Friday, July 19, 2013

The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring & Demonic "Possessions"

As of July 21, 2013, there have been updates to this post to enhance discussion on some of the topics; the post for The Conjuring 2 can be found at this link, as well as analysis on what Lorraine Warren saw during the exorcism..
As always, this review discusses the entire film so there are huge spoilers if you haven't seen it. The film is impeccably made, especially for a mere $13 million budget: acting, directing, stage design, editing, this is a well-crafted film that knows it's a well-crafted film and--for that reason alone--it's worth watching ("Is it scary, though?" everyone has a different level of "fear factor" and willingness to suspend disbelief in a horror setting; some people are willing to suspend all disbelief, and others none at all, so I can't answer that question but the nearly sold-out audience members seemed to all like it). There is no way of avoiding that this is, however, a decidedly anti-capitalist film and that message is communicated on a number of levels: when we normally think of "possessions" in horror films, we think of a spirit taking over a human soul/body; in James Wan's The Conjuring, however, it's material possessions that are possessing people that makes up the demonic "possessions", which--first and foremost--is the Perron getting their "dream house" and fulfilling their bit of the "American Dream" and that is our first topic of conversation; secondly, we will examine some of the important psychological aspects of the film, like, "Why do people in horror films always go into the basement/cellar?" and, finally, we will look at why The Conjuring takes such care in "quoting" or citing as many other horror films as it can possibly fit in (The Birds, The Exorcist, The Woman In Black, Mama, Poltergeist, The Innkeepers, The Devil Inside, etc.).
"The truth will consume you," why? Because this is, literally, a film about consumption. When the mother, Carolyn Perron (Lili Taylor) is possessed by the witch Bathsheba, it's through the mouth. When Carolyn talks to her husband truck-driver Roger (Ron Livingston) about how happy she is they got the house, she says, "I know it was a lot to bite off," (again, emphasizing the mouth) and, just before Carolyn is possessed, the family is eating pancakes (the only time in the film we see them eating anything) and then they go to eat ice cream so they are all gone when Carolyn is possessed. It's also through the mouth that Bathsheba is expelled from Carolyn. The film directly attacks the American Dream (as is said in the trailer above, the house is their "dream house," a material possession that ends up possessing them instead because Roger can't afford to abandon the house (like in Sinister with Ethan Hawke) so, because of finances, he has to keep the family in danger. This situation is juxtaposed against  the day at the coast, commemorated by the photograph Lorraine and Carolyn discuss and that Lorraine reminds Carolyn of during the exorcism; why? The house sits on private property, their property now that was cursed by the witch Bathesheba, but the coast where they were so happy and excited and close together was public land, no one owned that and the family had free access to it so they could share that moment together that, according to the film, ultimately saved Carolyn, Christine, April and the rest of the Perron family because that day on the coast was what Carolyn battled for when her soul was at stake, not the dream of their farm house. Counter to this thesis The Conjuring presents, is best summarized in Oblivion, when Julia )Olga Kurylenko) tells Jack (Tom Cruise) that their dream was a little cabin by the lake--not a mansion or millions of dollars, just a place of their own--and that, along with the desire to fulfill one's personal potential and use their gifts (as Ed and Lorraine Warren both do) is what most people would agree is the American Dream, but--The Conjuring argues--the "dream" is really a nightmare.
When the Perron family moves into their house in Harrisville, Rhode Island, the girls play "clap and hide"; why? Two reasons: first, because the film itself is playing "clap and hide" with us, clapping out certain clues as to what it's really about and what it really wants to say, but we have to go seeking it out, for ourselves (and, honestly, we are like the little girl sleep walking, being led by the film as Bathsheba leads her). The second reason is to demonstrate, contra to films like Turbo and Monsters University, that competition is bad: as Christine slowly finds two of her sisters, both refuse to clap and follow the rules of the game; why? Because they don't want to lose. According to the film, only winners prosper in a capitalist society, so don't let your children become capitalists or they will learn terrible habits like cheating so they can win. But let's find the "claps" the film promises us so it can lead us where it wants to go: under the house, the "foundation" of the country itself.
Annabell the doll in her "glass coffin" in the Warren's museum of possessed objects in their home: blue eyes and blond hair. Why is that important? We could say this is one of the "slips" the film makes. Annabell's "ideal beauty" is meant to be a caricature of the American Dream (the last image in this post below shows the real-life doll and compares to the studio version doll pictured here): what we think we believe ideal beauty to be in the doll, and what we think the features of our "dream" to be really become gross and exaggerated (just like the exaggerated masks worn by the killing party in The Purge). The slip is in the "Aryan features" the doll possesses and reminds us of the "ethnic cleansing" carried out by the socialists, the Nazis in Germany against Jews who were not of Aryan descent. The ethnic cleansing is characteristic of socialists, not capitalists, because socialists have to use techniques such as ethnic cleansing to gather supporters and unite them. Two other "slips" the film makes is in Bathsheba, played by Joseph  Bishara,... yes, that's right, a female character portrayed by a male actor and Sadie the dog is actually played by Dusty the dog. These might seem like minor details, however, they reveal the true agenda of socialists--not capitalists. Socialists want a world turned upside-down from how God created it: they want women to become men and men to become women. Consider Seneg from World War Z and The Lone Ranger's John Reid (Armie Hammer). Seneg has no personal identity and could easily be mistaken for a male; Armie Hammer's John Reid makes being a stretched-out pantie waist a virtue to intentionally undermine the masculinity of the hero, the Lone Ranger; why do this? Socialists have to undermine whatever party is all ready in power and control of a government--in the case of the US, the white male--and they do so by demoralizing him and trapping him in the exact opposite image of what he is, effeminate traits. Women, on the other hand, tend (not myself though) to want socialism because they feel they don't have power, so they do feel like they have power when they have become just like the former rulers they have helped to usurp, the men. The blond hair and blue eyes of the Aryan doll Annabell, and the cross-dressing of Bathsheba and trans-gendering the dog Sadie/Dusty, is the real-life application of socialist principles at work to turn America upside-down just as we see the film upside-down in various shots throughout the story (Christine looking over the edge of her bed, and Lorraine during Carolyn's exorcism). 
