Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Like Your Doll: Annabelle & the Charles Manson Family

As always, this post contains all the spoilers: WARNING: if you DO NOT want to know what happens in the film, do NOT read below this first paragraph. The film is perhaps the most anti-socialist film apart from the Marvel studio works that we have seen, and it is creepy-scary! You do not know what is going to happen next and the ending is probably the most controversial ending we have seen in a long time and we will discuss it in-depth. It is as good as The Conjuring, however, it is the political opposite of The Conjuring. These film makers knew what they were doing. So, you have been warned. As you read, remember the most important lesson about the horror genre: no genre of art has a more strict and rigid moral system than the universe of a horror film.
As you may or may not know, the real Annabelle doll looks more like Raggity Ann than the doll pictured above; that's important because it demonstrates the dramatic difference the makers of The Conjuring (where the doll first appeared) wanted the doll to make symbolically, and choose features that would communicate that, rather than those of the Raggity Ann doll. So, what do we have? Blond hair, blue eyes, white skin and rosy cheeks: we have--even though she might not look like it--an Aryan specimen.  For The Conjuring, Annabelle is an accusation against capitalism of unfair standards of perfect beauty, and how anyone not meeting this standards (all minority groups who don't have white skin) are excluded from political power. It was the socialists, however, who performed ethnic cleansing by killing all the non-Aryans, especially the Jews, and we can see this antisemitism still alive today in Liberals and their support of ISIS, or, as they prefer to call it, ISIL, meaning the state of Israel never even existed. In giving us the doll before she became associated with Annabelle Higgins, the makers of Annabelle create an entirely different meaning for her, especially with the wedding dress the doll wears, and that is explored below. 
As regular readers know, I went into Annabelle fully expecting it to be a pro-socialist film like The Conjuring: in The Conjuring, the mother is possessed because she wanted to possess the house (the same with Bathsheba and Rory's mother); even though the house was expensive for them, they were going to get their slice of the American Dream on this beautiful property that was, I don't think by anyone's standards, lavish, just nice and most importantly, it was theirs (for full details, please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring Demonic "Possessions"). Given that, and Annabelle the doll is a material possession, I fully expected Annabelle to be another socialist articulation about how greedy and selfish anyone is who wants something. While the film intentionally constructs that path, it doesn't go down it.
There are three important traits of the horror genre: first, it is the most morally rigid genre there is, meaning, that the values and virtues of the world created in a horror film are absolute: either a person is good, or they are bad, and even the slightest sin can get you killed. Secondly, horror films usually revolve around women. Women are more mysterious than men, and a horror film, usually in some way, deals with the soul, and the soul is usually portrayed as being feminine because Jesus talks about wedding the soul to Himself. The third important trait of horror films is their rampant tendency to quote other horror films, and Annabelle is no exception. There are several visual and situational references to The Conjuring, as we would expect, as well as last year's Evil Dead (the book Mia gets to look at), Oculus which came out earlier this year, maybe Chucky (I haven't seen any of those, however, other reviewers all agree this is superior to Chucky), and any psychological thriller; why? They have to build up a vocabulary of triggers to scare the audience and means of instilling fear, so they all draw from the same pool of techniques and devices. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, rather, it shows the inter-connectivity of the film makers with other films and how they themselves are influenced by what they have seen and what has been financially successful.
The two young nurses from The Conjuring, who open the film talking about the Annabelle doll to Ed and Lorraine Warren, and discuss how they felt bad for the spirit who had lost her parents wanted to live in the doll with them, so they let it, and how it began haunting them, open Annabelle, too. This is one of many ties Annabelle intentionally reminds the viewer about, so we will be comparing the two films in our minds, and that's how we know which side Annabelle chooses. Then the film takes us to Santa Monica, one year earlier, before the girls got the doll. The film book-ends (opens and closes) with these two related scenes and, by the end of the film, we know what the doll symbolizes so we know what commentary the film is offering.
