the conjuring 3 footage

If things had gone according to plan we would’ve seen The Conjuring 3, AKA The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, this year. But of course, things did not go according to plan in the year 2020, and now we have to wait until June 2021 before we can see the next chapter in The Conjuring Universe. But if you’re craving just a glimpse of new footage, a new Conjuring featurette goes (briefly) behind-the-scenes of the new film, teasing a twist in the familiar Conjuring formula.

The Conjuring 3 Footage

The above featurette goes behind-the-scenes of all the films in The Conjuring Universe – including the upcoming The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItThe footage is brief and almost entirely comprised of behind-the-scenes shots, not actual final footage. But still, it gives us a chance to check in with everyone’s favorite ghost-hunting couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

James Wan, who directed the first two Conjuring films, isn’t at the helm this time. Instead, Michael Chaves has taken over directing duties, which is something that gives me pause. Chaves is no stranger to The Conjuring Universe – he directed The Curse of La Llorona, and therein lies the problem. La Llorona is one of the lesser entries (it’s not quite as bad as the first Annabelle movie, but it’s worse than The Nun, and that’s saying something). I wish the franchise had just let Gary Dauberman, who helmed the surprisingly good Annabelle Comes Home, take over for Wan instead.

However, I’m willing to give Chaves another chance – because I love the Conjuring franchise in general, and I’m also a fan of Chaves’ short horror film The Maiden, which you can watch below. If Chaves can make The Devil Made Me Do It more like The Maiden and less like La Llorona, we’ll be in good shape.

The big reveal from the Conjuring 3 footage is the confirmation that the new film is going to change up the formula a bit. The main Conjuring movies, and all of its subsequent spin-offs, have primarily dealt with haunted houses (or haunted old churches). But The Devil Made Me Do It isn’t about a haunting. Instead, it draws inspiration from the true story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. The real Johnson even shows up in the featurette. Here’s some background on the case:

On November 24, 1981, in Brookfield, Connecticut, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the killing of his landlord, Alan Bono. According to testimony by the Glatzel family, 11-year-old David Glatzel had allegedly played host to the demon that forced Johnson to kill Bono. After witnessing a number of increasingly ominous occurrences involving David, the family, exhausted and terrified, decided to enlist the aid of self-described demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (noted for their investigation into the famed Amityville Haunting) in a last-ditch effort to “cure” David.

The Glatzel family, along with the Warrens, then proceeded to have multiple priests petition the Church to have a formal exorcism performed on David. The process continued for several days, concluding when, according to those present, a demon fled the child’s body and took up residence within Johnson. Several months later, Johnson killed his landlord during a heated conversation. His defense lawyer argued in court that he was possessed, but the judge ruled that such a defense could never be proven and was therefore infeasible in a court of law. Johnson was subsequently convicted, though he only served five years of a 10- to 20-year sentence.

And here is where I have to throw some cold water on the fire. Look, I love The Conjuring movies, especially the main ones. I love the relationship between Ed and Lorraine, primarily because of the way Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play the characters. But no matter how many times one of these movies slaps a “BASED ON A TRUE STORY!” label at the beginning, the fact of the matter is that the real Ed and Lorraine were probably frauds. I say “probably” because the afterlife is truly an unknowable quantity, so yeah, sure – maybe this random couple knew exactly how to see, and deal with, ghosts. But it’s very unlikely. And herein lies the problem: this is the first story in the franchise dealing with a crime.

Up until now, the Warrens have been handling ghosts and demons that injure a lot of people but don’t have much of a body count. However, the Arne Johnson story involves a real person – Arne Johnson – murdering another real person, his landlord Alan Bono. And while Johnson is free now, he was convicted of the crime. His defense – that it was demonic possession that forced him to kill – just doesn’t hold up. Why? Because it’s not possible. It doesn’t happen. And to use that as a set-up for a new Conjuring movie feels just a tiny bit gross to me. It would be one thing if the film was just taking inspiration from the Johnson story and fictionalizing it, but the featurette has the real Johnson front and center talking about his experiences. Again: kind of gross. But I’m willing to give the film a chance when it arrives on June 4, 2021.

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