The Conjuring and Insidious are two of the most popular franchises in the mainstream horror genre that have come out in the last decade. They’ve both given fans the creeps, the scares, and perhaps countless nightmares!
So let’s address the elephant, or should I say ghost in the room? Which of the two franchises is the scarier one? Insidious or The Conjuring? But before we answer that, let’s go back in time to talk about the two universes.
Don’t worry. I won’t go into scene-by-scene details, and you won’t have nightmares. Know what? Let me just reveal it, and that way, there’ll be no surprises. It’s a simple analysis and breakdown of the universes to see what they have to offer.
1. The Conjuring
I’m sure we all remember when the first Conjuring film had come out, it was known to be one of the scariest films of all time. There were rumors that it was scarier than even the cult film The Exorcist.
We all started daring each other to watch it alone in the night or watch it in groups and whatnot. And with the increasing popularity, it went on to become a cult itself. Since then, there have seven more films in the universe.
Some of these document other famous cases of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, while others are origin stories of characters and artifacts from these films. Overall it has been quite a journey for all fans. A journey filled with horrors, background music that still rings in our ears, and, needless to say, the faces of those ghosts!
Here’s a list of all those eight films according to the timeline:
- The Nun
- Annabelle: Creation
- The Conjuring
- Annabelle comes Home
- The Curse Of La Llorona
- The Conjuring 2
- The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Insidious film universe is one of the most popular universes in the horror genre. Over the years, it is also known to be quite terrifying and, of course, compared with The Conjuring. Though James Wan has worked as a director and on the story in both these universes, there’s one stark difference.
While The Conjuring is based on true events, Insidious is a work of fiction. But that doesn’t make it any less frightening, right? I bet you don’t want to go into the depths of the further and meet all those damned souls and demonic spirits!
Since it’s fictional, the film series offers an interesting set of plot points and crafts this spine-chilling universe of demons and spirits that you dare not mess with even as a joke. Insidious released in 2010, but the buzz began much later. I know right, it’s the trademark of a true cult film.
The universe comprises four films, and here’s the chronological order:
- Insidious Chapter 3
- Insidious: The Last key
- Insidious Chapter 2
- Insidious 5 (Set to release in 2022)
Despite this order, there is no perfect chronological order since there are quite a few flashbacks in most of these films. Furthermore, time in The Further doesn’t work chronologically; hence there might be some tiny overlaps in the films. But this is perhaps the best order to watch if you want the complete experience.
3. The Conjuring VS Insidious
I wondered how I could gauge the scarier of the two films and the two universes and came up with a few things that get to us while watching these films. These are:
- Background Score
- Jump Scares
- Plot Depth
- Visual Tonality
- The Ghosts (Can’t forget these)
We’ll have our winners once we walk through each of these parameters. So sit back and have a boo-tiful read! Okay, no more puns about ghosts and ghouls. We’ll creep it real. That was the last one. Let’s get to it.
3.1 Background Score
When it’s a face-off between The Conjuring and Insidious alone, I believe Insidious takes it away as a spirit takes away a human soul. The background score of the 2010 flick was quite scary and perhaps even made us realize how terrifying can a violin sound.
However, when you compare the two universes as a whole, the background scores of the Conjuring universe are much more ominous and creepy. The Annabelle series nailed the music, and with the doll as a visual, it elevated the emotions and got my heart pounding throughout the films.
The Conjuring Universe
3.2 Jump Scares
I don’t think any film does it better in the mainstream horror genre today than The Conjuring and other films in the series. Once you’ve watched a few films in the universe, you already know it’s coming. The music tempo and frequency raise, the camera is panned in on the face and boo! A jump scare.
But despite this predictability, they get to you, and for just one tiny second, your heart stops. Again, Annabelle did this so well, leaving us all gasping for breath in many scenes.
On the other hand, Insidious does have enough jump scares, but they don’t seem to have as much impact on the audience. Either the camera angle is a little wide, or the sync between the background score and camera movement isn’t working. But there’s this lack of impact with those scenes.
The Conjuring Universe
3.3 Plot Depth
As scary as The Conjuring’s background score and jump scares are, I have to give this to the Insidious universe. The universe of Insidious adds a lot more depth to the plots and the world it builds compared to The Conjuring universe.
This could be because Insidious is a complete work of fiction, yet it does a good job. The concept of The Further, when first introduced, intrigued the fans. It gave them something to look forward to in the film and also made the narrative more gripping. Conjuring, on the other hand, doesn’t explore much when it comes to this.
Besides this, the way the story flows, it’s more nuanced in Insidious, with back and forth between the past and the present. It helps us invest in the characters more on an emotional level.
3.4 Visual Tonality:
The visual tonality between the universes is somewhat similar, and it’d be tough to pick one over the other. Both have these dull, greyish color tones through most scenes that give a very harrowing experience.
Insidious films are predominantly set in an urban area. The Conjuring universe has many films set in the countryside where the homes look rustic and are surrounded by trees and woods. Though it might be soothing during the day, it still adds a chilling effect at night.
Draw between Insidious and The Conjuring
3.5 The Ghosts:
I don’t know if I even have to reason this out for you guys. The moment I use the phrases ghosts of the conjuring universe, you already have the image of Annabelle and The Nun in your mind. So we know who the winner here is!
The Conjuring is far scarier than Insidious. Its eerie score, chilling visuals, jump scares, and the unforgettable faces of the ghost give you horrors that you’ll never forget! If you’re looking to spend tonight watching a horror flick, you now know which one to choose. Have a spooky night!
5. About The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (or The Conjuring 3) is a 2021 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves. It serves as a sequel to 2016’s The Conjuring 2 and is the eighth film in The Conjuring Universe franchise.
Cast members include Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ruairi O’Connor, John Noble, Julian Hilliard and Sterling Jerins among many others.
DC Comics will release a prequel series, The Conjuring: The Lover, with The Conjuring 2 scribe David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick co-writing the series.
The film had its release in theatres on June 4, 2021 and will be available on HBO Max for one month.
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren make their return to investigate the horrifying demonic possession of Arne Cheyenne Johnson in 1980 Connecticut.