John comments that the doll was expensive and they may be a bit short on the rent for the next couple of months; why? The doll is a symbol of Mia's virginity. The doll wears a wedding dress, something that tends to get lost in discussion about her. The white symbolizes her purity, and the red sash with flower is her virginity, the "de-flowering" that takes place on the wedding night (more on this below). The doll is valuable to Mia, and she wants it for their child, because the doll was her own role model when growing up, that is why it was expensive and may come up a bit short for the rent: virginity is expensive to maintain because of the "sacrifices" one has to make to protect it. The "rent" is the renting of the physical body because these bodies do not belong to us, they belong to God, so "coming up short on the rent" means they are going to have trials and difficulties that will make it to where they do not want to praise God, but be in debt to Him (when they are having difficulty with things, they go and see the priest). There is another way in which Mia's virginity is conveyed through the film, and that is her sewing machine. From the very first time we see Mia on the sewing machine, we are certain she is going to get her finger stabbed by the needle, but she doesn't, until just before the popcorn explodes and the house catches fire. The needle is a phallic symbol, and when it does puncture Mia's finger, the blood comes forth, as in the story of Sleeping Beauty when she pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel (symbolic for losing her virginity, the breaking of the hymen and the blood that results). When that happens, it's a "second virginity" for Mia that she's giving up because now she has become married to the Lord, having survived the first set of hardships and difficulties, she will now be given even more difficult burdens so she can be perfected. Leading up to that, however, Mia is--as all good Christians should--making her "wedding garment" as in Matthew 22:12. The wedding garment is a metaphor for the soul that is to be wedded to Christ after death (think of the Song of Songs, and all the wedding imagery in that, this is the same thing). We see Mia sewing several times, but not what she is sewing, and that is because it's a metaphor for the mystical changes taking place in her soul. On a tangible level, however, we can see the sewing machine as being a sign of a traditional female skill, and a sign of her ability with traditional crafts; how many women do you know today who can sew? Besides some of my aunts who are all 50+ years old, I don't know anyone who can do more than sew a button, so we are seeing a task that Mia was obviously good at, and suited for 1970, but a task today that women would see as being a sign of a woman's oppression by her husband, like John's joke about "setting up your own sweat shop." This is another intersection of the film between Annabelle's significance in today's world--a feminist and liberal--attacking a woman like Mia, a traditional woman who chooses and wants everything a "liberated" woman like Annabelle rejects and despises.
This is what I thought was going to happen in the film: the two neighbors (the Higgins), I had erroneously read, were "Satanists" who would prove to be psychoanalytic doubles for Mia and John (the main characters), meaning that, all Americans in Mia and John's position, and all Catholics (Mia and John are and I am Catholic; we are used to getting demonized in films and culture) are evil and need to be done away with; again, the film opens this possibility, but only so it can show us that it's not going to go down that road (rather like the Tommy Lee Jones film Emperor and American "imperialism). What happened to the Higgins, would prove to be Mia and John in a "caricatured" form, but, ultimately, Mia and John would prove to be Satanists themselves in one way or another.
I was wrong.
Father Perez appears in the church at both Santa Monica and Pasadena; why? At first, it appears to either be a really cheap budget (they couldn't afford to pay another actor to be a priest at the Santa Monica location) or a regrettable oversight, but I think there is a better reason that Catholics will understand: the Church is the same every where. Individual priests vary, but Father Perez is a symbol of the Church, not an individual priest or exorcist. An exorcism does not take place in the film, why not? This is a spiritual battle between Mia and herself, not even Mia and the devil, so there is no need for an exorcism. The devil, unless he is invited in by the person (like what Annabelle does in making herself his bride) is not able to enter into a person, but he is allowed to harass us from without; why? To make us aware of his presence and to make us stronger and wiser so we not only know the right path to take in life, but why this is the right path to take.
We meet the Higgins, John and Mia first during a Church service, during which, Mia and John are thumb wrestling instead of paying attention to the sermon (which of course looks bad) and, up to the very end, makes it look as if Mia is going to lose the upcoming battle. We find out the Higgins had "lost" their daughter Annabelle a year ago when she ran away and joined a hippie group and they hadn't hear from her since. Later this same day, Mia sits at her sewing machine (the first of several times we see her there) and watches TV: what's on the television? The story of Charles Manson and his cult.
This is not actually Father Perez: the real Father Perez is in a hospital after having been attacked by Annabelle in front of the Church. Mia hears a loud knocking on her door, she looks through the peep hole and believes she is looking at the back of Father Perez, as he stands at the door with his back to her. When she opens the door, we the audience see his face, looking like this, then hear him say in a loud voice, "May God have mercy on your soul!" which is something Father Perez heard on his car radio as he was driving back to the Church. What is going on in this scene? Scripture from Revelation 3:20: "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." But this is the devil knocking, not Jesus, you might point out; well, the devil can't do anything unless God allows it, which is why the devil is taking the form of Father Perez in this scene: sometimes bad things (the devil) appear to be good for us (Father Perez, a priest); sometimes bad things (trials with the devil) are actually good for us ("May God have mercy on your soul"). Why does the devil say, "May God have mercy on your soul?" Mainly as a scare tactic against Mia, to make her think she is separated from God and God might not have mercy on her, so she had better be prepared to go to hell. Now, the only time we actually hear Mia say "God" or make anything like a prayer is when, towards the end, she can't find Mia and she found the Annabelle doll in Lea's crib and bashed the doll against the crib and threw it, then was deceived into thinking she had actually been beating Lea (we will discuss this below), and when Mia thinks she did this, she cries out, "God, God," and it's because of this cry for God's help, the heart being moved by the Holy Spirit, that John is able to catch her before she attempts to jump out the window with the doll to give her soul to the devil so Lea will be safe. 
