Friday, May 14, 2010

HORROR HACKDOWN: Father Karras vs. Father McGruder

We must first give a hearty round of applause to the last winner of our Horror Hackdown final girl brawl, NANCY THOMPSON! Congratulations Nancy, get some sleep whydontcha?!

*ding* *ding*

In this corner, sporting the (split pea soup) green trunks, hailing from the Jesuit land of Scranton, the power of Christ compels you, FAAAATHEEERRRRR KARRAS! This man of God is your everyday pastor dealing with a crisis of faith thanks to a terminal illness striking his mother. You know, the usual. Karras is brought into the world of the demon-possessed child Regan MacNeil once she suffers a series of seizures followed by bouts of great strength and levitation. When X-rays show nothing strange or unnatural, a doctor advises that Regan be taken to a psychiatrist, whom she attacks. Strange and paranormal activities continue to surround the MacNeil household, including a violently shaking bed, creepy noises and unexplained movements from inanimate objects. She even kills the director of her mother's movie when he babysits. After all medical explanations are exhausted, a doctor recommends an exorcism. In desperation, Regan's mother consults Father Karras, since he is both a priest and a shrink. Regan claims to be possessed by Satan himself. Despite his doubts, Karras decides to request permission from the Church to conduct an exorcism...and this is where the fun begins!

After Father Merrin is brought to help, Karras endures absolute hell in The Exorcist, literally. Satan himself takes the form of a foul mouthed little girl and beats the daylights out of him. Despite everything against him, Karras uses his belief of the Lord (and some slight shaking) and gives his life in order to protect this little girl from Beelzebub's power. During the climax of the exorcism, the demon(which we later know as Pazuzu...NOT Satan) threatens and taunts both Merrin and Karras, both physically and verbally. Hence the ever so infamous "Your mother sucks cock in Hell, Karras" line. I hate to admit it, but I do believe that could very well be my favorite part of the entire film. Forget the head spinning or the crucifix masturbation, that line is GOLD. Unfortunately, Merrin croaks from a heart attack and Father Karras attempts to perform CPR but to no avail. Pazuzu causes Regan to laugh menacingly as Karras tries to save Merrin, and it sparks such an anger that Karras hits her and chokes her, challenging the demon to leave Regan and enter him. Pazuzu gives him his wish and enters him; whereupon the priest throws himself through Regan's bedroom window and lands (and falls) down the steps outside. Another priest comes to administer his last rites as Karras drifts into eternal life.

However, Karras fits the bill for the literary concept of a whiskey priest and seems to have a kryptonite in demon puke. Yet, we must honor this powerful priest for his bravery in facing the demon who made the rest of the world fear flexible, foul-mouthed 9 year olds for eternity.


And in this corner, in the cranberry satin shorts, hailing from Wellington, preaching gospels and killing ghoulies...FATHER MCGRUDER! Poor second-and store version Bruce Campbell, Lionel Cosgrove, lives with his domineering mother. To his mother's disapproval, Lionel falls for a local shopkeeper's daughter, Paquita, and while spying on the lovebirds during a visit to the zoo, Lionel's mother is bitten by the Sumatran Rat-Monkey. Why they sent this stupid thing to a zoo is beyond me, but anyway...The animal's bite slowly turns her into a manic zombie. Lionel is horrified, but, ever the dedicated son, is determined to care for her. In other terms, if Ashley J. Williams and Norman Bates had a'd be Lionel Cosgrove. After his mommy dearest is laid to rest, she rises again and starts the domino reaction of zombification.

Following the outbreak in the cemetery, we are introduced to Father McGruder. Once the zombies infest his neck of the woods, he calls for some "divine intervention". What follows is two minutes straight of pure priest vs. zombie action. He presents a holy smackdown against some undead hoodlums complete with punching two zombies over the shoulder. McGruder pulls out moves that would make Bruce Lee tremble, and even dismembers a bunch in the process. Unfortunately, he finds his demise when a decapitated head comes down in battle and bites him square on the shoulder. You'd think the badass priest would be done for once zombified, but you would be wrong. Zombification must void the rules for men of God as McGruder and an equally zombified nurse get it on at the breakfast table. Their frisky business leads us to the first zombie baby to be put on screen.

While McGruder may be less well-known as his competitor, he remains in the hearts of horror nerds everywhere as one of the most celebrated non-zombies in a zombie film. To put it in the simplest terms...he kicks ass for the Lord.


1 comment(s):

The Mike said...

I gotta go with Karras, even though I'm assuming he's gonna be a huge underdog here. That character's always hit me as the perfect example of faith in action. Dude may not agree with all the rules, and he may be burnt out and defeated....but when things get real he loses the gloves and does what's needed. Bravo to him.

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