Feature Article

How Annabelle: Creation Fits Into The Conjuring's Connected Horror Universe

Evil dolls, demonic nuns, and murderous fairy tales

The 2013 horror movie The Conjuring opened with the story of a doll named Annabelle, who'd terrorized three young women. Ed and Lorraine Warren, based on the real-life paranormal investigators, helped them seal away the doll's evil, then locked it in a cabinet in their home. Now we have not just an Annabelle spin-off film, but also Annabelle: Creation, a prequel to that spin-off. And according to GameSpot's Annabelle: Creation review, it's pretty good.

Between The Conjuring 1 and 2, the Annabelle films, and the upcoming The Nun and The Crooked Man, we've got a new connected film universe with director and producer James Wan pulling the strings. Annabelle: Creation is out today in theaters, and to fully enjoy it, it's important to know how they all fit together.

At the center are the Warrens, played by the excellent Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. The characters work with the Catholic church to assist families whose homes have been invaded by demons. These invasions range from Poltergeist-like household phenomena--such as lights flicking on and off, or strange noises--to, in extreme cases, full-on demonic possession. That's what we saw in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, as the Warrens helped families in the US and England, at great personal cost to their own health and sanity.

But while the Warrens star in the Conjuring movies, the Wan-iverse has expanded beyond Wilson and Farmiga's characters.

The story of Annabelle

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The first spin-off, 2014's Annabelle, offered an origin story of sorts for the titular doll. Annabelle had previously appeared only in a few brief scenes in The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2, mostly locked in a display case. The Annabelle spin-off showed that the doll became a conduit for evil forces after a satanic cultist died while holding it in her arms, her blood dripping into its creepy eye socket.

In the films' canon, Annabelle itself isn't really the possessed. The Warrens explain that it's simply a conduit for demons, who use it to manipulate and terrorize their victims.

Annabelle: Creation, which might be the only good prequel to a spin-off ever made, goes back even further in the doll's history and shows its true origin.

The Annabelle doll was created by a dollmaker named Mr. Mullin. In the movie's opening scene, he crafts the first Annabelle doll and numbers it 1 out of 100, which explains why the doll's been referred to as a rare collector's item in the films.

Shortly after he creates the Annabelle doll, Mullins' young daughter dies tragically. Without spoiling anything in the new Annabelle movie, let it suffice to say she doesn't stay gone for long. Annabelle: Creation's ending ties a nice little bow on, providing a clear connection between both Annabelle movies.

The Nun and The Crooked Man

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The Conjuring 3 is in the works, although we know little about it at this point. Before we rejoin the Warrens for another ghost-hunt, we'll learn more about The Nun, who first appeared in The Conjuring 2 and has a neat cameo in Annabelle: Creation.

The Nun terrorized Vera Farmiga's character, Lorraine Warren, throughout The Conjuring 2. Lorraine seemed to be particularly affected by the habit-wearing demon, implying she might have some personal connection with it. To add fuel to that, the actress's sister, Taissa Farmiga, is starring in the spin-off. And in Annabelle: Creation, Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) and Mr. Mullins see the Nun briefly appear in an old photo, though they don't seem to quite grasp what they're glimpsing.

So it seems The Nun may have concrete connections with other characters in the Wan-iverse. The spin-off is currently in post-production, James Wan recently told Entertainment Weekly, and The Nun's release date is currently set for 2018.

After that, it's on to The Crooked Man, another ghoul who first appeared in The Conjuring 2. The Crooked Man is based on a children's rhyme:

"There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile / He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile / He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse / And they all lived together in a little crooked house."

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In The Conjuring 2, the Crooked Man leapt from a child's zoetrope to scare the crap out of an English family. He even impersonated a dog, implying that he can twist his weird body into various shapes.

The Crooked Man's release date isn't set yet, as the film is still in its early stages. But Wan told EW that he thinks the fourth Conjuring spin-off will be "somewhat of that dark fairytale, and more whimsical, subgenre."

"What we want to do, with The Conjuring universe, is we want each of our little offshoots to have a very different flavor...I love the idea that, within the Conjuring universe, each of our little movies all have their own flavor, so that way they don't feel like they're the same films," Wan said.

Having launched not just the Conjuring universe, but the Saw and Insidious franchises as well, Wan is officially a master of modern horror. Needless to say, fans are looking forward to whatever comes next in the Wan-iverse.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

mrougeau

Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Senior Entertainment Editor. He loves Game of Thrones and dogs.
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Palafoxg17

Best Producer for making this scary franchise.

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teppolundgren

The Conjuring: Pretty good. I've watched it twice, which rarely happens anymore.

The Conjuring 2: Gamespot won't let me swear, but it's godawful!!!!!!

Annabelle: Surprisingly excellent. The best of the bunch (so far).

2 out of 3 ain't bad. Can't wait to see Creation.

Avatar image for tingtong
tingtong

I’m pretty big on horror movies with it being my favorite genre after scifi.. but anything to do with hauntings, possessions, exorcisms, ghosts, is automatically garbage in my book. It’s been done to death more than zombie films, & the sad part is a lot of ppl actually believe in that sorta stuff which makes me resent them even more.

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Sepewrath

@tingtong: Every horror concept has been done to death.

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tingtong

@Sepewrath: I disagree.. its pretty easy to see that its been mainly oversaturated with the likes of hauntings/exorcism crap & zombies…so that leaves us with what? I just wanna see more creativity instead of the next haunted house movie, creepy doll, etc. Those all turn out to be pretty damn mediocre anyways.

