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This week, I get to do one of my favorite things — play movie
critic. I’d venture to say that about 99 percent of the movies today
suck — art house films, commercial films … I don’t care. But I don’t
think any I’ve seen lately have sucked as bad as the latest from famed
director/pedophile Roman Polanski. (For those of you not in the know,
Polanski is the director of the occult classic “Rosemary’s Baby,” and
the husband of Sharon Tate, who was murdered in 1969 by equally famous
culture hero Charles Manson.)

I guess I knew “The Ninth Gate” was gonna be a stinker even before I
saw it, but, being The Demon Hunter and all, it’s my duty to check out
all movies with occultic subject matter, right? And I must admit — evil
though it was — I was a big fan of “Rosemary’s Baby,” which was one of
the scariest films I’ve ever seen. (That doesn’t mean I recommend it.)

I’m not going to bother to tell you the plot of “The Ninth Gate.”
(This is what most critics do when they’ve got nothing to say and have
to fill space in their column.) Besides, there wasn’t any plot to speak
of. I mean, there was, but it was basically an excuse for the
cinematographer to have a great time doing all these “beautiful”
European (yawn) shots and having the film’s star, the ever-changeable
Johnny Depp, blow smoke into the cold night air. In this outing, Depp is
a good guy/bad guy book collector who is hired by some weirdo to find an
extremely rare tome purportedly written by Satan himself. While
conducting his search, Depp — who underplays his character to such a
degree that he practically disappears — becomes obsessed (what
originality!) with the power of the book and … well, I’m sure you get
the idea.

Now, I’ve already told you that the movie stunk. I mean this thing
was soooo bloody slow that I had to keep pinching myself to stay awake.
In addition, the script was awful. The actors all looked like they
couldn’t wait to get through with the gig so that they could collect
their paychecks. The music probably sucked too — frankly, I can’t
remember.

And yet, despite all this, I would suggest that “The Ninth Gate” is
an (ahem) important film.

What did he say?

I said this was an “important” film.

And now I’ll explain.

Everybody knows that occult films are hot subject matter –
especially people in the film business. That’s why, whether the movie is
some teenage piece of dreck like “Friday The 13th” or a sleeper like
“The Blair Witch Project,” these films always make money. And the
fact is, they’re also usually bad. This is because filmmakers tend to
think in clich?s. If you want to experience a good (if there is such a
thing) occult thriller, you don’t go to a movie; you read a book by,
say, Clive Barker or Stephen King (both bad writers, by the way).

But wait a minute. I’m losing my point, which is: Why did I say that
this (very bad) film is important?

And the punch line IS … because this film is truly evil.

See, here’s the deal. I believe that the author of all films and
books which glorify the occult (which “The Ninth Gate” does in spades)
is none other than old Beelzebub himself.

We all know the line that says Satan’s best trick is to convince us
he doesn’t exist, right? Well, when Satan can make a sleepy little film
that appears oh-so-harmless, like the one we’re talking about, now
that’s really a slick move on his part.

Whereas, if you take one of the Freddy Kruger flicks, or something
like “Hellraiser” (both of which are demonic films as far as this writer
is concerned), well, it’s easy as pie to spot the hand of the evil one
there. Right? I mean, you wake up at 3:00 in the morning with pictures
of Pin Head floating through your brain, or you feel sick to your
stomach at the images of entrails cascading out of bodies or nails being
inserted into eyeballs. Hey, there’s no mistaking who’s behind this
freak show.

But with a film like this — which is so subtle that it barely
touches you yet manages to leave you with dozens upon dozens of
subliminal images and feelings nonetheless — now that’s a much slicker
move. Oh yeah, that’s, well, downright devilish.

A wee bit of background. Over the years, I’ve done quite a bit of
research on the Tate/LaBianca murders. There has always been talk that
the people who were killed in the Cielo Drive house (belonging to Sharon
Tate and her husband Roman Polanski) on that night in 1969 had been
dabbling in black magic and witchcraft. Frankly, I have no idea whether
or not this is true. I do know, however, that the Manson family was
heavily into satanic activity, much more so than the public ever was
told about.

