Thursday, 25 June 2009

Hell's belles

I'll be honest. I always thought James Ferman, ex-director of the British Board of Film Classification, was a bit of a tit. Seeing his role as an opportunity to dictate what grown adults could and couldn't see, Ferman presided over some ridiculous decisions in his 24 years at the BBFC.

He was so disturbed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, that he banned any film that even had the garden implement in its title. He also famously censored any film in which nunchucks appeared. This rendered the already baffling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie utterly incoherent, and even saw innocuous films like A Very Brady Sequel gathering dust on the shelf.

But Ferman's bête noire was a film about a little girl, a troubled priest and a sticky crucifix. William Friedkin's brilliant adaptation of William Peter Blatty's bestseller The Exorcist troubled Ferman so much that the film was effectively outlawed for two decades. He argued that the film was too effective for its own good. Going on a film that's currently doing the rounds in the US, I'm beginning to wonder whether maybe Ferman had a point.

This YouTube clip shows news coverage of husband-and-wife team Patricia and Kelvin McKinney, of the Manifested Glory Ministries in Bridgeport, Connecticut, conducting an exorcism to expel the 'gay demon' possessing a young man.

As well as throwing their teenage victim around like a rag-doll, they yell things like “Rip it from his throat! Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!" Presumably because there's no latin translation for this particular invocation.

However vigorously Patricia and Kelvin throw themselves into this misguided venture, it's still doomed to failure, much like electroshock treatment and aversion therapy before it.

I found the following description of the Devil on a Christian website:

"Satan is a con artist. He wants to rip you off, cheating you out of everything that is rightfully yours. He’s the enemy of everything good, hating you with all his filthy fury...the Enemy has nothing left but psychological warfare – illusions, false accusations, attempted brainwashing."

If that's the case, then maybe demons are present on that film. I just don't think they're hiding inside the poor confused kid convulsing all over the floor.

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