Tuesday 9 August, 2005

Last night I went to the cinema with a couple of friends, and saw "The Fantastic Four", the Marvel comic strip (sorry, graphic novel) about four scientists who gain special powers when they go into orbit and get hit by a radioactive storm. It was an entertaining film, in a mindless, trashy sort of way, but it got me thinking about the way films approach certain ideas.Why is it that when people in films get exposed to lethal radiation, they don't die instantly, they don't suffer severe internal organ damage, and they don't die a slow and painful death from degenerative, incurable cancer? No, instead, they get super powers and turn into spiders, invisible people, or huge big rock-like things.

It reminded me of the time last year that I saw "Exorcist: The Beginning" at the cinema. What happened? Yes, you've guessed it, the forces of Hell were unleashed upon the earth, but were stopped by the smells, bells and spells of a brave and determined Roman Catholic priest.

Why, I remember thinking, is it always the Catholics who get to be the heroes in horror films? Why don't you get the great armies of the devil being chased away by Anglican evangelicals inviting them to an Alpha group? Or vicious demons fleeing from the body of an possessed child at the sight of an intense Pentecostal prayer meeting gathering around the bed? And surely the most effective way to make Satan think twice before ever occupying another house of the Lord is to lock him for two hours in a Free Presbyterian church and make him suffer tortuously long sermons and even more painful wooden pews.

I suppose Hollywood would argue that those solutions simply wouldn't make exciting viewing. I don't know though, Dawn of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Good Friday the 13th, I Know What You Did Last Sunday or The Amen all have a certain ring to them.

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