Since its inception, The Conjuring Universe has proved to be very successful. The horror franchise, which includes movies such as Annabelle Comes Home (2019) and The Nun (2018), has delighted and terrified audiences worldwide and has accumulated millions of dollars in the process.
But to say The Conjuring Universe has been a hit would be an understatement. The Conjuring films have continued to draw audiences into movie theatres, when other films have failed, and at times have influenced the direction the horror genre has taken, so this universe is now a very important touchstone in horror cinema.
For some, The Conjuring films have also offered a pathway into horror. The movies have helped open a door to a previously unexplored realm for horror newbies, and this is all very exciting stuff.
But where do you go next? If you have watched all of The Conjuring movies to date, but you’re not all that familiar with other horror films, what do you watch moving forward?
Well, if The Conjuring movies are your gateway into horror, then first and foremost, welcome to the genre – you’re going to love it! Horror has so much to offer, with plenty of little subgenres to explore, as well as a rich history of quirky, spooky, and imaginative pictures.
In fact, there are so many great movies now at your disposal, that you are almost spoilt for choice. But because The Conjuring Universe is your first stepping stone into this arena, I recommend that you stay close to home (for now), and that means dipping into likeminded stories.
My first suggestion would be that you check out the Insidious movies: Insidious (2010), Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013), Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), and Insidious: The Last Key (2018). The Insidious films – which focus on ghosts and demons that inhabit a hellish astral realm – share some of the same creative talent as The Conjuring Universe, and are a great way to sidestep from one successful film series to the next.
From here I would then recommend you dip your toes into the Sinister films: Sinister (2012) and Sinister 2 (2015). This little collection of supernatural movies is loaded with jump scares, and is yet again a great way to expand outwards from The Conjuring Universe, as the movies feel tonally quite similar.
If the Sinister and Insidious movies prove the right step forward for you, then now is a good time to step back. And when I say ‘step back’, I mean step back into classic horror territory.
Sticking with the themes of ghosts, demons, and possessions (regular themes in The Conjuring Universe) my next suggestion is that you dive head first into some iconic horror movies from the past: The Exorcist (1973), The Amityville Horror (1979), and Poltergeist (1982). These films are regarded as classics of the genre, and will provide you with a way to explore what has come before, and what has helped to influence The Conjuring Universe.
All three movies have legions of fans, and all have kick-started their own franchises. However, my advice is to stick with the first entry in each series.
From here I would then recommend taking a look at The House of the Devil (2009) – a satanic horror, made in 2009 but feeling very much like it was produced in the late ‘70s. The House of the Devil is a slow burner, but it is a real gem of a picture, especially if you enjoyed The Exorcist or The Amityville Horror.
The next port of call would be another classic of the past: Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The film tells the story of a young pregnant woman, who fears for the safety of her unborn child, after she begins to suspect her neighbours are Satanists.
Rosemary’s Baby is a great film, which really knows how to build suspense. It boasts a fantastic performance from Ruth Gordon as nosey neighbour Minnie Castevet, and delves deep into panic and paranoia.
Personally, this is one of my favourite horror movies and I see it as a must-watch – especially if you are just starting to find your way through the genre. It doesn’t have the jump scares that you will be used to from The Conjuring Universe, but it is suitably creepy.
The above suggestions should give you plenty of movies to watch, and I am in no doubt that once you start trying out different horror films, your appetite for the genre will grow. But to ensure you remain firmly on course for good horror films, and you stay away from some of the lacklustre stuff, I also suggest you try out Paranormal Activity (2007), Host (2020), Drag Me to Hell (2009), The Babadook (2014) and Frailty (2001).
Paranormal Activity and Host are frighteningly good ghost pictures, while Drag Me to Hell is a raucous film about a demonic curse. Meanwhile, The Babadook explores PTSD through the use of a gruesome figure that may or may not have invaded the home of a mother and her young son.
As for Frailty, this is an oft-overlooked psychological horror, directed by the late Bill Paxton. The movie follows the story of a fanatical religious man, who believes he and his young sons have been chosen by God to kill demons disguised as humans.
Frailty is a horror movie that does not get talked about enough, and yet it is a neat little story. I recommend it for those just stepping into the horror genre, but I also recommend it for those who have previously let it pass them by.
If you are looking to branch out from The Conjuring Universe, then the movies suggested above should be right up your street! Each film that I have mentioned shares themes or ideas that are similar to those in The Conjuring movies, and will provide you with plenty of scares.
Horror can be so much fun, and exploring this vast genre can be truly wonderful. So, enjoy the movies, enjoy the journey, and before long you will be offering up plenty of recommendations to other horror newcomers.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about similar films to The Conjuring Universe – I hope it has proved useful. For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.