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Villain Overview
You failed. Just as you have failed everyone in your life. Tomorrow, a village will be missing its idiot. You should’ve kept running when you had the chance, Frenchman.
~ Valak, whilst possessing Sister Irene and before it possesses Frenchie.
There was a crooked man... and he walked a crooked mile; The crooked man stepped forth and... rang the crooked bell; And thus his crooked soul... spiraled into a crooked Hell; Murdered his crooked family... and laughed a crooked laugh.
~ Valak as the Crooked Man, somewhat quoting the nursery rhyme "There Was a Crooked Man" with its own lyrics.
Your name gives me dominion over you, demon, and I do know your name! You are Valak - the defiler, the profane, the marquis of snakes! In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I condemn you back to Hell!
~ Valak's defeat as Lorraine condemns the demon back to Hell.

Valak is the overarching antagonist in the The Conjuring franchise, first appearing as the main antagonist of the 2016 live action horror film The Conjuring 2, the titular main antagonist of the 2018 spinoff The Nun as well as the upcoming Crooked Man spinoff, and an unseen antagonist in the first The Conjuring film. It manifests as a demonic nun before Lorraine Warren and as the Crooked Man before Ed Warren and the Hodgson family.

It is portrayed by Bonnie Aarons as a nun and Javier Botet as the Crooked Man, with its voice provided by Robin Atkin Downes. Botet also played Tristana Medeiros in the REC film series, Mama in the film of the same name, the Leper, one of the many forms of It, in the 2017 adaptation of IT, KeyFace in Insidious: The Last Key and Slender Man in the 2018 film of the same name. While possessing the Abbess of St. Carta, it was portrayed by Gabrielle Downey.

History

The Nun

In this prequel, it is revealed that the Cârța Monastery was built somewhere in Romania by a duke centuries ago. Becoming obsessed with dark magic and Satanism, the Duke attempts to summon a demonic force from the catacombs only to be killed by the members of the Vatican who then sealed the rift with the Blood of Christ. Hundreds of years later, the monastery was bombed heavily during the events of World War II, releasing the same evil spirit from its imprisonment. The demon had since taken the form of a nun as a means of blending with the other nuns as well as to mock their faith. Throughout the years, nuns continuously prayed in communion to combat the evil, but in vain as the demonic entity walked freely around the monastery all nights.

In 1952, Valak had executed several of the nuns, leaving only two survivors. Sister Victoria, with a key in hand, commits suicide in order to prevent Valak from claiming her as a host. Sometime after her death, the Vatican tasks Burke and Sister Irene to investigate. Valak manipulates the characters throughout the film ranging from creating mass illusions with the ghosts of the slain nuns to weaken Sister Irene and tormenting Father Burke by taking the form of a young boy who had died from a botched exorcism at his hands. Valak then buries Father Burke alive before luring Sister Irene to become possessed. When the catacombs began to flood, Valak tries to strangle Sister Irene to death. While inspecting her for any vital signs, Sister Irene spits the Blood of Christ onto Valak, burning it severely. The rift is then resealed. However, this would prove to not be the end of the Demon Nun as when the group was leaving, Frenchie, a French Canadian otherwise known as Maurice is revealed to have an inverse cross branded on the back of his neck. This segues to the original Conjuring film during a lesson the Warrens were giving about demonic possession.

Annabelle: Creation

Sister Charlotte shows Mr. Mullins a picture of herself in Romania with three other nuns. Mr. Mullins asks who the nun in the background of the photograph is. Sister Charlotte looks at the nun, revealing Valak to be standing behind her in the picture. She tells him she does not remember who the "woman" is.

In a post-credits scene, Valak is seen roaming the candlelit halls of the Cârța Monastery in Romania in 1952. Judging by the scene where Janice is led by a nun-like figure to the cottage where Annabelle possesses her, Valak intentionally helped the other evil spirit with its goal.

 The Conjuring 2

Valak first appeared during a seance to determine whether or not a demonic presence was truly responsible for Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdering his family on November 13, 1974. Whilst paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren relieved the murders, Valak lured her to the basement. Knowing how special Ed was in her life, Valak shows her a vision with Ed being impaled. Valak had continued to haunt Lorraine since then. After Ed was compelled by a dream to paint Valak in nun form, Valak itself chooses the form to torment Lorraine, using the painting to its advantage. 

