‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ — What They Changed From the True Story

One of the scariest parts about the Conjuring movies is that they’re true stories. At least, if you believe Ed and Lorraine Warren, they’re true. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is based on a real court case in which the Warrens consulted. However, director Michael Chaves explained where the horror movie took some artistic license. 

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.]

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson investigate occult artifacts
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson | Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Pictures

Chaves spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom about The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It. Here are a few of the points that did not actually happen as shown in the movie. 

‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ murder happened differently than ‘The Conjuring’ portrays

Arne Johnson (Rauiri O’Connor) stabbed his landlord (Ronnie Gene Blevins) to death. The Warrens sought to prove Johnson was possessed by a demon when he committed the murder. The murder scene in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It only includes Johnson, his fiance Debbie Glatzel (Sarah Catherine Hook) an the victim.

“We had a lot of discussions on how to best portray that moment,” Chaves said. “How do we stay true to it? How do we stay respectful to the victim? There was things in that, there was a lot of witnesses to it basically. There was a lot of people who knew both of the parties and said it was something, the way they describe it, it sounds, in itself, like a supernatural event. It became more complicated because we have a lot of people there. It was one of those many boring creative choices when you’re like I think it’s just going to be a more streamlined choice to do it this way.”

The Satanist targeted the Glatzels at a different location

In The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, the Warrens discover a Satanist targeted the Glatzels for possession in their home. Chaves said in real life, the Glatzels visited a Satanic location.

The Conjuring The Devil Made Me Do It Satanist stares
Eugenie Bondurant | Warner Bros. Pictures

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“At the end of the day, there is some different accounts as to what happened but there was a ski lodge that the Glatzel family visited,” Chaves said. “They do believe that there was a curse and the curse had actually originated at this lodge. The story does become a little murky. We do take a little liberties in how we do it. So there was believed to be satanic activity there.”

The Warrens consulted with police for a different ‘Conjuring’ case

Ed and Lorraine Warren did work with police on various cases. The Johnson case did not involve a police consultation, but The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It combined the two.

The Conjuring 3 Ed and Lorraine Warren in the woods
L-R: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Keith Arthur Bolden | Ben Rothstein/Warner Bros. Pictures

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“Lorraine did work with police and detectives,” Chaves said. “It wasn’t on this case, but throughout the ‘80s, she would consult on missing person cases. Itw as just an idea I think everybody really liked about the Warrens. I think we just thought we really have to try and fit that into the film. I think people love to see the Warrens tested, even with skeptics. So I think that’s been a scene that people always enjoy when they watch the movie.”

The Warrens did not actually succeed in proving ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It concludes with Johnson’s sentencing. The note that his charge was reduced from murder to manslaughter implies that the Warrens successfully convinced the jury he was possessed. In real life, the court case was anticlimactic for the Warrens. 

The Devil Made Me Do It star Ruairi O'Connor walks down the street
Ruairi O’Connor | Warner Bros. Pictures

“The true story is that the claim and ultimately the Warrens’ evidence was thrown out by the court after it was presented,” Chaves said. “The Warrens put their careers on the line for this. In some ways, it was this failure. Arne is still alive today so he survived through this but I think being able to tell a story where it’s not a happy ending and things don’t work out as perfectly as we would hope was something that really appealed to me.”