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.
A Stanley Kubrick Look-Alike Is At A Seance In 'The Conjuring 2'
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.17531Did you miss this?
There Appear To Be Atlantean Artifacts In 'Annabelle Comes Home'
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.14015Did you miss this?
The Composer For Many Of The Films Also Plays Demons And GhostsPhoto: Insidious/FilmDistrict
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.16339Did you miss this?
A Montage Frame In 'The Conjuring 2' References Another Horror Sequel
After a cold opening in the infamous Amityville house, The Conjuring 2 transitions to England, setting the stage with a montage that establishes the film's location and time period: London 1977. Hidden in the montage is a billboard advertising The Exorcist II. Director James Wan told CinemaBlend he chose that particular film not just because it was the right year, but because "I knew everyone is going to compare it to the frickin' Exorcist."
The Exorcist II was also chosen as a kind of joking nod to the idea that sequels are inevitably worse than their predecessors; The Exorcist II is widely considered worse than the original and has a score of just 17% on Rotten Tomatoes.10822Did you miss this?