The opening story begins with a black screen and a woman saying, "When you hear it, you're going to think we're insane." This is a great implementation of literary devices, misleading the narration, because we in the audience think this is a reference to the Perron family we have seen in the trailer, but it's not, this is an entirely different case two female nurses relating to Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) their story about the doll, Annabell (pictured above). What the film wants to do in "throwing off the audience" in the narration device is to show us how easily we are mis-lead, so--as the film continues debunking capitalism--we have all ready been taught by the film to doubt ourselves and our ability to grasp what is happening and we will trust the film makers to tell us what we need to know instead of trying to figure it out for ourselves. Which leads us to the next device.
 The three stages of possession just happen to be the same as the three stages of socialist infiltration. This is a bit interesting: look at the hand-writing on the chalkboard; do we see that anywhere else in the film? Yes, it matches the handwriting on the note in red crayon, "MISS ME?" all caps and close to the same, equal sizing of the letters. Why? The force inhabiting the doll Annabell is basically the same force trying to inhabit us, the audience, and if we aren't smart enough to read the proverbial "Writing On the Wall" (the crayon markings all over the girls' room and the writing on the chalk board wall above) then we aren't fighting the "oppression" trying to take possession of us in the film, i.e., the film makers' message to us about what the film is discussing. One of the last images of the film is a quote from the real-life Ed Warren: the devil is real, God is real, the fairy tales are real. We are in a real battle for our souls with the forces of darkness, and I firmly believe that the real-life Ed Warren meant every word of it, but the film makers intend for us to take that quote a different way. Take the first scene when we meet the Warrens and someone in the audience asks them what they have been called and Lorraine replies, "We prefer to be known as Ed and Lorraine Warren." Why? There is a psychological sub-conflict in the film, a struggle between Ed and Lorraine, mostly on Lorraine's side that she's "more sensitive" to the supernatural than Ed; i.e., she's better. We get into this more below, when Lorraine sees the feet of Bathsheba dangling behind Ed's shoulders at the house, but we have to take Ed and Lorraine to be on par with, say Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. Both the spouses and the siblings make a livlihood at their talents and skills; like Gretel who is a "white witch," Lorraine has connections with the other, un-worldly world which gives her an edge over her husband the way one could say Gretel has an edge over her brother Hansel. Hansel and Gretel make a living at what they do and they are famous for it; Ed and Lorraine, keeping something of a low profile, are just going about their daily lives. They don't attach any kind of sensationalizing to what they do or who they are and they obviously don't make a lot of money, just enough. Why is this important? Because this is the way socialists want Americans to be: in the middle, average, a "C" grade, no one above anyone else in any way, shape, form or degree, in terms of money, skills or talents (no Tony Starks, in other words, only mediocrities). This introduces the two-fold conflict within Lorraine's mind: first, that she's better than Ed, and secondly, she's probably better than anyone else. It's not that Lorraine suffers from the sin of pride, however, the temptation to fall into pride is there, and one the devil/Bathsheba fully exploits. Lorraine (as a character in the film) always seems modest in her self-estimation, and the film makers like that about her character, however, we know she "saw something" during the Maurice exorcism and the film provides plenty of clues as to what that was exactly: Lorraine's own soul.
An "informed narrator" must be depended upon by an "un-informed audience," and the film makers know that American audiences generally know nothing about the principles of "being possessed," because we are no longer a religious nation, so they take advantage of that and fill in the gaps of our knowledge for us, and control the information we receive and how we apply it. Ed educates the two nurses--just as he is educating the audience in this scene and during all their lectures--that the doll Annabell doesn't really exist as a demonic entity, the doll is just a material conduit that demons use to get to us which they really want to possess. "Demons don't possess things, they possess people," but through the ability to possess things, the film makes clear--like the doll, the items in the Warren museum and the property the house is on--the demons come to possess people, so if you have things, you are a candidate for possession, and what good Christian wants to put themselves in that position? Get rid of your stuff, the film wants you to think. How does it do this?
Ed Warren checking the glass case on Annabell's coffin kept in the museum of haunted things in their house. In the introductory case, when we are first "introduced" to Annabell's history, the two nurses arrive at their apartment one night and find the doll in a different location than where they left here and a note written in crayon, "Miss Me?" Why does this happen? Because the film is asking you, the viewer, do you "miss" your things? If you threw away everything you had right now, would you miss your stuff? There are things that have sentimental value to us, which remind us of someone or some place or some time in our lives, and the film recognizes this in the photograph of the Perron's day at the coast and the locket Julie Warren gives to her mother to wear. What Annabell's note "Miss Me?" asks, have you put so much value on your objects that they are really subjects, a part of you (the "me" in the note), and doing away with your stuff is doing away with a part of your self? We all know that objects/possessions can control you, instead of you controlling your possessions, but--as is usually the case with socialism--they take an example and blow it up into the absolute fact, ignoring reality and the virtue of moderation, because they have to force a case against capitalism and in The Conjuring, they attack private property (which we have all ready seen in the novel World War Z by Max Brooks). How can I say this? When the doll has "returned" after being thrown away, the nurses find her in the closet, and it's in a cellar that the Perron's family conjures the witch Bathsheba. Closets and cellars are where Americans keep stuff, extra and excess stuff we aren't using, and that's where the ghosts and demons come from.
