Shock Docs has a history of putting out the best documentaries on frightening subjects such as the real stories from everything from the Amityville murders to documentaries about legendary killers like Ed Gein. They’re back again, this time with a documentary exploring the true story that inspired The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do it which just opened in theaters and premiered on HBO Max.
Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It dives deep into the true story of the case of Arne Johnson, who murdered his landlord and used the possession defense in court for the first time in American history. Arne Johnson’s (played in The Conjuring 3 by Ruairi O’Connor) experience with the supernatural began when his girlfriend and her family moved into a new house. Soon her little brother David began to show troubling signs of being possessed. That’s when the Warrens became involved. Out of desperation to help the young boy, Arne made the mistake of telling the demon to take him. Not long after Arne begins to show signs. Weeks later, he fatally stabbed his landlord. With the help of the Warrens, he sets out to use possession as a defense, drawing worldwide attention.
As always, Shock Docs does not disappoint. Not only did they provide the real evidence of the case, but they also follow Arne’s story from the beginning to the end.
The documentary features so many interviews with people from the real case, including Arne’s lawyer, Lorraine Warren, the police, Arne’s wife, and Arne himself. There’s nothing like getting the full story straight from the source.
Let’s be honest, movies tend to change things, even minor things, to better fit the movie and Shock Docs reveals those things, such as the fact that Arne’s lawyer was not a woman, but a man. The cop found Arne walking down the road at night, not during the day and he never pulled his gun on him. I know, those are small things, but when it comes to getting the story right, they count. As for the curse part of The Conjuring 3‘s story, while it does add more scares to the film, it has nothing to do with the real case.
One of the most disturbing parts (and there’s a lot) of the documentary is the tapes from the real exorcisms, which I’ll be honest, really freaked me out. Hearing the changes in the voices, the guttural sounds, the pain, it was a lot. Don’t be mistaken though, I’m not complaining, I’m simply saying that it is intense and creepy as hell.
If you have or are planning to watch The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do it (review), Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It is a must-see! It premieres on discovery+ on June 11, 2021. I strongly recommend checking it out. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it is far more frightening and disturbing than The Conjuring 3.