One thing you learn when you study the occult (not as a student but
as an “observer”) is that evil is a real, tangible force that tends to
draw more of itself into itself … if you’ll forgive an awkward
sentence. Simply stated, evil is like a magnet. Evil is attracted to
evil.

And for everyone who remembers the Manson family murders, there is
absolutely no argument against the fact that these murders were
absolutely evil, demonic … what you will … in nature. These were
ritualistic killings meant to appease the Prince of Darkness.

Secondly, there is this fact. Roman Polanski, the director of “The
Ninth Gate” and many other films that (either subtly or not so subtly)
glorify the occult, is clearly a student of the occult. Mr. Polanski’s
films are absolutely on the money as far as depicting the reality of
evil.

In “Rosemary’s Baby,” which was absolutely on the money in depicting
the reality of how a Wiccan coven really operates, Polanski went so far
as to have Anton LaVey (the head of the satanic church in San Francisco)
play the part of the devil in the film. The rituals that were conducted
in that film were — word for word — taken from the Satanic Bible.

As were the rituals shown in “The Ninth Gate.” In fact, one critic –
who obviously knew the territory — pointed out that the lithographs
depicted in the film were taken from genuine occultic documents.

Why would Polanski do this? Does this mean he’s a great director who
wants his film to be as “real” as possible? Again, I don’t know the
answer. But my sense is, Polanski made a film about a subject he knows
… a subject he loves … a subject that is dear to his heart.

And, if Polanski is truly a practitioner of the black arts — and I
believe that he is — then his rationale becomes manifestly clear.

When you’re dealing in the most powerful medium of all, which film
is, the object is not to bash your viewer over the head with MTV-like
images. Rather, it is to leave subtle images in the brain that will work
on the viewer at a subconscious level. This is what all advertisement is
based upon. Subliminal imagery. And this is what Satan — in times which
demand a lot more savvy approach to work on the “minds” of his potential
victims — loves to do.

It’d be so easy for us to say, “Ban this film or ban that book …
it’s so violent, or it’s so evil.” Nobody will do that with “The Ninth
Gate,” I guarantee you that. Which is why this film scares the hell out
of me.

So, in that sense, we must hand it to Mr. Polanski and to his mentor
– old Mr. Scratch — for rendering a truly evil piece of art. Bad film
or not, they’ve done their gig, and they’ve done a bang-up job of it.

If there’s a moral to my little diatribe it is simply this: If you
are interested in keeping yourself from being victimized by evil today,
in this dark first millennial year, you’ve got your work cut out for
you. Old Mr. Scratch is going for broke, and he’s going to take as many
souls with him as he can. I guarantee you. If you want to avoid that
little trip, you’re going to have to sharpen your weapons. You’re going
to have to hone your powers of discernment so that they recognize evil,
no matter how soft its whisper.

When a sleepy little horror film like “The Ninth Gate” can get by
without so much as a peep from the critics (who by and large wrote it
off as a turkey), then you can bet your boots old Beelzebub is having
himself a merry old laugh at our collective dim-wittedness.

I don’t know about you, but I can hear him chuckling right now.

Goatman Update

Thank you for the many encouraging letters in response to my
column
of last week. Moreover, the parents of Jessica Gaynor would also like to
thank all of you who wrote in with “tips” on the whereabouts of their
daughter, who is, at this time, still missing. I would simply like to
encourage anyone who might have information about Jessica’s whereabouts
to send e-mail to us at
Jessica@demonhunter.com. Likewise,
anyone with more information about our friend, “The Goatman,” or anyone
with information about occultic activities taking place in the area of
Prince Georges County, Maryland, please contact me at
goatman@demonhunter.com. Again, I
thank you all for your encouragement and support.

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