The Film is Set at The Real Cârța Monastery
The building where the nun intrigue takes place in the film is referred to as "The Abbey of St. Carta," located - predictably - in Transylvania. And believe it or not, that really does seem to be based on the Cârța Monastery, or Abbey of Carta, located in the mountainous heart of Romania. A monastery erected as early as the year 1202 which, like the film, was home to monk and nuns referred to as "white," due to their wearing white habits, not black. But while impressive in the grand scheme of history, the real location is nowhere near as extravagant (or haunting) as the version arrived at in the movie.
The bad news? The Cârța Monastery had its Cistercian monks evicted by the King of Hungary around 1494. When the events of The Nun depict the Abbey in full operation as recently as 1952, the real-world monastery had been reduced to a handful of the stone walls (while the rest of the original wooden structure had been worn away by time. Today, residents of the area congregate on the site to practice Evangelical services. But there's no question that historic name and location were chosen as a link to reality - not as an intent to recreate it.
A True 'Nun Possession' Did Happen in Romania
Interestingly though, the selection of Romania for The Nun may not be an accident, either. Considering the previous Conjuring films tied into real-world events like the Amityville and Enfield phenomena, it would be strange if The Nun ignored real supernatural history entirely. But if movie fans were to do a bit of digging into Romanian exorcisms that gained notoriety, they would find one. A 'haunting' which took place in 2005, not 1952. Of course, not everyone saw it that way.
The believed possession and subsequent criminal trial made the Tanacu Exorcism a widely-covered case. It began when a 23 year-old woman sought out the monastery, and soon began acting strangely. Doctors diagnosed schizophrenia, but those around her believed to be witnessing a demonic possession. The resulting exorcism tragically cost the nun her life, with those responsible sentenced to jail time.
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Separate, these accounts and details have little connecting them. But placed into one large, creative melting pot, they show just how outlandish or original a film can be while still claiming to have been "inspired by real events."
The References Are Real, The Movie Story Isn't (Obviously)
No horror movie fans needs us to confirm that there was not a reliable, confirmed case of a demonic nun terrorizing a convent, monastery, or any other religious residence. All things considered, the fact that The Nun connects The Conjuring and Annabelle to the origin of the Warrens' investigations, while actually being the sixth movie released should leave little doubt that it's fiction intended to stitch separate incidents together.
The closest one could claim that The Nun comes to being based on a real-world event would be Lorraine Warren's vision of a dark, hooded figure. That's less concrete experience upon which to build a story than any Conjuring film thus far, so perhaps the filmmakers can be afforded a freebie (since The Nun isn't boasting the same ties to true accounts or happenings as previous entries).
As for cinematic inspirations and meta filmmaking, the similarities to countless other horror tales can't be ignored (in which two supernatural warriors arrive to encounter unspeakable evil). Factor the murder mystery taking place in a monastery, and Umberto Eco's novel The Name of The Rose comes to mind. No surprise, then, that producer James Wan describes The Nun as a cross between that narrative and The Conjuring spirit.
- The Nun (2018) release date: Sep 07, 2018