This past weekend, The Nun scared up over $53 million at the domestic box office, and over $130 million worldwide; both numbers are record highs for the Conjuring universe, which has two more films in production (potentially three, depending on whether The Crooked Man gets off the ground or not). And while The Nun’s success is a product of the popularity of its parent franchise (a series of successful, well-made films will do that), there’s also something to be said about the movie itself; this is the first film in the Conjuring universe to explore religious horror, and there’s something wickedly appealing about that.
Whether you’re devout, atheist, or somewhere in between, there’s a twisted pleasure to be had in flirting with the dark side of religion—in imagining that, beneath the piousness and the virtue and all that, there’s this nasty darkness just waiting to get out. Sometimes it’s the devil, sometimes it’s the past sins of the faithful themselves, but horror has always had a fascinating, and oftentimes terrifying, relationship with religion and faith.
Here’s a look at five other horror films that, like the The Nun, explore the frightening possibilities at the border between the sacred and the unholy.