the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice

Tags: · CONJURE OF SACRIFICE · SKELETON · KEY · CONJURE · SACRIFICE · VOODOO · HOODOO. Those spells which conjure spirits are some of the most powerful spells In the two movies, The Conjuring and The Skeleton Key, gothic cinema proves to. Read about Conjure of Sacrifice [August 29, 1920 New Iberia Parish] by Papa Justify of "Conjure of Sacrifice" as used in the movie "The Skeleton Key".
the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice
the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice

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PLOT:

Caroline Ellis (played by Kate Hudson) is a New Orleans hospital aide from Hoboken, New Jersey, who quits her unsatisfying nursing job in the city to take a position as a private hospice caregiver at an isolated plantation house deep in the bayous of southern Louisiana’s eerie, enchanting Terrebonne Parish. The lady of the house, Violet Deveraux (played by Gena Rowlands) is a diffident, old-fashioned Southern matron in need of help for her husband Ben (played by John Hurt), a severely disabled stroke victim who is expected to die soon.

Violet gives Caroline a skeleton key to open every room in the house, and Caroline soon finds the mansion has a dark past. Finding her way into a secret room in the attic, Caroline discovers hoodoo dolls, a book of spells, potion jars, and other macabre instruments of black magic. Violet tells Caroline that the room belonged to two black servants who had worked at the house in the 1920s. Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) and her husband, Papa Justify (Ron McCall) were, in their day, renowned practitioners of hoodoo, a form of Afro-Caribbean folk magic. But to their white employers, they were nothing more than servants, and Justify and Cecile were lynched when it was discovered that they were performing spells with the children of the house owners. Caroline dismisses Violet’s fear of Justify and Cecile’s ghosts dwelling in the house as superstition, but more strange events occur, piquing her curiosity about the obscure (to her) swamp religions and their relationship to the physical condition of Ben, whom she has become determined to save and restore to health.

Caroline, after realizing that Violet is working harmful spells on Ben, seeks the help of the young lawyer Luke Marshall (played by Peter Sarsgaard) hired to rewrite Violet and Ben’s wills. While in Luke’s house, Caroline discovers clues leading to the revelation that Luke is in fact assisting Violet. Just as Caroline is about to act, Luke captures her, ties her up and gags her and takes her back to the manor.

Caroline is held captive, but manages to get free and “rig” (roughly, enchant) the house with brick dust, which is said to keep away those who mean one harm. After breaking Violet’s legs by pushing her down the stairs Caroline, following the piece of paper she snatched from Violet earlier (after initially drugging her tea), forms a protective circle around herself. Violet comes into the ritual room, and explains that “they” have been waiting for her to believe. Caroline tries to deny the fact that she now believes in hoodoo, but cannot convince herself.

Violet pushes a mirror at Caroline, which contains the image, initially of the little girl, then of the Violet and ultimately of Mama Cecile. The mirror smashes into Caroline, knocking her unconscious. Caroline then wakes up and walks over to Violet, who is barely awake. She takes Violet’s cigarettes, and begins to smoke, while she utters the words “Thank you, child,” revealing to the audience that the soul of Mama Cecile is now inside Caroline’s body. The mirror acted as a portal, and transferred Mama Cecile’s soul into Caroline’s body, while placing Caroline’s soul in Violet’s body. Luke walks in, and it is revealed that he too is not who he claims to be. His body is possessed by the soul of Papa Justify. Ben, who was previously the host to Papa Justify’s soul, is revealed to be the real Luke.

Mama Cecile (in Caroline’s body) gives Caroline (in Violet’s body) a liquid which causes a pseudo stroke. This prevents her from talking, so that she can’t reveal the presences of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. The film ends with “stroke” victims Violet and Ben in an ambulance looking at each other and Caroline realizing she and Luke are trapped in Violet’s and Ben’s bodies. The final chapter is that “Ben” and “Violet” left the house to “Caroline”, thus leaving Mama Cecile and Papa Justify to continue occupying the house.

It can be inferred that in the 1920s, the pair used hoodoo to transfer their souls to Martin and Grace, the children of the home’s owner, leaving the real children to die in the lynched bodies of Justify and Cecile. In 1962, the pair once again transfer their souls from the aging bodies of the children to Ben and Violet, a couple looking to buy the home. Once Ben and Violet’s bodies too became old, they performed their ritual once more on Luke and Caroline. Thus, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have occupied the house in various forms since the 1920s.

REVIEW:

Living in Louisiana, one gets to know about all kinds of interesting stories of religion, ghosts, and various other tales. When I first saw this film, I expected it to take those stories and exaggerate them, but in fact it made me a believer for a little while.

Kate Hudson is one of those actresses that hasn’t exactly found her niche genre yet. Watching her in this film, though, I have to suggest she occasionally take a break from romantic comedies and do some thrillers. I was impressed with her role as Caroline and really felt for her in the end as she was transferred into the body of Violet and given that “liquid stroke” stuff.

The rest of the cast is pretty solid, but it is quite obvious that the majority of the film’s budget went to Kate, as there is no one else who is really a household name.

The story of Papa Justify and Mama Cecile is downright creepy, as is the record they played. It literally gave me chills the first time I heard it, and that is something not easy to do.

Before this film, I had never heard of hoodoo, but afterwards I looked it up and learned some things about it. I even stopped by a couple of shops in New Orleans. Of course, they looked at me funny, kinda similar to the looks Caroline got in the film, which goes to show you how accurate they were with their research.

I love that they actually chose to comedown to Louisiana, rather than attempt to make Toronto or some sound stage appear to be La. It just added to the mystiuqe of the film.

As far as horror movies go, this really doesn’t deliver, but if you put it in the thriller category, it’s more than capable of holding it’s own. The acting is pretty good and believable, the setting fits perfectly and may even make it spookier, and the music is just downright creepy. If you’re into thrillers, then check this one out. You won’t look at mirrors the same way again, especially if you live in an older house or have an attic.

4 out of 5 stars

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Источник: https://thankyounetflix.wordpress.com/tag/conjure-of-sacrifice/

Skeleton Key (film)

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 horror film that takes place in the Louisiana bayou.

10 out of 10 stars for a truly terrifying film.

Caroline Ellis is a nurse’s aid who works with dying elderly people who are neglected by their families.  After her most recent patient dies and his family says they want nothing to do with his things, she takes a job caring for the elderly husband of Violet Devereaux.  Ben apparently suffered a stroke and cannot speak or care for himself.

Over the course of a few weeks, Caroline is given specific instructions that make her curious about the background of the house and of the Deverauxs.  First, Violet tells her never to go into the attic.  Then she gives her a skeleton key which opens every door except the attic.  Then Caroline discovers there are no mirrors in the house and when she puts up a mirror, Violet immediately removes it and yells at her.  Until finally Violet tells her the history of the house.  A rich man named Thorpe owned the house and he and his wife had two children.  When he discovered that two of his slaves, Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, were teaching his children hoodoo he had them hung and burned while his dinner guests watched and clapped.  And apparently both Violet and Ben can see them in the mirrors in the house which is why there are no mirrors.

So eventually curiosity overcomes Caroline and she breaks into the attic.  She finds a book with a spell of protection and a record with a conjure of sacrifice.  Later, Violet tells her that brick dust is the only way to keep those who wish you harm from entering your room, so Caroline pours brick dust over the threshold of her room and Caroline cannot cross it.

Ben attempts to escape by climbing out onto the roof so she becomes convinced that if she performs some hoodoo ritual he will speak again since he seems to believe he is under some kind of hex.  When she does this, Violet interrupts and Caroline is almost fired.  Violet and Ben’s attorney, Luke Marshall, convinces Violet to keep Caroline on.

Then one night Caroline attempts to take Ben away from the house.  She is caught and runs to her room where she draws a circle of protection on the floor around her.  That’s when she discovers she was tricked.  It isn’t a circle of protection but a circle of sacrifice.  Violet puts on the record of Conjure of Sacrifice and when it finishes Caroline is transported into Violet’s body while Violet who is actually Mama Cecile is transferred into Caroline’s body.  As an ambulance takes away Caroline and Ben, we see Papa Justify in Luke’s body and Mama Cecile in Caroline’s body talking about how it’s getting harder and harder to get new bodies because the young ones just don’t believe.

10 out of 10 stars.  Terrifying and unique.

 

 

Источник: http://bookaddicts.org/reviews/skeleton-key-film/

The Skeleton Key [DVD]

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Источник: https://www.gruv.com/product/the_skeleton_key_dvd

The Skeleton Key

Soundtracks which freely mix score tracks with an assortment of songs from and inspired by the movie have always irked the true movie music fan. The problem is sometimes solved by the dual release of a chart-topping soundtrack and a score album. The Skeleton Key is one of those rare hybrid releases which works because it successfully interweaves its orchestral elements and a handful of well-chosen songs. A score-only pressing would have been weakened by the absence of the songs and a full-length songtrack would\'ve been missing an important orchestral kernel. It\'s a tip of the hat to the album producer who saw fit to mix both songs and score to flawlessly convey feelings of gloom, despair, and loneliness.

The songs range from traditional African call-and-respond fare to modern, hard-rockin\' blues. The turntable-friendly Delta blues of Robert Johnson\'s "Come On In My Kitchen" is joined by the old school plaint of "Mississippi" Fred McDowell\'s "61 Highway Blues" and the bass-string strummin\' and guitar slidin\' of Blind Willie Johnson\'s "God Moves On The Water". "Barefoot Dancing" brings us back to the present with some blues-tinged hard rock along with the over-the-top rock organ riffs of the dejection song "The Goldrush" by Joe Washbourn. Rounding up the non-score portion of the album, "Do Whatcha Wanna" is a catchy big band carnival instrumental piece and "Iko Iko" by the Dixie Cups is a 60s hit straight from New Orleans which recalls traditional African songs.

