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A Very Weak Attempt to Link Sandy Hook to Satanism

As discussed in my last post, many conspiracy theorists are trying to link the Aurora and Newtown massacres to Satanism. The video below is one of the silliest examples of this effort. It attempts to connect the dots among a perfume commercial starring Lady Gaga (a favourite target of Vigilant Citizen, and others who search for Illuminati/occult symbolism in movies, music videos, and TV commercials), the latest Batman movie, Aurora, and Newtown.
The major flaw with this approach is that any number of interpretations can be made of Lady Gaga’s videos. They are artistic, dark, and more than a little twisted. Beneath the video, I’ve added my own interpretations of some of the imagery in the perfume commercial to show you just how easy it is to bring your own experiences and perceptions to the table.

The “Matrix-style surgical probe”: This is actually just a light mounted on a flexible, snake-like tube. It does not enter the statue.
The black bodysuit:
I doubt this is a nod to Catwoman. Gaga likes bodysuits, as evidenced by the white Where the Wild Things Are-inspired latex bodysuit she wore at the beginning of the “Bad Romance” video.
The “trooper hat”: An old-fashioned ladies’ picture hat, updated

The mirror: Clearly a reference to Cocteau’s Orphée, in which Orpheus is transported to the underworld by stepping into a mirror with a liquid surface. We know that Gaga admires French culture; she speaks French at the beginning of the video for “Papparazzi”. We know she likes classic film, because she references Hitchcock four times in a single verse of “Bad Romance”. And I’m not the only one who sees a correspondence between Cocteau and Gaga – check out this fan video of her song “Bad Romance”, set to scenes from Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. We are not dealing with Satanism here. The black mirror is a straight-up homage to French arthouse cinema.
[I wrote the passage above before re-watching the mirror scene in Orphée. When I reviewed it, I realized Gaga was definitely, absolutely, beyond any question in the world, re-enacting it. Watch it yourself, and note how Orpheus and Gaga extend their arms and place their hands in the same position as they cautiously approach the mirror. Note, also, that Gaga hesitates before the black mirror, while Orpheus allows himself to be coaxed into his mirror by an underworld minion. Give her credit for that, at least!
Fun fact: While Gaga’s mirror is CGI, Cocteau filmed someone submerging their gloved hands into a pool of mercury to create the shimmery ripple effect.]
“Portrait: Death of Children (ovum and sperm)”: I don’t see ovum or sperm in this image, so abortion doesn’t come to mind at all. The gold jewelry Gaga wears reminds me of slime mold.
“Look how they prequel shooting children!”: But there are no children in this scene. There is a CGI rendering of a metallic Gaga aiming a gun at a flesh-and-blood Gaga. I don’t think the metallic Gaga represents a child.
The backmasking of Lt. Paul Vance: I closed my eyes for this portion of the video, and typed my own interpretation of the backwards words. Someone says, “Let us now…worst-dressed. Now. Worst.” Then Vance says, “Excellent. Herb get it done initiate get some I said go. Said the wood A sauce throat dead Sarah the one with oss nitiate.get some mean you left paw. Nnnnasty deep blue knew it he blew it no [or know] me luck. Still when this window go in and out ffth with a maze Gazoo [or kazoo] with your breath. With your breath a syndrome go pull out the waw never been there rash knees bucksters soreth give [gibberish that sounds like “Mickulick”]. Judith or a nay she not pay up.
So from this we can determine that Paul Vance is owed money by a woman named Judith, has an accomplice named Herb, and may or may not like The Flintstones.

As for production designer Nathan Crowley being related to the infamous occultist, Aleister Crowley was, as Nathan told the Art Newspaper in 2008, his grandfather’s cousin, but Nathan was “never allowed to even mention his name because we were a very Quaker family.”


Weak attempts to link the Connecticut shootings to Devil worship

Tabloids, Christian websites, and YouTube auteurs are attempting to link Newtown, Connecticut, killer Adam Lanza to Satanism – on the softest evidence you can possibly imagine.

