The makers of The Conjuring have managed to conjure up (excuse the pun) a whole universe of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs based on the case files of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. As with any good cinematic world, the Conjuring universe's Easter eggs include callbacks to stories that inspired the filmmakers as well as full-on plot developments that connect the films.
The true story behind The Conjuring is far creepier than the film itself, but that doesn't mean the movies that follow are not deeply disturbing in their own right. Besides the "based on real events" tagline, all the movies in the Conjuring universe have few things in common. One of those is producer and series creator (not to mention director of the first two films) James Wan. It is Wan who gives the Conjuring universe its sense of coherence, not only helping to bring visual unity to the series, but also capitalizing on elements like Valak, the demon from The Conjuring 2 who becomes the central antagonist of The Nun.
The sixth installment in the franchise, The Curse of La Llorona, was not marketed as a part of the Conjuring universe. Nevertheless, there are at least a couple major cameos in this film about the legendary ghost mother out for living children. Coming in June, the Annabelle: Creation followup, Annabelle Comes Home, is also rumored to feature callbacks to Wan's other popular projects.
During the seance in the Amityville house at the beginning of The Conjuring 2, one of the people sitting around the table is the spitting image of acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick. This could be a coincidence, but Wan has used tricks from Kubrick's cinematic toolkit before, and has called Kubrick's classic haunted house film The Shining one of his influences.
Another compelling reason to believe the look-alike is intentional is that Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) talks about a "glowing white light" (a shining, perhaps). Meanwhile, her voiceover tells the story of a man who took out his entire family in the house, possibly while under the influence of ghosts or demons - a tale which closely mirrors the plot of The Shining.
Joseph Bishara is best known as a composer, having done music for the Insidious films and most of the movies in the Conjuring universe. However, he doesn't always work behind the scenes: He plays Bathsheba in The Conjuring and appears as other demonic figures in Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and The Conjuring 2.
Bishara's presence in the Conjuring franchise extends beyond his relationship with producer James Wan; it also provides an unexpected tie between the Conjuring universe and the Insidious franchise, since Bishara plays the so-called "lipstick demon" in those films.
The Annabelle doll had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in Aquaman, also directed by James Wan, so it only seems fair that the Conjuring universe films would return the favor. And according to a set visit report from Annabelle Comes Home, they do just that.
Annabelle Comes Home picks up where the previous Annabelle films left off, when the Warrens lock Annabelle up in their artifact room. When they leave their daughter alone with some babysitters, the doll gets out of its box and starts to "activate" the other items in the room, leading to the kinds of predictably spooky shenanigans that the artifact room has been begging for since it first appeared in The Conjuring.
Among the items showcased in the room is a piece of Atlantean technology that should look familiar to fans of James Wan's Aquaman. Annabelle also made a brief appearance in the 2019 film Shazam!, which was directed by the Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sandberg.
At a climactic moment in The Conjuring 2, Vera Farmiga's Lorraine Warren recalls the name of the demonic entity that's plaguing them, allowing her to banish it back to where it came from - at least for now. If she had been looking around her house earlier in the film, however, she might have known the demon's name sooner.
"Valak" is spelled out repeatedly in the opening scenes of The Conjuring 2. It can be seen on the walls around Ed and Lorraine's breakfast table after Lorraine first sees Ed's painting of the nun. It's also spelled out in wooden letters on the bookshelf behind Lorraine as she reads. Even the bracelets their daughter Judy is making spell out the name "Valak" in little cubes.