Ed Shearmur\'s score is firmly rooted in the Southern locale of the movie and switches back and forth between ominous banjo wanderings and chase music based on ritualistic percussions. The "Opening Titles" seem to adapt material from the album opener, "Death Letter" from Johnny Farmer and Organized Noise, with a low key approach characterized by an electric guitar motif, minor key string work, and bluesy banjo figures. The blues mode and the minor mode will frequently collide throughout the score, while they are sometimes left behind entirely in favor of atonality. The chase music starts with "Ben Escapes", where the four-note guitar motif heard in the titles comes back on both guitar and piano, recalling the opening motif of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Then the percussion, both acoustic and electronic, turns the piece into a tribal dance with dissonant violin slashes and wailing, carnivalesque brass. These musical chase sequences are interrupted here and there by atonal intermissions. "Saving Ben" expands upon these ideas, with stabbing violin jabs and atonality. "The Conjure Room" is the last of the chase cues, with the rhythmic ideas behind "Ben Escapes" coming back along with the orchestral stabs and moaning brass. These all-out fright pieces sound like more ritual-inclined Beltrami horror chase scenes.

The dissonance-charged set pieces are complemented by a few moments of respite, namely "Violet\'s Story" and "Hoodoo Woman", which showcase Shearmur\'s seemingly-improvisational banjo work before the African percussion comes back with waves of dissonance on both strings and brass over a distraught accelerando. The album concludes with "Conjure of Sacrifice", which contains samples of an actual ceremony with conjuring prayers and accelerating drum beats, and "Thank You Child", where the electric guitar motif returns and the "Opening Titles" are recalled, allowing the music to come full circle.

The score and songs feed off of each other, with Shearmur\'s moments of musical mayhem and panic giving way to the dark and foreboding respite of blues source music. I don\'t believe the score itself would have been strong enough to warrant a separate release, and the songs themselves might not have caught the attention of the die-hard film music fan. The album for The Skeleton Key succeeds at creating a mood, setting a tone, crafting a sustained feeling of dread and Southern Goth. It\'s nothing amazing or worth sending a thousand emails of recommendation over, but it\'s still something. Shearmur does try to take horror\'s traditional dissonance and atonality to the next level, while introducing ideas of rites and ceremonies, but we\'re still in the swamps of "been there, done that". The album production should receive more accolades than the score writing itself.

Источник: https://www.soundtrack.net/album/the-skeleton-key/

The Skeleton Key

2005 film by Iain Softley

For other uses, see Skeleton key (disambiguation).

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Iain Softley, written by Ehren Kruger, and starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, and Joy Bryant. The Southern Gothic narrative follows a New Orleanshospice nurse who begins a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants, and Hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there.

Plot[edit]

Caroline Ellis, a hospice aide, quits her position at a nursing home and is hired as the caretaker of an isolated plantation house in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The aging matron of the house, Violet Devereaux, needs help looking after her husband Benjamin, who was mostly paralyzed by an apparent stroke. At the insistence of the family's estate lawyer, Luke Marshall, Caroline accepts the position.

After Ben attempts to escape his room during a storm, Caroline investigates the house's attic, where Violet said Ben suffered his stroke; she uses a skeleton key which Violet gave her. She discovers a secret room filled with ritual paraphernalia. Caroline confronts Violet, who reveals that the room used to belong to two African American servants who were employed at the house 90 years before. The servants, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, were renowned hoodoo practitioners; they were lynched after conducting a ritual with the owners' two children, from whom Violet and Ben later bought the house. Violet tells Caroline that they keep no mirrors in the house because they see reflections of Cecile and Justify in them. Caroline borrows a phonograph record from the attic: Conjure of Sacrifice, a recording of Papa Justify reciting a hoodoo ritual.

Caroline surmises that Ben's stroke was caused by hoodoo, but believes that his paralytic state is a nocebo effect induced by his own belief, rather than something supernatural. Taking advice from her friend Jill, Caroline visits a hidden hoodoo shop in a nearby laundromat, where a hoodoo woman gives her tools and instructions to cure Ben. After she conducts the ritual, Ben regains some ability to move and speak and he begs Caroline to get him away from Violet.

Caroline tells Luke she is suspicious of Violet, but he remains skeptical. They travel to a gas station that Caroline previously noted was lined with brick dust, which she was told is a hoodoo defense; supposedly, no one who means one harm can pass a line of brick dust. She asks one of the proprietors, a blind woman, about the Conjure of Sacrifice, which she learns is a spell wherein the caster steals the remaining years of life from the victim. Increasingly convinced of hoodoo's authenticity, Caroline fears that Violet will soon cast the spell on Ben.

Caroline discovers that Violet is unable to pass a line of brick dust laid across one of the house's doorways, confirming her suspicions. She incapacitates Violet and attempts to escape the house with Ben, but the front gate is chained shut. Caroline hides Ben on the property and enters Luke's office for help. Luke, revealed to be Violet's accomplice, brings Caroline back to the house. Caroline escapes, gets into a fight with Violet, and violently pushes her down the stairs, breaking her legs in the process. With strategic use of brick dust, Caroline flees to the attic, calls 9-1-1 and Jill for help, and casts what she believes is a protective spell. Violet, having caught up with her, reveals she actually trapped herself inside a protective circle. Violet pushes a full-length mirror at Caroline, which reflects the original owner's daughter, then Violet, and lastly Mama Cecile. A recording of the Conjure of Sacrifice plays, and the two switch bodies.

Violet (revealed to be Mama Cecile, who had been occupying Violet's body through the Conjure) wakes up in Caroline's body, and force-feeds Caroline (now in Violet's body) a potion that induces a stroke-like paralytic state like Ben's. Luke (actually Papa Justify) arrives upstairs, revealing that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have been conducting the Conjure of Sacrifice on new people since their supposed deaths; they had swapped places with the two children just before the lynching. Because hoodoo is supposedly only effective on those who believe in it, Cecile and Justify had to wait for Caroline to come to believe in hoodoo through her own investigation.

Emergency services arrive the next morning and take Caroline and Luke away, trapped in the paralyzed dying bodies of Violet and Ben; when Jill arrives, "Luke" tells her that the Devereauxes left the house to Caroline, ensuring that Cecile and Justify will continue to occupy the house.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Skeleton Key was filmed at the Felicity Plantation, located on the Mississippi River in Saint James Parish, Louisiana.[2]

Release[edit]

The Skeleton Key was released in the U.S. on August 12, 2005, after having received an earlier release date of July 29, 2005 in the United Kingdom.[3] It grossed $92 million worldwide.[1] In the U.S., it took in $16.1 million in its first weekend, reaching number 2 at the box office; the total US gross was $47.9 million.[1]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of 149 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary."[4]Metacritic rated it 47/100 based on 32 reviews.[5]

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw awarded the film three out of five stars, noting: "It's a pretty thankless role for poor John Hurt, and there are some plot holes. But there's some shrewd satire of racism as the modern south's persistent, dirty little secret and screenwriter Ehren Kruger's third act conjures up a neat little shiver."[3] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, calling it "tightly plotted and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing until the satisfying, unexpected end, which is worth suspending disbelief for," adding that "Hudson holds her own among impressive company. Not that Hurt has a whole lot to do other than grab an occasional wrist and recoil at his face in the mirror, and the usually measured Sarsgaard oversells it a bit, but Rowlands takes to the part like a fly to a shucked oyster."[6]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times criticized the film for its plot, describing it as "enjoyably inane," and also noted that the film "indulges in almost every conceivable regional and [Southern Gothic] genre cliché."[7]USA Today wrote that the film "employs intriguing camera angles to heighten some of the suspense. It's too bad the movie goes over the top and falls apart in the last third."[8]Stephanie Zacharek wrote in Salon: "Softley, working from a script by Ehren Kruger, puts so much care into layering moods and textures that he doesn't always scoot the action along as briskly as he should."[9] In The Seattle Times, Moira McDonald wrote that the film is "occasionally scary but more often silly."[10] In her review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten wrote: "Director Softley again shows his gifts for creating atmospheric milieus...Yet the movie, overall, lacks tension and suspense.[11] In Film Journal International, Edward Alter wrote that, "Iain Softley (K-Pax) and cinematographer Dan Mindel make the most of the setting," but concluded that the film was, "a paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller that's more interesting for its locations than for its story."[12]

Jennie Punter in The Globe and Mail called the film, "stylishly made but disappointingly lightweight."[13] Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Jessica Reeves called the film "serviceable but ultimately disappointing".[14] In his annual film guide, Leonard Maltin rated the film mediocre, stating that it was "well-produced and occasionally suspenseful, but populated by unpleasant characters and a story that moves too slowly." In the annual DVD & Video Guide, Marsha Porter wrote, "A few good scares can't compensate for a sluggish pace, and the climactic twist comes as a surprise only because it doesn't make sense."

References[edit]

  1. ^ abcd"The Skeleton Key". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  2. ^Scott, Mike (June 8, 2016). "Where was the 'Roots' remake filmed?". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  3. ^ abBradshaw, Peter (July 28, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  4. ^"The Skeleton Key". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  5. ^"Skeleton Key, The (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  6. ^Chocano, Carina (August 12, 2005). "'Skeleton Key' is a gothic thriller with good bones". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  7. ^Dargis, Manohla (August 12, 2005). "Just in Time, a Southern Gothic Gumbo of Fluff and Horror". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  8. ^"'Skeleton Key' goes bump, then thuds". USA Today. August 11, 2005. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  9. ^Zacharek, Stephanie (August 12, 2005). ""The Skeleton Key"". Salon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  10. ^McDonald, Moira (August 11, 2005). ""Skeleton Key": Dear Kate, we miss your sunny smile". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  11. ^Baumgarten, Marjorie (August 12, 2005). "Film Review: The Skeleton Key". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  12. ^Alter, Edward (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015.
  13. ^Punter, Jennie (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  14. ^Reeves, Jessica (December 2, 2005). "Movie review: 'The Skeleton Key'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 2, 2005.

