I always enjoy movies about evil children–The Omen, The Bad Seed, The Other and, of course, The Exorcist, featuring Linda Blair painting the local clergy from scrot to throat with green puke.
I love this kind of stuff. Village of the Damned and Children of the Corn also set me off into fits of laughter. In fact, all of the devil shit is hysterically funny to me. When I was a kid, there was a grade-Z stinker called Mark of the Devil. It might have been a Corman movie that got made for about six dollars. They had an ingenious marketing campaign of handing out barf bags at the drive-in and the commercials cautioned the moviegoer to keep repeating to him or herself, “Remember, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.” Damned if the thing wasn’t a hit.
The old drive-in movies were chock full of evil kids and toys, as were the comics; Creepy and Eerie especially. Decades before Korn, Slipknot, and Marilyn Manson, the comics were full of satanic little fuckers doing evil at the drop of a hat.
The best bad guy is the Devil. Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub. Whatever you call him, he leads the league in evil. He is the catchall for all of the shit that men actually do to each other. Here and there on cable there are shows where they have real-lifeexorcisms, always somewhere in East Bumfuck where the foreheads get wide, the chins disappear, and shit-kickers wave snakes around and drink battery acid as a testament to their faith. Our country clings to its guns, religion, and hatred of those unlike them, and ascribes the wrongdoing in the world to the Devil.
Communists are the Devil.
Gays are the Devil.
Illegal Immigrants are the Devil.
Civil Libertarians are the Devil.
Non-whites are the Devil.
Anyone who opposes the NRA is the Devil.
Anyone who is pro-choice is the Devil.
Muslims are the Devil.
Atheists are, for damn sure, the Devil.
Rock and Roll is the Devil.
You get the picture. All of my peeps are, you guessed it, the Devil. Years ago my pal, Penn Jillette, gave me a T-shirt that said “Team Satan 666.” I loved this shirt. It made your whack-job, bat-shit variety X-tian crazy. They would walk by me with their mouth open slack-jawed and oafish and say to each other, “Can you believe what that shirt says?” It was funny as hell. I even had one guy roll up on me and scream in my face that I was a Satanist and that he was going to report me to the authorities. I told him that I really wasn’t. I just wore it to piss people like him off and, even if I was a Satanist, it’s not illegal to be so. And he insisted that “it most certainly was against the law to worship Satan.” I told him, “No pal, it’s not. Sorry.” He then said, “In Indiana it is.” And I said, “Look, I realize you’re from Indiana, so I’ll speak slowly and try not to use any big words like “Constitution,” but Bunky, it’s perfectly legal to worship Satan in Indiana, if you so choose.” He then pointed in my face and said that he was going to pray that I go to hell. I gave him the Ronnie Dio devil horns and told him, “You have a pal in Satan, my man,” and he walked away cursing. This T-shirt launched many encounters like this and finally I had to stop wearing it.
Needless to say, I don’t believe in the Devil, or his competition. I don’t have an imaginary friend in the sky.
I believe nothing is more capable of evil than mankind.
I believe nothing is more capable of decency and kindness than mankind.
It’s that simple.
And it is that complicated.