This is perhaps the most important moment of the film in determining which way it's going to go. In bringing up Manson and "the Family," a family that was anything but, Annabelle draws attention to another film it's invoking: Martha Marcy May Marlene starring Elizabeth Olsen. Not having known enough about the Manson murders to have successfully linked up the Olsen film to Manson, it's clear now that it was recreating Manson and his "commune" of family members and directly linking Manson to Obama and his "cult" of followers. Annabelle takes great pains to connect the characters of its story to the horrible story of Charles Manson; how?
Evelyn is a great character in the story line. I have to admit that, while I was still suspecting a pro-socialist film, I was suspicious that both her and Father Perez were part of a cult working to get Mia to kill herself, but in fact, Evelyn is just a wonderful neighbor. Evelyn owns the bookstore in the background and, as Mia comes to her for help in understanding what is happening, we learn that Evelyn had a daughter named Ruby who died in a car crash she caused. So distraught at having lost her daughter, Evelyn slit her wrist to try and kill herself, but Evelyn told Mia that she heard Ruby's voice tell her that this wasn't her time and God was saving her for something. Evelyn, like Sharon Higgins, is a wonderful example of "motherhood" and mothers wanting to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the child, instead of the child being sacrificed in abortion for the sake of the mother, or father. At one part in the beginning, Mia and John are talking, and Mia expresses concern over something happening during the delivery and making John promise to choose the baby's life over her life and, reluctantly, John promises. This, again, is the exact opposite of what we saw in The Conjuring, where children were a curse. Ed Warren asks Mr. Perron if  there is someone that he and the family can go stay with so they can get out of the house, and Mr. Perron says, "With eight of us?" because they have six kids. It's made clear that Mr. Perron must take extra work as a truck driver because of the size of the family, and because his wife wanted that farm house, then the whole family is in jeopardy simply because there is so many of them, which wouldn't have happened if Mrs. Perron had not had kids. Between Mia, Evelyn and Sharon, the film makers make sure the audience knows they believe in life (which was the first thing that tipped me off that this was not a pro-socialist film). Now, regarding motherhood, there is an important "quote" Annabelle makes from The Conjuring, and that is the part where Julie, Ed and Lorraine's daughter, goes into a room of the house and sees the rocking chair where her and her mother were sitting at the start of the film; now, however, it's Bathsheba sitting in the chair, as her mother Lorraine had done earlier, and holding the haunted doll Annabelle in place of Julie. In The Conjuring, you are the object that you desire, so because little Julie wanted to have the doll to play with, Julie becomes the doll sitting on her mother's (Bathsheba's) lap; why has Bathsheba replaced Lorraine? Because the film is commenting that the witch will be Julie's real mom if Julie continues to desires objects and material goods (this is a well-developed thesis in the film; please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring & Demonic 'Possessions'  for more). In Annabelle, the exact opposite is true: when Annabelle Higgins steps out of the nursery holding the doll that will come to bear her name, and Annabelle says, "I like your doll," that is a revelation of how liberals and socialists view children and humans in general: as lifeless, will-less objects to be manipulative. Annabelle Higgins holds the doll as a mother would hold her child, not the way one holds a doll (with one arm around the waist). Annabelle doesn't understand what a soul is, apart from a piece of property that she is dedicating to Satan; she doesn't understand what free will is or virtue and sin. The reason this happens, however, is to insure that Mia does learn the difference (more on this below).
To begin with, the date. The film takes place sometime between 1969 and 1970; Charles Manson had been caught (1969) and was being reported on the TV Mia watches, but the two nursing students who open the discussion didn't get the doll until 1970. Why is this important? The world Annabelle depicts for us is a direct consequence of the Summer of Love of 1967, a hippie event akin to Woodstock that was a "utopia" of drug use, sex and free living, the same values liberals are trying to re-create permanently in America today. Annabelle Higgins, the woman who comes to "haunt" the doll, had joined up with such a group when she ran away from her parents and then joined a Satanic cult; the film makers, then, make a direct link between the hippie movement and Satanism. Why?
