The Conjuring: Nostalgia Made Me Do It

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2021 has been quite a year thus far for all the things that get me. Netflix aired the documentary “Sons of Sam” which leans into the satanic panic conspiracy theories espoused by Maury Terry in his book “The Ultimate Evil.” And then, the forces behind the theatrical juggernaut Conjuring-verse have resuscitated the “Devil Made Me Do It” case, which loomed large in my 80’s Connecticut-based childhood.

I’ve waxed plenty nostalgic about it here, and though I want to avoid rehashing what I’ve already said countless of times ad infinitum, I will need to revisit the trial of Arne Johnson, Gerald Brittle’s rotten book “The Devil in Connecticut,” and our sainted paladins of the paranormal, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

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Demonnecticut!

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As The Conjuring 3 has it’s box office and streaming premiere this weekend, I am dusting off this old blog post about the first filmic adaptation of Brookfield, Connecticut’s infamous ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ case. I was a young middle schooler growing up in a town 15 minutes away by car, in the thick of the satanic panic haunted 1980s, and this looms large in my psychic landscape.

I will also reiterate my belief in, and support of, Carl and David Glatzel. Exploitation by the Warrens is a thing, satanic panic has ruined lives, and I hope the Conjuring crazed public will leave them alone.

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Around the World in 31 Days: Mexico

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Movie poster.

Feliz Dia de los Muertos! I hope this day gives you much wonder, and that you remember – or commune with the spirits of – your loved ones beyond the veil.

Since I began my correspondence with the folks at It’s Playing, Just With Research, I’ve been obsessive about chasing down every last possession/exorcism movie out there. That’s how the terrific Mexican horror film El Habitante (The Inhabitant), came to my attention. I had a deep fear as I began this movie: that it would be as rote and derivative as 99.6% of all modern exorcism films since the release of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

I was happily wrong. Continue reading

Around the World in 31 Days: South Africa

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The House on Willow Street is a Netflix original whose production credits originate in South Africa. If that fact wasn’t in the film’s IMDb credits, I’d probably be clueless. None of its mostly white cast speak with any sort of accent (perhaps one member of the central team of thugs?) and there were no specific references to the location where most of the action took place – except for one.

As I understood it, the house where the demonic evil was spawned is “at the exact opposite geographic location as the Vatican.” I guess, if you were to dig that hole to China at the Vatican, you would end up at the titular Willow Street residence. If that’s as spooky to you as an inverted cross or a religious blasphemy from a demon, this movie might be your jam. It wasn’t mine.

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Around the World in 31 Days: Egypt

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Trying to get my hands on as much horror from African nations as I could, I saw the Egyptian film Warda on Netflix and proceeded to watch it. This movie shares in a trend I’ve been noting in other supernatural horror films from predominantly Muslim nations: using the language of major American horror movies (particularly the Conjuring and Paranormal Activity franchises) to present both conflicts and reinforcement of faith. The ones I have watched ranged from good to awful. I’m glad to report that Warda falls on the better spectrum of that range.

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Around the World in 31 Days: South Korea

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Gokseong, or The Wailing (2016) has been staring at me from my Netflix queue for the better part of two years. It came to my attention from correspondence with the academics behind the book Possessed Women, Haunted States: Cultural Tensions in Exorcism Cinema, who seek to catalogue every instance of an exorcism scene in a feature film. At 2.5 hours of running time, it was always daunting to start it, but it is worth the time.

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Five Modern Exorcism Films to Watch

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source: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498519090/Possessed-Women-Haunted-States-Cultural-Tensions-in-Exorcism-Cinema

October 13, 2017 – When I first stumbled onto the blog It’s Playing, But With Research, I was jealous. Jealous! With envy as green as the pea soup streaming out of Regan’s mouth! Academics CarrieLynn D. Reinhard and Christopher J. Olson not only studied exorcism cinema for a living, but they compiled a comprehensive list movies featuring an exorcism (the list is continually revised).

What?! Someone has watched more exorcism cinema than me?? Impossible – I wasn’t having it! So I went on a bender thanks to their list, and we began a correspondence that ended with me having a credit on their book Possessed Women, Haunted States. What a lovely honor. I urge you to read the book (which analyzes the tropes of exorcism cinema and puts them in sociological context), check out their blog and listen to their podcast, Pop Culture Lens. Continue reading

That Sow Could Still Be Mine (The Chillerpop Exorcist Retrospective, Part 6)

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ETSOctober 11, 2017 – This will be a short one, and please be warned that there are heavy SPOILERS for Exorcist The Series. Season 2 has already begun airing on Fox.  I started an “Exorcist Retrospective” on this blog and I’ll take this opportunity of the 31 Days of Halloween to catch up by covering last year’s Season 1. Continue reading

Am I Perfection? (The Chillerpop Exorcist Retrospective, Part 5)

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Perhaps not, but you’re fascinating and worthy of the Exorcist legacy. Continue reading

Pink Pazuzus: The Chillerpop Exorcist Restrospective, Part 4

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“The possessed person looked and acted just line Linda Blair – in ‘Repossessed'” – Ain’t It Cool News

We’re on the day of the premiere of The Exorcist TV series on Fox (I’m frustrated that I can’t currently access it).  And as I figure out how to view it, I continue my retrospective of The Exorcistseries with what I consider to be the true shame of the franchise- Exorcist: The Beginning.

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