Would the horror genre work as the basis for a cinematic universe? It’s an interesting question. While horror films are certainly no strangers to sequels and prequels  —  there are eleven Friday the 13th movies, after all, and most of them are pretty much unrelated outside of their central villains  —  they are fairly reliant on individual characters to support the weight of new movies. There’s not enough depth to the Friday the 13th franchise to make a movie thatdoesn’t feature Jason Voorhees; for a horror film to truly inspire its own cinematic universe, you’d need a B-roll of characters who could each terrify audiences in their own right.

That’s what makes James Wan’s work with The Conjuring franchise so interesting. In yesterday’s first trailer for Annabelle: Creation (via Collider), we see the origin story of Annabelle, the possessed doll that has featured prominently in both Wan’s films and the standalone 2014 horror movie that shares her name. This film promises to tell the doll’s origin story; from the trailer, we get a glimpse of a remote household and two grieving parents who make a bargain with demons to bring her daughter back. With David F. Sandberg of Lights Out on board, we could be in for some very interesting scares.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the trailer, though, is that title card that reads, “In The Conjuring Universe.” The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 are perfect examples of how to blend the world of independent horror with the world of studio filmmaking. James Wan’s films work very hard to give us relatable characters and believable scares; as a result, Warner Bros. has been able to spin the two films out into their own cinematic universe without the eye-rolling that typically accompanies such efforts. The original trailer simply noted that Annabelle took place, “Before The Conjuring,” so this latest trailer tips the studio’s hands at creating a movie for each demonic item the Warrens keep in their basement. It’s a formula for future horror films that, quite honestly, can’t be beat.

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