A long, long time ago a vile, angry woman worshiped the devil on her family farm and sacrificed the life of a precious infant to her dark lord, seeing the infant not so much as a human child, but as a gift to Satan that could increase her power. She was an ugly woman, with masculine features, haggard wrinkles, and glowing eyes, and shortly after killing the innocent infant, she hung herself from a tree by the farm’s lake, where those who are in touch with the world of the dead can still see her hanging, her decrepit, gnarled gray feet waving in the wind. To this day she haunts the farm, invading the bodies of caring mothers and compelling them to kill their children. Beware. Should you set foot on her farm, you might be the victim of this restless spirit’s demonic ways. (Insert hyperbolic ghost howl here).
I have a self-imposed challenge as an avid horror viewer: I must find an exorcism movie that truly terrifies me. Huddled with a group of giggling 12-year-olds when I was in seventh grade, I watched in near-disbelief while Regan spewed unthinkable profanity and did immodest things with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Assuredly, I was not old enough to watch the movie without being flung into a shock-provoked state of uncomfortable laughing fits (a twelve year old is hardly mature enough to take those scenes seriously), but something about that reaction seems significant when I reflect upon exorcism films almost 20 years later: Namely, the film was shocking, unorthodox, compelling – and indisputably ground-breaking for the era – but The Exorcist, along with, I think, every other exorcism film I’ve ever watched, has never really scared me. I find them interesting, and essential from the standpoint of someone who makes it a (humble, wage-less) second-living to know and review horror fare (albeit for a small number of readers), but for some reason I’ve always found ghosts a lot scarier. Don’t get me wrong: conceptually, the devil is terrifying (to the extent that I believe he exists, at least), but films rarely do justice to the horror of the demonic. The Vatican Tapes, a fairly average film, was no exception to this trend. If you like exorcism movies, it may be worth seeing, at least for comparative purposes. But, there was a small, hopeful part of me thought I might feel afraid during The Vatican Tapes. As it turns out, I did not. Read my discussion below (which, admittedly, has some spoilers) to find out why.
Men. Let me tell you. When it comes to instinctual animal pleasure, they just can’t control themselves. In fact, they’ll quickly forfeit home and hearth for the wiles of any given anonymous temptress. And don’t even get me started about women, man’s downfall, those brazen homewreckers who are quick to “break a boy just because [they] can,” as Fiona Apple sang in her 90’s hit, Criminal. Humanity. (Sigh). What a contestable, corrupt, lowly lot we are. We may as well abandon our attempts at monogamy, send our worst beings on a mission to Mars, and breed another world of insatiable, pleasure-seeking, polygamous – or cheating – inhabitants. At least, maybe, Earth can look comparatively moral. Continue reading “Knock Knock. “Who’s there?” Another. “Another Who?” Another Lustful Man Down for the Count.”