External links[edit]

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skeleton_Key
the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice

The Skeleton Key (2005) - Kate Hudson HD DVD

The Skeleton Key (2005)

HD DVD

codefree

Kate Hudson stars in The Skeleton Key - a supernatural thriller that weaves a tale of terror and suspense! When Caroline Ellis (Hudson) takes a job in Louisiana's bayous, she unlocks a deadly secret involving magic, conjure and sacrifice that pulls her into a terrifying world of strange, frightening and unexplained incidents. The key to escaping may lie in a decrepit attic, but if she dares to believe in what she discovers, everything she fears will become real! Filled with endless suspense and bone-chilling scares, hold on for this terrific ride with "one of the best twists since The Sixth Sense" (Melanie Moon, WB-TV)!

Starring :

Kate Hudson, John Hurt, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard

Director :

Iain Softley

 

Running time : 104 Minutes

Language : English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese  Dolby Digital Plus 5.1

Источник: https://rare-movie-collector.com/the-skeleton-key-2005-kate-hudson-hd-dvd/

PLOT:

Caroline Ellis (played by Kate Hudson) is a New Orleans hospital aide from Hoboken, New Jersey, who quits her unsatisfying nursing job in the city to take a position as a private hospice caregiver at an isolated plantation house deep in the bayous of southern Louisiana’s eerie, enchanting Terrebonne Parish. The lady of the house, Violet Deveraux (played by Gena Rowlands) is a diffident, old-fashioned Southern matron in need of help for her husband Ben (played by John Hurt), a severely disabled stroke victim who is expected to die soon.

Violet gives Caroline a skeleton key to open every room in the house, and Caroline who bought wachovia finds the mansion has a dark past. Finding her way into a secret room in the attic, Caroline discovers hoodoo dolls, a book of spells, potion jars, and other macabre instruments of black magic. Violet tells Caroline that the room belonged to two black servants who had worked at the house in the 1920s. Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) and her husband, Papa Justify (Ron McCall) were, in their day, renowned practitioners of hoodoo, a form of Afro-Caribbean folk magic. But to their white employers, they were nothing more than servants, and Justify and Cecile were lynched when it was discovered that they were performing spells with the children of the house owners. Caroline dismisses Violet’s fear of Justify and Cecile’s ghosts dwelling in the house as superstition, but more strange events occur, piquing her curiosity about the obscure (to her) swamp religions and their relationship to the physical condition of Ben, whom she has become determined to save and restore to health.

Caroline, after realizing that Violet is working harmful spells on Ben, seeks the help of the young lawyer Luke Marshall (played by Peter Sarsgaard) hired to rewrite Violet and Ben’s wills. While in Luke’s house, Caroline discovers clues leading to the revelation that Luke is in fact assisting Violet. Just as Caroline is about to act, Luke captures her, ties her the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice and gags her and takes her back to the manor.

Caroline is held captive, but manages to get free and “rig” (roughly, enchant) the house with brick dust, which is said to keep away those who mean one harm. After breaking Violet’s legs by pushing her down the stairs Caroline, following the piece of paper she snatched from Violet earlier (after initially drugging her tea), forms a protective circle around herself. Violet comes into the ritual room, and explains that “they” have been waiting for her to believe. Caroline tries to deny the fact that she now believes in hoodoo, but cannot convince herself.

Violet pushes a mirror at Caroline, which contains the image, initially of the little girl, then of the Violet and ultimately of Mama Cecile. The mirror smashes into Caroline, knocking her unconscious. Caroline then wakes up and walks over to Violet, who is barely awake. She takes Violet’s cigarettes, and begins to smoke, while she utters the words “Thank you, child,” revealing to the audience that the soul of Mama Cecile is now inside Caroline’s body. The mirror acted as a portal, and transferred Mama Cecile’s soul into Caroline’s body, while placing Caroline’s soul in Violet’s body. Luke walks in, and it is revealed that he too is not who he claims to be. His body is possessed by the soul of Papa Justify. Ben, who was previously the host to Papa Justify’s soul, is revealed to be the real Luke.

Mama Cecile (in Caroline’s body) gives Caroline (in Violet’s body) a liquid which causes a pseudo stroke. This prevents her from talking, so that she can’t reveal the presences of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. The film ends with “stroke” victims Violet and Ben in an ambulance looking at each other and Caroline realizing she and Luke are trapped in Violet’s and Ben’s bodies. The final chapter is that “Ben” and “Violet” left the house to “Caroline”, thus leaving Mama Cecile and Papa Justify to the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice occupying the house.

It can be inferred that in the 1920s, the pair used hoodoo to transfer their souls to Martin and Grace, the children of the home’s owner, leaving the real children to is kettle corn popcorn good for you in the lynched bodies of Justify and Cecile. In 1962, the pair once again transfer their souls from the aging bodies of the children to Ben and Violet, a couple looking to buy the home. Once Ben and Violet’s bodies too became old, they performed their ritual once more on Luke and Caroline. Thus, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have occupied the house in various forms since the 1920s.

REVIEW:

Living in Louisiana, one gets to know about all kinds the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice interesting stories of religion, ghosts, and various other tales. When I first saw this film, I expected it to take those stories and exaggerate them, but in fact it made me a believer for a little while.

Kate Hudson is one of those actresses that hasn’t exactly found her niche genre yet. Watching her in this film, though, I have to suggest she occasionally take a break from romantic comedies and do some thrillers. I was impressed with her role as Caroline and really felt for her in the end as she was transferred into the body of Violet and given that “liquid stroke” stuff.

The rest of the cast is pretty solid, but it is quite obvious that the majority of the film’s budget went to Kate, as there is no one else who is really a household name.

The story of Papa Justify and Mama Cecile is downright creepy, as is the record they played. It literally gave me chills the first time I heard it, and that is something not easy to do.

Before this film, I had never heard of hoodoo, but afterwards I looked it up and learned some things about it. I even stopped by a couple of shops in New Orleans. Of course, they looked at me funny, kinda similar to the looks Caroline got in the film, which goes to show you how accurate they were with their research.

I love that they actually chose to comedown to Louisiana, rather than attempt to make Toronto or some sound stage appear to be La. It just added to the mystiuqe of the film.

As far as horror movies go, this really doesn’t deliver, but if you put it in the thriller category, it’s more than capable of holding it’s own. Where can i donate leftover food acting is pretty good and believable, the setting fits perfectly and may even make it spookier, and the music is just downright creepy. If you’re into thrillers, then check this one out. You won’t look at mirrors the same way again, especially if you live in an older house or have an attic.

4 out of 5 stars

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Источник: https://thankyounetflix.wordpress.com/tag/conjure-of-sacrifice/

Skeleton Key (film)

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 horror film that takes place in the Louisiana bayou.

10 out of 10 stars for a truly terrifying film.

Caroline Ellis is a nurse’s aid who works with dying elderly people who are neglected by their families.  After her most recent patient dies and his family says they want nothing to do with his things, she takes a job caring for the elderly husband of Violet Devereaux.  Ben apparently suffered a stroke and cannot speak or care for himself.

Over the course of a few weeks, Caroline is given specific instructions that make her curious about the background of the house and of the Deverauxs.  First, Violet tells her never to go into the attic.  Then she gives her a skeleton key which opens every door except the attic.  Then Caroline discovers there are no mirrors in the house and when she puts up a mirror, Violet immediately removes it and yells at her.  Until finally Violet tells her the history of the house.  A rich man named Thorpe owned the house and he and his wife had two children.  When he discovered that two of his slaves, Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, were teaching his children hoodoo he had them hung and burned while his dinner guests the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice and clapped.  And apparently both Violet and Ben can see them in the mirrors in the house which is why there are no mirrors.

So eventually curiosity overcomes Caroline and she breaks into the attic.  She finds a book with a spell of protection and a record with a conjure of sacrifice.  Later, Violet tells her that brick dust is the only way to keep those who wish you harm from entering your room, so Caroline pours brick dust over bank of america phone number usa threshold of her room and Caroline cannot cross it.

Ben attempts to escape by climbing out onto the roof so she becomes convinced that if she performs some hoodoo ritual he will speak again since he seems to believe he is under some kind of hex.  When she does this, Violet interrupts and Caroline is almost fired.  Violet and Ben’s attorney, Luke Marshall, convinces Violet to keep Caroline on.

Then one night Caroline attempts to take Ben away from the house.  She is caught and runs to her room where she draws a circle of protection on the floor around her.  That’s when she discovers she was tricked.  It isn’t a circle of protection but a circle of sacrifice.  Violet puts on the record of Conjure of Sacrifice and when it finishes Caroline is transported into Violet’s body while Violet who is actually Mama Cecile is transferred into Caroline’s body.  As an ambulance takes away Caroline and Ben, we see Papa Justify in Luke’s body and Mama Cecile in Caroline’s body talking about how it’s getting harder and harder to get new bodies because the young ones just don’t believe.

10 out of 10 stars.  Terrifying and unique.

 

 

Источник: http://bookaddicts.org/reviews/skeleton-key-film/

The Skeleton Key

2005 film by Iain Softley

For other uses, see Skeleton key (disambiguation).

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Iain Softley, written by Ehren Kruger, and starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, and Joy Bryant. The Southern Gothic narrative follows a New Orleanshospice chase bank security breach 2015 who begins a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants, and Hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there.

