Could It Be... NOT SATAN?

« November 2010 »


One of the things that made the early days of Big Hollywood so much fun were the hyperbolic articles about how a few movies that fail to embrace a very specific religious and political worldview are rock-solid evidence that the entirety of Hollywood embraces something generally considered bad.

Thankfully for me, right now, Leo Grin, cube-drone by day, conservative avenger by night, has snuck into a tiny gap between John Nolte anti-Stewart tirades to pen "Hollywood's Love Affair With Satanism", which, as you may suspect, only barely portrays Hollywood, and doesn't actually get around to either a love affair or Satanism.

Luckily, I just got a new iOS app that writes new Big Hollywood headlines based on the actual content of the articles. I'm actually surprised Big Hollywood doesn't use it, because the results are much more accurate. For example, Leo Grin's article comes out as "The Last Couple Of Film Vampires Aren't Scared Of Crosses."

That's his whole point. His first example, of course, is Twilight, which started out as a book. So really, the article should have been called The Literary World's Love Affair With Satanism". I'm pretty sure the decision to make Twilight into a movie wasn't based on its sparkly vampires not cowering in fear of Jebus. If Victoria Jackson's autobiography had made Twilight money in bookstores, they'd have made that into a movie too.

But that's really a nitpick, evading the main point, which is that vampirism is not Satanism. Frequently evil, occasionally demonic, but rarely straight-up Satanic, especially when you consider how many different takes on vampires there have been throughout fiction. Hell, Grin himself goes back to Bram Stoker, and the quote he uses just has Jonathan Harker drawing spiritual strength from a cross, which is a psychological placebo at best.

He then briefly mentions True Blood before taking a quick detour into Eli Roth's "The Last Exorcism". Well, relatively quick. Well, OK, there's a whole diversion about how he spent eight dollars for popcorn, which is the clearest sign of Satanism in his entire article. But hey, give him credit for this - exorcisms usually involve Satan, even if they don't involve the worship of Satan, which is what "Satanism" fucking well means.

Anyway, The Last Exorcism's crime, in Leo's eyes, is once again failing to show the Christian church's power over Satan. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"The main character was an atheist evangelical preacher, which spiritually speaking makes him the Protestant equivalent of a homosexual priest — a walking contradiction in terms, a leftist charlatan masquerading in true believer’s clothing, a spiritual and moral eunuch. The other denizens in this bizarre portrayal of America’s deep South 'fundie-land' were all unhinged weirdos (with the exception of the one character later revealed to be gay, natch)."

This is one of those classically awesome Big Hollywood paragraphs that reveals way more about the author than you ever wanted to know. The lead character isn't an atheist, he's a priest of shaken faith who thinks his exorcisms have all been shams. That's not atheism. And what's with all the emasculation and gay stuff out of nowhere? I think Grim is greatly misreading "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Thinking of your faith like spiritual Viagra seems a bit more disrespectful than any movie.

What's more, if I'm parsing the Wikipedia plot summary correctly, the lead character is shown to be wrong, demons exist, Satanists exist, and if he hadn't spent so much time farting around with psychologists and doubting his faith, he'd have prevented evil from winning in the end. So at worst, it's a bit of Eli Roth torture-porn gussied up as a cautionary tale about doubting Christianity, not a love-letter to Beelzebub.

Also, as a side note to Grin: that the scant few people in the theater with you thought the movie was ridiculous is not surprising. Your assumption that they thought it was ridiculous for the same reason you did, because even they, while not sharing your core beliefs, understood the underlying truth that the movie sucked because Jesus wasn't winning? Also not surprising, but still fucking hilarious.

And then it's back to non-Satanic, generically evil vampires, with Let Them In, which apparently has an unflattering portrayal of a Christian and an evil creature not defeated by a cross or a Christian. So let's run the tally. Four movies based on books where vampires aren't evil by nature. One TV show based on books where the vampires aren't evil by nature. One bunch of Satanists who win because the priest didn't believe strongly enough soon enough, and one movie where the vampire is evil and the Christian is neglectful and abusive. With a strong foundation like that, you could build a towering skyscraper of a conclusion! And so Grin does!

"Hollywood is cheating in the horror movie arena just as they do in the political and social arenas. They are, by turns, scaring us and seducing us with deeply anti-Christian mythological monsters, while simultaneously mocking anyone who believes in the corresponding existence and power of supernatural forces for good. It’s yet another attempt to scrub any trace of God from our popular culture, spitting in the faces of the upwards of eighty percent of Americans who identify as Christians, and in the process disappointing the near one-hundred percent of theatergoers who don’t want to drop thirty bucks on a movie where villains and nihilism conquer all."

There's that thirty bucks again. Clearly, Grin wants to write an Andy Rooney diatribe about how expensive things are these days, but since the only person that will publish his ravings is Breitbart, he has to attack Hollywood for loving Satanism. But since two thirds of his "$30" movie are actually parking, online ticket fee, popcorn, and soda, maybe Grin oughta take it up with the real Satanic force opposing him. FREE MARKET CAPITALISM! Please imagine thunderclaps and dramatic organ music playing at this point, thanks.