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Every Conjuring Universe Demon Ranked

The story of the Conjuring Universe spans several films and decades of history. It mainly follows Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), real-life paranormal investigators known for their work on iconic cases like the Amityville haunting and the Enfield poltergeist. The films are based on their personal files, which document the cases and entities they investigated over the course of their lives. From spirits tied to households to entities from the depths of Hell, the Conjuring Universe has it all.

However, some spirits featured in the films make you want to pull the covers up over your eyes and sleep with the lights on more than others. What follows is our ranking of every demon in the Conjuring Universe, from the ones that made brief appearances to the heavy hitters that appear in multiple movies. Based on the abilities, impact, and inherent nature of the entities in question, we've determined which ones you should go out of your way to avoid.

10. The Samurai

The Samurai is a demon that you may not remember at first, but it's been around since the first film in the franchise. Initially shown in "The Conjuring" in the Warrens' museum, the demon housed in the Samurai armor makes itself known in "Annabelle Comes Home." In this entry, the Warrens' daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) is being babysat by Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). When Mary Ellen's friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) comes over and unknowingly leaves Annabelle's case unlocked, the spirit within Annabelle starts to cause trouble. This includes alerting the other spirits housed in the museum, causing them all to come to the surface in an escape attempt.

When Judy, Daniela, and Mary Ellen realize what's happened, they try to correct the mistake. The Samurai armor stands in front of them, blocking their path to the Warrens' office and the key to Annabelle's case. As Mary Ellen gets closer to the armor, she begins to hear the cries of its previous victims. Judy helps snap Mary Ellen out of the trance the cries have put her in, but the Samurai's helmet still turns to follow them as they move past.

While hearing the screams of the spirit's previous victims is spooky, the actions of the Samurai are pretty tame compared to the other demons in the Conjuring Universe. The armor doesn't attempt to follow them, merely acting as a roadblock during a mildly frightening encounter, which is why it's at the bottom of this list.

9. The Black Shuck

Like the Samurai, the Black Shuck appears in "Annabelle Comes Home." This demon is bound by a book, trapped in its pages by the Warrens. The paranormal investigators came across the Black Shuck when they spent time in England investigating mysterious livestock deaths. As with other objects, the book is blessed and locked within their museum. However, when Annabelle is released and begins causing trouble, the Black Shuck is brought forward like the other demons in the museum.

Mary Ellen's boyfriend Bob (Michael Cimino) encounters the demon first when it chases him into the chicken coop. Later, as Judy goes to a car, the demon goes after her, though Bob helps fend it off so Judy can make it back inside the house safely.

The sequence of the Black Shuck attacking Judy in the car is pretty frightening, but audiences never get to really see the demon the way they do with other entities in the Conjuring Universe. Viewers can put a face to Annabelle and Valak, and this only adds to their spooky presence. However, there isn't a face to link with this demon, making it one of the least impactful of the bunch. This, combined with the fairly standard noises the demon makes during the attack, means that the Black Shuck is far from the most nightmarish entity in the franchise.

8. Arne's Demon

In "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," viewers are taken on a journey that involves an occultist trying to complete a ritual. The demon featured in this entry body jumps in the opening sequence. Arne's (Ruairi O'Connor) little brother David (Julian Hilliard) is undergoing an exorcism when Arne opens himself up to the demon, causing the spirit to bounce from David's body to his. As the story progresses, the demon forces him to commit heinous acts, like the brutal killing of his landlord.

We are shown how the spirit infiltrates the young man's life, including through a creepy scene where the demon speed-crawls toward him. The entity even causes some physical changes, namely dark blood vessels under Arne's red-rimmed eyes. But, while the demon in Arne's body appears pretty sinister, the movie spends more time on the occultist (Eugenie Bondurant) who summons it rather than showing what the demon can really do. Audiences don't get to see the true power the demon has, especially because the occultist is still trying to complete the curse as the Warrens are tracking her down.

7. The Ferryman

The Ferryman appears in "Annabelle Comes Home" as Mary Ellen is watching TV. She hears voices around her and they continue to grow, and then some coins fall to the floor. The Ferryman soon appears in a classic Conjuring Universe jump scare moment. Though the demon drags Mary Ellen, it isn't successful in claiming her as a victim after her flashlight scares it away.

While we can hear the voices of the spirit's victims with the Samurai, we actually see them with the Ferryman, which ups the terror levels considerably. They surround the entity as it makes itself known to Mary Ellen in a memorable scene. All of them have coins over their eyes, which can fall down at any moment, even when you can't see the spirit in question. It's a simple yet effective way to make their presence known and to create more suspense. 

Coins suddenly clattering to the ground is certainly unsettling, but there are demons in the Conjuring Universe with creepier calling cards. While the moment where the Ferryman drags Mary Ellen is enough to give viewers the chills, the demon doesn't do much else in terms of actual aggression and is somewhat sidelined as this entry draws to a close.

6. The Bride

The Bride also appears in "Annabelle Comes Home." Like the other spirits released in that film, the Bride tries to attack the girls in the Warrens' home. The demon initially goes after Judy. It gives viewers several creepy, bone-cracking moments and it ups and ante when it comes at the Warrens' daughter with a knife. Then, the Bride does what it is known for: The demon possesses someone else to do its bidding. This time it's Daniela, who goes after Mary Ellen while possessed by the demon.

Part of what makes the Bride so scary is the way it can take over a person's body with relative ease. As soon as Daniela lets her guard down, the Bride takes control, and it almost ends in tragedy for the girls. It's a smart strategy, but it doesn't use this skill to the fullest. The Bride does have one of the best entrances of all the demons featured in "Annabelle Comes Home," but a truly memorable demon needs more than a good introduction. Perhaps if we had seen more of the Bride it might have shown us why it deserves a higher place in the demon rankings, but based on what we've seen, it doesn't make the top five.