There are two types of objects in the film: regular, day-to-day objects, like the wardrobe in Andrea's bedroom, and religious objects--the Crucifixes Ed places around the Perron home, and statues in their museum of haunted things. Both types of objects are used as "devotionals" to capitalism: daily items we acquire to make life easier and more beautiful, while religious objects are obtained to remind us of God (because we can worship God in capitalism, but not in socialism).
This is the second or third night the family spends in the house and Roger fell asleep at his desk, being woken up by a noise and, of course, he follows it. What's important is, Roger was the first in the cellar--where Carolyn has so many difficulties--and he's in this stairwell--where all the pictures will fall from the wall when Carolyn is there. In other words, why do things happen to Carolyn (and the girls) and nothing happens to Roger? Men symbolize the active principle of the economy, as we know, and women symbolize the passive principle of the motherland (in this case, America); the economy doesn't have to be changed, the film argues, the whole purpose of America (symbolized by Carolyn) has to be changed, from the inside-out (and this has to do with a character only mentioned whom we shall discuss below with Bathsheba). For a bit of a genre analysis: in art, when a character is going up stairs, they are ascending to a higher plane of thought, tapping into their "highest ideals" or intellectual powers to grasp and understand; when a character descends, they descend into the dark emotions, the hidden and suppressed within the mind. When a character goes some place in a horror story we know they should not be going, it's because that character has no choice, they are compelled by their own being to go upstairs or down stairs, depending on how that character has lived their life and patterned their values and decisions. We will discuss this more in-depth below with Carolyn going into the cellar, but what a character always finds is a reflection of their very self. Case in point: when Officer Brad discovers the maid in the back of the house off the kitchen, he discovers a "servant" because he's a servant of the community himself; her visible self-inflicted suicide wounds reveal Brad's own thinking that staying at this house might be his own suicide (and he does get seriously hurt, more on that below).  Roger, however, doesn't find anything because he was just doing what Carolyn wanted in buying the house, so there is literally "nothing" that can be poorly reflected on him by the witch. Roger's sin, however, comes out when he discusses with Ed what to do with the family: I don't know anyone willing to take in a family of seven indefinitly. Roger's sin is that he had a bug family, requiring lots of resources and that family has become a burden (consider the population control in China meant to "solve" these very issues). In other words, big families are bad, and the film wants to make sure you know that so you don't have a big family.
Both types of objects can be mis-used: for example, Andrea wants her own room, and if Andrea didn't have stuff--like so many clothes requiring a wardrobe to put them all in--she wouldn't need her own room, she's selfish for wanting it (the film points this out with all the family moving to sleeping on the floor in the living room; yet this is the film's fourth slip, because--in spite of the this "communal arrangement" the film would advocates for naturally, it's at this point that Lorraine sees the demon has latched onto them). If you doubt this interpretation, the film offers us direct commentary as the family moves into the house.
How can a religious object be used for demonic possession? Or, rather, how can a inhuman spirit use a religious object as a conduit? If the object is being abused, and there are at least two ways to accomplish this. First, let's say someone has a Crucifix of Jesus and they worship the object. That is an abuse, the object is merely wood and paint, so even though it's a Christian theme, the wood and paint become an idol. Religious objects are meant to inspire devotion to God in heaven, the way photographs are meant to remind us of people/events we favor. The second way a religious object can be abused is by becoming a manifestation of religious pride: "I'm so devout, I have reminders of God in my environment but you don't." (There is a third way, but I am afraid I shan't be able to explain this well, so if you don't like this explanation, just skip it: having reminders of God can make you feel unworthy of His Love, which we are unworthy, but religious objects can be used to build up inner-guilt, rather than inner-piety, and that is the greatest abuse of all because a person can then become an addict--just like a drug addict--to performing penance and pious acts not motivated by love of God, but by an un-wholesome and unbalanced sense of guilt, which quickly leads to scrupulosity and self-hatred; those are the perfect breeding grounds for demonic possessions, because when this happens to a person, they fail in discernment, and invite an unholy presence into themselves because they can't distinguish the devil from the Holy Spirit, like Isaac not being able to discern Esau from Jacob). There is another way, however, that religious objects can be inhabited by evil spirits: it's when you actually believe in God. For socialists, of course, God doesn't exist, so if one has religious objects about them--for example, a statue of Mary reminding you of her obedience to God so you are obedient to God--that is evil to socialists because you are believing in something that doesn't exist (God) and devoting your energies to Him rather than the state.
There are three songs in the film: Sleepwalk, by Santo and Johnny (which reflects the "sleepwalking" of the little girl and most of the audience watching the film); The Room Where You Sleep by Ryan Gosling and Time Of the Season by The Zombies from 1968, which is the song playing after the family arrives at the house and the movers come to unload all there things (I think the film starts the song at 0:52):
"Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?" Well, there are three fathers mentioned in the film: God the Father (and the priest would be an extension of this), Roger Perron the father of the girls and Satan the "father" of Bathsheba and her sacrificed son. Why have this song playing when it isn't a "moving song" and doesn't fit the situation unless it does fit the situation? The "rich daddy" being referred to might be the "rich Founding Fathers" of the country who bequeathed the possibility of fulfilling our dreams to us, and the purchasing of this home is that dream for the Perrons; since, however, they can barely afford it, Roger has to go away to a trucking assignment that will take him away from the family for a week at a critical time, so the family has become a slave to their finances and, according to the film, have not only become slaves, but have become "possessed" by the house and property.
