Conjuring 3: Under the influence of the Devil is released this Wednesday at the cinema. Like the 2 previous opus, the horror film is based on real events. Discover the true story of the Devil’s Trial.
As for the two previous parts, Conjuring 3: Under the influence of the Devil is adapted from the files of demon hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, respectively demonologist and medium. The couple have worked on more than 4,000 cases involving parapsychology.
Released in 2013, the first opus entitled Les Dossiers Warren focused on the Perron house affair in Harrisville, Rhode Island, while The Enfield Case (2016) recounted the events that occurred to the Harper family between 1977 and 1979. A news item widely covered by the press at the time.
Awaited by fans for 5 years, Under the influence of the devil traces the Arne Johnson affair, dubbed by the press “the trial of the demon.” This is the first case in US history in which a man suspected of murder has pleaded demonic possession as a line of defense.
In this investigation, Ed and Lorraine begin by fighting to protect the soul of a little boy and then fall into a radically unknown world.
As the director Michael Chaves underlines at our microphone, Conjuring 3 differs from the two previous films by its almost detective plot with a real murderer and not a “demon”. We are between film noir and horror film.
The director specifies: “I think it is even scarier to think that we are talking about a man who really exists and who has been tried for the crime he committed.“
The Arne Johnson Affair or The Trial of the Demon
In the early 1980s, 18-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson and his girlfriend Debbie Glatzel moved to Monroe, Connecticut. Visiting the house, Debbie’s younger brother David reportedly sensed a presence that warned him and saw a ghost.
After recounting different experiences similar to his mother, including a traumatic one while he was sleeping, the Warren couple are called in for help.
During an exorcism session which Arne and Debbie attend, the 11-year-old boy allegedly mentioned the names of the 43 demons who inhabited him. Arne would even have repeatedly asked the demons to prey on him rather than a child.
In an interview Lorraine Warren confides: “It was one of the scariest nights of my life. There wasn’t a demon, there were 43.. “
The exorcism seems to have worked on the child who is recovering little by little. But this is not the case with Arne, whose behavior then becomes more and more strange. Often taken in trances, muttering insane words, the young man explains to Debbie being haunted by a beast and having lost control of his vehicle because of the Devil according to him …
On February 16, 1981, Arne hurriedly left her post and joined Debbie at the grooming salon where she worked. The latter then meets Alan Bono, the boss of the Brookfield Pet Motel. Debbie’s sisters and cousin are also present at the scene.
But after a boozy lunch, Alan Bono would have taken it out on Mary, Debbie’s young cousin. Arne would then have taken the defense of the girl. In the heat of the moment, the young man grabs a knife and stabs Alan Bono several times.
Arne Johnson is found and arrested 3 kilometers from the scene of the crime. The police chief considered that it was “not an unusual crime. Someone got angry, an argument resulted“.
“The Devil forced me to do it!”
Debbie will tell investigators to have heard two distinct voices in the mouth of her fiancé just before the drama. It was then that Arne Cheyenne Johnson reportedly said “The Devil Made me do it!“, literally:” The Devil forced me to do it! “.
Arne Johnson’s trial began in October 1981, and is famous for being the first case in US history in which a man accused of murder pleads demonic possession as a line of defense, thus refuting any responsibility for the crime with which he is accused.
His lawyer argued in court that he was possessed by a demon and therefore was not legally responsible for the crime, but the judge ruled that such a defense could never be proven and so was inadmissible in court.
Arne Cheyenne Johnson is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. He will serve only 5 and will be released in January 1986 for good behavior.
Facts called into question
In 1983, the Warren couple joined forces with Gerald Brittle. They publish the book “The Devil in Connecticut”, based – according to the authors – on more than 100 hours of interviews with the family of David Glatzel. Giving place to William Hale’s TV movie, The Demon Murder Case.
But in 2007, following the reissue of the book, David’s older brother Carl Glatzel sued Lorraine Warren and Gerald Brittle for intentionally inflicted emotional distress and violation of their right to privacy.
According to him, his family was manipulated by the Warrens who allegedly invented this story of possession and exploited David’s mental illness.
The authors for their part have always defended their side of the story while – as the Digital Spy site reveals – Arne and Debbie Johnson supported the Warrens’ story and even participated in the writing of the feature film.
Led by Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor (Arne), Shannon Kook, young Julian Hilliard (David) and Sterling Jerins, Conjuring 3: Under the Devil’s grip has been in theaters since June 9.
Debbie Johnson testifies for Conjuring 3: In the grip of the Devil