A Daily Mail article quotes Trevor L. Todd, a “former classmate” of Lanza, as saying that Adam once had a “Satan worshiping” web page with a banner that featured the word Devil in a red, “Gothic-style” font. This vaguely-remembered website supposedly created by a middle school student is the only evidence presented to suggest that Lanza was a Satanist. To date, the web page’s existence hasn’t even been confirmed.
The article goes on to claim that FBI investigators “strongly believe he made use of devil-worshiping and suicide sites and boasted of his murder plans on message forums”. No source is given for this information.

World Net Daily doesn’t have any more solid information than the Daily Mail, but the writer of this article attempts to give the story some teeth by throwing in references to other murders committed by “Satanists”. Aaron Klein even speculates about a possible Satanic conspiracy:
“Was Lanza part of a larger Satanic or ritualistic subculture locally or online in which he could have revealed his plans or could have even received support in preparing for the killings?”
Then he takes other media outlets to task for failing to report on the Satanic angle of the Aurora, Colorado shootings. “Although largely underreported, Satanic subculture and so-called devil worship has been a factor in numerous other mass killings, including the recent Batman shooting massacre.”
At this point, Klein is forced to  concede that James Holmes wasn’t actually a Satanist; he just liked the Joker as played by Heath Ledger a lot, and the Joker had Satanic attributes. You know, like every supervillain in every comic book ever.
Klein goes on to educate WND readers about other infamous “Satanic” murders, starting with the Manson Family killings:
“According to reports, Tate was originally selected to play the main character in her husband’s Rosemary’s Baby, a film about a pregnant woman who fears that her husband may have made a pact with neighbors to use her child as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals. Actress Mia Farrow ultimately got the role, while Tate did make a brief appearance in the film.”
This is wrong on just about every level. Sharon Tate was never considered for the role of Rosemary in her husband’s film. The film itself has absolutely nothing to do with the murders; the Tate/Polanski residence was targeted by Manson and his followers because Polanski and Tate were subletting the house from music producer Terry Melcher, a man Manson deeply resented for failing to turn him into a recording superstar.
Richard Ramirez is the next “Satanic” killer on the list, and he’s the only one who really qualifies for inclusion. Ramirez did identify himself as a Satanist.
But Sean Sellers, the teenager who converted to Christianity in jail after murdering his parents? He may have promoted himself as a “reformed Satanist” who killed only because he was under the Devil’s influence, but an examination of his criminal appeals tells a different story. Sellers was so desperate to escape the death penalty for crimes he admittedly committed that he pled diminished capacity due to demonic possession, and later claimed to have Multiple Personality Disorder. Sellers was a shrewdly manipulative man who knew exactly what he was doing at all times.

The last case Klein cites is the murder of Steven Newberry by a trio of teens, led by a charismatic thug named Jim Hardy. The killers practiced some rudimentary form of “Satanism” that mostly revolved around torturing and killing cats. The murder of their “friend” Newberry was a thrill killing that would have been committed with or without their childish attempts at devil worship.
Klein’s efforts to lay the blame for Adam Lanza’s crimes on Satanism are baseless. To call Lanza’s evil deeds “Satanic” because he allegedly expressed interest in the Devil in his teens is just as absurd as labeling a murder “Christian” because the killer was once an altar boy.

Some Christians don’t want to stop at blaming Satanism for the massacre, though. They also want to blame the victims’ parents and even God himself, arguing that mass murder of 6-year-olds is God’s just punishment for “kicking God out of schools”. In the video below, Christian rapper Tireo tells us that God granted Satan permission to “demonize” Adam Lanza so that he would murder children, but the media won’t disclose this because Adam was white. Also, the victims were handpicked (by God?) because their parents “had sin in their lives.”