This is a perfect example of the film playing "Hide and Clap" with us the audience. April, the youngest girl, wants her mom to play the game with her, so Carolyn is blindfolded and looking for April upstairs. Carolyn follows the clapping (not April, though) into Andrea's room where the left-over wardrobe is. Inside the wardrobe, Bathsheba is hiding and Carolyn has her first, real direct contact with the spirit here; why? This wardrobe holds clothes, and what is Carolyn doing when Bathsheba leads her into the cellar and knocks her down the stairs? Carolyn was folding the clothes on her bed, so this interesting link of material goods we wear to Bathsheba's ability to possess us reveals our vanity and the role material objects contribute to our sense of self and self-worth. In two other important scenes in the film, Bathsheba crouches atop the wardrobe and attacks Andrea, knocking her to the floor, and then leads Cindy into a secret panel at the back and hides her there during a sleepwalking episode.
This is a common accusation against capitalism, but neither socialism nor the film treats the cancer--that human beings tend to be selfish--it just treats the symptom, greed: remove all objects not absolutely necessary for survival, and the situation--Andrea's bratiness at wanting her own room--will be rectified (but there is still the inner-greed that socialism cannot solve even though it wants us to believe it can). Socialists, however, have an answer for this,... which leads us to Rory.
Lorraine in Rory's secret hiding place (like Charlie's hiding spot in The Purge). Why does Lorraine find "an empty noose" and Bathsheba hung herself? The neck symbolizes what leads us, what has a leash on us and how we are guided by external things (instead of ideals or emotions). Rory's mom, Mrs. Walker, is a big woman, and that--along with her last name--is all re really need to know about her to understand why she could kill her son and then hang herself: Mrs. Walker indulged her appetites, her large size attests to that, but it's not just food she indulged in, but all her appetites. Why? "Walker" was a profession in the UK for processing wool: poorly paid employees would "walk" on the wool to mesh it together so it could become yarn and usable; "Walker" is an example of when a person's profession became their name (like "Mason" and "Baker"; more on this below when we talk about Bathsheba) so this family had risen in class stature from being "walkers" in the UK to being Walkers in America and having an identity and being property owners. Mrs. Walker, like Carolyn Perron, probably wanted the house and so Mr. Walker had to work harder and be gone all the time just like Roger Perron having to take long jobs away from the family, and that's what "killed" Rory, Mrs. Walker's appetite for the house; how can we say this? Look at the locket around Lorraine's neck: Julie gave that to her because Julie missed mom and dad because they were always working and this is a common accusation films have been making against capitalism, that it destroys the family because the parents have to work so hard to support themselves (we saw this in Argo and the point acknowledged but countered in A Good Day to Die Hard).  Being absent from Julie almost gets Julie killed; why? Lorraine puts emphasis on doing her job rather than being with her daughter. Now, the point is, the socialists will say something like this to make capitalists feel bad, however, they really believe that children belong to the state and parents inherently are capable of raising children because the state can make better decisions for the children's futures (to benefit the state). On a slightly different note, we can ask, why did Bathsheba get the maid to kill herself? The maid was on the property because her employers owned more house and property than what they could care for and keep up themselves, so they had to pay the maid to help them; the maid had killed herself--not by hanging, rather--by slitting her wrists, because she didn't need her hands because she would never be able to "reach" for the things she wanted she was dependent upon her employers for "hand outs."
"Look what she made me do," is not only a line echoed from last year's film The Woman In Black, but a foundational element in Marxist philosophy: people under capitalism do not have free will (which we have all ready discussed in Skyfall). Rory's mom kills her son; why? Because she didn't have the free will to not kill her son, she wasn't strong enough to resist, like Carolyn getting the bruises, she's not strong enough and healthy enough to have turned down the house for the sake of  her family; she was greedy. Mrs. Walker gave Rory a taste for material things like her own taste for material things (her owning the house) and we see this in Rory being made present through the material object of the music box because it was a toy he valued just as his mother and Carolyn valued the house. We see this today: parents give their kids things instead of love so kids learn to love things and not love love and people. Now that we have established the role of objects and possessions in the film, we can ask the most important question: Who was Bathsheba?
When you play the music and the music stops, Rory will appear standing behind you; why? "Behind" symbolizes history, or hindsight, and in hindsight, we can see things perfectly. In Margin Call, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) said of his collapsing business, "The music has stopped," and in The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep) music starts when economic prosperity has come.  When our music stopped, in 2008, we looked back and saw the consequences of how we were living and the fatalities--like our families; whenever there is an economic downturn, we look back and realize the damage our behavior has caused. Normally, we look into mirrors to see ourselves, but Lorraine looks into it to see someone else. Please note the ruffles on her shirt like the ruffles on the bottom of Bathsheba's night gown. This is the perfect example of how the film tries to subltly undermine the "gift" Lorraine has. We only see Rory through Lorraine's eyes, and we only see his mom through Lorraine's eyes, and the "dark entity (Bathsheba) through Lorraine's eyes, so, it sucks to have a gift like Lorraine, much better, for example, to work in a factory where you don't have to be burdened by the call to greatness or do a service to others because you are their only hope; it's awful to have a special talent, much better to be a normal, average person who doesn't get put in awful situations like this.
