In the 40 years since it occurred, the Enfield haunting has served as an inspiration to many authors, TV producers and screenwriters. In past articles, we’ve taken a look at a few of the books and movies which were based on the subject, but you may be interested in learning more about dramatizations of the haunting.
We’ve covered The Conjuring 2 in other articles, but we’ll spend a little more time on that here. However, in addition to The Conjuring 2, the Enfield haunting was the basis for several other works on screen. If you’re interested in a bit of Enfield haunting entertainment, grab a bowl of popcorn and check out a few of these shows.
The Conjuring 2
The most well known of the Enfield haunting films is The Conjuring 2. As mentioned, we’ve covered The Conjuring 2 in detail on other pages. But it’s worth mentioning again as it’s the only feature film to date which has been based explicitly on the Enfield haunting and the Hodgson family.
The Conjuring 2 is a highly dramatized version of the 1977 haunting. That said, the characters are all there in the film – you’ll meet Janet and Margaret and their mother Peggy, as well as Ed Warren and Lorraine Warren, Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair.
Before you pull up HBO On Demand to watch this film, go ahead and look at the full article we created on The Conjuring 2. Reading through will give you a little more insight into what’s fact and what’s fiction about the movie, and you can enjoy the horror film with just a grain of salt.
The Enfield Haunting
The Enfield Haunting was a three part miniseries by Sky Living, a British television channel. The channel’s only available in the UK and Ireland, but you can still catch The Enfield Haunting on Hulu in other parts of the world.
The Enfield Haunting is fairly true to the story of Janet Hodgson and her family. Janet, portrayed by Eleanor Worthington-Cox, is an extraverted little girl, but is a bit of an outcast at school. When Janet’s character is afflicted with the possession of Bill Wilkins, the Society for Psychical Research was called in.
It’s then that we meet Guy Lyon Playfair, a charming and educated man, and his counterpart Maurice Grosse. Grosse is seemingly accurately portrayed; real accounts describe him as a gentle man, with an affectionate regard for family.
The Enfield Haunting is one of the few Enfield haunting films which most closely examines the relationship between Grosse and young Janet. The two have a tender relationship, which is explored later in the series when we learn of the death of Grosse’s own daughter, Janet.
While some Enfield haunting films tend to exaggerate the haunting, this series minimizes the drama in favor of exploring relationships. And while the events may, as is common in film, not accurately represent the actual alleged possession, we appreciated the character development.
As far as Enfield haunting films go, Poltergeist isn’t the most obvious of them. But it needs to be mentioned as there’s a very real possibility that it was based on the Hodgson family’s story.
Poltergeist was first released in 1982, and is now a cult classic. Directed and produced by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Steven Spielberg respectively, the film introduces us to a family in California.
Steven and Diane Freeling live with their three kids, the youngest of whom is Carol Anne. Carol Anne begins exhibiting bizarre behavior, including conversing with static on the television screen. One night, a hand reaches through the television screen, and Carol Anne announces, “They’re here.”
Unexplained events follow. Silverware begins bending, furniture moving and dishes breaking. A tree comes alive and kidnaps Carol Anne’s brother.
We’re not big on spoilers, so we’ll let you watch the film to find out what happens to Carol Anne and her family. We will say, however, that while the film isn’t one of the true Enfield haunting films, it’s possible that that was the basis.
The film, as noted, was created just a few years after the Enfield haunting, and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd told the press that Poltergeist was based on “a documented haunting in England.”
You’ll have to catch this film on YouTube (paid), Google Play or iTunes.
Other Enfield Haunting Films
Because the Hodgson family received so much media attention in the late 1970s, it’s natural that there were quite a few documentaries which covered the case. While not true Enfield haunting films, these works do shed more light on the family through interviews and narratives.
You can catch the BBC’s hour long titled “Interview with a Poltergeist” on YouTube. The full length film is available to watch for free. Within the documentary, interviewers question Maurice Grosse, who elaborates on the events which occurred in the home. Grosse points out the pranks which Janet and her sister played, as well as events which he could not explain.
For 4 seasons in the mid 1990s, British television aired a weekly series titled Strange But True?, which explored paranormal phenomena. In 1995, a thirty minute episode was aired which featured the Enfield haunting and the Hodgson family. Many of the key characters in the story were interviewed for the piece: Peggy Hodgson and Margaret Hodgson appear in the episode, as does Maurice Grosse. You can check it out below:
Finally, if you’re in the mood for a much lighter version of the Enfield haunting films, be sure to watch Ghostwatch. Ghostwatch is a mockumentary which was first broadcast on Halloween of 1992. The show takes a comical look at the events of the Enfield haunting. A young girl named Suzanne is possessed by an evil entity called “Pipes.” Throughout the film, Suzanne is seen to be causing the paranormal activity herself, banging on pipes and other pranks. This film, too, may be watched on Youtube below:
Some of the Enfield haunting films which have been created are very loosely based on the events, while others are more informational. That said, they’re all quite entertaining. Grab a snack, turn on Hulu, and enjoy!