The Return of Doug Riggs

Satanic ritual abuse and “Nephilim hybrids” in Oklahoma

On the August 16th-17th broadcast of Coast to Coast AM, guest L.A. Marzulli was nattering on about endtime prophecy, natural disasters, and a Great Deception involving aliens or the Illuminati or something. I wasn’t really listening. Then he said this: According to two researchers who contacted him recently, at least two American women claiming to be victims of Satanic ritual abuse (SRA) have reported that the Satanists took them to Mount Hermon to be impregnated by fallen angels, which Marzulli referred to as the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 (I’m not even sure if the Nephilim are supposed to be the same “sons of God” that mated with human women, or giants unrelated to the angels, or the offspring of angels and women, but that’s a different post). The researchers who alerted Marzulli to this story had no vested interest in the matter, he insisted.
Marzulli then hinted that the hybrid offspring of these women have some connection to the alien breeding program, and that the Nephilim are keeping them at an offworld location.
“Will they bring them back at some point?” host George Noory asked.
“Yes, they will,” Marzulli replied without hesitation.

So I Googled “Nephilim ritual abuse” and found a recent online radio interview with Pastor Doug Riggs, described as a friend of L.A. Marzulli. The subject was “Nephilim Mothers”.
The name Doug Riggs was very familiar to me, but I couldn’t recall precisely why. I rifled through some notes. Sure enough, I had jotted down a bit of info on the guy. A month or two ago I had stumbled upon a documentary from 1994, In Satan’s Name, which originally aired on HBO. Riggs and his Morningstar Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were featured in the film’s most memorable and disturbing segment.

In 1994, no fewer than 14 members of Morningstar Church believed they had been brought up in Satanism, were horrifically abused as children, and had Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). All of this was based on repressed memories they recovered while in “counseling” with Pastor Riggs, during sessions lasting up to 19 hours in length. Please keep in mind that we’re not talking about Okie bumpkins, here. These were reasonably intelligent, middle-class people who seriously should have known better.
To be fair, Morningstar didn’t look like a cult. Riggs was a poised, handsome man with graying hair and a mellow voice. He spoke knowledgeably about psychology. It’s no wonder that parishioners turned to him for pastoral counseling unrelated to Satanism or abuse (marital trouble, eating disorders, etc.).
From 1985 on, these counselees began recovering memories of horrific, lifelong ritual abuse at the hands of Satanists. Namely their own parents. And after 1991, when Riggs learned about MPD (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder), they began to discover they had hundreds, even thousands, of separate personalities because of the Satanic ritual abuse. Riggs told them that every single one of their alters could be possessed by demons.
Counseling was conducted in a large room with a mattress on the floor, so counselees could go through abreactions without hurting themselves. Riggs would lay on top of the person when abreactions became intense, while helpers held the person’s arms and legs. In this way, counseling and deliverance from demonic possession were merged into a single process. In one filmed session with a 30ish man, Riggs ordered a demon out of his body (“Explode the seals!”) while the man writhed and convulsed on the mattress, growling obscenities.
Ultimately, Riggs concluded that all these people had been victimized by the same Satanic cult, led by a man named Joe (father of one of the parishioners, Pam), and that God had brought the victims together at Morningstar to be healed. Joe supposedly conducted powerful rituals for high government officials (including leaders of the Soviet Union), the Vatican, even heads of state. The narrator of In Satan’s Name explains that in reality, Joe was a Nebraska salesman who had never left his home state. He died during filming.
Needless to say, the allegations tore apart families. A graceful, soft-spoken couple in their 60s, Jim and Fran Field, mourned the loss of their daughter Cynthia to what they considered a destructive, all-consuming cult.

This was as far as In Satan’s Name took the story, but I soon learned that the situation at Morningstar was even stranger.
A testimony written in 1999 by 49-year-old Morningstar member Kim Campbell starts out as boilerplate SRA stuff. Campbell explains that Satanism, “as old as mankind itself”, is a blend of SumeroAkkadian/Babylonian mystery religions, Kabbala, and Paganism. “The culture is unbelievably and ingeniously evil; virutally everything about the culture is humanly damaging.” Kim was subjected not only to “every abuse, trauma, and demonization imaginable within satanism”, but to “medically-based mind control programming” at U.S. government facilities, clinics, and the Tavistock Institute (a favourite bugaboo in the world of conspiracy theory). Half of his waking preschool life was spent “being indoctrinated and incested“. This realization came to him after 18 months of therapy with Pastor Riggs.
It isn’t until page 7 of the testimony that shit gets seriously weird. Kim drops this bombshell: His real father was Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and Kim was the “bastard son…of occult incest”, indicating his mom Lula (who died in 1977) had some relation to the Rothschilds. Kim spent much of his childhood and adolescence on his dad’s French estate, and was brought up in homosexual incest. He thought it was normal, even admirable.
Edouard despised God and loved humanity with equal passion. “Such was the true generational core of my ancestral iniquity and, being a Rothschild descendant, it was maximally demonized.” As all Satanists do, Edouard introduced his son to Christianity, “with none other than Herr Josef Mengele himself coaching him over his shoulder.” Kim was being groomed to infiltrate the Protestant church. As Riggs declared, the members of Morningstar Church “had come together to live in such a way as to hasten the Lord’s coming for His Bride, but we also had been constituted in the occult to frustrate the will of God for the Church and bring the antichrist instead.”