The only thing we know is Bathsheba's ancestor was Mary Towne Easty who was accused of being a witch during the Salem witch trials; earlier in this post, when we discussed the film filling in the gaps of what we know, this is the perfect example of "filling in the gaps." We know Mrs. Easty was not guilty of witchcraft, but wrongfully accused; so how does the film makers connect a real witch (Bathsheba) with someone who was only accused of witchcraft? Because, to the film makers, Mary Towne Easty was a witch.
 Why April and Christine? Because they are the two who haven't "succumbed" to capitalism all ready (Andrea is selfish and we saw the others cheating at the game, and Carolyn not correcting them but allowing them to cheat their sister, so the other girls are all ready as possessed as their mother, though it's not so obvious; the girl who gets her hair cut? That's to cure her of her vanity--you might remember what happened in Jane Eyre to the girl with the beautiful hair--and her being pulled around the room by it actually acts as an umbilical cord Lorraine "severs" when she cuts the hair with the scissors). April and Christine are still "pure" and untainted by the disasters of capitalism, so they can be converted to a socialist revolution--not having anything, they have nothing to lose when the government takes it all for itself. In a like vein, we saw this with Carol Ann in Poltergeist: the mother got pregnant with their first child when they were just in high school, and her early promiscuity had all ready influenced their oldest daughter, who never experiences any of the hauntings or super natural traumas the rest of the family does because the oldest daughter is all ready "lost" to darkness in practicing sexual situations (she shows up with a huge hickie on her neck) but Carol Ann (like Feebie in Monster Squad) is "a virgin, and can be saved from making the mistakes her mother made (we can even argue that in Mama, the rich aunt who is possessed and driving the girls back to the cabin is like Bathsheba in wanting her neices to be rich capitalists like her, not a rock-n-roll socialist like Jessica Chastain's Annabell--no relation to the Annabell in The Conjuring). In The Conjuring, April and Christine can be saved from wanting a big house like their mother, but Bathsheba compelling Carolyn to "sacrifice" her two girls is basically, to a socialist, sacrificing her children to the American Dream of making something of themselves and having what they want in life.
Mary and her husband were both born in England and their families immigrated to America in the mid-1600s like so many poorer families fleeing the rigid social/economic structure, wanting both religious and economic freedom and a chance to make their own futures where they could choose what they wanted to do rather than be stuck in a pre-determined job/status (Man Of Steel argues against this, too). This is what makes Mary Towne Easty a witch to the film makers: they fled government control in England to be in control of their own lives in America and gain their own economic prosperity. Because Bathsheba was a property owner, she was a witch, and because she was a witch, she was married to Satan. Now, what God-fearing Christian wants to be aligned with that kind of condemnation?
Why does Bathsheba "open doors?" Normally, "open doors" has a positive connotation, unless you are in a haunted house. In capitalism, doors are always opening, doors for advancement and economic prosperity, greater freedom and opportunities, which is one of the reasons why Carolyn must go through the door Bathsheba has opened, it's a chance for something better, just like Mary Towne Eastey and her family coming to America, and the Perrons having the "door open" when the bank sold the house cheap enough they could afford it.
Better give up all your possessions so you don't marry the devil! None of this makes sense to a Christian like myself, but demonstrates one way our religion is being used against us: to try and turn our principles against themselves and make us give to the state what does not belong to the state the way it belongs to God. Lorraine explains to Carolyn that Bathsheba sacrificed her child to Satan as the ultimate slap in the face of God because a child is God's greatest gift; I agree with that and accept it. However, what is being left out is that--in a socialist system like China's--the child is a gift from the state who decides who can and cannot breed and when and how often and that child is then given up to the will of the state because the state becomes God, not God Himself. Socialism, to me, is satanism, not capitalism, but this is the film's agenda we are examining.
This scene is the "interview" Carolyn gives Ed which Bathsheba will erase later; why? Because Carolyn has "erased" her identity (according to the film) because socialists--like all those in China--are much more individualistic and fulfilled than people like Carolyn who are nothing but "baby-making machines." What does Carolyn want to do their first night in the house? Christen it with Roger and the next morning she has a bruise on her leg, the first bruise. Carolyn, a stay-at-home mom, has no personal ambition because she has given birth to so many children and does nothing but serve them all day (that's why the second bruise appears on her back, which symbolizes our burdens and the load we carry). I, of course, completely disagree with this, but socialists don't want women who take care of their families, they want women to be out in the workforce so the can pay taxes to the state. Staying at home, Carolyn has become a woman of appetites, and she is more concerned about her family living well than the welfare of the state, hence why this conversation takes place in the kitchen, the room more than any other in a home representing our appetites because this is where we eat and Bathsheba enters Carolyn through the mouth.  Exactly where Carolyn sits is where April will be "buried" beneath the house, awaiting sacrifice to Satan.
Why did Bathsheba sacrifice her son at 7 days old? Because it would be certain the child would live at that point and could inherit the property, thereby confirming that he would become an "evil property owner" just like Bathsheba and he would hire maids and acquire wealth and worldly possessions for himself and make for himself the kind of life Mary Towne Easty's family would have dreamed for him; that's why he was "sacrificed to the devil," according to a socialist view. (I would like to interject that owning a home was the foundation of the American Dream, as described in this article about a recent poll examing our confidence in the American Dream). Now let's move into two aspects of next topic: horror genre techniques, or Why does Carolyn go into the basement? And, What did Lorraine see during the exorcism?
