I was born in a great decade. I’m old enough to remember what a rotary phone looks like and yet I’m quite skilled in using my smart phone ( so i’m not old). I remember when MTV aired Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. That was awesome. I also remember my parents telling me to “go play outside”, and I liked it. Parents weren’t over policed back then. They allowed their children to enjoy the occasional horrible meal (McDonald’s was my treat on Friday’s); no one criticized that the beef wasn’t organic or the chicken nuggets was deep fried in fat. Although, I do worry about those things now. And a lot of us were introduced to horror films at a young age. And I am grateful. These movies and T.V. shows terrified and excited me and I wanted more. I’m not alone. But what is it about these films that causes the horror aficionado to smile at the tremors they cause deep within?
June Lorraine Roberts shares her thoughts on two of her favorite horror films.
Devils, demons, ghosts: Tripping back in time
Asking me to write about my favourite anything gets a bit tricky. I can like things equally well for similar and/or different reasons. For favourite books, I will speak about favourite authors and characters. When it comes to film I will go on and on about favourite directors, actors and scenes.
What books and films both have in common is plot, in-depth characters, engaging story arc and a commitment to detail. They also have endings that make sense, that doesn’t mean a happy ending, just an end that is cohesive to the rest of the story.
This post has a bit of chicanery to fulfill Latashia’s request but it is an honest response about the horror film(s) that caught and held my attention long enough to be memorable.
Released in 1973, The Exorcist starred Max von Sydow as the priest Father Lankester Merrin who is called in to perform an exorcism of a 12-year old girl. The foe, a demon called Pazuzu, is not unknown to Father Merrin who had come up against and defeated him once before.
The thumping bed, flying objects and cracking walls are indicative of the violence involved in this demon’s intent. Yet it is the quiet appearance of the priest, that image of him in the fog next to the street lamp that is indelible in my memory. His calm assurance that good will triumph over evil when all around is in chaos is what the watcher yearns and prays fora.
The movie is now more than 40 years old and I have never re-watched it. I really, really don’t want to. For me the demon’s voice coming from the girl, played by Linda Blair, is horrifying. Combined with the 360 degree head rotation it’s nightmarish.
Many who remember or have heard of the film may not recall that it was nominated for several Academy awards including Best Picture. Probably the best cultural recall of the time were the number of people who, after watching the movie, complained of inability to sleep, nervousness and even of demonic possession. It was quite a phenomenon. IMDB Rated 8.0
The Green Man
A creepy, quirky ghost story and this is where I cheat a bit, it’s not a movie. A BBC 3-part mini-series that was shown on A&E in 1990. It won the BAFTA (Britain’s version of the Academy Awards) in 1991 and is based on a Kingsley Amis novel.
Albert Finney plays Maurice Allington, the alcoholic, lecherous proprietor of the inn The Green Man. Located in the countryside somewhere between London and Cambridge, the inn is haunted by the former owner Thomas Underhill a scholar who had been accused of murdering his wife and who wrote aggrandizing statements about his pagan practices.
The story line includes scenes with an agnostic vicar, grave robbing, demonology, and some stellar comic timing. It’s probably hard for you to believe that it is so eerie but it truly is.
Interested in giving it a try? You can do so via YouTube keeping in mind the filming quality is affected through this medium and of course there is still no High Definition in the 90s. IMDB Rated 7.4
I have no logical explanation as to why both of these movies that involve demons and priests are the ones that stuck with me the most. Maybe I have a special fear of the devil, or perhaps of going to hell should it really exist? Will these movies catch you as they did me is hard to say. Like books, the mood and timing of films is personal and the impact can depend on many components.
These days my movie watching and reading material do not extend to the horror genre. However should I find myself wishing to have the hair prickle the back of my neck there is no doubt that This Way Darkness would be an excellent place for me to begin.
Thanks Latashia for asking me to contribute to your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed stepping outside my crime fiction genre for a refreshing break. It’s always good to remember why you love movies so much. Now I’m off to read a book I’m quite interested in called The Devil’s Detective about the murder of a human that takes place in hell.
~ June Lorraine Roberts
Link: The Green Man
June Lorraine Roberts is a graduate from the London School of Journalism who works as a freelance journalist and corporate communications consultant. She also writes about crime fiction books and their authors seeking out debut authors and those whose books deserve further recognition.
Check out her killer blog, Murder in Common.