Sunday School On The Short Bus.
As if I didn't worry enough about molesting children, now I have to worry about poltergeists? Man, the Christian right in American is doing pretty much everything it can to bury every pleasure beneath a mound of guilt. And ever since The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, they've discovered that horror may well be the way to reach the youth of today with their messages of repression and self-denial. First, we're not allowed to kill, then we're not allowed to eat unleavened bread, and now we can't diddle our daughters or the spirit of their lost innocence will haunt us to death? Jeez, Christianity sure is a drag.
Yeah! Take that! Try to protect my kids, will you?
An American Haunting is based on a true story, allegedly, about a cursed family, headed by Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. Those two have already been cursed, apparently, by either bank debts or a bad agent, because they both should be above toothless ghost stories directed by the guy who did Dungeons and Dragons. There are some unsettling scenes, to be sure, but the pioneer setting definitely engenders more mirth than fear, since it's difficult to find anyone in a bonnet terrifying. But the moral lesson of An American Haunting, that you probably shouldn't molest your kids, is just the latest in a long string of fun spoiled by moralist filmmakers.
1) The Exorcist taught us not to use a Ouija Board by ourselves, and not to piss on the rug. This ruins everything drunk 17 year old girls like to do at house parties, aside from throw up tequila in a punch bowl.
2) Halloween showed us the perils of drinking beer after comically brief sex, showing your left nipple, and speaking in a high, annoyingly squeaky voice. So really, don't be P.J. Soles. Well, there go my plans for Saturday night.
3) The Saw films taught us not to do anything, ever, lest we get judged by a sanctimonious prude with voice like a paper-shredder chewing a thesaurus with a infantile sense of ironic punishment. If you want to live without being tortured to death via an elaborate device, do absolutely nothing, ever. Still, even as you sit in your apartment, fearing to leave should you accidentally violate a commandment, Biblical rule, or by-law, you should try to get some exercise, lest you get fed to a mechanical sloth or something.
There are lessons to be learned, to be sure, but frankly I'd rather learn them with, say, Jason Voorhees than with some septuagenarian in a frock at Sunday school. If I'm going to have my fun spoiled, I'd at least like it to be done with a machete, not a bonnet.