Monday, April 6, 2009

RELIGION IN HORROR: PART 2-The Power of Christ Compels You

So yesterday I broke down how in horror films, sometimes we see the followers or "messengers" of God as the enemy. Today, I'm going to take it in the opposite direction when the messengers of God are the hero.  The reason religion appears so many times in horror movies, is because it's almost a shared belief.  Now, I'm not saying that EVERYONE has some form of religion, but a vast majority of people have some sort of faith.  Thus meaning, if religion is tied in someway with horror, the film becomes more realistic and much more terrifying.  Two of my best friends are worship leaders at their church and always tell me that the reason films with exorcism frighten them so much, is because these films can really happen.  If that means we may become possessed enough to spit split pea soup is beside me, but it gives the audience a greater sense of fear-because it could happen to anyone.  It's common that "possession" films end with a happy ending, meaning there must be some sort of hero in the film.  What better way to contrast pure evil, with pure good.  Today, I'm exploring the priests, cleansers, and messengers of God that help to tame the beasts.  

Oh Karras & Merrin.  The most notable tag team of religious figures since Jesus & John the Baptist.  Just kidding. Karras and Merrin are the two people called upon to save little devil possessed Ragen MacNeil in
 the classic film The Exorcist.  Ragen has the ability to levitate, speaks in the voice of Satan, can walk like a spider down stairs (I CAN TOO!), spit projectile green vomit, and of course...spin her head all the way around.  This film is so terrifying from the get go, and the role of the Priests are absolutely vital for this film.  Not to mention, it takes a strong man to be able to handle Satan telling him that "his mother sucks cock in hell".  Merrin loses his life in the heat of the exorcism of Ragen MacNeil by (what is assumed) a heart attack; and Karras loses his by sacrificing himself to let the demon contain him instead of little Ragen.  He then jumps out of a window, once again sacrificing himself so the demon within himself wouldn't attack Ragen or others.  A true act of faith and an action that most people wouldn't be able to make.

In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, we see a man who has his faith tested to the extreme. The movie, which largely takes place in a courtroom, depicts the trial of Father Moore, Emily’s parished priest, who performed the exorcism, and who was accused by the state of criminal negligence. The movie, although mostly trial-based, shows flashbacks of the events leading up to Emily Rose’s exorcism, and ultimately, her death.  He only allows himself to be defended in court if he is allowed to tell Emily's story.  During the exorcism, the demon inside Emily refuses to name itself after repeated demands from the presiding Father, but finally reveals contemptuously that there are not one but six demons. They go on to identify themselves in dramatic fashion, naming themselves one after another in dual voices from Emily. They identify themselves as the demons that possessed Cain, Nero, and Judas Iscariot and one of the Legion. Beyond that two demons name themselves directly as Belial, and "Lucifer, the devil in the flesh."  Father Moore was found guilty, but didn't serve time, showing the dedication this man had for not only his God, but to prove his

So, he may not have been amazing at what he did, but at least the poor man tried.  When you're dealing with the spawn of Satan however, things may not ever work out totally in your advantage.  I mean, even Ragen had 2 priests at her side, and she was only possessed.  Damien of The Omen had devil blood running through those veins! Damien's father Robert is unwilling to accept the fact that his son is the antichrist, but it is when a priest who knows about Damien begins stalking Robert, and is eventually the one to first point out that Damien is the Antichrist, and that he intends to kill everyone in his way.  He tries to tell the family of the reality within their son, but no one seems to fully understand.  Sadly, the priest is killed by a church steeple to the face...irony much?

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