The “Conjuring” Film Universe Digested — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #101

With the release of The Con­jur­ing: The Dev­il Made Me Do It, your Pret­ty Much Pop hosts Mark, Eri­ca Spyres and Bri­an Hirt explore the larg­er “Con­jur­ing uni­verse” that start­ed with the crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed 2013 James Wan film depict­ing the fic­tion­al­ized super­nat­ur­al inves­ti­ga­tions of Ed and Lor­raine War­ren (played by Patrick Wil­son and Vera Farmi­ga). Large­ly using the plot-gen­er­at­ing device of the couple’s store­house of haunt­ed objects, this series has extend­ed into eight films to date with more planned.

Are these films actu­al­ly scary? Inso­far as these demons and ghosts do fright­en us, can we (emo­tion­al­ly) buy into the pow­er of Catholic sym­bols to keep them at bay? Is it OK to val­orize these real-life peo­ple who were very like­ly huck­sters?

Is group­ing these films togeth­er mere­ly a mar­ket­ing gim­mick, or is there real nar­ra­tive jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the con­ti­nu­ity? Even with­out a com­mon film­mak­er, stars, or plot through-line, there is some val­ue in a brand or fran­chise, just so you know more or less what you’re get­ting, but does that actu­al­ly hold in this case, or have War­ren-free stinkers like The Nun (2018) and The Curse of La Llorona (2019) already failed to meet the franchise’s stan­dards?

Some of the arti­cles we reflect­ed on for this episode includ­ed:

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion you can access by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at

This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.