Let's Examine the True Story Behind 'The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It'


Apr. 23 2021, Published 1:01 p.m. ET

The Devil Made Me Do It
Source: Warner Bros.

One of the core appeals of The Conjuring franchise is that, unlike most horror movies, the films are at least loosely based on true stories. Ed and Loraine Warren were real people who spent much of the 1970s and 1980s investigating actual cases where there were claims of demonic possession. Now, fans want to know what true story the latest installment, The Devil Made Me Do It, is based on. 

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What true story is 'The Devil Made Me Do It' based on?

The film is based on the 1981 case of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who murdered his landlord and attempted to prove his innocence by claiming that he was under the influence of the devil. It was the first known court case in which a defendant attempted to prove their innocence by citing a satanic influence. 

the devil made me do it true story
Source: Warner Bros.
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The story actually starts with David Glatzel, an 11-year-old boy whose parents became convinced he was possessed by a demon. David's parents called the Warrens, who were known as demonologists thanks to their involvement in the Amityville haunting, to help them perform an exorcism on David.  As the story goes, the exorcism was successful, but the demon then took up residence in the body of Arne Johnson, who was present for the exorcism. 

Johnson was eventually convicted in court.

Several months after the exorcism, Johnson killed his landlord. During the trial, Johnson was unable to prove that he had been possessed, and was therefore convicted of first-degree manslaughter. As the trailer makes clear, the third Conjuring film is likely to pack in plenty of scares alongside its story of a demonic exorcism that goes horribly wrong. 

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'The Conjuring' universe has been an enormous success.

Although there have only been two The Conjuring films, the expanded universe of the franchise has already proved to be an enormous success. The series kicked off with 2013's The Conjuring and quickly developed a number of spin-off franchises including Anabelle and The Nun. Although not every entry in the universe is a critical favorite, they've proven to be good draws at the box office. 

Source: YouTube
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The Devil Made Me Do It will be the first proper Conjuring film since 2016 when The Conjuring 2 was released. The first two installments in the series were directed by James Wan, who has become a magnate in the horror world and also directed 2018's Aquaman. Due to his busy schedule, James was unable to return to direct the third installment. Instead, Michael Chaves is the director of The Devil Made Me Do It, and James is serving as a producer. 

The film will feature the return of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the Warrens, and will also star Ruairi O'Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and Jullian Hilliard. The film is scheduled to be released on June 4, 2021, after being delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie will hit HBO Max at the same time it hits theaters, and will be hosted on the platform for a month. 

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