Further details the Annabelle film makers want to use to remind the audience of the Charles Manson family murders includes the mother of Annabelle, Sharon Higgins, reminding us of the murder of Sharon Tate; like Mia, Tate had an advanced pregnancy and both women were stabbed in the stomachs. Blood was also used to make words/signs with in both the real murders and the film. In Manson's La Bianca murders, Manson went to their house because it was next-door to a house he had gone to a party at earlier that summer, the same way Annabelle and her boyfriend go next-door to Mia's and John's house after killing Annabelle's parents. There are at least two references to Rosemary's Baby, directed by Roman Polanski in 1968, who was married to Sharon Tate and whose baby she was carrying when murdered the next year. The baby carriage in the basement scene of Annabelle is identical to the one used in Rosemary's Baby.
Because many of the practices/beliefs of hippies are in direct opposition to God, which is what Satanism champions: free love (promiscuous sexuality as well as deviant sexuality), drug use (which impairs the gift of reason and is a form of self-destruction) and rebelliousness against authority, as Satan rebelled against God. Annabelle Higgins having first became a hippie (what we today call a "liberal") paved the way for her to become a Satanist and kill her own parents as a sign of devotion to her "new" father, Lucifer.
This is John Gordon, Mia's husband, and truly a good and upstanding husband at that. Why does John never see anything that Mia does? That would make it easier for John to believe her; as it is, he makes an act of faith in her based on their love. When things get tough, when Mia is in need, John does what his father did and takes his family to Church. It can be argued that John misses his dinner date with his wife, and that is regrettable, however, these are things that happen with a doctor, as the TV teasers for General Hospital remind us about the lives of doctors and nurses later in the film. John gives Mia the doll because Mia gave herself to him on their wedding night by having remained a virgin. John tells Mia, "There's something I want to give you," Mia replies, "The last time you said that I ended up pregnant," is because what John wanted to give Mia was himself, his own virginity. After the break-in of Annabelle and her boyfriend, Mia and John wake up one night and hear something; John goes to see what it is and it's Mia's sewing machine, running full speed, and he doesn't know how to turn it off so he unplugs it. This is how John sees Annabelle Higgins: out of control. The needle of the sewing machine is a phallic symbol, even though the sewing machine is a feminine symbol itself, so the fast repetition of the needle plunging down and up is a metaphor for the sex act; when John sees the machine running by itself, John sees it as a woman sexually out of control and his solution of unplugging it is the solution of death. In other words, latent thought processes in John's mind have played out and posed the dilemma to him: if Annabelle Higgins had been a direct threat to Mia, would John have killed Annabelle? His answer, when he pulls the cord on the sewing machine, is yes. 
So, what happens?
The night of the opening scenes with Mia, John and the Higgins, John and Mia's bedroom window is open and through their bedroom window, we see the events unfolding in the Higgins' bedroom: Mr. Higgins getting up and Mrs. Higgins screaming and being attacked in bed. Mia wakes up, John goes to check it out, and then as Mia calls an ambulance, Annabelle Higgins makes her way into Mia's house and starts walking around, stepping out of the nursery with the doll Mia just received that day, and Annabelle tells a terrified Mia, "I like your doll." Behind Mia, Annabelle's boyfriend comes up behind her and attacks her, stabbing Mia in her stomach (she is like 8 months pregnant) and then John appears, protecting Mia; Annabelle goes into the nursery as the cops arrive, and Annabelle kills herself by slashing her throat. So, what are the symbols and how are they working?
"I like your doll," is the only thing we ever hear Annabelle (pictured above) say, and this is the only scene where we see her actually alive (as opposed to seeing her after she is dead). So, what does it mean? Of all the things a Satanist could say to get someone creeped out, or scare them, why say that? Because Annabelle erroneously sees herself in the doll. As discussed above, the doll's white dress symbolizes the purity of the little girl and her being prepared for marriage; likewise, to Annabelle, she herself is preparing for marriage to Satan with the sacrifice of her mother and father; there are two noticeable differences between the two wedding dresses, however. First, the red sash and rose are missing and, secondly, Annabelle's dress has a wide open neck and big sleeves. The neck, which symbolizes how we are led, or what will lead us, is wide-open on her dress, suggesting that Annabelle is easily dominated by others and will buy into anything (we will explore this below with Annabelle appearing to Mia as a child). Secondly, the big sleeves "conjure" the old saying, "I've got nothing up my sleeve." The big sleeves Annabelle wears suggests that she has been hiding something up her sleeves, especially from her parents, that she didn't just become a hippie, but a Satanist in a cult, fully participating in all their rites. Annabelle's dress is white because, unlike the white dress of the doll symbolizing being alive in the Holy Spirit with innocence, purity and faith, Annabelle's white dress symbolizes the death of the soul in Satan with the death of innocence, purity and faith within her soul and hence, her spiritual death. We will continue this discussion in the next caption below.