Why did Bathsheba hang herself? Because that's what Judas Iscariot did who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas was evil because he "made money," but Jesus--to a socialist--was good because He didn't have anything ("good" as in human terms but not Good as in being God). So, Christians should "be more like Jesus" and give up all their property and lives OR ELSE they are like the evil Judas who made money and died as the evil apostle. Hanging herself at 3:07 am was the opposite of Christ hanging Himself on the Cross (allowing Himself to be Crucified) and dying at 3:00pm because that is the great Hour of Mercy, so 3:00am is the Hour Of Damnation. Whereas Christ seeks to confirm us in the 7 virtues, Satan seeks to confirm us in the 7 deadly sins, and Bathsheba excelled at that. Why is she named after the biblical character? Because, like Mrs. Walker, Bathsheba of the bible was a "social climber," who married the soldier Uriah but took up with King David and later became queen. Her name can be translated to mean "daughter of wealth" and Bathsheba securing the kingly succession for her son Solomon earned him wealth and privilege he would not have had otherwise, which, of course, is a grave, grave sin to socialists (the only sin they acknowledge, actually, is wealth). On a different note, the tree we see closely resembles Tim Burton's favorite tree, used as the Tree of the Dead in the 1999 film with Johnny Depp, Sleepy Hollow and the tree Alice falls down the rabbit hole in  Burton's and Depp's Alice in Wonderland. Why is this important? Because, one, it validates seeing the shadow on Lorraine's face from the music box as a reference to Nightmare Before Christmas to summon the "specter" of socialist Tim Burton, but--as we shall discuss further on--it creates a history of film supposedly supporting what The Conjuring wants to say.
In every horror film, a character has to go into the basement or up the stairs where the monster/killer is; why? Because something in that character's behavior has determined they are going to get it, but the horror universe is a just universe, and the death of the character (or, if they live, at least their struggle) is justified by film makers in some way so you know they deserved to die/struggle, even if you have to look for the "immoral behavior" they engaged in (and morality is the film makers' morality not necessarily yours and mine). So, when Carolyn becomes possessed, the truth is, she was all ready possessed and she was all ready "Bathsheba," (now that we know who the film makers consider Bathsheba to be, the "daughter of wealth") so, when Carolyn hears something in the cellar, she has to look and see because she has no other choice: it's her deepest, darkest self calling out to her from her own soul and she has to acknowledge it.
In the scene above, after Bathsheba claps, Carolyn has a violent fall down the stairs and crashes into the piano, getting locked in the cellar. The fall signifies The Fall, Carolyn has given into her basest appetites (according to the film) her desire for a farmhouse of the family's own (to me, this is ridiculous, but to a socialist, again, this is a sin because it's a sign of greed). Why does Bathsheba possess the mother? Normally, we could say an attack on Carolyn like this is a "War On Women," but it's okay to attack stay-at-home moms like Carolyn Perron because liberal women hate stay-at-home-moms, so stay-at-home-moms have no social nor political rights unless they are granted to them by the liberals. Now that we have that out of the way, the reason liberals hate women like Carolyn is because she's a "clone."
According to this scene when Carolyn has been fully possessed by Bathsheba, even the other characters know Carolyn doesn't have any will or personality of her own because--in putting this white sheet over her--they acknowledge that Carolyn has been "erased," just like her interview on the tape recorder. This fits in with the larger picture of the film because, in wanting to have their own, big home, Carolyn has lost her individuality (I disagree with this). According to socialists, people in a capitalist society--as we saw in Cloud Atlas--have no individuality because they have no will; why not? Because we are totally dominated by advertising; that's right. If an ad comes on TV, you don't have any choice, you have to go out and buy whatever it was you just saw, because you have no being, you are a clone; if the country goes socialist, they argue, you then become a human being because those choices and options enslaving you to companies and materialism are removed and you are no longer oppressed by advertisers. Again, I don't believe this but socialists do. 
When Carolyn walks through the house and first hears noises in the cellar, she hears the exact same notes played on the piano that she had played when her and Roger were first down there, then the ball she had tossed Roger is tossed back at her; why? Because all capitalists are alike, the film argues, you all do the same things; if one capitalist does something, you are all going to follow like sheep and do the same thing, just like Bathsheba impersonating Carolyn; if you want to have individuality and personality, you have to be a socialist where your singularity can thrive as you work for the government and take their orders; then you are living, then you have something to be proud of, they argue. It's not just Carolyn, however, but what Carolyn and Bathsheba symbolize: the motherland, America, that America is a land of clones and people lacking character because we are capitalists and we want to have a nice home to live in. When Carolyn "reaches rock bottom" in falling down in the cellar, then the full truth of what she is--the witch Bathsheba who worships the devil--can "consume her" so she can fight it and be cleansed of her terrible appetites and be ready to become a socialist.