Plot[edit]

Caroline Ellis, a hospice aide, quits her position at a how to transfer money from venmo to bank home and is hired as the caretaker of an isolated plantation house in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The aging matron of the house, Violet Devereaux, needs help looking after her husband Benjamin, who was mostly paralyzed by an apparent stroke. At the insistence of the family's estate lawyer, Luke Marshall, Caroline accepts the position.

After Ben attempts to escape his room during a storm, Caroline investigates the house's attic, where Violet said Ben suffered his stroke; she uses a skeleton key which Violet gave her. She discovers a secret room filled with ritual paraphernalia. Caroline confronts Violet, who reveals that the room used to belong to two African American servants who were employed at the house 90 years before. The servants, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, were renowned hoodoo practitioners; they were lynched after conducting a ritual with the owners' two children, from whom Violet and Ben later bought the house. Violet tells Caroline that they keep no mirrors in the house because they see reflections of Cecile and Justify in them. Caroline borrows a phonograph record from the attic: Conjure of Sacrifice, a recording of Papa Justify reciting a hoodoo ritual.

Caroline surmises that Ben's stroke was caused by hoodoo, but believes that his paralytic state is a nocebo effect induced by his own belief, rather than something supernatural. Taking advice from her friend Jill, Caroline visits a hidden hoodoo shop in a nearby laundromat, where a hoodoo woman gives her tools and instructions to cure Ben. After she conducts the ritual, Ben regains some ability to move and speak and he begs Caroline to get susd single sign on away from Violet.

Caroline tells Luke she is suspicious of Violet, but he remains skeptical. They travel to a gas station that Caroline previously noted was lined with brick dust, which she was told is a hoodoo defense; supposedly, no one who means one harm can pass a line of brick dust. She asks one of the proprietors, a blind woman, about the Conjure of Sacrifice, which she learns is a spell wherein the caster steals the remaining years of life from the victim. Increasingly convinced of hoodoo's authenticity, Caroline fears that Violet will soon cast the spell on Ben.

Caroline discovers that Violet is unable to pass a line of brick dust laid across one of the house's doorways, confirming her suspicions. She incapacitates Violet and attempts to escape the house with Ben, but the front gate is chained shut. Caroline hides Ben on the property and enters Luke's office for help. Luke, revealed to be Violet's accomplice, brings Caroline back to the house. Caroline escapes, gets into a fight with Violet, and violently pushes her down the stairs, breaking her legs in the process. With strategic use of brick dust, Caroline flees to the attic, calls 9-1-1 and Jill for help, and casts what she believes is a protective spell. Violet, having caught up with her, reveals she actually trapped herself inside a protective circle. Violet pushes a full-length mirror at Caroline, which reflects the original owner's daughter, then Violet, and lastly Mama Cecile. A recording of the Conjure of Sacrifice plays, and the two switch bodies.

Violet (revealed to be Mama Cecile, who had been occupying Violet's body through the Conjure) wakes up in Caroline's body, and force-feeds Caroline (now in Violet's body) a potion that induces a stroke-like paralytic state like Ben's. Luke (actually Papa Justify) arrives upstairs, revealing that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have been conducting the Conjure of Sacrifice on new people since their supposed deaths; they had swapped places with the two children just before the lynching. Because hoodoo is supposedly only effective on those who believe in it, Cecile and Justify had to wait for Caroline to come to believe in hoodoo through her own investigation.

Emergency services arrive the next morning and take Caroline and Luke away, trapped in the paralyzed dying bodies of Violet and Ben; when Jill arrives, "Luke" tells her that the Devereauxes left the house to Caroline, ensuring that Cecile and Justify will continue to occupy the house.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Skeleton Key was filmed at the Felicity Plantation, located on the Mississippi River in Saint James Parish, Louisiana.[2]

Release[edit]

The Skeleton Key was released in the U.S. on August 12, 2005, after having received an earlier release date of July 29, 2005 in the United Kingdom.[3] It grossed $92 million worldwide.[1] In the U.S., it took in $16.1 million in its first weekend, reaching number 2 at the box office; the total US gross was $47.9 million.[1]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of 149 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary."[4]Metacritic rated it 47/100 based on 32 reviews.[5]

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw awarded the film three out of five stars, noting: "It's a pretty thankless role for poor John Hurt, and there are some plot holes. But there's some shrewd satire of racism as the modern south's persistent, dirty little secret and screenwriter Ehren Kruger's third act conjures up a neat little shiver."[3] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, calling it "tightly plotted and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing until the satisfying, unexpected end, which is worth suspending disbelief for," adding that "Hudson holds her own among impressive company. Not that Hurt has a whole lot to do other than grab an occasional wrist and recoil at his face in the mirror, and the usually measured Sarsgaard oversells it a bit, but Rowlands takes to the part like a fly to a shucked oyster."[6]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times criticized the film for its plot, describing it as "enjoyably inane," and also noted that the film "indulges in almost every conceivable regional and [Southern Gothic] genre cliché."[7]USA Today wrote that the film "employs intriguing camera angles to heighten some of the suspense. It's too bad the movie goes over the top and falls apart in the last third."[8]Stephanie Zacharek wrote in Salon: "Softley, working from a script by Ehren Kruger, puts so much care into layering moods and textures that he doesn't always scoot the action along as briskly as he should."[9] In The Seattle Times, Moira McDonald wrote that the film is "occasionally scary but more often silly."[10] In her review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten wrote: "Director Softley again shows his gifts for creating atmospheric milieus.Yet the movie, overall, lacks tension and suspense.[11] In Film Journal International, Edward Alter wrote that, "Iain Softley (K-Pax) and cinematographer Dan Mindel make the most of the setting," but concluded that the film was, "a paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller that's more interesting for its locations than for its story."[12]

Jennie Punter in The Globe and Mail called the film, "stylishly made but disappointingly lightweight."[13] Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Jessica Reeves called the film "serviceable but ultimately disappointing".[14] In his annual film guide, Leonard Maltin rated the film mediocre, stating that it was "well-produced and occasionally suspenseful, but populated by unpleasant characters and a story that moves too slowly." In the annual DVD & Video Guide, Marsha Porter wrote, "A few good scares can't compensate for a sluggish pace, and the climactic twist comes as a surprise only because it doesn't make sense."

References[edit]

  1. ^ abcd"The Skeleton Key". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  2. ^Scott, Mike (June 8, 2016). "Where was the 'Roots' remake filmed?". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  3. ^ abBradshaw, Peter (July 28, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  4. ^"The Skeleton Key". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  5. ^"Skeleton Key, The (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  6. ^Chocano, Carina (August 12, 2005). "'Skeleton Key' is a gothic thriller with good bones". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  7. ^Dargis, Manohla (August 12, 2005). "Just in Time, a Southern Gothic Gumbo of Fluff and Horror". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  8. ^"'Skeleton Key' goes bump, then thuds". USA Today. August 11, 2005. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  9. ^Zacharek, Stephanie (August 12, 2005). ""The Skeleton Key"". Salon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  10. ^McDonald, Moira (August 11, 2005). ""Skeleton Key": Dear Kate, we miss your sunny smile". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  11. ^Baumgarten, Marjorie (August 12, 2005). "Film Review: The Skeleton Key". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  12. ^Alter, Edward (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015.
  13. ^Punter, Jennie (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  14. ^Reeves, Jessica (December 2, 2005). "Movie review: 'The Skeleton Key'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 2, 2005.

External links[edit]

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skeleton_Key

Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Photos by WGN and FX

In TV, movies, and real life, women have been at the forefront of the year’s biggest stories — so this Halloween season, we’re looking at pop culture’s most wicked depiction of female power.

You can learn a lot about the soul of a city by how it treats its dead.

New Orleans doesn’t fear death, but has it stitched into the very fabric of its identity. It’s a place where history weighs on your shoulders at every corner. It has a fatalism etched in the twilight, high-pitched revelry that defines its exuberant citizens and their fierce acknowledgment that history is not something you leave behind, but carry with you every day. It’s evident in how voodoo and folk magic aren’t just granted importance by local practitioners, but has become, for better or for worse, a valued tool to pull in tourists. In the summers I spent there as a child, I created a ritual I continue to this day: admiring the beauty and opulence of the mausoleums that pack its cemeteries. One such mausoleum was that of Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, buried in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1.

Laveau is as elusive a figure as the lineage of New Orleans voodoo itself — much that is known about her is blurred by conjecture and mythology. But what can be substantiated is how Laveau’s story has become deeply interwoven with New Orleans’ identity. Laveau’s visage can be found on murals and T-shirts, the gris-gris bags sold to tourists, and in museums meant to acknowledge the city’s importance within the folk-magic community. Her influence extends beyond the brutal beauty of the city she called home, seeping into pop culture — including Marvel comics, the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, and the TV series Lost Girl — that’s interested in giving historical heft to its supernatural explorations, most recently with Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Coven,in which Angela Bassett played the revered Voodoo Queen.

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Laveau encapsulates better than any other historical figure the narrow position black witches hold in the public imagination. (It’s important to note that, to examine this trend, I am using “witches” as a catch-all term for these characters, including rootworkers and voodoo priestesses.) While their practices — whether Haitian voodou or rootwork — are appropriated to add a flash of exoticism, they often remain thinly drawn figures, pushed to the margins of their respective stories. They are used to incite fear or curiosity in the white imagination, which remains deeply suspicious of black ancestral practices that don’t allow for easy translation. In pop culture, the historical underpinnings of these practices — which were brought to America by slaves trying to fiercely hold onto their own belief systems, even as colonialism tried to beat it out of them — are traded for a simpler, highly exoticized portrayal.

