Friday, January 31, 2020

Everything You Ever Need To Know About Life...

... you can learn from:

Häxan (1922)

Narrator: Centuries have passed and the Almighty of medieval times no longer sits in his tenth sphere. We no longer sit in church staring terrified at the frescoes of the devils. The witch no longer flies away on her broom over the rooftops. But isn't superstition still rampant among us? Is there an obvious difference between the sorceress and her customer then and now? We no longer burn our old and poor. But do they not often suffer bitterly? And the little woman, whom we call hysterical, alone and unhappy, isn't she still a riddle for us? Nowadays we detain the unhappy in a mental institution or - if she is wealthy - in a modern clinic. And then we will console ourselves with the notion that the mildly temperate shower of the clinic has replaced the barbaric methods of medieval times.

It's funny -- I've been a full-blown atheist now for a full two decades, but I'd still be lying if I didn't admit that the programming I had brainwashed and beaten into me in my youth attending the Church of God in the 1980s, aka the prime time of the big Satan Scare, didn't have a whisper of nervousness flitting about me as I prepare for my evening's plans tonight. For tonight, yes tonight, I will be attending a Black Mass y'all! 
Oh man I hope it's just like the one seen there in 1970's Satanis: The Devil's Mass. Tonight the Anthology Film Archives here in New York is screening the above 1922 silent classic -- which just got the truly deluxe treatment on blu-ray thanks to the unholy wizards at Criterion -- as the opening feature of their series called "The Devil Probably: A Century of Satanic Panic." (Sidenote: they're screening my fave movie of ever Rosemary's Baby three times, including on Valentine's Day for you romantics out there.) And to celebrate the opening night they've invited the co-founder of the Satanic Temple, Mr. Lucien Greaves, to do a presentation and preside over a Black Mass ritual. 

(Am I nuts or is Greaves hot?) If any of you saw last year's phenomenal documentary Hail Satan? -- which I fiercely recommend,  it's on Hulu right now -- you're more than familiar with Greaves' brilliant and funny work trolling the hypocritical Religious Right in this country. He's very smart and very good at what he does, and I'm excited to hear him talk. And to see Häxan on a big screen! I've just got to stomp a little bit on the face of my inner child, who remembers all that churchy BS of his youth, to get there. Funny how deep that nonsense burrows itself. Anyway if there is a Devil and he comes to get me so be it -- my flesh is weak!

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