There are lots of open windows and doors, or shutting windows and doors; we see the Satanists first through an "open window," and it is jumping through an open window that Evelyn vanquishes the evil preying upon Mia towards the end. Windows symbolize our soul and our ability to reflect on our soul. Doors can symbolize either opportunities in life (the real world) or parts of our soul that we have "closed off" and don't want to go into (for example, when Mia and John get home and John didn't lock the door and she insists he start doing it, or when she's in the basement at the apartment building and opens the locked screen door of their storage shed). But, an important detail is, it's the audience watching the death of Pete and Sharon Higgins, not Mia, so this turns the table onto the audience; why are we supposed to see this?
It's still difficult to see in this image, however, Annabelle has slit her neck just before the police arrived and killed her boyfriend (in the nursery of John's and Mia's home). Having slit her neck, she used the blood to make the symbol on the wall, and provides the "last detail" of her wedding dress for Satan. On the doll's dress, the red sash symbolizes a chastity belt, an old-fashioned device that was strapped on girls to insure they wouldn't have sex before marriage; the flower on the belt symbolizes the "deflowering" that takes place on the wedding night and the red color is the color of the blood from the breaking of the hymen of a virgin. The red is mimicked then, in Annabelle--not around the waist, because she hasn't been chaste, which is pleasing to Satan--but around the neck, showing that she was easily led to her death and destruction by her own hand in destroying what God created (rather like the Bathsheba hanging herself in The Conjuring). We will discuss this further below, because this image is the point of the entire film. The last difference between Annabelle and the doll is the hair: Annabelle has wild and frizzy hair that is unkept; the doll has perfectly kept hair, well-trimmed and braided. The hair symbolizes our thoughts, so Annabelle's wild hair reveals how wild she is, whereas the doll's hair that is all in place shows that she symbolizes "being in the rightful place herself," just like when Mia puts her on the shelf with the other dolls and says, "There, she fits right in," Mia also accepts her place, unlike feminists today who rebel at their place in society, the family and relationships. Why does Annabelle Higgins belong to the cult Disciples of the Ram? The "ram" probably refers to the ram that was caught in the bush when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac but was told to stop and sacrifice the ram instead (Genesis 22: 13). What am I talking about? If the ram had been the last sacrifice of the Bible, instead of the ram being a prophecy of the sacrifice of Jesus, then Satan would still rule over us and have unlimited souls to claim. Adhering to the ram is to refuse acknowledging the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In the symbol on the wall above, the two arms of the "x" is the horns of the ram, while the little triangle caused by the third line going to the right is the head of the ram.
We know what a mother and father symbolize: the father is the active principle of the economy, the mother is the passive principle of the motherland. What man is trying to kill the economy (Peter Higgins) and the American motherland (Sharon Higgins)? Obama. And women, just like Annabelle Higgins, are helping him. We have all ready seen this, however, in Martha Marcy May Marlene, with the commune of sexually active women supporting a leading man, which is just what the Charles Manson family of prostitutes were and feminists are today. Feminists tend to be socialist or at least support liberal policies because they don't believe they will ever be able to successfully compete with males, so they want the government to take away male privilege so they will "have a fair chance" at success in a society that doesn't recognize personal success (a socialist state). Mia is the exact opposite of what a feminist is, and that is why the doll starts attacking her, just as feminists attack conservative women today.
Here is a close up of the image above with the blood from Annabelle's neck around her waist--the opposite of a chastity belt--and a drop of her blood landing near the eye of the doll and then slowly seeping in-between the doll's face and eye rim; why does this happen? OIt is through the "eyes of self-destruction" that feminists like Annabelle Higgins see traditional women like Mia. Annabelle the spirit and Annabelle through the doll attacks Mia because that is what feminists do, they degrade and mock women who sew, are faithful to their husbands, do not have a career outside the home, and are dedicated to raising their children. Remember, this is a post-Summer Of Love world, during which the hippies, high on every drug they could get, questioned everything about society and existence, and Annabelle, being a hippie, was a part of that; Mia and John were not. We can see this social dichotomy still in society today: the liberal Left and the conservative Right. This is the foundation for the conflict of the film, Annabelle Higgins attacking Mia for being a traditional homemaker instead of a promiscuous hippie like herself. That Mia triumphs and perseveres is the thesis of the film and the side of the debate the film makers take for their own. 
Annabelle the doll was the role model of women: to be virgins on their wedding nights. Nowadays, however, that "model" has become tainted and twisted to being a model of a woman married to Satan: namely, sexually promiscuous, on drugs, a destroyer of the family (she murdered her parents) and a proponent of self-destruction (Annabelle commits suicide, but women today commit acts of self-destruction as well). There are two scenes that most clearly elaborate for us the differences between Mia and Annabelle, and the first one is the exploding popcorn.