This is exacerbated by the fact that there is a yawning chasm in pop-culture history in which black witches are rarely explored. From Naomie Harris’s Pirates of the Caribbean character Tia Dalma to the forever-sidelined Bonnie and her brethren in The Vampire Diaries to the wry teen witch Rochelle in the beloved 1990s cult classic The Craft, the black witches we do see are predominantly sketches, not characters with interiority, despite the considerable talents of the actresses that bring them to life. Of course, it should be noted that witches need not be women: Marie Laveau was said to have studied under Dr. John, a fabled New Orleans voodoo figure; film and television history is occasionally punctuated by male practitioners, including Nelsan Ellis’s vulgar grace as Lafayette in True Blood or the folk practices exemplified by Danny Glover’s slippery performance in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger. But in real life and pop culture, witchcraft is one of the few avenues in which women are exalted and seen as powerful figures to be respected. The lack of powerful black witches in film and TV is a symptom of a larger chase car loan customer service that has existed in America since its very beginning: the fear of black women’s autonomy and prowess.

Nowhere are the issues with representation for black witches more stark than when considering those that practice hoodoo, voodoo, or various folk magic. Voodoo — a religion that has two primary strains in Haitian voodou and New Orleans voodoo, which melds the practice with Catholicism —has long been used in horror films to denote “the other.” Take early zombie films like White Zombie (1932), more recent fare, like the sprawling series of Chucky horror films, Lisa Bonet’s sexually overwrought turn in Angel Heart (1987), and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988).

But despite hoodoo and voodoo’s presence in these narratives, black characters are either opaque or don’t appear at ally bank lease trust phone number. As Katrina Hazzard-Donald writes in her in-depth study, Mojo Workin’: The Old African Hoodoo System, “Even in the twenty-first century, unfounded prejudice, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding of traditional African religion still continue. Unfortunately, contemporary popular images, with unlimited power to capture the psyche […] have continued to be the most powerful tools in reinforcing the older misrepresentations. Where these images would be contested and challenged, the African as the human element is simply excluded from the portrayal.” In effect, the history of black witches in film and TV is less one of misrepresentation than of a stunning absence.

Of the films where black witches are actually represented, one of the earliest examples is 1934’s Drums O’ Voodoo. In it, the religion is buttressed by a primarily black cast, making it the first horror film to do so. The witch at its heart is voodoo priestess Auntie Hagar (Laura Bowman). While voodoo is somewhat criticized in the film, she proves to be the voice of reason and is blessedly not depicted as a monstrous figure. Unfortunately, since Drums O’Voodoo,voodoo priests and priestesses have mostly been evoked as figures to be scorned, or as outright villains. One of the most egregious examples of this is 2005’s The Skeleton Key.

The Skeleton Key is a deliriously ridiculous horror film that makes little use of its Louisiana setting, hoodoo, or the horror inherent to its premise. But it is a useful, modern example of how black witches are both silenced and used to exemplify the deeply white American fear of black folk magic. The Skeleton Key’s horror comes from its two hoodoo practitioners — Papa Justify (Ronald McCall) and Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) — who have been using the “Conjure of Sacrifice” to possess the bodies of white people for the past 90 years in order to live eternally.  What’s frustrating about The Skeleton Key and other films that render black witches in this manner are the thorny racial dynamics the filmmakers skirt entirely. Neither Papa Justify nor Mama Cecile are seen speaking much for themselves when we see them in their original black bodies. And there is something inherently cruel, and boldly callous, about taking the black folk magic that slaves practicedto hold onto their history and twisting it into a method of horror against white people.

In American Horror Story: Coven,Bassett’s take on Marie Laveau is granted more narrative importance and deeper characterization than the hoodoo practitioners seen in The Skeleton Key, but she is ultimately a host of contradictions. She’s an immortal powerhouse, until the narrative calls for her to be easily outdone by her white counterparts. She’s respected in the community, using her abilities to fight against racist strictures, but will also sacrifice her own children and underlings if it will protect her authority. As someone who considers New Orleans my second home, there is something about the portrayal of its ancestral black folk practices, as seen through Laveau, that feels emotionally distant, like a tourist skipping through Bourbon Street at 2 a.m. and believing they have an understanding of the city in all its ragged, blistering complexity. It isn’t merely surface level, it’s a caricature. Of course, Laveau serves gumbo and speaks with an unplaceable accent. It’s an outsider’s understanding of this city and its magic — all flash and little substance.

It isn’t that reimaginings of Laveau, like the one in Coven, are bad in and of themselves. I don’t necessarily want black witches in film tfcu bank locations TV to always cleave to realism. But what this portrayal the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice, and what ultimately undoes it, is its lack of a sense of community. Laveau’s willingness to destroy the extremely powerful “Supreme” witch Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and the immortal racist murderess Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates)using any means necessary, even manipulating members of her own community, makes her gestures toward black political resistance hollow. Hoodoo, voodoo, and folk magic of all sorts are deeply tied to community. Trading this dimension of these practices to depict a lone figure, who uses the cover of night to hide her horrific deeds, turns beliefs meant to celebrate our ancestors into fantastical methods, solely used to bring down white people who are deemed troublesome.

Beyond Marie Laveau, the most important historical black witch in film and TV is, undoubtedly, Tituba, an enslaved woman who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Tituba has appeared in both film versions of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Maid of Salem, and has been name-checked in countless works, most recently portrayed by Ashley Madekwe in the canceled WGN series Salem.

Tituba is crucial to understanding how black witches have been framed by pop culture, which makes it startling to learn she likely wasn’t actually a black woman. In reality, Tituba was a South American native who sailed from Barbados. There is no evidence that she even practiced voodoo. But in the wake of high-profile works like The Crucible,voodoo has been irrevocably tied to our understanding of both her and that point in history.

As Stacy Schiff writes for Smithsonian Magazine, “Described as Indian no fewer than 15 times in the court papers, she went on to shift-shape herself. As scholars have noted, falling prey to a multi-century game of telephone, Tituba evolved over two centuries from Indian to half-Indian to half-black to black, with assists from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who seemed to have plucked her from Macbeth), historian George Bancroft and William Carlos Williams. By the time Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, in 1952, Tituba was a ‘Negro slave.’” She further explains the reasoning for this dramatic shift, writing, “Her history was written by men, working when African voodoo was more electrifying than outmoded English witchcraft. All wrote after the Civil War, when a slave was understood to be black. Miller believed Tituba had actively engaged in devil worship; he read her confession — and the 20th-century sources — at face value.” Tituba has become an outsize figure in pop culture’s approach to black witches not because of a sincere interest in the interiority of these women, but a desire for sensationalism easily wrought by creating a simplistic portrayal of voodoo.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the black witches and priestesses who feel the most richly explored and understood are ones written by black women. In Queen Sugar, the television series brought to the screen by Ava DuVernay,Rutina Wesley plays Nova Bordelon, an activist based in New Orleans who also is a hoodoo rootworker respected by her community. Nova’s practices aren’t the center of her characterization, and Queen Sugar is steadfastly based in realism rather than the supernatural. But this quality adds dimension to Nova’s story; a tender ritual she does with her sister in the season-two episode “Caroling Dusk” is beautiful to behold for its simplicity and how carefully it is threaded into the scene. The ritual is used as both a cleansing and christening of Charley’s new home. Charley looks at Nova somewhat incredulously as she lights herbs and lets the smoke waft through the apartment, with Nova using feathers to guide the smoke into various corners. Then there’s Beyoncé, who, while not explicitly playing a priestess in her magnum opus Lemonade,used various Yoruba traditions and folk practices as visual inspiration. But you have to go back 20 years to find the most in-depth, authentic, and moving portrait of black witches: the 1997 independent film Eve’s Bayou.

Eve’s Bayou is a film I’ve cherished since childhood. It centers on a prosperous Creole community in 1960s rural Louisiana, seen from the perspective of 10-year old Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett) as she recounts the story of case 580 super m price father’s death, which she feels responsible for. The witches in the story are Eve’s aunt, Mozelle Batiste Delacroix (Debbi Morgan), and the powerful Elzora (Diahann Carroll). Eve’s Bayou gently teases the supernatural, but is remarkably accurate when it comes to its approach to rootwork. In the film, the term “voodoo” is inaccurately used, but I’ve always seen that as being due to the story being from the perspective of a 10-year-old who doesn’t know the particular grooves of these practices.

Of all the characters in the film, it’s Mozelle who proves to be the most fascinating. Mozelle is popular among locals who are looking to understand the troubles of their present or the course of their future. She advises them with various hoodoo practices and has a fascinating history of her own — every man she’s ever loved has died by violent ends. She’s quick-witted, passionate, and fiercely independent. Most importantly, she has a quality lacking in other black witches in pop culture: a sense of humanity. Mozelle’s humanity is rendered in how deeply she cares for her community and her value within it, as various people turn to her in times of need. Actress Debbi Morgan lends a quiet strength and fierce empathy to the character. But the writing also gives her great dimension: She’s witnessed watching over Eve, helping her sister-in-law, performing rootwork, and navigating the deaths of the men she’s loved.

One passage I was particularly struck by in Mojo Workin’ crystallizes what makes  Eve’s Bayou so moving compared to other depictions of black witches:

“As Hoodoo developed, it was known in all the slave community and was a part of the psychic structure of every individual enslaved there. […] It addressed the needs of the slave community and, later, the free African American community; it integrated psychological support, spiritual direction, physical strength, and medicinal treatment. It helped define the cultural uniqueness of the old black belt nation, its members, and their descendants.”

Hoodoo and (New Orleans) voodoo have been warped over time by the opportunistic confidence artists who have added it to their arsenal. But they’ve also been undermined and disrespected by one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of white patriarchal structures that continue to otherize blackness: film and TV.Writer-director Kasi Lemmons’s artistry and sincere respect for the knotted culture of black Creoles in rural Louisiana proves how rich this storytelling can be when it actually explores the interior lives of black witches in American history, rather than using them as thinly drawn vehicles for exoticism and horror.

