In four years since the first movie's release in 2013, The Conjuring franchise - which includes four released films - has grossed over one billion dollars at the box office and terrified movie-goes with plots based on real events. James Wan launched the series, directed most of the films, and is slated to direct one of the newly-announced spin-offs. As of this writing, he has not fully committed to The Conjuring 3 due to other film projects.
The Conjuring movies are based on the cases of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. They've been involved in some of the strangest and unbelievable hauntings ever publicized, and written several books about their famous cases. The movies showcase the Warrens' travels to find people and places possessed by evil spirits. The spin-offs focus on origin stories of some of the supernatural beings the Warrens have encountered.
If you pay close attention, The Conjuring movies are packed with Easter eggs and secrets - references to the real-life cases and other movies. When producers and directors insert homages or unique nods to other movies or life events, it makes the movie memorable and more entertaining.
Here are 15 Things You Completely Missed In The Conjuring Franchise.
15 The Real Lorraine Warren Had a Cameo
The Conjuring is about the famous haunting of a farmhouse in Rhode Island by a witch's curse. Ed and Lorraine are a married couple who investigated many paranormal events in their career - some debunked, others hard to prove fake - and often gave lectures.
In one scene, the couple are giving a lecture to college-aged spectators in a classroom. Andrea Perron is in the audience, not to listen to what the Warrens have to say, but to obtain their help. Andrea lives in the farmhouse being haunted and the mother of the family who are victims.
Andrea Perron eventually approaches the Warrens to see if they will help her. If you notice where Andrea was sitting in the audience and look in the front row, you'll see the real Lorraine Warren also attending the lecture.
14 The Name Valak Appears In The Background
In The Conjuring 2, we learn the demon's name is Valak. Early in the movie, that name is hidden through the background of various scenes, way before we even hear of this creature.
The first two instances are in the scene where Ed and Lorraine Warren are talking in the kitchen. When the camera sticks to Ed, you can see strange, colorful knick-knacks on the windowsill behind him. Look closely and they are the letters V-A-L-A. In another shot, the K appears after the second A, filling out the name. When the camera shifts focus to Lorraine in the same scene, you can see the name etched in a wood heart affixed to the wall right above the waist-high molding.
The third instance is the scene where Lorraine in in the den. On the bookshelf in the background, the letters V-A-L-A-K are staggered on the shelves in the correct order. Lastly, Lorraine's daughter was crafting a letter bracelet with Valak's name.
13 The Upside Crosses Were Made-Up
The scene in The Conjuring 2 where Janet is absorbed through the floor into an upstairs room full of crosses on the wall is utterly chilling. She's alone except for an unseen force looking to scare her senseless. At first, the crosses are right side up, but soon, they start to shake and one by one, they spin on the wall, turning upside down. The camera pans around the room until all the crosses are upturned.
The Conjuring 2 is about the Enfield Poltergeist in London, but in the real case files, witnesses, and journals of the Warrens, no evidence was found that crosses changed position in the Hodgson home like they did in the movie.
One interesting note is that upside down crosses are not meant as an image of evil. A cross in that position represents St. Peter, who chose to be crucified upside down as he felt he should not be crucified the same as Jesus.
12 The Shining References
Annabelle: Creation's musical score was inspired by The Shining's score, even though the latter used direct portions from the Polish composer, Krzyszlof Penderecki. That may not be as obvious as some of The Shining references in The Conjuring 2.
In one of the early scenes, when Lorraine is speaking to a group of people sitting around the table, she uses the word "shining" and if you look closely to one of the gentleman sitting at the back of the table next to Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson), the man has an uncanny resemblance to Stanley Kubrick, right down to the bushy hair, beard, glasses and style of dress.
The third reference to The Shining is the hallway when the nun is encountered. The hallway in the film resembles the famous hallway where Danny brakes his Big Wheel and stumbles on the creepy twin girls. The movie's hallway is thinner, but the color scheme, distance between Lorraine and the nun, and pattern on the wallpaper are oddly parallel.
11 Real Painting Of Ed Warren
Before Ed Warren took up paranormal investigating, he loved to paint. Many of his early paintings were inspired by his life in the Navy, but after becoming a self-described expert in the occult, his art took a dark turn, often mimicking his past investigations. His paintings related to paranormal activity are stored in the Warren Museum and can invoke feelings of fear and dread with their themes.
One of the paintings was included in the film version of the museum. At the end of The Conjuring, when Patrick Wilson (as Ed Warren) brings in the latest item for storage, you can see the painting near the door facing the camera. It's blue and white with a figure or building in the center surrounded by what appears to be fire.
10 An Inside Joke
When director James Wan agreed to make The Conjuring 2, he immediately knew that comparisons to other, panned horror sequels would occur and wanted to get ahead of the judgements. Especially since Wan directed the tepid Insidious Chapter 2.
So, to pay homage to horror sequels that garnered lukewarm attention, Wan placed a movie marquis advertising Exorcist 2: The Heretic in a montage of shots around London. This Exorcist sequel is considered the worst of the franchise. Critics hated it, and it's still remembered as being the worst of all the terrible sequels The Exorcist franchise churned out.
Wan, in an interview with CinemaBlend, said inserting that nod "was fun." What made that sign just as interesting was The Heretic was released in 1977, which is the year The Conjuring 2 takes place.
9 The Hanging Noose
In The Conjuring 2, when Lorraine Warren enters the study and sees the painting of Valak on the wall and the tape machine on the desk starts playing, you can see two paintings in the scene, one of which is displayed prominently on an easel.
The black and white painting has a house in the background that resembles the house in The Conjuring. In the foreground is a tree with a noose. The insane woman hanged herself on this tree. This image can also be seen on many of the movie posters for the first movie.