Examples of good horror movies that you don’t see dozens of on Netflix: jeepers creepers, the thing, event horizon, the mist, hellraiser, slither, the descent, splinter, cabin in the woods, evil dead, nightbreed, texas chainsaw massacre, wolf creek, the crazies, the void. . .I know I’m leaving a lot out, but you get the idea. Hell, if I had the funding then I’d show you original & creative.. I could make a dam good horror movie.

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CraigTL

@tingtong: 13 ghost is an oldie but goodie. More recent "Get out" written by Jordan Peele (Key and Peele) was totally left feild but creepy.

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lionheartssj1

@tingtong: I tend to agree, but I'm trying to think of something else they could do or refresh. I'm coming up blank.

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dark_420

James Wan is a horror movie genius. Looking forward to The Conjuring 85 and all the spin-off characters that come out of all of them.

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IG0R23

I think it's unnecessary to make a "universe" out of any profitable film, but if you can *really* make it work I'll allow it. In terms of this Conjuring Universe, I'm torn because I think the first two Conjuring movies are wonderful enough to stand on their own. On the other hand, they are getting solid filmmakers to helm these spin-offs. I'm kind of excited to see Annabelle: Creation though, especially since I skipped out on that other flick.

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Sepewrath

@ig0r23: The term "universe" is just a buzzword now. These use to be called spinoffs, sequels and prequels and that's all they are. The same way Godzilla has spinoff movies, now that would be called a universe. Even though its very different from say Marvel or DC or the now "monster-verse" these Conjuring movies are telling a story from a single source; not tying together a bunch of separate things like Marvel etc.

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MarcTheHeretic

I'm kind of split on this connected universe trend on one hand it gives big studios the excuse to only use big franchises instead of original one off films, to make each of them as similar as possible, and completely over saturate a genre. On the other hand it's nothing new and some of the best stories of all time take place in them. DC, Marvel, Steven King, Asimov, Tolkien, Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, ancient mythologies from throughout time and all over the world. I don't think it should be taboo to make adaptions of any of those writers work connected to each other just because of how bad it can go. The same goes for anyone making a new connected universe but the main problem is it's hard to trust any big movie studio to look past the MCU's success and do it right. Anyway even if none of Wan's movies or the ones he oversees are modern classics I do enjoy a lot of them and I'm glad to see he's specifically trying to make these spin-offs different.

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John_Matrix_007

The Conjuring would have been a lot better if it hadn't turned into a comedy in the last 20 minutes. Maybe it wasn't meant to be funny, but I was laughing pretty hard by the end.

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Cherub1000

@john_matrix_007: let off some steam Bennett! Yeah boiiiiiiii! Sorry, couldn't help it!

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Baconstrip78

@john_matrix_007: You're such a badass!

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John_Matrix_007

@Baconstrip78:

Scary movies shouldn't have funny endings. I thought the movie was good up until the end.

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Shanesays5

I enjoy this Wan coverage. Nice article and I'm glad to see an update on the nun movie

Online
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tingtong

@lonesamurai1: I’m the same way but as long as its got to do with entertainment/tech then I’m good with it.. esp when there isn’t a lot to report on in terms of games. They’ll only be crossing the line if they bring politics into it etc

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mrougeau

@lonesamurai1: Like, more than a year ago actually!

Staff
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andfx8

@lonesamurai1: God forbid a business tries to do something practical

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mrougeau

@lonesamurai1: oh wow when you put it like that

Staff
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mrougeau

@lonesamurai1: why not both?

Staff
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MarcTheHeretic

@mrougeau: Yeah if they're able to expand then I don't see the problem. They may not cover everything but as long as it's nothing currently notable it may have been something they'd overlook anyway.

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RestatBonfire

I love connected universes in movies. Just like split and unbreakable for example

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Risingdawn

@restatbonfire:

Wait, what! What's split? Unbreakable is one of my favourite films but I've never heard of Split before..

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RestatBonfire

@risingdawn: dude splits is a great movie. Just look it up. It’s the same universe within unbreakbale with a special cameo at the end of split ?

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CraigTL

@restatbonfire: Oh man I totally forgot about that movie.... Thank you I am going to check that out.

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aross2004

@risingdawn: Split is M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong's latest movie. The ending ties into the Unbreakable universe, and his next movie is "Glass", which will bring the characters from both movies together.

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MarcTheHeretic

@risingdawn: Then I really encourage you to just watch it and not look up anything about it. Just know it's one of Night's best movies, it stars James McAvoy and the girl from The Witch (who's playing Magik in the New Mutants movie soon), and they did a fantastic job.

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mrougeau

@restatbonfire: Yeah, and M. Night is working on "Glass" next. Really hope it's good.

Staff
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Risingdawn

@mrougeau:

I think on the whole Night gets a bit of a bad rep, one of those Hollywoods most hated scenarios where it becomes cool to hate someone simply because some smart arse hipster critics start a trend of terrible reviews.

The visit was, in my opinion anyway, extremely good, Night at his best.and while the village and signs didn't completely work out they where still 90% great.

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RestatBonfire

@risingdawn: yeah I loved the visit

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SeventhSense13

@restatbonfire: I haven't seen the last few movies since Last Airbender. I loved his earliest movies since Sixth Sense and I LOVED the Avatar tv show.
That was a horrible movie, so badly acted and edited, and it was an absolute disgrace to the source material.
After that I couldn't bring myself to watch anything else from him.

If reviews are good for his movie, I'm openminded enough to check it out.