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Top 10 Scariest Moments from The Conjuring Franchise

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Here are the spookiest moments from the franchise that made ghosts scary again. Across the main Conjuring films and the spin-off Annabelle movies, there have been plenty of scares, but these are the best of the bunch. WatchMojo ranks The Conjuring Franchise.

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These are some of the scariest movies of the 2010s, and these scenes prove it. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scariest Moments from The Conjuring Franchise.

For this list, we’ll be looking at what we consider to be the most frightening, freakiest and/or creepiest moments from “The Conjuring” universe.

#10: The Opening Scene with Annabelle

“The Conjuring” (2013)

While horror movies don’t necessarily need to open with a scare, it is preferred. It helps prepare the audience for what’s to come and gives them confidence in the director’s ability going forward. Luckily, the opening scene of “The Conjuring” is a nail biter that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the film. The opening shot of Annabelle’s eyeball is immediately off-putting, and it only grows scarier from there, as we witness a sentient doll terrorizing a couple of young women. It’s a great start to not only “The Conjuring,” but also the entire “Conjuring” universe. It’s our first glimpse of one of the most popular horror villains of the decade.

#9: The Toy Firetruck

“The Conjuring 2” (2016)

The scene involving the firetruck is a great example of building tension and meeting expectations. We feel a little uneasy when the firetruck appears outside Billy’s room, but the scene ups the tension when we (and Billy) notice the ominous blanket tent at the end of the hallway. The scene then utilizes silence and shadow to fantastic effect, as it both heightens our fear and gets us prepared for the coming scare. We know something is in there; we just don’t know what or when it will emerge. And while the final scream may be a little cheap, the sheer guttural and hostile sound of it is enough to make anyone jump and squirm.

#8: Mullins Stalking Carol & Nancy

“Annabelle: Creation” (2017)

“Annabelle: Creation” was full of many surprisingly good scares, and this Mullins scene is one of the best. By having the scene open with Carol and Nancy laughing and goofing off, the movie allows us to feel relaxed with the characters. Even when the first bell rings, the characters make a joke out of it and ease the atmosphere. However, things get real serious real fast. The use of sound is brilliant, as the ominous noise of the bell conjures feelings of danger, and the subsequent silence allows us to once again feel at ease before we are shocked with the final jump scare. And damn, that face is terrifying.

#7: The Laundry Ghost

“The Conjuring” (2013)

If there’s one negative we can say about the laundry ghost, it’s that it was shown far too much in the advertisements that its effect during the actual movie was somewhat lost. Just imagine if this scare took you by surprise instead of having it spoiled by the countless trailers and TV spots. It really is a great, imaginative, and original scare, as we truly don’t expect anything ominous to happen. Sure, the coming storm is a sign, but there is zero indication that a ghost is standing directly in front of Lorraine. This is a jump scare done right. Can we get more of these, please?

#6: Amityville

“The Conjuring 2” (2016)

We didn’t think the “Conjuring” franchise could one-up the creepy Annabelle opening from the first movie, but we were wrong. The Amityville opening to “The Conjuring 2” is a masterclass in how editing can be used to fantastic and terrifying effect. We’ve seen the story of the Amityville murders numerous times throughout the years, but “The Conjuring 2” takes an original visual approach to the story. The jerky editing style of the scene is extremely unsettling and gives it the suitable feeling of a nightmare, especially when the mother suddenly turns to the camera. Love or hate these movies, there’s no denying that they involve some great and original filmmaking techniques.

#5: The Old Man & the TV

“The Conjuring 2” (2016)

Some people may enjoy watching TV with the ghost of a lonely old man. But not this old man. This scene utilizes growing apprehension to fantastic effect. We obviously know that something isn’t right, and we watch with increasing uneasiness as various creepy but relatively harmless events play out throughout the scene. We finally catch a glimpse of the man in the TV, and right when we feel as if we’re about to burst from the disquiet, the movie utilizes a perfectly-timed jump scare to unleash all the built-up tension it accumulated throughout the preceding moments. It’s a jump scare, yes, but it’s an earned jump scare.

#4: The Basement Elevator

“Annabelle” (2014)

“Annabelle” may not be everyone’s favorite film in the “Conjuring” universe, but it still has a few good scares, including the basement elevator scene. Director John R. Leonetti employs many James Wan-esque “Conjuring” scare tactics, including the emergence of something in the corner of the frame (in this case, a baby carriage), a sudden supernatural jump scare, and incredible, silent tension in the case of the elevator. All these tactics are very effective and creepy. We expect something to jump out or emerge from the shadows, and when it doesn’t, our concern grows until it becomes unbearable. The scene shows restraint and is all the better for it.

#3: Hide & Clap

“The Conjuring” (2013)

This is arguably the quintessential scene of the “Conjuring” series, even if it’s not necessarily the scariest. It was plastered all over the trailers and posters and has since become the de facto representation of the entire franchise. And for good reason. It’s an incredibly original scene, and the image of the clapping ghost hands is enough to send viewers into fits. Our imaginations immediately take over, and we begin to think of what malicious entity could be clapping and leading Carolyn into danger. And the final clap, coming after minutes’ worth of unbelievable nervousness, will arguably go down as one of the most iconic scares of the decade.

#2: The Valak Painting

“The Conjuring 2” (2016)

And with this scene alone, we all fell in “love” with Valak. “The Conjuring 2” is filled with many terrific scenes (as we’ve established), but there’s something truly original and fantastic about this terrifying sequence, which elevates it far above the others. It’s a brilliant piece of staging and lighting, especially when the lamp goes out and the image of Valak remains standing in the shadows. The ambiguity regarding its true nature is terrific and results in borderline intolerable anxiety. It’s enough to send constant chills down your spine and for you to seek relief by looking away from the screen. We know you did. It’s OK, we don’t blame you.

#1: Bathsheba on the Wardrobe

“The Conjuring” (2013)

Now this is how you surprise the audience. This scene begins like many we’ve seen before – a door bangs and a character checks it out. Yawn. And then the camera pans up. The scene brilliantly utilizes our expectations and the conventions of the horror genre to its benefit. We expect the scene to be nothing but the cliché and seemingly inevitable “character checks out the closet” moment. We aren’t expecting someone to actually be there, let alone attack. It’s a fantastic piece of writing and filmmaking, especially by having the camera play such a major role in the reveal. This scene proves why James Wan is one of the leading directors in horror today.


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