genre, having helmed films like Saw and Insidious, but it’s The Conjuring franchise that has become one of his most popular. The first two films, released in 2013 and 2016, took place in 1971 and 1976, respectively, and part of their appeal was the period-accurate details that called back to the iconic horror films of years past.
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The Conjuring 3 will be moving into a new era and tackling one of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s most controversial cases. The pair of paranormal investigators will head to Connecticut to assist on the case of Arne Johnson, a man on trial for murder in 1981. Johnson was the first person in United States history to use demonic possession as a legal defense and the Warren’s will have to contend with matters both legal and supernatural. Teased as the darkest entry yet, The Conjuring 3‘s foray into the 80s won’t be for the faint of heart, but that’s on purpose.
At a press conference for The Conjuring 3, Wan revealed that during the filming of The Conjuring 2 in London, he told stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson that he wanted the next film to take place in the 1980s. The director says that this felt like a natural progression for the franchise as they had “exhausted” the aesthetic of the 70s. With the Warren’s cases going all the up to the 90s, Wan says that this would be the right move for the franchise and could allow the stories they were telling to flourish in new and exciting ways.
When we were filming in the streets of London and it was raining, we were doing the raining shot for the ending of Conjuring 2, during a break in photography I remember going to Patrick and Vera and said, ‘Y’know what you guys? The next one has to be in the ’80s!’ And I remember Vera said, ‘Yes, I want big earings!’ And so it felt like the natural progression because we had spent a lot of time in the ’70s, and Ed and Lorraine Warren, their cases and their career went from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and into the ’90s. And it just felt like the natural progression for us to movie into. And aesthetically it just felt like the right thing to do, right? We’ve exhausted the kind of ’70s look and the ’80s was the natural way to go. And sure, now there’s a lot of TV shows and movies that are taking place in ’80s, but it was naturally where the story and the characters and just the period of the story of where it wanted to take us into.
The 1980s were a prolific decade for horror, with something for every fan of the genre to sink their teeth into. From supernatural thrillers to the slasher genre, the decade laid the foundation for the horror revival happening today and it’s the perfect era for The Conjuring 3 to take place in. Although the first two films took on the haunted house genre to great affect, those involved have teased something new for the franchise.
This includes saying goodbye to the haunted house horror to tell the Warren’s story on a much larger scale. They’ll have to contend with both the legal case surrounding Arne Johnson, for which they’ll be attending the proceedings, and the continued demonic possession that is damaging a local family. This change in scale is fitting for the era it takes place in – the 80s were all about going big – and it sounds like The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It will be the franchise’s biggest yet.
More: Michael Chaves Interview: The Conjuring 3
- The Conjuring 3 (2020)Release date: Sep 11, 2020
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