Wow. Just wow. Somehow, Doug Riggs convinced most of his 30-40 parishioners that they were multiple personalities programmed in Zedekiah’s cave by the great families of Europe (plus Nazi doctors) to infiltrate the Christian Church and pave the way for the Antichrist, who will be a member of the Hapsburg family associated with the name “Alexander”.
Instead, they found a saviour. Unfracking-believable, no?

Let’s go back to L.A. Marzulli for a moment. He also mentioned that Dr. Mengele was one of the originators of mind control. This is a very popular notion in conspiracy circles, but it makes little sense. Mengele was a geneticist, not a psychiatrist, and there’s no evidence that he took even the slightest interest in psychology.
Marzulli also made reference to the work of I.E.D. Thomas, a Welsh minister who believes that UFOs and alien abductions are demonic manifestations, another guise of the Nephilim.

Back to Riggs and the Morningstar Satanists. Last April, Riggs and his wife were guests on The Byte Show, accompanied by about half a dozen of Riggs’ SRA victims, to discuss the infiltration of Nephilim hybrids into society.
Riggs began the show with a reading of Matthew 24:37, in which it is stated that the coming of the Son of Man (Christ) will be just like the days of Noah. And what happened in the days of Noah? Nephilim mated with the daughters of Man. That’s exactly what Riggs contends is happening now. Fallen angels – the “B’nai Elohim” – are interbreeding with human women, by force. He cited the work of I.E.D. Thomas. Hmm. Call me an asshole, but I’m starting to wonder if Marzulli’s “two researchers” actually exist. Isn’t it more likely that he got his eschatological Illuminati-Satanic-Nephilim info from his buddy Doug?

Two women gave their stories of being “Nephilim mothers”.
Sally, a surprisingly chirpy woman, says that after joining Riggs’ church, she began to journal and pray, and memories started surfacing. She shared her journal with the pastor, but after a time she felt God compelling her to share things directly, even her most frightening memory (the President wearing a gorilla costume). Through prayer and God’s guidance, she learned to trust her emerging memories. She learned that she came from a royal bloodline, stamped with a certain iniquity and allied with Nazi doctors. Many years ago she revealed to Riggs that she had once given birth to a Nephilim child. She had been groomed literally from the womb to bond with the principality (spirit) that sired this child.

Riggs sat on the Nephilim hybrid revelation until this year. Now he’s an expert on the subject. Riggs explains that Nephilim conception occurs at age 13, through an arcane genetic-engineering process (angels can’t reproduce). Gestation is 4 months. Once the Nephilim hybrid sons have matured, their mothers are encouraged to become their lovers, carrying on the tradition of “incesting“.

The second woman, Juliana, learned just this year that her recovered memories of giving birth to human sons were actually screen memories of bearing Nephilim sons. Like all the other Morningstar members, she was born to a European “royal family”, then placed with relatives in the U.S. She was “incested” by the couple she called her mom and dad. She trusts her recovered memories because of their emotional intensity, a very poor indicator of whether a memory is true or false.