This takes place in Pasedena, and Lea sleeps in her crib, Mia having fallen asleep while General Hospital was playing, and we heard from the TV, "Doctores and nurses dedicate their lives to the wonder that is the human being," and then, Annabelle Higgins' ghost shows up in the back room on the left side, then she enters front and center from the right side and walks up to the baby's crib, leans over it and says, "I like your doll," again. This is a clear conflict with The Conjuring, that reduces Julie Warren to a doll, whereas in Annabelle, the Satanist has reduced the baby to a doll. Why? Again, socialists understand humans to be animals, no being of their own, just animals, that's why we heard the General Hospital introduction before Annabelle shows up, to remind us of how wonderful human beings are and how terrible someone like Annabelle is.
I don't know what popcorn symbolizes, however the popcorn blowing up looks like Mia's belly when the doctor examines her after she's been stabbed. We would probably think of this scene with the house burning as putting Mia in danger, however, it's actually a promise (one of those situations that looks bad, but actually means something good). The popcorn exploding symbolizes what will happen in the next scene, Mia's belly will bring forth a baby and Mia will give birth to Lea; setting the house on fire is Mia's soul that will be set on fire with love for her daughter (think of the Burning Bush and Moses: the bush is symbolic of Moses as a precursor of Christ, who is the Tree; the fire consuming but not destroying the bush is the fire and love of the Holy Spirit that will animate Moses as a prophet, while the fire and love of the Holy Spirit will keep Christ upon the Tree of the Cross to fulfill His Sacrifice for sinners). and Mia's willingness to keep the doll after they have moved from the house is a sign of this confidence Mia gets after Lea is born; but the "force" trying to pull her back into the burning kitchen is the upcoming battle with the devil and his attack trying to use the fire of Mia's love against her to get Mia to give up her soul in place of Lea's soul.
This is the second important scene: John and Mia were supposed to have had a special dinner date tonight, and John ended up not getting home on time, so Mia is upset. As she started putting things away, she heard someone's voice by the curtain of the window; she went over to it and pulled it back and was knocked to the floor by an invisible force that giggled like a little girl and sounded as if it were running down the hallway. On one level, this reveals to us what is going on inside of Mia: she is acting like a little girl. John has been so loving and supportive of her through everything, and she is going to throw a temper tantrum like a little girl because he wasn't able to make it home. On another level, the scene reveals something quite disturbing about Annabelle Higgins, again utilizing the sewing machine as it did the first time it started running on its own (see paragraph below for discussion).
The second scene (described in the caption just above), is when the little girl appears to Mia after John doesn't show up for dinner. After this scene, Mia will call the investigating detective again and ask to see him, and she will see a photo of this little girl that was Annabelle "long before she got involved with the cult," however, seeing her here, she is all ready wearing the Satanic wedding dress that she will die in, even though she is just a child; why? The sewing machine, seen beside Mia in the image above, provides a clue. The sewing machine turns on and starts running wildly, as it did earlier in the film when John unplugged it; because the needle is a phallic symbol, it suggests that Annabelle Higgins was introduced to sex at a young age, and that is why she was all ready on the path to Satanism when she was so young, as shown above. What validates this reading of the sewing machine is that, the little girl begins running at Mia, then turns into the adult Annabelle, suggesting that Annabelle's childhood was over very quickly and there wasn't much of one.
It seems that the two children, the girl and boy, on the stairs at the bottom of Mia's apartment building, probably come from another horror film, but I don't know which one. Who are the children, and why do they draw those pictures of the truck running over Lea's baby carriage? When the little girl tries to tell Mia her name, her brother makes her be quiet, but the little girl starts to say that they live outside, and--with "little Annabelle" that we see in Mia's apartment--I think we can guess these children probably belong to the devil, even though they look normal enough. How can we say this? The devil will use innocent things to achieve evil ends, and the little girl telling us "outside," suggests they are outside of the realm of good and holy things, especially when we realize what they are drawing. The drawings appear to be quickly dismissed by Mia and John, but the devil knows better.
So, if the moral universe of a horror film is so rigid, what did Mia do to deserve all this torment? It's not that Mia is guilty of a sin, but she has--like most of us--an imperfection and, yes, God is perfectly willing to put us through terrible trials just to overcome an imperfection. As we have been discussing, the identity of Lea, as either a doll or human being, is important to the sub-text of the narrative; who Lea belongs to is also important, but it's not that Lea belongs to the devil or to Mia, but to God, and Mia not realizing that is the reason why she's going through this torment.
