With the box-office success of The Nun, The Conjuring franchise has hit a new high. According to Forbes, the paranormal-exploring series is officially the biggest R-rated horror franchise ever. However, it's more than major box-office dollars that makes The Conjuring such a big deal: It has also created an entire expanded universe in which ghosts are real, demons are a problem, and paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) are here to deal with all of it.
The term "cinematic universe" is often used to describe Marvel's 10-year superhero franchise, but clearly, it's not just Iron Man and friends whose adventures exist as part of one larger story. The Conjuring franchise — which is loosely based on the stories of the very real Lorraine and Ed — has created a macabre universe all its own. Now, every film released under the Conjuring banner is considered a new chapter of one very creepy tale.
Just as the post-credit sequence of a Marvel movie proves that each chapter connects to the next, the films within The Conjuring franchise includes oodles of tie-ins to the established players and pieces of the franchise's universe. (And, yes: They're often seriously frightening.)
Of course, since the Conjuring franchise tends to release a new film every six months or so, it can be hard to keep track of exactly how each movie ties in to the others. With the release of spin-off The Nun, the Conjuring's expanded universe has gotten even more complicated — but, fortunately, we've created a guide to help you out.