Netflix Documentary Reveals Terrifying Truth Behind The Conjuring 3

By TeeJay Small | Published

According to a recent write-up in SlashFilm, Netflix has produced a documentary which unveils the true story behind the tale that inspired 2021’s The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It. The hit horror film is based on an American murder trial which cites demonic possession as a genuine legal defense, the first and so-far only court case of its kind. The documentary, titled The Devil On Trial, is currently available to stream on Netflix.

The Devil On Trial Is Streaming On Netflix

The Devil On Trial is helmed by British filmmaker and Peabody Award-winner Chris Holt, and utilizes reenactments, courtroom documents, and real homemade video footage from the Glatzel family. The 1981 court case which made headlines as the “The Devil Made Me Do It” story served as the basis for the latest entry in the Conjuring franchise, and saw 19-year-old Arne Cheyenne Johnson plead not guilty to the slaying of his landlord, Alan Bono. According to Johnson, the murder did in fact take place, though he maintained his innocence due to a supposed demonic possession.

Supernatural Beings And The Court System

judge's gavel

This tale should come as no great shock to fans of The Conjuring franchise, as demonic haunts and supernatural possessions have become par for the course within the spooky films’ narratives. Of course, this matter becomes highly sensitive in a courtroom environment due to the many different religious affiliations that align themselves with belief in the supernatural.

In a courtroom, where truth and reality are tantamount, it cannot technically be argued that ghosts and ghouls from demonic backgrounds are responsible for real-world crimes, no matter how strongly an individual or group of individuals feel about the legitimacy of their claims.

The Defendant Claimed To Be Posessed By The Devil

the conjuring the crooked man

Because of this, the court case garnered national attention in the early 80s, with some fearing that claims of demonic possession would become something of a scapegoat for violent crimes in the following years. Luckily, this doesn’t seem to be the case, as there have been no additional litigious claims regarding the supernatural in the four decades since this case concluded. Of course, the case has now been immortalized by art, both in The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It as well as the Netflix documentary.

The Conjuring 3 Takes Creative Liberties To Make The Film A Chilling Tale

The Devil On Trial details the events of the trial, which resulted in Arne Cheyenne Johnson being sentenced to 10 to 20 years in a maximum security prison for the manslaughter of his landlord. Though Johnson only served 5 years of his sentence due to a release for good behavior, the family maintain his innocence in this matter to this day.

While The Conjuring 3 utilizes creative liberties to bring demonic hauntings to life on the big screen, The Devil On Trial sees Chris Holt sitting down with the Glatzel and Johnson families in order to learn their firsthand accounts of the incident.

The Documentary Director Believes The Family Is Telling The Truth

the conjuring

While Holt claims in the documentary that he truly believes none of the family are lying about their firsthand witnessing of the possession, he stresses that their personal religious beliefs likely lead to their rationalization and understanding of the events. Whether there was truly a demon involved or not, the tale certainly makes the dramatized events of The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It even more gripping and horrifying.