This is perhaps one of the scariest parts of the film. Mia has been down in their storage locker, putting something away, and this old baby carriage rolls out on its own and Mia hears baby cries; going to the carriage, she sees a bloody cloth and runs away; from behind the carriage, the devil, all black and wearing Maleficent horns, rises up and looks at her. Mia runs to the elevator, but the devil grabs her left arm and puts the mark of the Disciples of the Ram on her arm, which later disappears; what does this scene mean, and why does it happen? The basement is a classic symbol of that which we have buried within us, that which is put away and we don't want to think about it, those things that are either repressed or oppressed. The carriage rolling out with the bloody cloth in it suggests that Mia has buried the "prophecy" of the kids' drawings about the baby carriage rolling out in front of the truck and Lea dying. Why would the devil use this? Because it's Mia's fear he's playing with. The devil cannot take life; if someone dies, it's their appointed time, unless they take their own life, like Annabelle Higgins. By increasing Mia's fear, the devil increases her anxiety about it and therefore her dependency upon herself. Her fear that something will happen to Lea, the devil reasons, will build to an unbearable level and she will be more willing to offer her soul for Lea. Did the devil mark Mia's soul? No, it's an illusion to scare Mia to think she doesn't have any control and that she's going to lose her daughter.
When Mia and John go to Father Perez's office to talk, Mia had her hand upon a small pieta, a statue of Mary holding the body of Jesus after the Crucifixion. Mary didn't keep her child, Jesus, to herself, but gave Him up to God to do God's work for all of mankind; in having her hand upon the pieta, Mia draws strength from it, even if she doesn't understand the lesson she is going to be taught. Towards the end of the film, Father Perez gives Mia the photo he took of Mia holding Lea, so we know the two are related.
The family going to Church at the end of the film when Father Perez hands Mia the photograph of her and Lea. This is as good of a place as any to discuss it. At the start of the film, John and Mia had a disagreement about naming their baby "Phyllis" if is was a girl, after John's grandmother; no one liked Phyllis so the name seemed to be ruled out. "Lea" is an English name meaning "meadow," whereas "Phyllis" is a Greek name referring to the myth of Phyllis that no one would want to have to go through. When her husband of one night, King Demophon, failed to return to her as promised, Phyllis hung herself; an almond tree grew where she was buried and, when Demophon finally did return, it blossomed. Yea, no one would want to name their child after this, however, this is the fate of nearly all Christians. As is spoken in the Song Of Songs, Christ will come to us like a Bridegroom, like Demophon, and it's wonderful when we feel Jesus with us and He sends us warm fuzzy feelings and consolation,... then He leaves, and there is desolation. We wonder if the consolations were real after all; at this point, many fail and fall away, wanting to find pleasant "meadows" to live in rather than doing the hard work of the Cross we are called to. Phyllis hanging herself is a way of saying that she hung upon the Tree of the Cross, because that is what we are called to do, to be faithful to Him and makes ourselves like Him, which means allowing ourselves to be crucified; that Phyllis was successful is validated by the tree blooming when Demophon returned (remember Matthew 21:19 when Jesus comes to the fig tree and curses it because it had no fruit). None of us would choose the hard and difficult path (well, a few saints would consciously choose the hard path, but I am not one of them) so God has to choose it for us.
Mia is Italian for "my" or "mine," and Mia sees Lea as belonging to her, not that Lea belongs to God. Mary is the role model for us all, especially Catholics, because Mary had the perfect Child, Jesus, but she gave Him up to God for a horrible, but wonderful Fate, to Suffer for humanity and redeem us, so we wouldn't just be animals, but human beings (even though the Disciples of the Ram would have it be otherwise); Mia cannot protect Lea from the devil, only God can. When Mia realizes how helpless she is after banging the Annabelle doll on the crib, and was then terrified that she had done it to Mia, she cried out, "God, God," and that's all she needed to say, because at that moment, even though things still got bad, Mia wasn't fighting the devil alone anymore.
In this scene, Mia believes the devil has taken her baby and wants Lea's soul, as is written on the ceiling of the nursery. Mia goes into the nursery after a red crayon rolls out into the hallway on the floor. Now, these are smart film makers, they know a little baby like Lea, who can barely sit up on her own, isn't going to have crayons at this age because she would just put them in her mouth. So, where does the crayon--the same one we saw in the beginning of The Conjuring the doll was using to write notes with--come from? It's not a crayon, it's a metaphor. The crayon symbolizes the childishness of Annabelle Higgins (the little girl we saw earlier who ran at Mia) but that childishness is still in the grown woman's ghost, which is being used by the devil. The scrawled writing on the ceiling is unnatural--people don't write on the ceiling--and that itself is a symbol of a woman Annabelle's age being so childish and how it got her into hell.  
