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The Rite & The Shining

When I was a child I would obsessively avoid cracks in the concrete. The slim chance that my mother’s back could be broken due to my carelessness was enough to keep me weary of walking.

When I was in high-school some friends and I ventured towards an odd site known as “The Hermitage.” When we cautiously approached the site, the red candles of a seeming satanic ritual sent us running home.

When I was living in Tanzania I befriended a family whose matriarch suffered through years of demonic possession. The stories she recited to me of being overtaken by demons impressed upon my mind that my superstitious beliefs were more than just imagination. This past week I saw two movies that did the same.

***The Rite***

Brought to you by the same people that produced “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” and based on a bestselling book “The Rite” is all about the reality of evil. The movie begins with the protagonist Michael Kovak, his strange familial traditions, and his struggles with the Catholic faith. Tempted to test the waters of belief he travels to Italy to learn the rite of Exorcism.

Like the novel it is based upon, The Rite has Kovac being tutored by an elder Italian Exorcist (Hopkins). Their adventures through the ancient streets of Rome lead Kovac along an arduous path to ultimate reconciliation. Furthermore, their interactions with Satan and his minions depicted the dichotomy that is Catholicism beautifully.

Not the most memorable film in the “Exorcism” genre, but fans of this niche definitely have a decent piece of cinema here to trip out to.

***The Shining***

Yesterday my friends and I returned to Bloor Cinema to view an old reel of the Kubrick classic, “The Shining.” This fading spindle of film was grainy, patchy, and choppy as hell… but God was it beautiful.

Based on Stephen King’s first best-seller, Kubrick came correct with a risky re-write and the most audacious use of the Steadicam to date, (I.E. Danny’s Big Wheel adventure through the hall’s of Overlook).

Unlike The Rite this movie’s focus on possession/supernatural is much more abstract. Here the possessor is not an ethereal demon, but rather a hotel; an active hell able to manipulate anyone that enters its doors after the first snow-fall.

It’s a must see, and furthermore it is the greatest horror film of all time!


Whether it is something built upon an Indian burial ground, or the devil himself, from my childhood forward I’ve always assumed there is more to this world then flesh and opinions. What it is I don’t know. My Mormon upbringing, years as a missionary in Africa, and the time I spend in theology school failed to provide me with any conclusive date. However, thanks to my relationship with cinema I have a lot more left to explore in my life at the movies.


  • Anonymous

    YEAHHHH MAN! Seeing The Shining in all that grainy glory at a cinema so much like that hotel in the monvie was AMAZING! I had the time of my life and having watched The SHining close to 20 times now it reaffirms my love and certainty that it IS the best horror movie on wax!

    I’ll pass on The Rite. My issue with these new exorcism movies is they rely too much on cheap thrills and copy-cat the scariest one ever “The Exorcist”. I’ll definetly rent it but theatres, no way.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve never been a big fan of Exorcist movies past the symbolism they employ. Having a history in theology it is weird to hear the movies reinterpret huge concepts in such simplistic ways. Nevertheless I acquiesce as I know it is just a movie.

      As for The Shining I am so glad we went, and I can’t wait to return to Bloor Cinema for Black Cat, and then the Oscars. Free for members, seeing the Oscars in a movie theater is going to be awesome!

      • Anonymous

        I guess that is like when I see movies with ‘Ad execs’ in them and they paint the picture like all we do is create ads pissed me off as well! But hey, its a movie, its not a documentary. I personally thought Exorcist was really well done, maybe not your cup of tea but hey.

        Can’t wait to see Black Cat, won’t be joining you for the Oscars…have fun!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Wood/541180607 Adam Wood

    “The Rite” really had the same feel as “Emily Rose” but I liked the Priest being overcome and the moral twists told by the possessed. Hands down the original Exorcist will always be the bar for me (and seeing it once was good enough for me lol).

    I own the Shining in both DVD & Bluray – that was the first time I’d seen it in theatre and even though I forgot my membership and had to pay extra … well worth it. The opening credits always terrify me (like sitting at the front of a roller coaster on your way up to that first drop).

    • Anonymous

      I’ve never really enjoyed the ‘Exorcism’ genre as I stated in the blog, however, my sister loves em so I’ve seen my fair share. The aspect I liked about the film the most was the Roman scenery and the Catholic customing/symbols.

      As for The Shining… LOVE KUBRICK!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Michael-Elliott/500513490 Christopher Michael Elliott

    I totally get freaked out by anything to do with demonic possession. That really messes with me the most. I screamed aloud about 10 times in the theatre when I saw “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”. Not a nice time for me.

    As far as the shining. I FULLY agree. It definitely is the best horror movie of all time. Jack Nicholson is at the top of his game!

    Great post brotha!

    • Anonymous

      If you are scared by Lucifer and his unholy army… this movie may not be for you lil bro. It isn’t the scariest movie, but it definitely accesses people’s weariness of the underworld. However, it does suggest that fear of such, though normal, is unnecessary for the true believer ;)

  • KWgirl

    I remember seeing the original Exorcist at the theater in all it’s scary glory….scared the crap out me. You have to remember “when” it was released…not huge in the special effects they have nowadays…but SCARY like Rosemary’s Baby. I love Anthony Hopkins but will wait for this to come out on DVD and rent it. I honestly don’t remember watching The Shining but Steven King is the KING of scary!!!

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