5. Bill Wilkins

"The Conjuring 2" introduces audiences to Bill Wilkins (Bob Adrian), the spirit of an old man who used to live in the home where the Warrens are conducting their investigation. After signs point to the youngest daughter in the house being possessed, the Warrens begin to discover the true evil tormenting the family.

Bill Wilkins is initially introduced as a malicious spirit upset that someone new is living in his home. His actions quickly escalate, moving from appearing ominously in an armchair to trying to suffocate Janet (Madison Wolfe) with a curtain. In what is arguably one of the scariest sequences in the history of the Conjuring Universe, the demon turns all the crosses in Janet's room upside down before going after her. The tension is heightened by the fact that the Warrens and Janet's mother Peggy (Frances O'Connor) are frantically trying to unlock the door and save her.

It's revealed later in the movie that the ghost of Bill Wilkins is actually harmless: Valak (Bonnie Aarons) has been using the late Bill's spirit to disguise itself and create more problems for the Warrens. Knowing that Bill's ghost is actually being used as a pawn may lessen the impact of his scenes when you watch the film back, though they're still pretty darn creepy.

4. The Crooked Man

"The Conjuring 2" introduces audiences to the Crooked Man (Javier Botet) through a nursery rhyme that nearly turns deadly. After Janet's younger brother Billy (Benjamin Haigh) hears a bell in the middle of the night, he goes to investigate. What greets him is the character from the rhyme, chasing after him while reciting the story. When Billy reaches his family, the demon shifts into Janet, with the same voice coming out of her mouth. She continues reciting the nursery rhyme, her voice growing louder and louder as objects fly around the room. Then, when it's seemingly over, she drops to the floor, convulsing as her family watches in horror.

This whole sequence is well made and very impactful. Though the Crooked Man isn't the primary antagonist of "The Conjuring 2," it is creepy enough to linger in the audience's mind, even though it is also a figment used by Valak. The nightmarish appearance of the entity, its awful voice, and its use of childhood rhymes to evoke fear make the Crooked Man stand apart not just from Bill Wilkins, but from the demons in "Annabelle Comes Home," as well. However, it still pales in comparison to the top three demonic entities in the Conjuring Universe.

3. Bathsheba Sherman

Bathsheba Sherman (Joseph Bishara) is the entity that started it all. First seen in "The Conjuring," Bathsheba is linked to the house the Perron family moves into at the beginning of the film. She puts the family through several bouts of terror, fatally injuring the family dog and regularly attacking the Perron sisters. 

It's the little things that make Bathsheba a terrifying villain: There's way more than just the classic moving of furniture with this movie demon. Bathsheba uses other spirits as distractions and stops clocks precisely at 3:07 AM. She gets under the skin of the family she's tormenting, but when the time comes to go all-out, she doesn't hold back. The way she unapologetically makes her presence known shows Bathsheba is malevolent in the worst way. While she is not the only entity in the house, she is by far the worst.

What really sets Bathsheba apart from many of the other demons in the Conjuring Universe is her history. In the film, the woman is said to have tried to hurt her baby before killing herself, promising to haunt anyone who came to her land. While it isn't exactly the true story of the entity that haunted the Perron family, it's a sad and suitably creepy origin tale for one of the most sinister demons in the franchise.

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2. Annabelle/Malthus

The main antagonist of the spin-off trilogy named after it, Annabelle the doll is arguably the best-known villain to come out of the Conjuring Universe to date. Annabelle is based on a real Raggedy Ann doll that's supposedly haunted, but in the films, it's a bit more complicated than that. When Samuel and Esther Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto) try to communicate with their late daughter Annabelle in "Annabelle: Creation," they end up summoning a demon by the name of Malthus instead. They secure the demon inside the doll, but it breaks free and possesses an orphan named Janice (Talitha Bateman).

Under the influence of Malthus, Janice begins going by the name Annabelle and gets adopted by a family. When she's older, she joins the same cult that the occultist in "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" is part of. This helps Malthus grow in strength, giving it the power to have Annabelle commit more sinister acts. When Annabelle dies in a self-inflicted manner after killing her parents, it's implied that Malthus re-enters the doll.

As shown in "Annabelle Comes Home," Malthus is one of the most fearsome demons in the Conjuring Universe. It's powerful enough to draw other entities out from their object prisons, and (uncoincidentally, no doubt) it's also the demon that looks most like the Devil. If you needed any more proof that Malthus is not to be trifled with, this is it.

1. Valak

First seen in "The Conjuring 2," Valak is easily the most sinister demon in the franchise. Between appearances in the "Conjuring" trilogy, the "Annabelle" trilogy, and its own series of films, this demon is one that the vast majority of horror fans will recognize. Typically depicted as a nun, Valak was confined to Hell as a rejected angel before being freed by a duke who grew too comfortable using dark magic. Since then, the entity has terrorized pretty much everyone it's come across: Nuns in "The Nun," Janice in "Annabelle: Creation," and the Warrens any chance it gets.

Even when its face is not shown, Valak has always been the one pulling the strings in the Conjuring Universe. It's implied that Valak even helped Malthus possess Janice. With the ability to conceal and manifest itself as it pleases, this demon is truly terrifying. Whether it's Sister Irene back in the 1950s or Ed and Lorraine Warren in the 1970s, protagonists in the Conjuring Universe always seem to fear Valak above all other entities, and with good reason. This dreadful demon is always lurking in the shadows waiting to strike, and viewers will no doubt learn more about it as the Conjuring Universe continues to grow.