Later in the movie, the Hodgson family, a British household living in the United Kingdom, start experiencing paranormal activity. On top of that, Janet Hodgson, the youngest daughter, becomes possessed by the spirit of Bill Wilkins, the previous owner of the house the Hodgson family is living in. This makes the Hodgson family call for help and Ed and Lorraine take the case.

In the middle of the film, Valek appears as The Crooked Man during a massive showdown sequence when it transformed from a dog again before Billy Hodgson and attacked him and then its shadow appeared before the whole family, quoting its own rhyme with some sinister additional quotes. When the shadow reveals itself to the family, it appears to be Janet possessed by the demon who continues to present itself as the character.

It is eventually revealed that the ghost of Bill Wilkins himself wishes no harm upon the family. Lorraine encounters him in a vision, where he exposes the truth that Valak had manipulated him into tormenting the family, to prevent her and everyone else from seeing the true perpetrator.

Soon after they discover that Valak is behind everything, Ed and Lorraine return to the Hodgson residence, only to find all of the Hodgsons, except for Janet, locked outside. A lightning strike hits a nearby tree, leaving a jagged stump resembling the object that impaled Ed in Lorraine's first vision. Ed ventures into the house alone but Valak causes the pipe to burst open, partially blinding his eyes with steam. Valak (in the form of the Crooked Man) appears before him in Billy's tent and tries to kill him by the umbrella, but fails because of Ed's resistance. Ed eventually finds Janet standing near the window and getting ready to commit suicide. Ed grabs Janet in time but finds himself holding onto a shower curtain being torn from its rings due to Ed and Janet's combined weight. Soon, Lorraine enters the room herself. She finds and confronts Valak (now as the nun) and successfully condemns Valak back to Hell.

The Crooked Man

Valak is set appear in another spin-off, this time in its Crooked Man form.

Trivia

  • In mythology, Valac is known as the Great President of Hell, with over 30 legions of demons at his command. Valak manifests as an angelically winged boy riding a two-headed dragon and it possesses the power to find treasures. In the case of the film, Valak's treasure was the vision of Ed Warren being impaled, which it offered to his wife Lorraine as a "gift".
  • Other ways to spell Valak's name include "Valac", "Ualac", "Valax", "Valu", "Valic", and "Volac".
  • Despite the fact that many people thought that the Crooked Man was a completely computer-generated character, he was actually played by Javier Botet with heavy makeup. Botet was born with elongated limbs and digits, allowing him to portray tall, skinny characters (especially monsters) with little to no alternations made to his appearance aside from makeup and wigs.
  • In the original draft of The Conjuring 2, Valak was intended to only appear as a dark figure with horns (similar to its "true form" seen later in the film). Only three months before the film was intended to release, James Wan suddenly had the idea of reimagining the creature as a demonic nun that mocked Lorraine's faith. The film crew reshot several scenes of Lorraine facing Valak, and digitally altered Ed's painting from the horned demon to the nun.
  • The character of the Crooked Man was designed by the conceptual artist Jared Krichevsky (Krampus (2015), TMNT: Out of the Shadows), who revealed that director James Wan initially envisioned The Crooked Man "with a large moon face."
  • In The Conjuring 2, right after Lorraine wakes from her nightmare, the decorative wood letters V, A, L, A, and K can be seen spelling out Valak's name on the bookshelf behind her.
  • It was implied that Valak appeared as a nun in order to test Lorraine Warren's faith and distort her perception of her Catholic beliefs. The Nun film, however, makes it clear that Valak had already taken the visage of a nun long before, as his description in a book by the count who summons him during the middle ages already describes Valak as such.
  • Its ability to block Lorraine Warren's visions makes it the most dangerous spirit that the Warren couple ever met.
    • Valak may be the most powerful entity thus far in the series, and the "Evil Nun" in Annabelle: Creation implies that it may be responsible for Annabelle's involvement in the series as well.
  • In 2018, the same year The Nun was released in, there was an ad for the film where it shows something messing with the user, shutting the volume off completely. After this happens, Valak in its Nun form appears roaring loudly, ending the ad. However, YouTube controversially removed the ad for containing a jumpscare (which violated its terms of service).
  • Valak posing as a Nun appeared as a cameo in the 2018 film Blood Fest.
  • Valak appeared as one of the three main antagonists (alongside Bathsheba Sherman and Annabelle the Doll) of "The Conjuring Universe" haunted attraction at Warner Brother's 2018 Horror Made Here event.

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Annabelle Higgins | Thin Man | Disciples of the Ram | Duke of St. Carta | Patricia Alvarez

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