It may very well be naïve to expect historical truths and cultural sensitivity when it comes to filmmakers approaching black witches, whether they practice Wicca, hoodoo, or New Orleans voodoo. But as black political identity has become a vital criterion for how pop culture is judged, it seems foolish to ignore this lineage. I yearn to see black witches who are bold and unyielding, venomous and tenderhearted, solemn rural practitioners and silver-tongued city dwellers. I yearn to see black witches given interiority and narrative importance like their white counterparts, whether that be in prickly dramas that acknowledge the thornyhistory of the South or archly constructed supernatural fare. I yearn to see the culture of my ancestors explored in all its vibrant complexity, not whittled down in order to find new ways to frighten white people about the cultures they’ve had a hand in demonizing since this country’s beginning.

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What Pop Culture Gets Right and Wrong About Witches, According to a Real Coven
Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?Источник: https://www.vulture.com/2017/10/black-witches-why-cant-they-get-respect-in-pop-culture.html

The Skeleton Key Ending Explained

Universal Pictures

By Curtis Harding/Oct. 15, 2021 1:25 pm EST

Moody and atmospheric, 2005's "The Skeleton Key" is a low-key supernatural horror movie that masquerades as a psychological thriller for most of its runtime. Kate Hudson plays Caroline Ellis, a hospice worker who grows dissatisfied with her job and answers an ad in the paper to be a live-in caretaker for the Devereauxs — Violet (Gena Rowlands) and her husband, Ben (John Hurt). Ben had a stroke that paralyzed both sides of his body, rendering him unable to talk and leaving him at death's door. 

But the Devereauxs' lushly isolated swamp plantation is unsettling from the start, and Violet's cantankerous evasiveness arouses Caroline's immediate suspicion. Something happened to Ben that she's not been told, and Caroline is determined to find out what. It's a film with so many layers of deception and misdirection that it can be hard to separate the truth from the lies even when they're right in front of your face. The viewers only become aware of its genre-straddling elements as Caroline does, and most of that's reserved for the final act. And just when Caroline and the rest of us feel like we have it all figured out, everything is turned on its head. 

As Hurt said in a 2005 interview with Brulik Entertainment, "What I liked about it was it was such an unusual premise. And such an unusual ending, particularly for Hollywood." But while that bleak ending may feel like it comes out of nowhere, it's telegraphed from the start. 

Caroline is trapped — body and soul

Universal Pictures

While many (but certainly not all) horror movies settle on happy endings in which the villains are vanquished and the hero walks away, "The Skeleton Key" isn't one of them. Unless, of course, you were rooting for Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) and Papa Justify (Ronald McCall), who have a twisted scheme to inhabit younger bodies and bypass the aging process. In fact, when you get down to it, the ending is horrifying. Luke (Peter Sarsgaard) has long been a lost cause, as he'd been taken and shunted into Ben's body before the film ever started — Justify masquerades as him for the entire movie. 

Hoodoo only works if you believe, and over the course of the film, Caroline allows herself to be drawn in until she believes enough for Cecile to hop out of Violet's body into hers. Cecile's the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice of youth are over, and after the transfer is done, Caroline in Violet's body is given the same paralytic potion "Ben" had been taking the whole movie. And in Caroline's desperate attempt to escape, she broke both of Violet's legs, so she inherits a broken body. In addition, the story of Violet falling down the stairs helps make the case that both she and Ben need to be locked away in a nursing home. 

In the end, we realize that every time Caroline thought she was uncovering secrets and fighting back, she was just falling deeper down the rabbit hole. Nearly everything she'd been through was staged, planned, and executed call arvest customer service without a hitch in order to make her believe in Hoodoo so her body could be taken from her.

Violet actually turns out to be pretty honest

Universal Pictures

When all is said and done, perhaps the biggest surprise is how honest Violet — or rather, Mama Cecile in Violet's body — is throughout the film. When Caroline wants to know about the room in the attic with all the Hoodoo paraphernalia, Violet tells her that it belonged to Cecile and Papa Justify — and that the house still belongs to them. And it does — their bodies are long gone, but their ghosts are still around, body-hopping, passing the house down through their victims.

Violet then tells the tale of Cecile and Justify's lynching and how they were caught in the attic with their employer's children performing a Hoodoo ritual. That definitely happened — she just leaves out the (admittedly important) detail that the ritual swapped souls. Then there's Ben. Though Violet first claims he had a stroke in the attic, Caroline pushes for the truth, and she amends her story. Actually, Violet says, he was attacked by ghosts in the attic, and they left him paralyzed. And, really, that's what happened. As we see with Caroline, everything needed to perform the Conjure of Sacrifice is in the attic. That's probably where the ghosts of Cecile and Justify in their stolen bodies first snatched Ben, and more recently, Luke.

Violet doesn't hold much back. She just acts as if she's reluctant to share, and that makes Caroline think she's digging into the truth and learning about these "superstitions" on her own. It's masterfully, horrifyingly manipulative.

The symbolism of the skeleton key

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Manipulation, it turns out, is key when it comes to stealing a body. In order for the Conjure of Sacrifice to work, Caroline needs to believe in it and the Hoodoo behind it. But that's a tall order for anyone grounded in reality. People don't just believe in something because they're told to. In fact, telling people to believe is a good way to get them to dig in and push back at you. But if they think they came to the conclusion you want on their own, well, that's different. 

This isn't Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's first body snatching, and they understand that Caroline has to come to believe in Hoodoo on her own. Violet can't simply tell her magic is real, and this is where the skeleton key comes in. In particular, it gives Caroline unfettered access to the house, allowing her to explore and stumble upon her own discoveries. It's symbolic of the way she explores the world of Hoodoo, stumbling upon its secrets as she tries to find out what really happened to Ben. 

At least, that's what she thinks she's doing. In reality, Violet — and to a lesser degree, Luke — expertly nudge her down every path. They pique Caroline's curiosity with "accidental" slip-ups here and there, deny her access to both the house and knowledge when necessary, and feed her just enough truth to keep her hooked.

The importance of the locked door in the attic

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One place where the symbolism of the skeleton key and its literal use collide is in the locked room in the attic. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger (who burnished his horror credentials writing "Scream 3" and "The Ring") explains in "Behind the Locked Door — Making the Skeleton Key" that human beings are immediately drawn to places they can't go. If there's a locked door, we have to know what's on the other side of it. So for Caroline, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's attic room "takes on incredible significance," says Kruger, "and becomes, effectively, the only room in the house."

It's no accident that Violet sends Caroline up into the attic to grab seeds early in the movie. Nor is it an accident that the only door in the house that won't open for Caroline is in that attic. When she finally does manage to enter, she discovers that a piece of the key had broken off in the lock, blocking her own. At the end of the movie, as Caroline goes through Luke's desk, there, nestled in the drawer, is another skeleton key, identical to her own but with the end of it broken off. 

Cecile and Justify use the skeleton key, the room, and Caroline's own determination against her. Because once Caroline finds her way into that room and takes the record with the Conjure of Sacrifice, she starts tipping over from skepticism to belief. Once that happens, there's no turning back.

The film is rife with foreshadowing

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Watch "The Skeleton Key" the first time, and that ending inevitably catches you by surprise. But watch it a second, and suddenly the movie is rife with hints and foreshadowing that all but reveal where it's going. For example, Jill asks Caroline early in the movie if her work is changing her, then warns her not to get sucked into her new employers' "elderly ways." By the end of the film, Caroline's been sucked in so deep that Mama Cecile has taken her body.

One of the greatest pieces of foreshadowing manages to almost perfectly encapsulate all the movie's layers. It comes when Caroline first enters the Devereauxs' house and walks past a painting of a saint holding a Bible and brandishing a torch. That's St. Martha, the patron saint of servants and housewives. At first glance, it makes sense that an Old South gal like Violet would hang it in her home. But, we learn at the end, there is no Violet — it's not her home. In reality, it's the home of the former servants, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, so St. Martha is their saint. Except she's also known as St. Martha the Dominator, as medieval legend has it that she tamed a dragon. Because of that, she's popular to call upon in Hoodoo spells in which you seek to dominate another person. For the knowledgeable, that painting alone reveals exactly what to expect.  

Who were the real Violet and Ben?

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If there's one fairly consistent point of confusion, it's over who Violet and Ben are. Some viewers mistakenly believe they were the kids that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify first took over. That, though, happened 90 years ago, and Violet and Ben just aren't that old. Plus, Cecile bemoans how much harder it's gotten to get folks to the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice, making it clear they've done this a couple times.

So when Violet says that she and Ben bought the house from a brother and sister back in the '60s, there's no reason to doubt her. After all, most of the rest of the history she reveals is true. Depending on how old the brother and sister were when they were taken over, they'd have been in their 50s or 60s by the time Violent and Ben came along, so their possessors were likely itching for younger bodies again.

But it was likely more complicated than what Mama Cecile reveals. Violet and Ben may have been a real couple who bought the house, but Cecile and Papa Justify selling the property and then getting them to believe enough to be taken over seems tricky. More likely, the couple was taken one at a time like Luke and Caroline, and arrangements were made to sell to one of them — much the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice the will was crafted to leave the house to Caroline. As to who the Deverauxs might have been before, though, that's anyone's guess.

What was with the mirrors?

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One of the things that most piques Caroline's curiosity is the ban on mirrors in the house. We're never really sure why that is, though. At first, Violet shrugs it off, claiming that after a certain age, you don't really want to look at yourself anymore. It's a ridiculous explanation, but there might be a grain of truth in it since Mama Cecile and Papa Justify don't seem all that fond of inhabiting older folks' bodies.