This is a very un-natural scene, and I needed some time to reflect upon it because it really goes against our understanding of "the family." The reason little Julie sees Bathsheba in her mother's place and Annabell in her own place (on her mother's lap) is because the film makers are punishing Julie for wanting to be with her mom. That's right, and she's being punished for wanting the doll Annabell to play with. Please recall, when Ed shows the reporter his museum of haunted objects, Julie sneeks in and looks at Annabell; Julie isn't old enough to really understand what happened to the doll or what evil is, Julie is attracted to the doll because it's an object, a potential toy for her to play with, just like April finding Rory's music box and playing with it. Just as the film makers punish Carolyn for wanting a big house, so they punish Julie for wanting the doll: you are what you desire, they tell us, so Julie wants the doll, she has become the doll. Consider, if you will, what Julie says when she gives her mom the locket: you will always be with me and I will always be with you. Socialists hate that, because children belong to the state, not their parents, and parents don't belong to children, the parents belong to the sate. Julie is selfish for missing her parents and wishing they were with her, likewise, Lorraine is selfish--like Bathsheba who occupies her place in the rocking chair--for believing that Julie is "her" daughter and wanting to be with Julie instead of doing her duty. These concepts are "for the greater good" a socialist would argue, and anyone promoting the counter-ideals of family and unity, are selfish capitalists. Catch, if you will, the super-fine line drawn between the state taking the parents/children away from each other, and Roger being called away for a week and not being with the family to protect them: capitalism is bad, a socialist argues, because the parents are always working to provide for the (appetites) of the family; socialism is good because when the parents are away, it's for the greater good of working for the state. To prove this, recall the lockets with their pictures in it: lockets are worn around the neck, and the neck symbolizes what leads/guides us in life. The desire to be with each other--which Julie tells her mom is the purpose of the lockets, so they will always be together--is the same conduit of Bathsheba's position/terrorizing of Julie and Lorraine. Why does April give Lorraine the locket back at the end? Because the film knows Americans aren't ready for this kind of superior world-view.
Now, a question sure to aggravate all film-goers: what did Lorraine see during the exorcism of Maurice? Herself. Nothing terrifies us more than seeing ourselves as we truly are; the problem is, the devil doesn't show us the balanced self, only the guilty, sinful self devoid of God's Grace and Love, which is what horrified Lorraine so much. Don't believe me? Well, please note the image above; when we first see Lorraine Warren in the film, she sits in that rocker holding Julie (who is in the extreme foreground, back to us, in the image above) just as Bathsheba holds Annabell, with the yellow hairbrush in her hand, exactly the same. Facing the bookcase, there is the hint that "knowledge" is involved (the books) and we can see how clearly this scene reflects badly on Lorraine as an absent mother treating her own child like a doll to be put away and taken out when convenient, not a human being who needs her presence. 
There are two points to make about this image: first, the feet. We know the feet symbolize the will power, because our feet take us where we will to go. Bathsheba's feet are black and gnarly, indicating her state of sinfulness, decomposition and general rotten nature (she did for herself, rather than the state). Secondly, on an entirely different note, the woman being "above" Ed suggests that, once again, Lorraine is seeing herself as the devil wants Lorraine to see herself: that Lorraine is "putting herself above her husband" and out "on a limb" (remember, it was Lorraine who said they would come to the house, not Ed, and Lorraine has the stronger gift, not Ed); Ed not being able to see "what Lorraine sees," suggest that Ed doesn't see how important Lorraine is, like when he told her to write that book (Lorraine doesn't want to write the book, but be working on cases). Please note how Ed is dressed in business attire, but Bathsheba is in a night gown, the ruffles on the bottom reflecting the ruffles on the shirt Lorraine wears during this scene (the lavender shirt with the neck ruffles). Whereas a white male (the dominant power holder in American society) can make a living as a demonologist, a woman cannot because to be that talented would be "suicide" because no one would take her seriously or with authority, only the male, the woman's place being "at home," in the background (like the house itself) and wearing a house dress, not professional clothing. Bathsheba has "attacked" Lorraine in this scene and shows Lorraine her deepest soul, what Lorraine herself has done with her husband (even though they act like such a team, Lorraine has a hidden sense of pride Bathsheba is able to touch upon because, as a symbol of capitalism the film makers argue, capitalists are vain and greedy and want to get rich for anything they can do better than others, like Lorraine's gift).
Ed reveals that after Maurice's exorcism, Lorraine locked herself up for 8 days and didn't eat; that's good, because it means Lorraine was fasting and fighting a spiritual battle to overcome the temptation of what the devil showed her, her "evil self." There are two great examples of this happening in exorcisms from two other films: The Exorcist, when Father Damien is tormented by the devil with personal shortcomings regarding his mother, and The Devil Inside when Fathers David and Ben are reminded of their personal sins by the devil. The only reason a person has power over Satan in a exorcism is because that power is invested in them by the Church (we will discuss this in a moment); Father Damien realizes this in The Exorcist and knows it's not her personal self-worth that will secure the victory, however, Frs. Ben and David are in a state of sin in conducting exorcisms without the Church's approval so they lack that power and authority and cannot counter the devil's personal attack. Lorraine had Church backing in Maurice's exorcism and that humility (discussed in a moment) is what shielded her from a harsher attack, but she also sought out the Lord and with Grace was able to defeat the devil's temptation to despair and became even stronger as a result. So, what about the exorcism on Carolyn?
Why is it so bad that Ed performs the exorcism? Just as Lorraine has a hidden sense of pride, so too does Ed, that he knows stuff others don't, and this is the very reason not just anyone is authorized/can perform an exorcism. During an exorcism, as we have seen in both The Exorcist and The Devil Inside, the primary line of defense the possessing demon takes is to show the exorcist how sinful they themselves are, making the exorcist believe they themselves are in league with the devil because of their sins and distracting them away from the possessed person, and towards their own, personal sins. This is the great divide in a botched exorcism and a successful exorcism: the exorcist knows they power they are calling upon does not come from their own personal merit (because none of us have any personal merit, our merit comes alone from Jesus Christ) but through the authority Jesus granted to Peter and His Church which has been passed down; when the Vatican approves an exorcism to be performed, it's agreeing to extend the authority invested in Her by Christ to that person, in that situation, for Christ's Glory to be manifested through the spiritual struggle the exorcist agrees to undergo (the exorcist goes through a kind of Passion for the possessed person, in the struggles with the devil, as Christ did during His Passion for all mankind). So it's not the prayers, it's not the Latin, it's not Ed Warren's personal strength or integrity that is going to really cleanse Carolyn Perron, but the film wants us to believe that it is because we, like Ed, are supposedly to "purge" America of the Bathsheba spirit haunting anyone like myself who still believes that it's an American Dream, not the American nightmare.
