Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nine points of the law.

Whew! It's been stormy out there -- I wonder what's headed our way?

Don't get up, I've got everything alright. I just need to set things down and get a quick drop of warmth.

AH! Butterbeer. Perfect.

All this junk I brought in with me? Oh, just more 'horror-kid-in-the-'70s' nostalgia. Pics of something that used to terrify me as a kid; something I'd assumed had vacated the Realm Of Things That Scare The %^& Out Of Me long years ago.

But recently I had this goofy nightmare, and for a split second (that's as long as I'll admit) I was in my room bolt upright in bed and as sweaty-scared as I used to be when I was a child. (It was rather exhilarating, actually! Laughter and grown-up embarrassment followed swiftly. So did turning on the lights but honestly I thought I'd heard someone breaking into the car *ahem*).

But I immediately began exploring this age old fear, in books, comics, movies.

Yes, S&P'ers, I have always been utterly creeped out by Possessed Girl.

Of course, we all know the icon, the archetype, of Possessed Girl. I don't really need to show you pictures of Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil, do I?

Alright, fine.
Isn't she adorable? One of my brothers used to date a girl who looked just like this. 
I made sure to keep all Ouija boards at a distance.

The Exorcist hit theatres (and its trailers television screens) when I was 5. I didn't at all understand any of it just yet, so no big deal... yet.

But a re-release when I was 8 made, shall we say, an impact. Having spent some years in Catholic school by then, my little brain was perfectly molded and shaped to accept this big block, this hellish set of horrific ideas and images.

It didn't help that we had, in the house, the paperback with that cover-
-- and that if I went to clergy at school wondering if people could really be taken by Satan the answer was a resounding "Well, yes, but not children, usually." With a smile, those words.

No, I hadn't seen the movie (and wouldn't until many years later; my parents would have sooner died than let me see it then), but the very idea of a Possessed Girl, especially as filtered and enhanced by the equally-childish speculations of my fellow classmates, was at once terrifying and irresistible.

You know how it is -- something scares you, you can't help but seek it out (while the sun is up, that is). Even if the depicted being wasn't actually possessed but a vampire girl, or nameless monster hag -- if it fits a certain slimy, slack-haired, evil-eyed, fang-toothed set of criteria, I always felt Possessed Girl tugging at my gut.

 For example, this is Grimm -- a guy -- who 'hosted' a series of ghost story comics in the '60s and '70s.
But he looked like Possessed Girl to me. The eyes, fangs.

 Oh yes, Jack Chick's famously ridiculous tracts are full of (among other things) Satanically possessed people.
 Look at her ferpetessake! High forehead, fangs, dark eyes, all the trademarks!

A similarly tormented being who really might be a witch rather than actually possessed showed
up on the cover of this Horror Tales mag from 1971:
 Her pupil-less look of horror and disgust, her fangs and her forehead-pasted hair signify her
as a perfect Mike C. Possessed Girl. (Plus, Satan is a Demon. Remember that.)

 In the '80s a set of eighty or so cheap-but-amazing monster cards were released in Spain --
Monstruos Diabolicos -- which featured these two lady creeps.

  Then comes a face I saw on TV and lobby posters many times in the mid-'70s:
 Juliet Mills' hideousness from Beyond The Door! The eyes are what did it for me!

 Total Possessed Girl, right? Nope.
A classic Topstone 'Vampire Girl' mask from the '60s, but the fangs, eyes 
and high forehead/pasted hair just equal demonic torment to me.

 Another Topstone ad, but she seems to have settled down quite a bit; her
eyes are more normal, her fangs have all but disappeared 
and in fact she reminds me a little of Vonnetta. Hhmmm...
... and this beautifully painted pull from original Topstone molds is actually quite fetching!

Possessed Girl -- something I think only Catholic kids from the '70s can truly understand. You don't truly grasp your vulnerability until you've read the Baltimore Catechism, and you don't really know the Devil until you've gone to Mass every Sunday (and most Fridays) for years.

After all that, she seems so much more attractive and interesting.

The power of
compels you!

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