Then, when pushed, Violet says it's because you see the ghosts of Justify and Cecile in them. Caroline thinks this is ridiculous, but when she shows Ben a mirror, he freaks out, and she assumes he believes in the ghosts. His reaction, though, might just be Luke reacting to seeing himself in Ben's body. But this explanation also seems absurd since the ghosts of Justify and Cecile aren't flitting around the house.

Except when we get to the end of the movie, the large mirror in the attic seems like an integral part of the Conjure of Sacrifice. Violet stands behind it and holds it up to Caroline, and we see it cycle through ghostly images of Violet and the young girl Mama Cecile first took over. The Conjure of Sacrifice ends when Mama Cecile's ghost appears in the mirror, and she — in Violet's body — pushes it to break over Caroline. So maybe ghosts do appear in mirrors — at least when it's time to steal a body. 

Should we sympathize with Mama Cecile and Papa Justify?

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When Violet tells the story of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's lynching, it's clear they're supposed to be sympathetic victims of heinous abuse and racism. But this is before viewers really know what's highest saving account interest rate in us on. Afterward, it's hard to muster the same sympathy. So are they purely irredeemable villains or avenging spirits? 

In "Behind the Locked Door — Making the Skeleton Key," screenwriter Ehren Kruger notes that, "All ghost stories really are about a crime in the past that is unavenged, deserves retribution." Yes, Cecile and Justify had already jumped bodies before a white mob lynched their bodies, but they still had to watch it happen. And when Violet tells their tale, she makes clear that the man they worked for was cruel. The lynching was just the culmination of his treatment of them. 

Violet says that in life, Cecile and Justify "healed the sick and hurt the mean," but they were abused and worked to the bone by a vicious employer. They didn't start out bad, and what they've done to stay alive by taking over the bodies of white southern folks can certainly be looked at as retribution against a racist, abusive culture — lashing out, maybe a bit too much, to hurt the mean. But that only goes so far. When Cecile is in Caroline's body, she says she's tired of being a white woman, but they can never get any Black folk to stick around long enough. So it's clearly moved beyond retribution into cruelty.

What happens next?

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Many movies, horror or otherwise, try to tie things up in a neat little bow and give viewers some sense of a happy ending. "The Skeleton Key" does not do that — except pay my verizon bill over the phone Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. But when you think about it, the future actually looks pretty bleak for everyone.

Things are only going to get tougher for Cecile and Justify as people believe in old ways like Hoodoo less. They can only take over believers, and when they're ready to trade in Caroline and Luke in another 40 years or so, who knows where the world will be? Cecile sighs at the end after the work it took to bring Caroline around, and it gets tougher every time. Indeed, it was one of the reasons she was so against taking on this Yankee girl at the beginning of the film. So how long will the couple be able to keep up this scheme? The film suggests the answer to this question is unclear.

As for Caroline and Luke, the last scene of them — paralyzed, staring at each other in Violet and Ben's bodies — is haunting. They don't have much future. On the one hand, it seems risky sending them off if it took regular dosing of whatever potion Violet was whipping up to keep Ben paralyzed and unable to talk. On the other, what are they going to do? Cecile and Justify send them off as feeble, failing, and probably confused old folks. Who's going to listen to their outlandish claims that they're someone else?

Where does The Skeleton Key sit in horror history?

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Though "The Skeleton Key" has its share of ardent fans, it never really made much of a splash. Some of those fans like the skeleton key conjure of sacrifice point to "Get Out" as essentially being the same film, as both have those surprise endings where viewers realize that they're — spoiler alert! — watching possession films. But as Jordan Peele talks about with GQ, "Get Out" owes more to the likes of "Stepford Wives" and "Rosemary's Baby" than anything else. 

At its core, as screenwriter Ehren Kruger noted that "The Skeleton Key" is a ghost story, and like all ghost stories, it deals with the past catching up with the present. Rather than haunt the house, these ghosts just inhabit bodies that aren't their own. And the fact that the movie drips with a Southern Gothic atmosphere makes it a uniquely American take on Gothic ghost tales like "Crimson Peak." Plus, its use of Hoodoo and spells also nudges it into the witchcraft genre. 

Just a year after "The Skeleton Key" came little known horror gem "The Woods." In that film, a young girl learns that her remote boarding school is run by witches who need to steal the bodies of young women. Sound familiar? Maybe, but most similarities to movies that came after boil down to universal horror tropes. Ultimately, "The Skeleton Key" stands by itself in the horror genre. Unusual ending or not, it just didn't have enough of an impact to influence many filmmakers.

Источник: https://www.looper.com/634202/the-skeleton-key-ending-explained/

Skeleton Key Horror Not So Unreal

Horror films seem to fall into two camps these days. One form of the genre is almost a mockery of itself and its themes; gore and horror exist as a form of amusement, and while the audience certainly doesn't believe in the events on-screen, there is a amount of escapist fun in watching.
Other horror films draw on the religious beliefs deeply rooted in our culture, and a real sense of fear can be instilled even when there is no violence. As Japanese horror director Hideo Nakata once noted, Western horror films are typically based on the fundamental conflict between God and the devil, with demon possession of people and places a common theme.

The upcoming thriller Skeleton Key is one such movie, and the film's star Peter Sarsgaard admitted to Sci Fi Wire that his own beliefs are not so different from the film's depiction of the supernatural. Sarsgaard plays an attorney for an elderly couple whose New Orleans estate is afflicted by some kind of Voodoo evil. And for Sarsgaard, evil is more than just a vague concept.

"Because I grew up believing in Satan, it makes me act a certain way in my life, which has probably incorporated more evil in my life than there would have been, because I'm reacting to it, because it's a character in my life. Like I think in the case with voodoo, part of voodoo is that those who believe in it are affected by it. I believe that if you believe that something is going to stop your heart from beating, that it might do something to you physiologically, because I think the mind and the body are connected."

Have you seen The Skeleton Key?


And while the events of Skeleton Key might not be accurate to real life, the beliefs of its participants – and perhaps the audience as well – lend it credibility. "I think that my favorite horror movies don't rely on an element that is just true; that the characters believe in that thing is what makes it true."

Sarsgaard said that he's been a fan of religious horror films like The Exorcist and The Omen most of his life; and while he enjoys zombie flicks like Evil Dead, they don't instill the same fear in him.

Skeleton Key also stars Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). It opens in theaters nation-wide August 12th.

Was this article informative?

Источник: https://www.ign.com/articles/2005/05/26/skeleton-key-horror-not-so-unreal

The skeleton key conjure of sacrifice -

Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Photos by WGN and FX

In TV, movies, and real life, women have been at the forefront of the year’s biggest stories — so this Halloween season, we’re looking at pop culture’s most wicked depiction of female power.

You can learn a lot about the soul of a city by how it treats its dead.

New Orleans doesn’t fear death, but has it stitched into the very fabric of its identity. It’s a place where history weighs on your shoulders at every corner. It has a fatalism etched in the twilight, high-pitched revelry that defines its exuberant citizens and their fierce acknowledgment that history is not something you leave behind, but carry with you every day. It’s evident in how voodoo and folk magic aren’t just granted importance by local practitioners, but has become, for better or for worse, a valued tool to pull in tourists. In the summers I spent there as a child, I created a ritual I continue to this day: admiring the beauty and opulence of the mausoleums that pack its cemeteries. One such mausoleum was that of Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, buried in Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1.

Laveau is as elusive a figure as the lineage of New Orleans voodoo itself — much that is known about her is blurred by conjecture and mythology. But what can be substantiated is how Laveau’s story has become deeply interwoven with New Orleans’ identity. Laveau’s visage can be found on murals and T-shirts, the gris-gris bags sold to tourists, and in museums meant to acknowledge the city’s importance within the folk-magic community. Her influence extends beyond the brutal beauty of the city she called home, seeping into pop culture — including Marvel comics, the Neil Gaiman novel American Gods, and the TV series Lost Girl — that’s interested in giving historical heft to its supernatural explorations, most recently with Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Coven,in which Angela Bassett played the revered Voodoo Queen.

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Laveau encapsulates better than any other historical figure the narrow position black witches hold in the public imagination. (It’s important to note that, to examine this trend, I am using “witches” as a catch-all term for these characters, including rootworkers and voodoo priestesses.) While their practices — whether Haitian voodou or rootwork — are appropriated to add a flash of exoticism, they often remain thinly drawn figures, pushed to the margins of their respective stories. They are used to incite fear or curiosity in the white imagination, which remains deeply suspicious of black ancestral practices that don’t allow for easy translation. In pop culture, the historical underpinnings of these practices — which were brought to America by slaves trying to fiercely hold onto their own belief systems, even as colonialism tried to beat it out of them — are traded for a simpler, highly exoticized portrayal.

This is exacerbated by the fact that there is a yawning chasm in pop-culture history in which black witches are rarely explored. From Naomie Harris’s Pirates of the Caribbean character Tia Dalma to the forever-sidelined Bonnie and her brethren in The Vampire Diaries to the wry teen witch Rochelle in the beloved 1990s cult classic The Craft, the black witches we do see are predominantly sketches, not characters with interiority, despite the considerable talents of the actresses that bring them to life. Of course, it should be noted that witches need not be women: Marie Laveau was said to have studied under Dr. John, a fabled New Orleans voodoo figure; film and television history is occasionally punctuated by male practitioners, including Nelsan Ellis’s vulgar grace as Lafayette in True Blood or the folk practices exemplified by Danny Glover’s slippery performance in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger. But in real life and pop culture, witchcraft is one of the few avenues in which women are exalted and seen as powerful figures to be respected. The lack of powerful black witches in film and TV is a symptom of a larger problem that has existed in America since its very beginning: the fear of black women’s autonomy and prowess.

