How realistic was Paranormal Activity 3?

MOVIES 5 Comments »

paranormal-activity-3

I saw Paranormal Activity 3 and enjoyed the movie. Most movies dealing with paranormal scares are wildly over-the-top.  Nobody believes in these special effects; CGI doesn’t scare anyone.  The Paranormal Activity movies are effective because they produce the illusion of reality.  A hallway light mysteriously turning on and off can be a more chilling then computer-generated monstrosities.

As reported on Reuters: “Paranormal” is arguable the most profitable film property of all time. The first installment, made for a mere $15,000, grossed $193.35 million worldwide. The second, made for $3 million, grossed $177.51 million worldwide.  And the third, which opened Friday, opened to $54 million — the highest-grossing opening weekend for a horror film ever and the biggest October opening ever. Its budget: $5 million.”

People respond to the paranormal!  These movies succeed because they feel real.  That is their whole premise.  Plus, it is a fairly family friendly movie compared to other horror movies.  Which begs the question: how realistic was the paranormal activity portrayed in the movie?

The movie is about a demonic poltergeist.  Poltergeist activity, as reported in real life, starts out with small knocks and such and may progress towards more significant occurrences such as objects being thrown.  There is a number of convincing documented poltergeist cases.  Skeptics dismiss these events as hoaxes or the result of children’s pranks.  However, when some of these cases are looked at in detail, we discover compelling evidence for the reality of poltergeist activity.

Paranormal Activity 3 shows some realistic activity, such as the manipulation of electronic devices (lights turn on and off), unexplained noises, even objects being pushed or hurled.  Those effects have been reported.  I also like how there is a delay between events.  Paranormal events occur infrequently.

The movie certainly exaggerates what has been described in true poltergeist situations.  An invisible force lifting someone off the ground by the hair makes for a good scare, but is not likely.  For levitation, the energy required to lift something off the ground and remain suspended in the air is much greater then to push or hurl something.  The paranormal is not supernatural.  The laws of nature still apply to a great extent.

SPOILER ALERT!  I will discuss a plot topic.  Don’t read further until you have seen the movie!

One aspect of the movie that struck me as pure Hollywood make-believe is the source of the demonic entity.  Witches!  Not real life Wiccans but the devil-worshipping witches depicted centuries ago.  Such “witches” never even existed.  Broom flying, Sabbath attending, shape-changing witches were a fabrication of Christian superstition.  Today it’s hard to imagine people were once tortured and executed in the name of hunting witches, but it happened.

To revive the evil witch stereotype is an insult to all the people who actually died because of this superstition.  I’d prefer the movie let the nameless entity remain a mysterious force.  The unexplainable is scarier and truer.  If this movie franchise begins to explain everything with typical Hollywood solutions, it will fail.  Keep it real!

The movie Contagion: Why is the blogger a villain?

MOVIES 7 Comments »

contagion

I enjoyed the movie Contagion.  It was a smart movie.  Contagion is based on the concept of a worldwide pandemic.  This could certainly happen in real life, and one day this movie may be considered prophetic.  I will address one aspect of this film: the character Alan Krumwiede as played by Jude Law.

In the film, Alan Krumwiede is a blogger who is the first person to comprehend the virus’ significance before it becomes widely recognized.  As played by Jude Law, he is an annoying gadfly, but also knowledgeable about his niche.  The character is a conspiracy theorist specializing in government/big pharmacy connections.

Here is the character as described in Wikipedia:

A conspiratorially minded freelance journalist named Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) posts video blogs claiming that he has recovered from his sickness using a homeopathic cure based on forsythia. Panicked people attempting to obtain forsythia overwhelm pharmacies and also accelerate the contagion as infected and healthy people congregate. Krumwiede leaps to national attention and during a television interview accuses Dr. Cheever of informing friends and family to leave Chicago before quarantine is imposed. It is later revealed Krumwiede was never sick but was attempting to boost demand on behalf of investors in the companies producing and distributing the treatment.

The scientists in the movie are rightfully portrayed as the heroes.  But the blogger is made the villain, spreading disinformation for his personal gain.  Movie reviews agree the Jude Law character is the movie’s lone villain.  Perhaps this was the director’s purpose, but I don’t think it is that simple.

At the beginning of the movie the blogger character recognizes the oncoming plague and tries to get the story published in the mainstream media.  Rejected, he takes his story in his own hands and blogs.  Yes, the character has concepts outside the mainstream, but he actually believes in them.

Later in the film, a hedge fund bankster type approaches the Jude Law character for inside information for exploiting the disease for profit.  The blogger bites at this opportunity, suggesting a homeopathic cure.  Nonsense, but when dollars are dangled in front of a blogger, no surprise there.

At the end of the movie, the character is arrested.  But he stands by his beliefs, and afterwards he is out videoing the consequence of the plague.  The blogger character would not be doing what he does if he did not believe in them.  He is not just doing this for money but for a personal cause.

I am a blogger in esoterica, not far removed from the movie’s blogger character.  I recognized the dynamic of the character:  to discover something new that is ignored or disrespected by journalism and society.  I deal with the paranormal, rejected by science but which I believe has serious but ignored truths.  As a blogger, I have sympathy for the movie’s blogger character.  And I like the illusion of a powerful blogger… but it’s only an illusion.

The Occult Message Behind Captain America

MOVIES 2 Comments »

captain-americaThe movie Captain America is an entertaining and uplifting film. Actor Chris Evans did a great job portraying Steve Rogers both prior and after his transformation into Captain America. The Steve Rogers character starts out as a physically weak individual of small stature, but who has courage and compassion, the heart of a lion. In the movie he sought to join the military to serve his nation but was constantly rejected because of his physical weakness.

A scientist noticed his true nature and he was given the chance to serve by volunteering for an experiment to create a super solider. Steve Rogers was turned into Captain America, his body transformed into physical perfection. His body became a reflection of what he was within his soul and a mirror of his character. What he was within literally became flesh. Immaterial thought became manifest into the physical world.

This is occult message behind Captain America. The occult concerns itself with the manifestation of the immaterial (thought) into physical reality. And the occult is about using these processes for inner self-transformation. In the occult we contact our higher selves or higher powers to manifest our potential, and bring into reality what we desire. Captain America can be a metaphor for this power of belief and becoming what we believe in.

red-skullThe occult concepts of inner transformation and manifesting reality can be used for either positive or negative results. In the movie the villain Red Skull symbolizes a negative transformation. The Red Skull was exposed to the same super solider serum that created Captain America. Yet, unlike Steve Rodgers, the Red Skull’s inner character was vile, and so he was transformed with a monstrous appearance. The Red Skull became a physical reflection of his own personality.

These occult themes are not intentional by the movie-makers. But when stories deal with mythic elements, they may cross paths with occult elements. Myths, legends, and the occult walk hand in hand.

One aspect of the movie that was supposed to involve the occult actually has nothing to do with it. The Red Skull character was in charge of the Nazi’s paranormal division. The character sought out an occult source of great power, the Cosmic Cube. The Skull called it the power of the “gods”. Even as a metaphor or symbol, nothing like this exists in true occult experience; it is just a fantasy element,

I suspect the movie’s villainy could have been made more realistic and dramatic if it had been inspired by the real life links between the Nazis and occultism. True or not, there are ideas the Nazi’s were inspired by contact with villainous secret societies, black magic, demonic entities or even extraterrestrial beings. But delving into the darkest corners of Nazi occultism would probably be out of place in a comic book movie. Better to have the villains using ray guns and cosmic cubes.

Below is a documentary about Nazi occultism: