Per Matt
Fall has finally arrived. The weather is officially cooler and the spooky season is fast approaching. This is my favorite time of the year. Being able to enjoy each of the four seasons is one of the reasons I returned to the South. And this is the best time to fully embrace ghost stories and similarly themed movies — even better if they’re based on real-life experiences! I had waited long enough to watch the latest release of The Conjuring Universe, so this entry of My Guilty Pleasure is sponsored by Redbox and a couple of craft brews.

What had started out with so much promise in The Conjuring began to fade with its sequel, but I enjoyed the fictitious stories based upon paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, regardless. Franchise Syndrome seemed imminent, yet crossover storylines brought new jump scares with the Annabelle films, The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona, cashing in more than $2 billion at the box office (so far), building the second-highest-grossing horror franchise for Warner Bros. You can thank filmmaker James Wan for much of that success.

The third entry of the Conjurverse focuses on a different type of haunting. Beginning with the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel — which is much creepier when you witness the extreme movements of contortionist Emerald Gordon Wulf on the Blu-ray’s featurette. Family friend Arne Cheyenne Johnson (played by Ruairi O’Connor) begs for mercy, pleading for the demon to enter his teenage body instead. It complies.

After that, the young boy’s life has improved, but the teen’s downward spiral has just begun. A workplace confrontation with his boss leaves 22 stab wounds in his employer’s lifeless body, which may have happened while being fully possessed. At his murder trial, he claimed “The Devil Made Me Do It,” hence the film’s title. It was the very first time that claim had been used in America, which generated a lot of publicity for the Warrens (naturally), building upon their growing reputation for dealing with the unusual.

This film franchise has piqued my interest for many years by combining my love for the paranormal with real-life monsters and those of the unknown. TDMMDI brings witchcraft and blood sacrifice into the scenario with decent results, along with grounded detective work. The Warrens try to connect a past crime to the main one, but saving this young man from the death chamber may cost Ed and Lorraine everything they have in life.

The threequel had the bad luck of being delayed by the global pandemic, many movie theaters being closed, as well as its same-day release on HBO Max. Its overall box-office take probably should have been much larger than $200 million, but when you account for its budget (at $39 million), I believe money was still made by the studio.

Wan’s interest in bringing more of the Warren’s stories to the big screen is strong; however, I don’t really want to see anybody other than Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga portraying these characters. And I don’t foresee them doing that for an unstated amount of time into the far future. That really feels like a spin-off TV series in the vein of The X-Files, which will most likely air on the studio’s streamer.

Last year’s Shock Doc explored the Warren’s dealings as demonologists (which I highly recommend) and the ACTUAL audio recording of this film’s specific exorcism is super creepy… it’s the most terrifying portion of the entire movie. Real life is like that, ya know?

Recommended special features include “The Occultist,” “By Reason of Demonic Possession,” “Exorcism of Fear” and “DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1” digital comic book.

So, you might as well make it a Redbox night, as these featurettes are not available via streaming services or VOD.