Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Goal In Life: Avoid Gypsy Curses

Saw Raimi's Drag Me to Hell today. Its...interesting. Its certainly a horror film in the old style. Definitely from the man who made the Evil Dead films, that's for sure. Its gory, has lots of monster-view shots that we normally associate with charging Deadites, and really needs a guy with a shotgun running around to make it perfect.

However...there's this nagging question it left me with:

So...the gypsies in this film will apparently curse people at the drop of a hat. Steal something from a gypsy? Its the fires of hell for you, even if you try to repent. That's how the film begins. Some 10 year old kid, the son of a couple who look like Mexican migrant workers, swiped a cheap necklace from a gypsy wagon. Poor kid's probably got less money than the gypsies. So what happens? They curse his soul to hell, and he dies horribly. Wow. Just...damn, man. For flinching something? Javert has nothing on these people. They won't even let the kid give it back. They just laughed and said he deserved what was coming to him.

And don't even think of refusing a third extension on a mortgage to a gypsy woman who is obviously faking a disability in order to get paid money by the government. Y'know what happens then? That's right, you guessed it:


I mean, sure its suggested that Christine didn't do the right thing by refusing this woman an extension on her loan. But Sylvia Ganush is not a sympathetic victim. She shows that she has no actual physical imparement, being in fact strong enough to, among other things, put an almost unbreakable choke hold on a woman a third her age, and rip a cinder block out of a wall, lift it above her head, and throw it throw a car window. Dude. I'm 25, I work out, and even *I* can't pull that shit off. Her argument that Christine has "shamed" her seems to be predicated on putting all her weight on Christine's legs, so that when our dear protagonist backs away, Sylvia falls on her face. Thus she was shamed!

...I hope you're following my confusion here. Though maybe her disability is related to some kind of aneurysm...that could explain the weird "evil" eye thing...and why she's a raging lunatic. But still.

So. Christine refuses her a third extension on a mortgage that she doesn't really seem to have much intention on actually paying anyway. So what does Sylvia do? Rips off a button and spends three seconds reciting an incantation that summons up the freaking Devil himself to spend three days tormenting Christine before dragging her soul to hell. Sylvia performs this curse like its the easiest thing in the world to do. Rip off a button, say a few words, hold it up to the light, and place the button back in Christine's hands.

So...klaatu barada necktie? Seems that simple. She said the damn words. Now it is on like Donkey Kong.

The movie progresses, but really it was the curse thing that grabbed me. The lamia (its not a lamia, but that's cool...I've put up with Buffy monsters being nothing like their associated mythological namesakes, I can deal) is pretty badass. It spends three days blowing shit up, tossing Christine around like she's a rag doll, causing her nose to geiser so much blood you'd think Tarantino was a guest director, and generally making her look like a paranoid schizophrenic with some uncontrolled telekinesis.

Sacrafice doesn't work. Lamia don't eat kittens.

Exorcism doesn't work. That's what the old medium lady gets for having a student who is such a poor shot with a machete. Although that scene does, at least, treat us to a talking evil goat and a Deadite. Sadly, no boomstick was present.

If all this nonsense from her implacable demonic nemesis wasn't enough, Sylvia Ganush's spirit decides to torment Christine as well, appearing to her constantly in hallucinations and psychic attacks. Old lady just couldn't sit back and let a demon do her dirty work. Oh no! She had to tag team from beyond the grave. Now that's just bad sportsmanship.

The movie, perdictably, ends with Christine being dragged to hell, kicking and screaming, her flesh slowly burning away from her bones as dozens of hands drag her into a fiery pit in the ground. Just as her boyfriend is about to propose to her. Y'know. A final "fuck you" from that old batty gypsy woman.

So this all leads me to a simple goal in life: Do not mess with old gypsy women. They will fuck you up.

(As a note, yeah...the Romani get the shaft in this movie, where they're portrayed as drunk con artists who really don't give a shit about anyone else, and will send you to hell sooner than look at you. I'm wondering if we'll see a cultural response against Sam Raimi. Just hope nobody steals one of his buttons...)


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