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Every single festive season without fail I watch the same debate unfold online over whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
Obviously it is, and I will be respectfully bowing out of any arguments on this front this December. I don’t have the energy to keep on being right year after year, and besides, I’m tying myself to a far darker horse this year.
I write this article as November comes to a close, on Princess Switch Day no less, and am preparing to settle in for a solid month of nostalgic movie watching. Home Alone and The Muppets Christmas Carol await me, building up to the Christmas Eve-worthy It’s A Wonderful Life.
All jolly muppets and jingling bells aside however, there’s one addition to my watch list that you might not necessarily associate with cosying up with hot chocolates and a nice cheeseboard.
On the surface, The Conjuring 2 is a nightmarishly scary film that forever instilled in viewers a very specific series of fears; namely nuns, music boxes and worryingly-sharp trees.
However, I would argue – and please bear with me on this one – that The Conjuring 2 is in fact a Christmas movie, and a very Christmassy one at that.
For those in need of a reminder – or if you had to turn it off after the first spooky nun sighting as I needed on my first watch – The Conjuring 2 is based on a series of inexplicable events that unfolded at a family home in Enfield, London.
After playing about with a Ouija board, 11-year-old Janet Hodgson (Madison Wolfe) allegedly began exhibiting chilling behaviour, apparently even channelling the voice of an elderly man who’d died in the family’s living room some years before.
Famed paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, played here of course by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, visited the Hodgson family in 1978 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, concluded that something supernatural was going on.
In this cinematic telling of one of Britain’s most infamous ghost stories, the Warrens figure out that young Janet is in fact possessed by Valak, a dark demon who has taken on the form of a diabolical nun.
Although it might not leave you smiling blissfully throughout – particularly during that pant-wetting shadow scene – I would go as far as to claim that this intensely creepy movie ultimately leaves viewers brimming with with good cheer, the mark of any true Christmas film. Allow me to explain.
First things first, The Conjuring 2 is set at Christmastime and is aesthetically very Christmassy. The retro ’70s decorations, the use of Hark The Herald Angels Sing as Valak’s Theme, all of this situates the film very firmly within the Christmas period.
However, all baubles and tinsel aside, The Conjuring 2 is first and foremost a Christmas film because of the themes it explores, which include good triumphing over evil and families persevering during times of great hardship.
When trying to cheer up the Hodgson family in the wake of unimaginable terror, the Warrens arrange Christmas festivities and merry singalongs, the Christmas spirit being a powerful force in keeping their hope alive.
You could even argue that, much like children the world over, the Hodgson family find a supernatural being visiting their home ahead of the big day; a figure some believe in while many others do not.
Like all good Christmas movies, The Conjuring 2 ends on a positive and even uplifting note. Having vanquished the demon back to hell, Ed and Lorraine share a contented dance together once safely back at home – a romantic scene that could have been pulled straight from It’s A Wonderful Life.
To top things off, director James Wan himself has previously clarified that he intended The Conjuring 2 to be a Christmas movie, meaning you’ve got full permission to watch this back-to-back with Home Alone.
Back in 2016, shortly after the film was released, a fan tweeted at Wan, querying that, given there’s a Christmas tree in The Conjuring 2, ‘does that make it a Christmas movie?’
Wan responded with a spot on Die Hard joke, writing:
Yes, it does. That’s why I wrote in lines like, “Ho, Ho, Ho. I now have a machine gu– soul–“.
Horror website Bloody Disgusting quickly got involved, sharing a hilarious Photoshop job of the nun wearing a Santa Hat in celebration of Wan giving ‘us all permission to classify The Conjuring 2 as a Christmas movie’.
To this, Wan replied:
My aim was to make The Conjuring 2 a ‘Christmas-themed and set’ horror film. It felt very relevant with the characters and the world.
Although it may not be wholesome good fun for all the family, The Conjuring 2 is indeed a full-blown, heart-warming Christmas movie for those of us who like to add a pinch of Halloween, whatever the season.
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