Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 by Jack Giroux
The Conjuring 2 mostly takes place in in Enfield, London, but that’s not where we travelled to visit the set of director James Wan‘s horror sequel. On this day in the schedule, the shoot was in Santa Clarita, CA — an unmistakable double for Enfield, London. Working not too far from the Warner Bros. lot, on a soundstage, the crew built the kind of basement you expect to see in a horror movie: dark, wet, and dangerous.
But, hopefully, like the first film, The Conjuring 2 isn’t the kind of movie we expect.
Wan stepped up his game with the 2013 film. The director behind Saw, Insidious, and Furious 7 made a massively successful R-rated horror movie, although it was originally intended to be PG-13. Wan, as he did with the Insidious franchise, is returning for this sequel, which is set in a different place and takes place years after the first film. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren, and the paranormal investigators take on a far greater threat this time: British ghosts.
From 1977 to 1980, 284 Green Street was home to both the Hodgson family and evil spirits, as the story goes. A single mother, Peggy (Frances O’Connor), and her four children begin to experience strange events in their suburban home: levitating chairs, beds shaking, and children flying in the air. The Enfield case became famous, and it was both covered and criticized by the press.
Not everyone believed the Hodgson’s story, and maybe for good reason. One of the Hodgson daughters, Janet, was caught on film staging an occurrence, but she’s denied the story, saying she was trying to win over doubters and that only “2%” of events were faked. Plenty of skeptics surrounded the case, but Ed and Lorraine Warren were a part of the select few that tried to help the Hodgson family.
No Amityville Horror?
At the end of the The Conjuring, Amityville is mentioned — a famous case for the Warren couple. Many interpreted the mention of Long Island as a hint for what’s to come, and it was certainly considered a possible story for the sequel. Producer Rob Cowan told us and a group of other outlets in attendance that The Conjuring 2, in fact, begins in Amityville:
The very beginning of the movie is what really happened: they went into Amityville and they hold a séance and they fairly quickly after the whole thing happened and they went in and hold the séance and wander around the house, there’s a very famous photograph of a little boy that’s in the house that they thought was one of the kids, so we play all of that out with a little bit of a hook moment that plays throughout the movie and then has a big pay off at the end of the movie.
You can see the photograph above, and, yes, it is quite chilling.
The filmmakers were also initially considering the Enfield haunting for the sequel. The beauty of ADR is what made the mention of Amityville happen, though.
When we shot The Conjuring, they said, “We just got a call about a case in London,” and when we were just doing the final post, we had them loop it and change it to Long Island, which was a little easier to do than saying Amityville. At the time, we had already started talking about Enfield, and at that point it was one movie. We just thought, Well, if you want to give everybody a little fun thing it’s better to have done Amityville. But that is a cool thing about the Warrens: they’ve touched on a lot of these very well known events. We’re shooting the Amityville sequence tomorrow.
As for London, only a few days of principal photography took place there, for some exterior scenes. The Hodgson family home rested happily over at stage four on the Warner Bros. lot, where the crew recreated the Green Street Neighborhood the film depicts. The producers claimed the sequel has a very different atmosphere than the first picture, that this is a darker, rainier and bigger sequel.