There is also another painting sitting on the floor to the left of the first one. The second contains a figure pointing to a big, dark house with a moon in the upper right corner. It not clear if this references some a future movie in the Conjur-verse.
8 The Warren's Office Sign
A few items from the investigations of the Warrens have made it into the Conjur-verse. Most involved relics of questionable, occult origin, but one item of normal existence appeared with no evil attached; it could be considered mundane compared to the rest of the movie.
This item from real life that made it into the first Conjuring movie was the office sign that indicated where to enter Ed and Lorraine's house and museum. In the movie, the camera concentrated on this sign to signify its importance.
While not integral to the plot or any scene in the movie, the sign's history signifies a rich attraction to the paranormal. The original sign has been removed in real life and now resides in Ed's office and in the museum.
7 The Main Theme Song Of The Franchise
Music can sometimes make a horror movie unforgettable, whether it's a song that's sung by an artist or a simple orchestration. The piano riff for the Halloween movies or the initial notes for the Jaws theme instantly make those movies visible in your head. The same can be said of The Conjuring if you're a fan of the franchise.
Annabelle: Creation is a prequel that tells of the origin of the Annabelle doll. The movie has two post-credits scenes. In the first one, a basic shot of Annabelle is inactive in a rocking chair. The camera pans, and as it does, a background song starts. It's subtle, but can clearly be heard.
It's only a few notes, but if you've seen The Conjuring, you'll recognize the music as the main theme that's played throughout the other movies. You first come across the music when Lorraine sees a toy box in a mirror. The toy box is dancing, and she witnesses the demon that's terrorizing the house.
6 The Music Box
The music box that was placed in the museum in the first Conjuring makes a more visible appearance in the sequel. At the end of The Conjuring, Ed Warren places the music box on a shelf, as if to say it can do no more evil in the museum. It's an eerie music box, with haunting, tinny music, and a dirty, ancient look on the casing.
In the second movie, the music box sits innocuously in the den as if it had never been as creepy as it was in the first film. Also in the den is the doll from the movie Annabelle. It seems that the Warrens weren't afraid of either the box or the doll haunting them again. They are surprisingly trusting of evil spirits!
5 Souvenir Statue
One location in The Conjuring movies that mirrors real life is the occult museum Lorrain Warren maintains (her husband Ed died in 2006.) The museum contains strange and unique artifacts that have been used in occult activities and other evil manners.
In the movie, as you see the museum portrayed, you'll noticed a thin, creepy statue with large eyes and an oddly painted body. The real statue is housed in the Warrens' museum, and if you ever take a tour of the museum, you can buy a souvenir of the figure.
As of this writing, the museum was closed due to zoning issues according. Previously, tours were held once a month by appointment only. On the museum's website, you can view a video tour of the occult gallery.
4 Sister Charlotte's Photo
In Annabelle: Creation, the prequel to Annabelle, in a scene early in the movie, when Sister Charlotte is unpacking for her stay at the Mullins' home, she pulls out a photograph of nuns she used to know in Romania. These particular nuns have zero contact with the outside world.
As Sister Charlotte rotates the photograph, an image of the ghostly nun appears in the background behind the other nuns. This is Valak, the demonic nun that haunts Lorraine and Ed in The Conjuring 2. The nun also appears briefly in a vague after-credit scene at the end of Creation. A door opens to a hallway of lighted candles. The subtitle reads, "Abbey of St. Carta, Romania, 1952", and something shadowy is progressing down the hall, extinguishing candles one at a time.
The Nun gets its own movie, which is set to release July 13, 2018. That's a Friday the 13th.
3 The Conjuring's Annabelle Doll Reference
The Annabelle doll - which is really a Raggedy Ann Doll renamed for the soul that possesses it - makes a cameo in The Conjuring. The doll sits innocently in the toy box. However, this is simply a reference to the doll as the Warrens, in the Conjuring timeline, have already investigated the demonic toy. Most likely, the inclusion of the doll in The Conjuring is a playful look forward to what director James Wan would focus on next.
The real Annabelle doll was purchased at a hobby store and would leave notes on pieces of parchment whether or not pieces of parchment were available. The doll also attacked a friend of the family. For the movie, Wan wanted a spookier doll, so the prop for the movie was made of porcelain.
2 Patrick Wilson's Voice
Although Patrick Wilson had a small singing cameo in The Conjuring 2 - he crooned "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley - this isn't the first time the actor has showcased his singing ability.
Before becoming a household name in movies and TV, Wilson started his career on Broadway. His very first Broadway role was the understudy for Chris Scott in the national production of Miss Saigon. He starred in the musicals The Full Monty and Oklahoma! and won a Tony Award for each of them. In the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera, Wilson played the role of Raoul, who had plenty of singing to do.
Most recently, from 2008 to 2014, he did Barefoot in the Park and All My Sons and performed at Carnegie Hall with selections from Guys and Dolls. If you were doubtful that it was Patrick Wilson singing during that The Conjuring scene, his history of Broadway should convince you.
1 Lorraine's Outfit in The Conjuring
The same scene that contained obscure homages and an obvious reference to Stanley Kubrick also contains a reference to the real-life Lorraine Warren. This is the opening scene where the Warrens are involved in a séance.
Lorraine is wearing a beige trench coat, black turtleneck, and a skirt. The real Lorraine Warren wore a similar outfit during a séance she partook in during her investigation of Amityville. The film's costume was replicated as well as the hair style Vera Farmiga wore as she attempted to speak to the dead.
It's unknown if the necklace and earrings were similar, but it's clear that director James Wan wanted to give proper respect to the source material and the real people involved, regardless if fans, viewers, and other paranormal investigators believed the accounts of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Which The Conjuring Easter eggs did you see and which did you miss? Let us know in the comments!