In Which I Formidably Return and Talk About How I Love Pseudo-Religious Horror Films

So, I’m still here. I haven’t died or abandoned this thing fully or anything like that. What I did have was a busy summer. Everyone has those. Summer makes people busy whether they want to be or not. That’s probably because whenever the temperature hits over seventy everyone on the northern half of the United States (and probably various other places throughout the world, but I am speaking from experience here) goes completely bat shit crazy. They have to eat outside with the bugs and go on walks because “how much longer will they have this opportunity?”. I’m not saying I’m immune, I get it, but it does something to those who spend ninety percent of their time staring at a computer screen. It makes us slack off.

I had great plans to remedy this immediately following my autumnal vacation which took place at the end of September and into October but when I got home I promptly discovered that my computer was providing a comfortable home to two Trojan viruses and needed a new keyboard (the latter of which was hardly a surprise). I’m currently using my sister’s old Mac (kill me immediately, please) and typing this out directly onto wordpress. This will likely be the case for two more weeks.

Anyway, though, guess what? It’s my favorite time of year. And since October has been mightily eclipsed with traveling and computer fails I am really living this up the final week. Halloween is less than a week away, it’s finally stopped raining, and a squirrel is outside my porch staring at me. So, I thought it was time to post.

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You know what I love? Pseudo-religious horror stories. I prefer it if they are from the sixties or seventies but there have been a few in more recent times that aren’t bad either. I’m going to do a nice little rundown.

Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary and her husband, Guy, move into a building called the Bramford, which is really the Dakota (where several years later John Lennon lived and died). She’s an adorable housewife with a pixie cut and he’s a struggling actor. Everything seems cool, the apartment’s pretty sweet at the very least, except for those weird neighbors who keep attempting to ingratiate themselves into the young couple’s lives. But what’s that to young lovers? Especially young lovers who are trying to have a baby. They have her ovulation cycle all mapped out and everything. So when the night arrives and she has too much tapioca pudding and passes out it’s only slightly strange that she accepts that her hubs did the deed with her unconscious. Even when she remembers a much of chanting and ritualistic sounding something or others from the night in question. But she’s getting the baby she’s always wanted and her husband’s career seems to be doing better so who cares, right? Not so. Pretty soon it’s obvious that this pregnancy is a little… well, not normal. Rosemary can’t seem to wait for her meat to cook for her to chomp it down and it seems like the people around her are all starting to become a little too controlling, even her husband. She becomes convinced the neighbors (even the one who played Maude in Harold and Maude) are getting ready to sacrifice her infant son. If only. [Spoiler alert, in case you were born under a rock] Basically, kid’s the son of Satan. It really adds something to the beginning of the movie to know this given the fact that you can appreciate she’s literally getting screwed by the devil. Personally if I discovered I was either carrying or just birthed the Anti-Christ I’d try to get as much as possible out of the it. Your kid’s probably going to destroy the world, but I bet you could get an apartment in Paris out of the deal.

The Omen

Similarly themed, because evidently we were all really scared by the Anti-Christ in the third quarter of the twentieth century, we have The Omen. They remade this in 2006, probably just so it could have the release date of June 6th, 2006 because they’re all so clever in Hollywood. I’ve heard it’s pretty decent, but entirely unnecessary because many of the shots are exact to the original, but I’ve never seen it and I probably wont. Why? Well, mostly because what’s the point and I don’t think Liev Schreiber can hold a candle to Gregory Peck. Anyway, all that is besides the point. This is the story of the wealthy Thorn family, Robert and Katherine, while in Rome Katherine goes into labor and gives birth to a baby Robert is told died. Never fear, it seems that at the exact same moment a woman gave birth to a child and subsequently died. No one ever has to know if Robert will just substitute his dead infant son for this random orphan. Robert agrees, because he thinks the news will kill his wife, and the couple happily raises a son they name Damien, because that isn’t the most evil sounding name anyone could come up with. Things don’t get weird for a further five years when Damien’s nanny hangs herself at his birthday party, she’s replaced with a mysteriously angular woman who shows up out of nowhere, and a giant black dog starts hanging around. Finally a priest shows up to tell Robert there’s something sinister with his son, and he knows because he was there at the birth. And then he promptly dies when a pole conveniently falls off the roof and impales him through the neck. Then a reporter gets involved. He’s done his research, he’s seen the signs that the people who died were going to die, and he’s not keen on being next. Robert digs up some truth; when his son was born he was killed so Damien could be substituted. Damien’s mother was a jackal, the logistics of which I can’t even begin to speculate because I keep getting hilarious images in my head of the devil doing a jackal from behind, and, oh yeah, his birth father was Satan. We know this because of the ultra convenient 666 birthmark under his hair. Which makes me wonder if he was born with a full head of hair or else how they didn’t happen to notice this super freaky omen from the beginning. At this point I think I’d just start to embrace the idea of raising the Anti-Christ. At the very least it would be an interesting existence, and considering it seems like the other option is death… then again, I suppose I’d have to seriously reform my views on religion, faced with such blatant evidence.

The Exorcist

While just searching out this picture I discovered someone’s blog who said this movie didn’t age well. I disagree. Are some of the effects slightly cheesy? Sure. Would it be done with some awesome CGI now? Yes and no. Yes because it would undoubtedly implement computer graphics and no because they would not be awesome, they would look fake and be just as silly as the effects in the original. This movie is not about barfing up split pea soup it’s about losing someone you love to something bigger. This is the story of Chris McNeil and her daughter Regan. Chris is an actress and Regan is a regular twelve year old girl, they live in Washington DC. Soon Regan starts exhibiting some strangeness. She starts levitating and seizing and screaming out blasphemies and profanities in a demonic sounding male voice. So, of course, the doctors think there is something wrong with her brain. She gets tested, it gets worse, and then finally Chris calls in a priest. His name is Father Damien Karras, which sounded evil to me when I was a kid even before I saw the aforementioned The Omen. Father Karras doesn’t really seem to believe in possession, but finally there doesn’t seem to be any other choice in the matter so he calls in an expert, Father Lankester Marrin (who we previously saw fucking around with some ruins in Iraq or something). Thus begins the end third of the movie, which is the actual exorcism and invariably pretty awesome. Something I love about all these movies is that none of them end happy, but, arguably, The Exorcist ends the most so (providing we’re not counting the several sequels, which, I’m not). The reason for this is extraordinarily simply; you can not kill the devil. But you can subvert him.

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About Lindsay

I have a C'est Moi page, you should probably just read that.
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