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Horror The Nun filmed in historic Romanian locations

The Nun

Corin Hardy’s horror movie The Nun filmed in Romania, using multiple historic sites as stand-ins for the story’s monastery setting.

Set in the 1950s, the film follows a Catholic priest and a novice nun as they encounter a supernatural force while investigating the suicide of a nun in Transylvanian monastery The Abbey of St Carta.

The movie is a prequel spinoff from the Conjuring franchise of supernatural horror films.   

“Shooting for the abbey was extremely complicated because we had different locations and a sound stage to match,” said Maxime Alexandre, director of photography on The Nun.

“I think the only one who really knew how all the doors and corridors connected from the different sets was Corin. Every day we were asking ‘So, where are we? Do we move left or right?’”

The 14th century Corvin Castle in the Hunedoara region of western Romania was chosen as one of the film’s key locations, with the production team building a new access point to the building to suit the needs of the story. 

Hardy’s production designer Jennifer Spence designed the set to blend in with the castle’s existing architecture and the owners in fact requested that it be left standing at the end of the shoot to boost film tourism to the site.

Bethlen Castle in the western Transylvanian village of Cris was used for additional story settings in the film’s monastery including a graveyard that was specially built for the shoot.

Former military compound Mogosoaia Fort, just outside capital city Bucharest, provided a network of tunnels that Hardy and his team used as atmospheric locations set beneath the Abbey of St Carta.

Some of the film’s interior settings were built at Castel Film Studios, a facility outside Bucharest that offers nine stages and a water tank. One of the big factors specific to Romanian production that affected shooting on The Nun was that filming is not allowed in the country’s churches, so the church in the Abbey of St Carta had to be constructed in the studio.

Romania’s international production appeal is likely to grow as the country launched its first formal filming incentive earlier this summer.

Producers can access a base 35% cash rebate when they spend at least €100,000 locally and rebate payments are capped at €10m per shoot. The rebate figure can increase to 45% for productions that specifically promote Romania as a country.  

See KFTV's production guide for more on filming in Romania.

Images: Cos Aelenei/Justin Lubin/Warner Bros Entertainment