For the rest of the program, Riggs made a strenuous effort to show that the SRA victims’ memories didn’t come from him. Hilariously, though, he got them to explain how he doesn’t tell them what to say by telling them what to say.
There is, of course, ample reason to suspect that the Satanic Illuminati stories did come from Riggs. First of all, there’s that peculiar use of “incest” as a verb. While this may be common usage in the survivor community, I have come across it only a handful of times – and every single instance involved Riggs or one of his church members. Secondly, recovered memories of SRA have turned out time and time again to be unreliable (see the Ingram case for a particularly chilling example). Thirdly, some of the key details are whack. There was no Edouard Philippe de Rothschild, and if there had been he would have been Jewish. How, I wonder, would a Jewish Frenchman and a Catholic Nazi groom a child to infiltrate American Protestant churches? If the Satanic New World Order plot is closely linked with Hitler’s plan to create Aryan supermen, as Riggs contends, why would a former Nazi help a Jewish man raise his illegitimate children? And Satanism notwithstanding, why would a Nazi and a Jew be hanging out together in the first place?

Then there’s the fact that this has all happened before.
In the early ’90s, right around the time Riggs was learning about MPD/DID, psychiatrist Bennett Braun opened a DID treatment unit at Chicago’s Rush Presbyterian Hospital. Within a year, he and his colleagues had most of the patients convinced they were lifelong victims of Satanic cults, that their alter personalities still practiced Satanism, that they had ritually sacrificed and/or eaten other people, and that because of their Satanic affiliations they posed a mortal danger to their families, themselves, and other patients. Braun even told them that flowers sent to their rooms were coded mind-control messages from Satanists, with certain colours representing threats and commands.
As former patients like Pat Burgus and Mary Shanley later revealed (see the Frontline documentary The Search for Satan), the people in Braun’s DID unit were so heavily medicated that stories of cannibalism and Satanic incest began to make sense to them. They have since renounced all their “recovered memories”, and some filed lawsuits against Braun and the other doctors involved in their treatment.
What happened at Rush Presbyterian isn’t much different from the spectacular displays of female hysteria that gripped Paris’s Salpetriere Hospital in the late 19th century. Under the influence of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, numerous women underwent bizarre convulsions and contortions not unlike the symptoms of “demonic possession”. When Charcot died in 1893, the symptoms abated, leading some of his colleagues to suspect that the hysteria had been iatrogenic in nature. Medical historian Edward Shorter supports this conclusion in his book A History of Psychiatry (1997, John Wiley & Sons).
Though Dissociative Identity Disorder is classified as a dissociative disorder in the DSM-IV, Multiple Personality Disorder was considered a form of hysteria. Specifically, it was Grande Hysterie – the very same condition suffered by Charcot’s patients.

It’s tremendously disturbing to me that Riggs has been carrying on this “counseling” for over 30 years without interruption, and that he is bringing a new generation of “victims” into his circle (his youngest, a Canadian named Sarah, is just 21 years old).
There’s troubling evidence that the Nephilim hybrid/recovered memory nonsense has taken hold in at least one congregation in Australia. Riggs is also closely associated with Russ Dizdar, a pastor we’ll examine in the next post.
Also, Riggs’ belief system is rooted in a school of thought that sees all mental illness as demonic in nature, and/or indicative of repressed memories. He insists that before they enter into counseling with him, his parishioners read the work of Neil T. Anderson, a minister who preaches that 80% of Christians are “demonized” to some extent and that most (if not all) mental illness is a symptom of demonization. He offers “clinical deliverance” (exorcism) as treatment.

Two Recent Films that Promote Satanic Panic

Jeremiah Films has released a documentary entitled PopCulture Paganism, taking a right-handed swipe at the teen vampire trend, which they call “Neovampirism”. The filmmakers try to lump it in with Paganism as well as New Agey stuff like The Secret. The PopPaganism page features a glut of links to crimes and outrages that have pretty much nothing to do with the topics of the documentary. This film is apparently unconnected to the 13 other anti-Pagan films J.F. has made.

As you probably know, Jeremiah Films is the low-budget Christian Right/conspiranoia production company that churned out The Clinton Chronicles in the ’90s. Despite plugs on The 700 Club, the video ended up losing money after J.F. CEO Pat Matrisciana lost a defamation lawsuit. Since then, J.F. has stuck mainly to safer targets: Harry Potter, Mormons, and of course Freemasons.

