The Big Picture
- Humanity’s fascination with the afterlife and demons has grown with the portrayal of demonic possession in films like The Exorcist and The Conjuring.
- The Devil on Trial, a new Netflix documentary, explores the real case that inspired The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, where demonic possession was used as a legal defense in 1981.
- The documentary provides firsthand accounts of alleged demonic possession and offers new insight into the infamous case, making it a must-watch for fans of the Conjuring series or anyone interested in the paranormal.
Humanity’s fascination with the afterlife and demons has had a complex history. Especially when things like demonic possession started to get depicted on film and the satanic panic era of the late 20th century took shape. Whether it’s classics like The Exorcist or modern gems like The Conjuring, our fear of the supernatural has only grown in the last half century. Now Netflix’s latest documentary film, The Devil on Trial, is set to explore the events that inspired The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It: the first and only time demonic possession had officially been used as a legal defense in the United States.
The Devil Made Me Do It
The documentary, releasing on October 17, comes from director Christopher Holt. The real “Devil Made Me Do It” case took place in the fall of 1981 in Connecticut where Arne Johnson was on trial for killing his landlord Alan Bono. The story is much more complicated than that as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the legendary paranormal investigators who are the heart of the Conjuring series, had helped Johnson’s future wife Debbie Glatzel’s family with a supposed demonic possession before the murder. While the case has been featured in many previous documentaries, films, and books, it’s going to be exciting to see what new insight The Devil on Trial provides. Especially since the documentary will feature firsthand accounts of alleged demonic possession.
History of Demonic Possession
Over the years audiences have been desensitized by the concept of demons thanks to the over the top way they are depicted in most modern films. The rise of paranormal shows like Ghost Adventures haven’t helped in that department either. However, the reason, Johnson’s case remains as haunting as ever, besides the fact it took place in the Warren’s backyard, is it hasn’t happened again in the 40 plus years since. It was one of the first modern media circuses and, whether you believe in ghosts or not, the thought of an external force driving some to murder is scary to say the least.
So whether you’re a huge Conjuring fan, a paranormal buff, or just need something spooky to watch this Halloween, The Devil on Trial more than has you covered.
If you need an eerie tease of the nightmares to come, the documentary also released a creepy new motion poster showing a young boy’s life getting twisted upside down with three crosses as his only protection against the devil. Also, for a bit more insight on the Devil Made Me Do It case, it’s touched on in the previously released Devil’s Road: The True Story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, which can be rented on Amazon Prime Video.