So far, viewers have been ‘traumatized’ and unable to sleep – but The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’s story is even more sinister when you realize it’s based on a real murder trial.
In the third installment of the hit horror franchise, American actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as real paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate one of their most infamous cases.
Released Friday and hailed by fans as a “ masterpiece, ” the new film follows the story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, the first American to plead not guilty to murder for “ demonic possession. ”
On February 16, 1981, Johnson stabbed his landlord, Alan Bono, more than 20 times with a five-inch pocket knife in Connecticut.
His murder trial, dubbed the “devil forced me to do it,” became a national sensation at a time when pop culture included a fascination with the supernatural; a 1979 Gallup poll reported that 34 percent of American adults believed in the devil, The Telegraph reported.
The new film follows the story of Arne Cheyenne Johnson (in the center of the photo, with his coat over his arm as he steps out of a police van upon arrival at court), the first American to plead not guilty to murder for “ demonic possession ”. ‘.
In the third installment of the hit horror franchise, American actors Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as real paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (pictured) as they investigate one of their most infamous cases.
According to the Warrens, Satan turned up in the killer’s small town of Brookfield – where no murder had been committed for 193 years – months before the actual murder took place.
The psychic investigators were called to assist David Glatzel, the 11-year-old brother of 19-year-old Johnson’s girlfriend Deborah, when in the summer of 1979 the young boy’s family became convinced that he was possessed.
David first complained of visions of old men with animal features and horns threatening the family and vowed to deliver the young boy from his soul.
Over the next few months, his erratic behavior only intensified, with his mother Judy previously telling the New York Times, “He’d kick, bite, spit, swear – terrible words.”
The youngster randomly recited passages from the Bible, seemed to shake from head to toe, and was covered with scratches or bruises for which there was no explanation.
His family longed for a solution – he reportedly asked priests from a local church to investigate David, though a group spokesperson later denied that “ formal exorcisms were requested or performed ” on the child. The family disputed this.
On February 16, 1981, Johnson stabbed his landlord, Alan Bono, more than 20 times with a five-inch pocket knife in Connecticut. Depicted, a scene from the movie
According to the Warrens (depicted in the movie), Satan turned up in the killer’s small town of Brookfield – where no murder had been committed for 193 years – months before the actual murder took place.
David’s mother Judy told The Washington Post that she paid $ 75 an hour for a session with a local psychiatrist, but was told her son was “normal” with “minimal learning disability.”
Ed and Lorraine were also consulted to rid the family’s home of the influence of the ‘devil’ – they claimed to have registered ’43 demons in the boy ‘after their investigation.
In 1981, Lorraine told People magazine, “While Ed was interviewing the boy, I saw a black, misty shape next to him, telling me we were dealing with something of a negative nature.
Soon the child complained that he was being suffocated by invisible hands – and that there were red spots on him. He said he felt touched. ‘
In the end, none of the attempts to change David’s strange behavior were successful and soon Johnson took matters into his own hands, claiming to have summoned the devil to leave David and enter him instead.
Ed Warren said Johnson “challenged” the devil, which led to his fate. The 19-year-old tree surgeon first showed signs of obsession when he drove his tree into a car, the Glatzels said.
The psychic investigators (depicted in the film) were called to assist David Glatzel, the 11-year-old brother of 19-year-old Johnson’s girlfriend Deborah, when the young boy’s family became convinced in the summer of 1979 that he was possessed
He came out of the incident unharmed, but his behavior got stranger, with friends and family saying he would go into a trance and growl or hallucinate.
When his condition deteriorated, Deborah and Johnson left her childhood home and was hired by their landlord Alan Bono as a dog groomer.
Then, on February 16, 1981, Johnson called in sick to work and joined Deborah at the kennel where she worked with her nine-year-old niece Mary and his sister Wanda.
For lunch, they went to a local bar with Bono and drank heavily before Deborah took the girls out for pizza while Johnson was left behind.
On their return, they found an excited and drunken Bono grabbing Mary and refusing to let her go.
According to Wanda, via The mirror, her brother ordered his landlord to release the boy, and as she ran to the car, Johnson growled “like an animal,” took out his 5-inch knife and stabbed Bono repeatedly.
Johnson’s attorney Martin Minnella said Bono had suffered “ four or five massive wounds, ” usually to his chest, and one that extended from his stomach to the bottom of his heart.
Johnson’s murder case, dubbed the “ devil forced me to do it, ” became a national media frenzy. Depicted, a scene from the movie
Chilling: demonic possession becomes the explanation of the defense for a series of events (depicted in the movie)
The day after the murder, Lorraine Warren told police that Johnson was possessed when the crime was committed, sparking a media frenzy surrounding the case.
Johnson’s lawyer traveled to London to investigate similar defenses, although they had never been brought to trial.
However, when the trial began, the judge’s president, Robert Callahan, rejected Johnson’s defense, insisting that it would be “ irrelative and unscientific ” to allow testimony for something that could never be proven
He instructed the jury not to consider it a reason for the crime, and after 15 hours of deliberation for three days, it sentenced Johnson on November 24, 1981 for first-degree manslaughter.
Johnson served nearly five years of a 10 to 20 year sentence for his early release because of his good behavior. While behind bars, he married Deborah and graduated from high school.
Lorraine Warren later collaborated on a book about the case with Gerald Brittle called The Devil in Connecticut.
But when it was republished in 2006, David and his brother Carl sued the authors and publishers for violating their privacy, defamation, and “ deliberately inflicting emotional distress. ”
Farmiga and Wilson star in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It alongside an exceptional cast that includes Ruairi O’Connor, Sarah Catherine Hook and Julian Hilliard.
Director Michael Chaves directs the film written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and is based on a story by Johnson-McGoldrick and James Wan, taken from the real-life files of the Warrens.
Wan, who directed the first two films in the leading global horror franchise, returns as a producer with Peter Safran.