The director of The Nun has childhood memories of visiting a great aunt who was a nun and taking her out for ice cream. For 43-year-old Corin Hardy, there is something about the hooded habit and the need to look beyond it to see good or evil that makes nuns a great horror trope.
“It comes down to the fear of the unknown,” he said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where he was preparing for The Nun’s premiere. “I think it plays with people’s rules. I guess, ultimately, if you are a religious person and you have strong faith, you don’t have that fear. But I think a lot of people are not sure and making a horror movie such as this makes it possible to create tension around that.”
“One reason for the popularity of the evil nun trope is simply that nuns are concealed,” said Kathrin Trattner, a German scholar of religion and film. “The nunnery is not accessible, especially to men, and their bodies are veiled. This brings forth fantasies of what potentially shocking secrets may be hidden behind these impenetrable walls.”