In Hollywood, “based on a true story” can mean many things. Typically, this label indicates that something is loosely based upon real-life happenings. But in the case of “The Conjuring,” a supernatural horror film that comes out on July 19, the truth is apparently embedded in the plot. TheBlaze recently interviewed Chad and Carey Hayes, 52, twin brothers who penned the script, to learn more about the cryptic elements touted within it.
An official description of the movie provides an overview of what viewers can expect: “Based on the true life story, ‘The Conjuring’ tells the tale of how world renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were called upon to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse.”
Clearly, it’s a creepy plot. And, on the surface, it’s hard to believe that it’s based on reality, but that’s what the Hayes’ contend.
Alleged Real-Life Plot: Demonologists Combating Possession
Rather than coming exclusively from the perspective of the Perron family, the film is mainly told through the eyes of the Warrens, who were real-life ghost and demon hunters. Their story, upon learning the details, captivated the screenwriters.
After being sent a document from one of the producers for “The Conjuring,” the Hayes brothers told TheBlaze that they were intrigued. The two or three page document described what actually happened, in real-life, to the family depicted in the film. The Warrens were mentioned in the documentation, which sparked the intriguing idea about how the script should be approached (i.e. from their perspective).
Here’s a trailer for “The Conjuring” (warning: scary):
“We wanted to tell it from Ed and Lorraine’s point-of-view,” the Hayes brothers told TheBlaze.
What made the film most interesting was that the case was investigated in the 1970s, a time during which the Warrens, as paranormal investigators, didn’t have the technology or tools that are available today. In this case, it was mainly faith that the two demonologists were forced to rely upon as they purportedly battled a demonic presence.
“It gave us an opportunity to write a movie about two people who have God as their tool — and their faith in the Lord,” the screenwriters said, noting that it offered them a unique opportunity to invoke a higher power. “We could overtly put God first without having to dance around it.”
More on the Film’s Faith Themes
While some people may turn away from the film, dubbing it yet another vapid Hollywood attempt to essentially scare viewers, the Hayes brothers contend that there’s a deeper message embedded in the movie — one they want to overtly convey to viewers.
Only God has the power to save you; there’s nothing appealing about evil once it enters someone’s life. That’s the message that the twin screenwriters hope to show through “The Conjuring.” The Hayes brothers, who have been writing together since they were 16, are Messianic Jews who believe wholeheartedly in the Almighty. Their faith, interestingly, played a role in how they formed the plot-line for the film.
The brothers explained that the movie allowed them to show that the Perron family, which was not churchgoing, had a weakness when combating demonic spirits: A lack of faith. The screenwriters believe that “faith is your tool of protection” and they were able to insert these themes into the movie.
Another trailer for the film can only be described as terrifying. Watch it below (warning: scary):
“We’re both Christians. We believe in family values. We believe in God,” the Hayes brothers said of their own experience. “We grew up going to church every Sunday. It’s interesting having faith and having the ability to write about our faith…we totally set things on scripture.”
Viewers might be surprised to learn that Ephesians 6:12 is at the heart of this movie. It reads, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Father Claude Burns joined us on the BlazeCast, along with TheBlaze writer Billy Hallowell and editor-in-chief Scott Baker, to talk about the theological implications of “The Conjuring”:
As for Christians and other critics who might dismiss their participation in a movie that deals with such dark themes, the two dismissed potential critiques.
“That’s hypocritical. There is a message in our movie and as Christians we’re obliged to witness to people,” they responded. “We are blessed if this changes one person or a thousand peoples’ lives.”
Based on a True Story?
Naturally, based on the elements shown in the film, TheBlaze asked how much of the movie is truly real. The Hayes brothers were candid, noting that artistic license was taken, but not in conjuring (pun intended) or manufacturing scenarios; most of what is viewed in the film is said to have happened.
“I would say most of it is derived from the true story,” the brothers said, noting that the time-line was condensed and that some of the stories were taken out for time’s sake. “As far as, ‘Was it that loud when the pictures fell off the wall’ — we’ll never know.”
The two also explained that the house shown in the film was designed a bit differently than the original in an effort to make filming more seamless (the real house is still in use in Rhode Island and, ironically, it has purportedly been turned into a daycare center).
As for the paranormal investigators (they also handled the infamous Amityville Horror case) While Ed passed away in 2007, Lorraine is still alive. The 86-year-old has been in contact with the Hayes brothers and even advertised the movie’s filming on her official website.
Learn more about “The Conjuring” on the movie’s official website.
Evangelical radio talk-show host Hank Hanegraaff joined TheBlaze Editor-in-Chief Scott Baker on the BlazeCast to talk about the theological questions raised by “The Conjuring”:
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