So, for the nearly last item of discussion, what about the ending? What Evelyn does in taking the doll and jumping out the window may seem like an act of suicide, however, love is what overcomes evil (not that anyone would recommend doing this). Evelyn is acting just as Jesus did for us, she takes the evil upon herself and and sheds her blood so her blood will wipe out the blood of hate (this is what the color red signifies); we see the same thing with the death of St. Maximilian Kolbe at Auschwitz when he laid down his life to save a man who had a wife and child and the saint died in this man's place. Evelyn, to be sure, isn't giving her soul to the devil, the way the devil hoped Mia would do, rather, Evelyn shows "no greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friend," (John 15:13, and John is present there in the room when Evelyn does this, and after she jumps, we hear the words of Father Perez repeating this Scripture). Evelyn jumps through a window, meaning she is making an act of reflection (she reflects on what Ruby meant when she told her mother to wait) so instead of taking her life for grief over losing Ruby, Evelyn offers her life to God to rid the world of this evil.
In this scene, Mia is afraid and holds Lea, while in the background, we watch Annabelle sit up, stand up, then levitate in front of the light coming in through the window; when Mia turns around, she sees the devil holding the doll, and for all of us, this is probably the best lesson: either we devote our lives to God, or we are being controlled by Satan, just like the doll (the light coming in through the window symbolizes the light of illumination and reflection). As the saying goes, if you are not progressing in the spiritual life, you are digressing, because there is nothing static about the soul: either it is being regularly fed on the Word of God, or it is being starved and ruined by sin, even if those are just venial sins, they lead to greater, mortal sins. Again, Mia is going through these trials because she has an imperfection that she is clinging to and doesn't know, or refuses, to give her and her baby's life to God; that's the hard way to do it, better to do it before so this doesn't happen to you.
The last item is the bookends.
The mother finds the doll in the store and buys it for her daughter who is going through nursing school, the young lady we saw in the beginning talking about the doll with her roommate, which was also in The Conjuring. How is the end and beginning related? This brings up another important sub-text throughout the film: healthcare professionals. John is studying to be a doctor, the two girls are studying to be nurses, and we hear the theme for General Hospital; why? Because after failing to successfully destroy everything traditional about women and the family, the next institution Annabelle attacks is healthcare. Does that sound familiar? Is there someone today who is trying to apply a hippie alternative to the US healthcare industry? (hint: Obamacare)
Here we have the third wedding dress of the film. Evelyn wears a white dress that signifies she is about to wed herself to Christ, and the red sash is on her head, symbolizing her thoughts, that she is truly thinking of love when she does what she does. Evelyn holding the Annabelle doll is a completely different experience from Annabelle Higgins holding it. This may seem far-fetched and if it is, I apologize, however, given that--at the start of the film--Mia watches a show on TV about the Charles Manson family, then they are attacked that night by like-minded Satanists, it seems relevant. The reason Charles Manson had murders committed was to start Helter Skelter which would bring down white people in America: "Ghastly murders of whites by blacks would be met with retaliation, and a split between racist and non-racist whites would yield whites' self-annihilation. Blacks' triumph, as it were, would merely precede their being ruled by the [Chalres Manson] Family, which would ride out the conflict in 'the bottomless pit,' a secret city beneath Death Valley," (Wikipedia). Between Barack Obama and Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, there is plenty of material suggesting that the federal government is attempting to implement Charles Manson's plan today; but Evelyn didn't buy it. She is a business owner--she owns the bookstore Mia goes to--and she is well-adjusted, if not sad, but friendly and ready to help anyone she can. If we consider Annabelle the doll, as a symbol against traditional women, marriages, families and tradition at large, (because remember, Annabelle Higgins was a hippie, and a Satanic hippie at that: she wanted all order and institutions to be ended because those are what reflect God, whereas chaos reflects Satan), then Evelyn laying down her life to end the evil of Annabelle Higgins was laying down any "grudges" she might have, and making sure she was not a victim of evil, but a hero. In other words, in being active on her own part, Evelyn successfully avoids becoming a "doll" for people like Charles Manson (who was a master manipulator of women) and Obama (who is also a master manipulator of women) to control the way Annabelle Higgins herself was being controlled by her boyfriend and the devil.
In conclusion, Annabelle successfully targets how today's liberal Left movement grew out of the hippie culture and was tainted with the "family values" of Charles Manson, and how that is alive and dangerous in the US today and how we see it being used against tradition in every facet of our culture. But Annabelle is also a good film for Christians and reminding us of the hard-way of the Cross and what our relationship is to others and God.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner