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With nearly a decade to its name, The Conjuring Universe has been a scare-filled franchise horror fans can depend on for spine-chilling storylines, oftentimes rooted in reality. The latest installment is a return to form with Ed and Lorraine Warren back for The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It. With the recent release of the movie, we’ve learned there was a misunderstanding involving one of the franchise’s other movies.
2019’s The Curse of La Llorona is apparently not part of The Conjuring Universe. That’s a confusing development considering the movie does feature a common actor from the franchise, Tony Amendola’s Father Perez from Annabelle and The Nun, along with a flashback involving the Annabelle doll itself. The La Llorona director Michael Chaves, who is also the filmmaker behind The Conjuring 3 recently explained why:
[La Llorona] isn’t [part of The Conjuring Universe is because] it was made without one of the [Conjuring franchise] producers, so technically it can not be fully embraced. That’s the very simple reason. Originally, there was only supposed to be a playful nod [to The Conjuring franchise in La Llorona], by putting The Father in and having the Annabelle flash. But it wasn’t supposed to be marketed that way. The plan was, you would get into it, and then it’s like, ‘Oh my God, they’re connected!’ We weren’t, from the beginning, supposed to be doing that. And that’s why it has this outsider status. But as [the character] La Llorona is an outsider herself, I think it fits.
I don’t know about you, but this is still a bit confusing… if they are connected, wouldn't they still technically be part of the same universe? The distinction here looks to be that La Llorona is just not supposed to have the same through line as the other spinoffs, but Warner Bros couldn’t help but add a few Easter eggs. It is true that the 2019 film has the least amount of connections to the franchise.
When speaking to Dread Central, Michael Chaves shared that The Nun and Annabelle nods were only meant to be “playful” connections, but The Curse of La Llorona was made as a separate film. Conjuring filmmaker James Wan was a producer on La Llorona adding to the connections people made between it and the rest of the franchise, but without the full team of producers, Chaves said it cannot be named an official Conjuring movie. He also shared this detail:
When we premiered it in Austin, it was mistakenly announced as ‘The next chapter in The Conjuring universe’, which sent waves of panic all the way through New Line. We didn’t want anyone to be offended. It was supposed to be just a wink and a nod. Not like we’re trying to steal your mojo or your brand.
Oops! The movie premiered at SXSW in Texas back in 2019 to unexpected confusion leading to additional connections between the film. It’s an odd situation because it does have some connections to Conjuring, and many fans of the franchise could easily draw these common lines and add it to a marathon of the universe.
Either way, this is the director of La Llorona making this distinction and that means that it is officially not a Conjuring movie. The lineup of the universe instead includes 2013’s The Conjuring, 2014’s Annabelle, 2016’s The Conjuring 2, 2018’s The Nun, 2019’s Annabelle Comes Home and this summer’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.