The Conjuring Universe gets bigger and bigger with every movie, and Annabelle Comes Home introduces some of the scariest monsters yet. But who are “The Bride” and “The Samurai” and what do they mean for the future of the Conjuring Universe?
In an interview, writer/director Gary Dauberman tells Inverse what we can expect to see in future movies from two of his most frightening new creations
Minor spoilers for Annabelle Comes Home ahead.
In Annabelle Comes Home, the third film in the Annabelle series set in the Conjuring Universe, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bring home Annabelle and, at last, lock her behind a blessed glass case. But because it’s an Annabelle movie, of course, Annabelle is let out when a snooping teenager, Daniela (Katie Sarife), unwittingly opens Annabelle’s door.
As the night of terror begins for young Judy Warren (Mckenna Grace) and her babysitter, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman), the kids encounter a host of new monsters eager to break from the Warrens’ fabled collection room. There are two in particular who stand out: “The Bride” and “The Samurai.”
Meet “The Bride”
Lanky, pale, and prone to carrying a knife, “The Bride” is a demonically-possessed wedding dress who drives young brides-to-be to kill their grooms before they actually vow “‘till death do us part.” The Bride’s origins are revealed in the movie through one of the Warrens’ case files, which is rummaged through by the very curious girls of Annabelle Comes Home.
The Bride is played by Natalia Safran, who notably has had two roles in the DC cinematic universe: Queen Rina in Aquaman, (who, coincidentally, was in a scene opposite Patrick Wilson) and an uncredited role as Mrs. Sivana in Shazam.
The Bride, whose face is obscured by her black hair and wedding veil, is one of the most visually disturbing monsters in the Conjuring Universe to date. That’s why she’s so cool: She was inspired by a mental visual that director Gary Dauberman just couldn’t shake.
“I really wanted to see a bride scare,” Dauberman says. “There’s something inherently creepy about looking down a hallway and seeing a bride standing there, maybe covered in blood. It was a visual I really dug.”
Dauberman came up with the visual shortly before a meeting with Conjuring Universe producer James Wan. In a chilling coincidence, Wan came to Dauberman with a strikingly similar idea. “I wrote that down the night before I was meeting with James to talk story,” he recalls. “And he said, ‘You know what would be cool? We really need a bride.’”
One word described Dauberman’s reaction.
“I’m like, f-ck,” he says, laughing a little. “He came in and talked about The Bride. I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m so happy you brought that up. I just came up with something I think would be really cool.’”
On the Bride’s backstory, Dauberman says he has an outline that could be turned into a movie. “I do have pages of pages on her backstory. The way the dress haunts people who come into possession of it. I think that can be a really, really fun story to tell. And maybe make it a psychological horror. I think that would be really fun.”
Whether or not The Bride is coming soon to the Conjuring Universe, Dauberman only says, “We’ll see what the future holds.”
Meet “The Samurai”
An elegant piece of ancient Japanese samurai armor precedes the film debut of Annabelle by mere minutes. First seen in 2013’s The Conjuring by Wan, there is a mannequin donning samurai armor that dominates the frame before attention is turned to the infamous “Annabelle” doll. But now, six years later, Annabelle Comes Home finally reveals a little more to the warrior armor.
Dauberman, who wrote the screenplay for the original Annabelle, notes the piece is one of his favorites throughout the entire Warren collection.
“That one is one of my favorites, the samurai,” he says. “In the first Conjuring, my eyes just immediately go to that samurai. I start going, ‘What’s the story around that?’”
Finally, here’s Dauberman’s story: “This samurai armor, the souls it’s taken throughout its time on this planet has attached itself to this armor in some way. I started to noodle around fleshing out that story as well.”
In the film, the armor briefly comes alive when it stands “on guard,” intimidating Judy and Mary Ellen before they enter the room where Annabelle resides. While Judy pays no mind, the armor calls to Mary Ellen, who can almost hear the cries of death from its victims centuries ago. (Dauberman confirms that some lines of Japanese dialogue were recorded for Mary Ellen to hear. “I sat there for the ADR session and it was really chilling.”)
There isn’t as comprehensive a backstory to the Samurai as the Bride, but Dauberman and Wan have some ideas for its own movie.
“James and I talked about doing some sort of slasher, which would be fun,” he says. “That’s what’s so cool about this artifact room. You can explore so many different subgenres of horror with every artifact.”
Annabelle Comes Home hits theaters on June 26, 2019.