There are two fatal flaws the film makes, so we know it's not really religious: first, a demon can only take possession of a person if they are invited in by the person; the film knows this because Bathsheba invited Satan in; Carolyn Perron, however, does NOT invite Bathsheba to take possession of her, the way, for example, April could be said to invite Rory to play with her in communicating with him (this point is validated by the film itself when the two nurses "let Annabell" move into the doll, Church teaching, The Exorcist and The Devil Inside). Secondly, Ed Warren, although not ordained to do so, performs an exorcism, and this is a big slip the film makers make (we are not talking about the real-life Ed Warren and what may or may not have happened, rather, a volatile situation the film intentionally constructs to lead us where it wants us to go, just like the little girl sleepwalking in the film) because, again, it reveals it really isn't interested in religion, but of making a point; so what point is that?
 We can definitely say that, just like Carol Ann being sucked into the closet in Poltergeist, Carolyn is sucked into the unknown cellar of the house she wanted to "possess." If we accept that, in wanting to possess the house, Carolyn then was possessed by Bathsheba, the film is not in a state of contradiction because Carolyn goes into the house first which is like "inviting herself into" Bathsheba's, so a reversal--in a way--of a person inviting a demon in, or the two nurses mentioned earlier who let the demon move into Annabell the doll, Bathsheba lets Carolyn move in.
Just as Ed takes it upon himself to perform an exorcism he isn't authorized to do, Fathers Ben and David did the same in The Devil Inside and they end up dying for it. This isn't a real exorcism The Conjuring is talking about, rather, because it's the memory of that day at the coast that "saves Carolyn's soul" by giving her a reason to fight the daughter of wealth Bathsheba, not the prayers of the Church or the sacrifice of the priest (like Father Damien in The Exorcist) but a family moment shared, not owned, and not involving possessions or houses, but just being together. To substantiate this, the children not being baptized is mentioned at least two times (maybe three) but there is never an actual move to get it done (even though they could have performed the baptism there at the house, any baptized person is authorized to baptize another person--with guidelines--but they don't do this because the film doesn't believe baptizing is important, rather, exorcising the "daughter of wealth" is what is going to save Carolyn).
Why is all this taking place under the house? Because then, it's taking place on American soil, the "motherland itself, upon which the "cursed house" of the American Dream fulfilled was built. Again, Carolyn is in the place below the floorboards where she had sat in the kitchen earlier giving her interview to Ed that got erased and this is where the assisstant Drew finds April, like Carol Ann being sucked into the void in Poltergeist, April is sucker--ed into the "American Dream."
Why do it this way?
The film calls for an exorcism of America in general, what Carolyn symbolizes, because socialism can't exist in a country where the American Dream is alive and healthy and people think they can fulfill their dreams, like having their own home all to their self. The Vatican would never authorize a socialist revolution (an "exorcism" on the national scale) because of all the devastation socialism brings to a country (while Pope Francis is right in condemning what he addressed as "savage capitalism," that doesn't mean he would support a socialist regime). Ed doing an "exorcism" without Church authority, and the film leading us to think that it works, leads us to think we should perform an "exorcism" of our own because, after the fact, the Vatican will approve it (because socialists are so certain they are right, they are certain it will turn out glorious so it should be done). That is the sole reason why they get the call afterwards that the Vatican has approved the measure. 
Two little side notes: why does Ed not believe in vampires? Because vampires are the exact opposite of Jesus Christ (we have discussed this previously in October 2011 with Dracula). When Carolyn-as-Bathsheba bites Brad on the neck/face, and holds on, that's an act of "vampirism" and conjuring our knowledge of the parlance of vampires lately, we know socialists have used that as a descriptive term for capitalists "sucking the life" out of their employees. It would appear that this doesn't apply to Carolyn, since she's not an employer, however, Brad is a public servant and has to be there to help them, so she "employs" him in some way, that's why he's "bitten" and no one else is.
What about the old Chevy?
One of several examples of something being "upside-down" in film and because the film makers believe something is upside-down in America and they want to make it "right-side-up."
The Chevy doesn't run, but Ed decides to tinker with it anyway. This might end up being important when discussing Thor the Dark World in September--just a hunch--but just because the Chevy is broke, Ed is going to fix it anyway, just like the government stepped in and bailed out Chevy with the loan program, a supreme act of socialism in using public money to fix a industry rather than let the natural forces of the market drive improvement and change from within. This is one of the tell-tale signs of where the film makers' intentions lie. Lastly, what about all the films The Conjuring invokes?
On the left is the real doll in the Warren museum, illustrating the dramatic make-over by the studio for their doll, so you have to ask, what prompted such dramatic changes from the original doll and why did they decide on these features?
When Skyfall came out, it seemed there was a reference to all the most important Bond films; why? To establish a continuous history between Bond then and Bond now, that Bond still means and fights for the same things. The Conjuring, by using instances from The Birds, Mary Poppins (the wind changing), The Exorcist, The Woman In Black, etc., wants to create a sense of "community" with other films that it believes all supports the same thesis it advances, thereby giving itself authority and a sense of popularity and cohesion with the past.
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