The other film is a low-budget horror flick about a Satanic cult that ritually sacrifices random folks, aptly titled Satanic Panic. This wouldn’t be a big deal on its own, but unfortunately the movie is being promoted as “inspired by true accounts”, just like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Fourth Kind (which was really just a hoax). The film’s official website explains that the real Satanic Panic of the ’80s was sparked by a “rash” of unexplained disappearances throughout the U.S. This is not true. Disappearances played a very minor role in the hysteria to come, and at any rate the disappearance rate was not elevated in any noticeable way at that time. People were simply paying more attention to disappearances after the high-profile cases of Etan Patz, Adam Walsh, and other children.
Besides that, it strikes me as rather inappropriate to base a schlocky slasher film (complete with an ugly hillbilly) on the testimony of unbalanced people who, for the most part, really believed they had been tortured by Satanists as children. Real Satanic Panic ruined many lives, families, and minds. It’s not entertaining.

Government Satanism mockumentary

I found on YouTube a trailer for a documentary (or mockumentary) called “The Brandon Corey Story”, produced by something called TruthSeeker TV (watch it here).
Brandon Corey was supposedly a researcher who uncovered Dick Cheney’s ties to Satanism. The trailer features David Icke giving advice to Corey, promises of Bohemian Grove footage, and hints that a man mysteriously vanished after investigating these things. I assume it’s a mockumentary, but I don’t have the time to look into this, as I’m working on several other projects at the moment. If anyone has information on Brandon Corey or TruthSeeker TV, let me know.

Update: Numerous bloggers have proven The Brandon Corey Story to be a mockumentary; none of the people or events mentioned in the film actually existed or occurred. Most of the film’s viewers had already reached that conclusion, if their forum comments are any indication, but there are a few hardcore Reptilian-agenda believers out there who aren’t so willing to let this go…

On the Noble Realms forum, “Defender 123” wrote: “Yes it is a hoax, however, I do feel it is trying to bring certain things to light, such as Bohemian Grove. And the Satanism thing.

“Busta” at Warrior Matrix , in the thread “Are Reptilians real?” wrote: “It has to be seen for what it is – a movie – but one based on fact.

And Jeff Wells, on his blog Rigorous Intuition, acknowledges the film is a hoax but describes it as, “a slick piece of disinfotainment that exploits our authentic apprehensions by fabricating evidence upon legitimate suspicions“. [emphasis mine]

The mockumentary follows (fictional) millionaire investigator Brandon Corey as he infiltrates a Reptilian Satanic ceremony conducted in an underground chamber at Bohemian Grove. He is caught and, as punishment, two of his fingers are removed.

The film is marketed as “the film Dick Cheney doesn’t want you to see.” A promotional blurb from David Icke comments that if the film is real, it proves everything he’s been saying for the past 15 years.

Sadly, I think the film is “proving” many of his assertions about Reptilian alien overlords and Satanic sacrifice even without being real. As with The Death of the President, the lines between fiction and fantasy have been blurred to a point where popular assumptions about reality virtually become real. Just as people are saying, “Sure, the Bush administration hasn’t framed a Syrian for any assassination….but they would if they got the chance”, people who have viewed The Brandon Corey Story are saying, “Sure, Dick Cheney hasn’t been seen drinking human blood or morphing into a huge lizard-like beast that worships Satan…but he will be, sooner or later.”

I’m also concerned that films like this will encourage further infiltrations (read: trespassing) of Bohemian Grove, possibly resulting in violence. It seems that no matter how many times former employees of the Grove speak out, insisting nothing occultic is happening in those woods, people will continue to believe it’s a Devil’s Playground.

Wicker Man Redux (or resux)

My worst nightmares have come true. The Wicker Man will be in theatres again.
Not the movie starring Edward Woodward.
A remake.

Good God.

Now, you might think at first that I’m upset over this because The Wicker Man is an exploitation-film mishmash of various Pagan rites and beliefs that casts Pagans as devious, deviant sociopaths (decked out in twee faux-Victorian togs, for some reason).

