Even before she really did anything, you could tell the nun was bad news. Played by actress Bonnie Aarons, the demonic entity from The Conjuring film universe made its first appearance in 2016’s The Conjuring 2, and the villain proved so effective that it received its own spin-off movie, The Nun, in 2018.
A strikingly disturbing-looking horror monster, the nun is only one of the many faces used by the antagonistic demon from the series known as Valak. The entity uses Catholic imagery to incite terror in the hearts of its more spiritual victims, but while Valak has taken a number of forms throughout the Conjuring movies, its most memorable form is the ghostly, habit-wearing specter that Aarons so capably portrays. Though the nun draws comparisons to the Gothic shock-rock look of musician Marilyn Manson, the performer behind the beast is much more gorgeous in real life than the monstrous face she’s famous for. Let’s break down the life and works of the actress who plays the Nun.
As one of the monsters that connects the separate stories of the Conjuring franchise, Bonnie Aarons has been more of a front-and-center presence in the series than even some of its main human characters. First appearing in The Conjuring 2 and making a cameo appearance in Annabelle: Creation before nabbing her own movie, Aarons and her demonic nun have arguably become The Conjuring series’ own version of Freddy Krueger, who was memorably played by actor Robert Englund in the original Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
In an interview with Rue Morgue, The Nun Director Corin Hardy said he never considered recasting the role of the demon sister when it came time for the villain’s turn in the spotlight. “Once I got the job of directing The Nun, I immediately said, ‘I hope we’ve made sure that the actress who originally played her is available.’ I didn’t want to think of casting anyone else.”