Back when The Conjuring was in production, the film was titled The Warren Files, and it made sense. Should The Warren Files go on to be a hit, we could have The Warren Files: Case A, The Warren Files: Case B, and so on. Even though the title was ultimately changed to The Conjuring, now that the film is a sequel-worthy success, there’s always a chance Warner Bros. could revert back to The Warren Files and create an entire film franchise chronicling the best of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
There’s no passing judgment on the Conjuring sequel until details of the new plot surface, but there’s also no denying that there’s some major potential due to the fact that the Warrens have loads of fascinatingly creepy stories and are just two admirable, interesting, and highly likable people.
Should The Conjuring 2 follow in the footsteps of many other horror hits that return for a second go-around, the sequel won’t be too far off and details could surface soon. But while we wait, let’s consider the possibilities. There’s an endless stream of information on the Warrens and their work circulating the Web and then there’s even more in books like The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren, so this is only scratching the surface, but based on some preliminary research, here are three Warren-centric tales that could be worth a big-screen adaptation of their own.
The Warren Files: The Beginning
Ed first became aware of demonology at just five years old when he lived near a crotchety old lady who didn’t like dogs or children. Eventually she passed away, and a year after she died, young Ed found himself in her house. He was upstairs in the process of slipping off his shoes when the closet door opened on its own. If that isn’t strange enough, deep within the dark of the closest, Ed spotted a light that started small, just the size of a firefly, but grew until it resembled person – the old lady specifically. Eventually, she just vanished.
As a kid, Ed also suffered from a string of dreams about a very specific nun. Eventually he opted to tell his father about the issue and his father explained that this nun was actually Ed’s aunt who had suffered physical traumas and passed on before Ed was born. Ed received many visits form his aunt, but one left a particularly profound impression. In The Demonologist, Ed recalls that she told him, “You will tell many priests the right road to go down, but you yourself will never be a priest.”
Practically right around the corner from a young Ed lived young Lorraine. Way back then, Lorraine hadn’t processed that she was clairvoyant. She simply thought that everyone had the same ability. However, that changed when she was 12 years old. In honor of Arbor Day, her all-girl private school brought the students out on the front lawn to plant a tree. Of course, the sapling was only an itty-bitty thing, but the moment the school official moved to plant it, Lorraine could see it as a fully grown tree. The clincher was when a nun caught Lorraine looking up into the sky. She asked Lorraine what she was looking at, and when Lorraine answered truthfully the nun replied, “Are you seeing into the future?” To which little Lorraine simply said, “Yes.”
When Ed was 16, he worked at the Colonial Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut as an usher -- the same theater Lorraine visited frequently with her mother. Ed and Lorraine talked a bit each time she came in, and eventually he walked her home, asked her on a date and that’s when things moved to the next level, both in terms of their romantic relationship and their professional one, too, because even though Ed had no psychic abilities of his own, his connection to Lorraine significantly increased hers.
Odds are, Warner Bros. won’t cut Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga loose to focus on Ed and Lorraine’s youth, but a smaller origin component that leads into the Warrens’ early experience painting haunted houses and spotting abnormalities could work.
(Source: The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren and Warrens.net)
The Warren Files: The Conjuring Mirror
It’s one thing to get a good scare from late-night noises or catch sight of objects moving around all by themselves, but it’s downright disturbing to consider that behind all those acts is a “calculating intelligence.”
One of the items in the Warrens’ artifact room is an ornate mirror from the home of Steven Zellner, a man who used it to practice what the duo dub “mirror magic.” Zellner had a habit of performing a conjuring ritual in hopes of reaching out to spirits who could help him manipulate the future. When the magic would work, he could look into that mirror much like psychics look into a crystal ball.
The more Steven concentrated, the more he perfected the art, and that eventually enabled him to project people he wasn’t fond of in that mirror and then punish them by willing something bad to happen. But the thing is, these terrible events didn’t just happen through Steven’s concentration alone. An inhuman spirit would be responsible for, let’s say, pushing Steven’s target down the stairs.
Steven operated flawlessly until he got a taste of his own medicine. Eventually the terrible things he wished upon others started happening to him. On top of that, the spirits he tasked with doing his deeds turned on him, so he also wound up with a full-blown infestation. After his power trip was long gone, Steven was alone and terrified. So he called in the Warrens, who managed to reverse what Steven created, set him free, and take Steven’s conjuring mirror home for safekeeping.
Based on the information in the Gerald Brittle book, it’s impossible to tell if the Steven Zellner situation comes with a complete narrative, but it does seem as though his story could be worth telling for it’d involve unique presentation of a character, watching him do terrible things and then spinning the situation to get you to hope the Warrens can save the day.
(Source: The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren)
The Warren Files: Not Guilty Due to Possession
In 1980, Debbie Glatzel realized her little brother, David, was possessed by an “awful beast.” Apparently the issue arose after they rented a new property and began to clean it up. While sweeping the master bedroom, David was pushed by a man and was so startled, he wouldn’t go back into the home. Debbie brushed the incident off, but later that night, David announced that if Debbie and her fiancé, Arnie Johnson, moved into that home, they’d be attacked by that very man he saw.
In Ed and Lorraine’s account, David became possessed when he was taken to that house and then took a nap. When he got up, David laid eyes on a man wearing a shirt that said “Beware.” When he claimed to have seen that man again, his mother blamed it on a nightmare, but when it happened yet again, she asked Arnie to come over and help. Finally, they brought in Ed and Lorraine, and Lorraine pinpointed the evil presence right beside David. But David wasn’t possessed by just one demon. After a series of exorcisms, he insisted that there were 43 inside of him. After an instance where David stopped breathing, the Warrens thought it was time to inform the local authorities, concerned that things could get dangerous. However, it turns out, the blood wouldn’t be on David’s hands.
Apparently Arnie opted to taunt David’s demons to the point that they passed over to Arnie’s body while David was undergoing the exorcisms. In February of 1981, a heated situation between Arnie and landlord Alan Bono resulted in Bono suffering fatal wounds -- wounds that were eventually blamed on Arnie.
After the murder, the Warrens told the local police that Arnie was possessed and, in turn, attracted a significant amount of media attention. In the heat of that frenzy, Arnie went to trial where his lawyer put in a plea of not guilty due to possession by the Devil. When the judge refused to accept his story, the defense had no choice but to change courses and try to convince the jury that Arnie committed the murder in self-defense. In the end, Arnie was sentenced to 10 to 20 years but served just five.
NBC made a TV movie about the incident and apparently tried to turn it into a theatrical feature, too, but the effort suffered “internal conflicts.” Based on the event’s Wikipedia page, this also seems to be a case of "he said, she said," with both parties purporting different accounts. Should this be the core of The Conjuring 2, I’d like to bet writers Carey and Chad Hayes would try to consult with the Glatzels just as they did with the Perron family, but considering the Glatzels sued Lorraine Warren after coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t a demon, rather a mental illness that caused David’s condition, odds are, they won’t participate.
Know of any interesting Warren case files? What do you think should be the next story?