But no. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real reason I shudder at the thought of a Wicker Man retread is that it was a really, really bad movie. I mean, I’m all for a creepy British thriller that borders on the silly: I’m bummed that Children of the Stones isn’t available in Canada yet. But c’mon…an island full of retro weirdies who mechanically carry out rituals plucked straight from The Golden Bough, for no apparent reason? With Britt Ecklund’s booty thrown in to keep people from falling asleep in the theatre? And the Equalizer marching woodenly through it all without really noticing that everything is just a bit…effed up? I know this movie has a cult following that puts Rocky Horror folks to shame, but really, people. It’s Children of the Corn meets Hair.

And the remake isn’t on a better path. Sure, it’s got a decent supporting cast, including Ellen Burstyn and Molly Parker. It has a veteran director/playwright at the helm (one of my personal faves, I’ll admit). It certainly has a fatter budget than the original, which could have put the word “shoestring” to shame.
But they’ve used the original screenplay by Anthony Shaffer (best known for his Agatha Christie scripts, and the totally decent two-man show Sleuth), which – as a I mentioned – is just the scariest bits of The Golden Bough laced with some generic T&A. The story isn’t particularly suspenseful or mysterious, since we know from the git-go that these people are secretly old-school Pagans. We just wait around for two hours while the copper plays catch-up.
The part of the clueless copper has been taken by Nicholas Cage, who all by himself is way creepier than an islandful of psychopathic Pagans.
The visual and emotional punch of the original film’s climactic scene – perhaps the only worthwhile scene in the entire film – will be dulled considerably by the viewers’ exposure to years of Burning Man festivals.
And the remake was directed by, of all people, Neil Labute. I love Neil Labute. As the master of tragi-comic, psychosexual drama that he is. I do not understand why such a talented Mormom misanthrope would want to touch this goofy piece of sh** with a yardstick.

But, alas, the deed is done. Another generation will watch The Wicker Man and thank God the Pagan way of life was persecuted into oblivion.

6/6/06: A Cinematic Perspective

Tomorrow, on the dreaded June 6, 2006, two movies will be released that present diametrically opposed – yet eerily similar – religious viewpoints. The paradox is all the more interesting, falling on a date that provokes such a wide range of reactions from people: Total apathy to stark, raving fear.

The big-budget release is a 100% fictional horror movie that paints organized Satanists as the enemy of mankind, even (potentially) its ultimate destroyer. It’s a remake, and though the original film was part of a series that fleshed out the aims of the Satanists, I have a feeling this movie will be a stand-alone work. Meaning a new generation of filmgoers will see nothing but the scare-mongering, creepier-than-hell first installment of the story. The one that reinforces just about every rumor and lie ever told about Satanism.

The second film is a spin-off of a speculative documentary, hence supposedly more grounded in fact than the horror remake. The documentary and the movie seek to demonstrate that there is no evidence Christ ever walked the earth, that his life story is just an amalgamation of previous legends about heroes that were murdered and magically resurrected (Osiris, Orpheus, etc.). The documentary was self-indulgent and derivitive. The movie might be better. But I was dismayed to learn that it follows the same religion-as-conspiracy pattern popularized by The Da Vinci Code. In fact, it sounds like a knockoff of TDVC: A woman searching for her missing father discovers that he had stumbled onto a Christian cover-up of Christ’s non-existence. Meaning the film essentially props up the idea that high-level Christians have formed some kind of sinister, subterranean cabal to despatch anyone who discovers that their religion is built on sand. Sounds a bit like those rumors and lies about Satanists and occultists, doesn’t it?

The point is, religious intolerance is religious intolerance. Whether you’re trashing a mosque because you’re fed up with a handful of Muslim terrorists, making an inane horror film that lampoons religious Satanism, or artily implying that Catholics still like to whack anyone who questions their worldview…you’re being a jerk. It’s one thing to seriously, cautiously question religious tenets that you don’t really understand, and quite another to hype your summer movie with scary billboards and 666 stamps. We can say that The Da Vinci Code and The Omen and the above-mentioned films of Brian Flemming open up dialogue and minds, but at base we all know this is about mocking and degrading the other guy for entertainment.

You want respect? Give respect.