Nowhere are the issues with representation for black witches more stark than when considering those that practice hoodoo, voodoo, or various folk magic. Voodoo — a religion that has two primary strains in Haitian voodou and New Orleans voodoo, which melds the practice with Catholicism —has long been used in horror films to denote “the other.” Take early zombie films like White Zombie (1932), more recent fare, like the sprawling series of Chucky horror films, Lisa Bonet’s sexually overwrought turn in Angel Heart (1987), and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988).

But despite hoodoo and voodoo’s presence in these narratives, black characters are either opaque or don’t appear at all. As Katrina Hazzard-Donald writes in her in-depth study, Mojo Workin’: The Old African Hoodoo System, “Even in the twenty-first century, unfounded prejudice, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding of traditional African religion still continue. Unfortunately, contemporary popular images, with unlimited power to capture the psyche […] have continued to be the most powerful tools in reinforcing the older misrepresentations. Where these images would be contested and challenged, the African as the human element is simply excluded from the portrayal.” In effect, the history of black witches in film and TV is less one of misrepresentation than of a stunning absence.

Of the films where black witches are actually represented, one of the earliest examples is 1934’s Drums O’ Voodoo. In it, the religion is buttressed by a primarily black cast, making it the first horror film to do so. The witch at its heart is voodoo priestess Auntie Hagar (Laura Bowman). While voodoo is somewhat criticized in the film, she proves to be the voice of reason and is blessedly not depicted as a monstrous figure. Unfortunately, since Drums O’Voodoo,voodoo priests and priestesses have mostly been evoked as figures to be scorned, or as outright villains. One of the most egregious examples of this is 2005’s The Skeleton Key.

The Skeleton Key is a deliriously ridiculous horror film that makes little use of its Louisiana setting, hoodoo, or the horror inherent to its premise. But it is a useful, modern example of how black witches are both silenced and used to exemplify the deeply white American fear of black folk magic. The Skeleton Key’s horror comes from its two hoodoo practitioners — Papa Justify (Ronald McCall) and Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) — who have been using the “Conjure of Sacrifice” to possess the bodies of white people for the past 90 years in order to live eternally.  What’s frustrating about The Skeleton Key and other films that render black witches in this manner are the thorny racial dynamics the filmmakers skirt entirely. Neither Papa Justify nor Mama Cecile are seen speaking much for themselves when we see them in their original black bodies. And there is something inherently cruel, and boldly callous, about taking the black folk magic that slaves practicedto hold onto their history and twisting it into a method of horror against white people.

In American Horror Story: Coven,Bassett’s take on Marie Laveau is granted more narrative importance and deeper characterization than the hoodoo practitioners seen in The Skeleton Key, but she is ultimately a host of contradictions. She’s an immortal powerhouse, until the narrative calls for her to be easily outdone by her white counterparts. She’s respected in the community, using her abilities to fight against racist strictures, but will also sacrifice her own children and underlings if it will protect her authority. As someone who considers New Orleans my second home, there is something about the portrayal of its ancestral black folk practices, as seen through Laveau, that feels emotionally distant, like a tourist skipping through Bourbon Street at 2 a.m. and believing they have an understanding of the city in all its ragged, blistering complexity. It isn’t merely surface level, it’s a caricature. Of course, Laveau serves gumbo and speaks with an unplaceable accent. It’s an outsider’s understanding of this city and its magic — all flash and little substance.

It isn’t that reimaginings of Laveau, like the one in Coven, are bad in and of themselves. I don’t necessarily want black witches in film and TV to always cleave to realism. But what this portrayal lacks, and what ultimately undoes it, is its lack of a sense of community. Laveau’s willingness to destroy the extremely powerful “Supreme” witch Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and the immortal racist murderess Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates)using any means necessary, even manipulating members of her own community, makes her gestures toward black political resistance hollow. Hoodoo, voodoo, and folk magic of all sorts are deeply tied to community. Trading this dimension of these practices to depict a lone figure, who uses the cover of night to hide her horrific deeds, turns beliefs meant to celebrate our ancestors into fantastical methods, solely used to bring down white people who are deemed troublesome.

Beyond Marie Laveau, the most important historical black witch in film and TV is, undoubtedly, Tituba, an enslaved woman who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Tituba has appeared in both film versions of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Maid of Salem, and has been name-checked in countless works, most recently portrayed by Ashley Madekwe in the canceled WGN series Salem.

Tituba is crucial to understanding how black witches have been framed by pop culture, which makes it startling to learn she likely wasn’t actually a black woman. In reality, Tituba was a South American native who sailed from Barbados. There is no evidence that she even practiced voodoo. But in the wake of high-profile works like The Crucible,voodoo has been irrevocably tied to our understanding of both her and that point in history.

As Stacy Schiff writes for Smithsonian Magazine, “Described as Indian no fewer than 15 times in the court papers, she went on to shift-shape herself. As scholars have noted, falling prey to a multi-century game of telephone, Tituba evolved over two centuries from Indian to half-Indian to half-black to black, with assists from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who seemed to have plucked her from Macbeth), historian George Bancroft and William Carlos Williams. By the time Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible, in 1952, Tituba was a ‘Negro slave.’” She further explains the reasoning for this dramatic shift, writing, “Her history was written by men, working when African voodoo was more electrifying than outmoded English witchcraft. All wrote after the Civil War, when a slave was understood to be black. Miller believed Tituba had actively engaged in devil worship; he read her confession — and the 20th-century sources — at face value.” Tituba has become an outsize figure in pop culture’s approach to black witches not because of a sincere interest in the interiority of these women, but a desire for sensationalism easily wrought by creating a simplistic portrayal of voodoo.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the black witches and priestesses who feel the most richly explored and understood are ones written by black women. In Queen Sugar, the television series brought to the screen by Ava DuVernay,Rutina Wesley plays Nova Bordelon, an activist based in New Orleans who also is a hoodoo rootworker respected by her community. Nova’s practices aren’t the center of her characterization, and Queen Sugar is steadfastly based in realism rather than the supernatural. But this quality adds dimension to Nova’s story; a tender ritual she does with her sister in the season-two episode “Caroling Dusk” is beautiful to behold for its simplicity and how carefully it is threaded into the scene. The ritual is used as both a cleansing and christening of Charley’s new home. Charley looks at Nova somewhat incredulously as she lights herbs and lets the smoke waft through the apartment, with Nova using feathers to guide the smoke into various corners. Then there’s Beyoncé, who, while not explicitly playing a priestess in her magnum opus Lemonade,used various Yoruba traditions and folk practices as visual inspiration. But you have to go back 20 years to find the most in-depth, authentic, and moving portrait of black witches: the 1997 independent film Eve’s Bayou.

Eve’s Bayou is a film I’ve cherished since childhood. It centers on a prosperous Creole community in 1960s rural Louisiana, seen from the perspective of 10-year old Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett) as she recounts the story of her father’s death, which she feels responsible for. The witches in the story are Eve’s aunt, Mozelle Batiste Delacroix (Debbi Morgan), and the powerful Elzora (Diahann Carroll). Eve’s Bayou gently teases the supernatural, but is remarkably accurate when it comes to its approach to rootwork. In the film, the term “voodoo” is inaccurately used, but I’ve always seen that as being due to the story being from the perspective of a 10-year-old who doesn’t know the particular grooves of these practices.

Of all the characters in the film, it’s Mozelle who proves to be the most fascinating. Mozelle is popular among locals who are looking to understand the troubles of their present or the course of their future. She advises them with various hoodoo practices and has a fascinating history of her own — every man she’s ever loved has died by violent ends. She’s quick-witted, passionate, and fiercely independent. Most importantly, she has a quality lacking in other black witches in pop culture: a sense of humanity. Mozelle’s humanity is rendered in how deeply she cares for her community and her value within it, as various people turn to her in times of need. Actress Debbi Morgan lends a quiet strength and fierce empathy to the character. But the writing also gives her great dimension: She’s witnessed watching over Eve, helping her sister-in-law, performing rootwork, and navigating the deaths of the men she’s loved.

One passage I was particularly struck by in Mojo Workin’ crystallizes what makes  Eve’s Bayou so moving compared to other depictions of black witches:

“As Hoodoo developed, it was known in all the slave community and was a part of the psychic structure of every individual enslaved there. […] It addressed the needs of the slave community and, later, the free African American community; it integrated psychological support, spiritual direction, physical strength, and medicinal treatment. It helped define the cultural uniqueness of the old black belt nation, its members, and their descendants.”

Hoodoo and (New Orleans) voodoo have been warped over time by the opportunistic confidence artists who have added it to their arsenal. But they’ve also been undermined and disrespected by one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of white patriarchal structures that continue to otherize blackness: film and TV.Writer-director Kasi Lemmons’s artistry and sincere respect for the knotted culture of black Creoles in rural Louisiana proves how rich this storytelling can be when it actually explores the interior lives of black witches in American history, rather than using them as thinly drawn vehicles for exoticism and horror.

It may very well be naïve to expect historical truths and cultural sensitivity when it comes to filmmakers approaching black witches, whether they practice Wicca, hoodoo, or New Orleans voodoo. But as black political identity has become a vital criterion for how pop culture is judged, it seems foolish to ignore this lineage. I yearn to see black witches who are bold and unyielding, venomous and tenderhearted, solemn rural practitioners and silver-tongued city dwellers. I yearn to see black witches given interiority and narrative importance like their white counterparts, whether that be in prickly dramas that acknowledge the thornyhistory of the South or archly constructed supernatural fare. I yearn to see the culture of my ancestors explored in all its vibrant complexity, not whittled down in order to find new ways to frighten white people about the cultures they’ve had a hand in demonizing since this country’s beginning.

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What Pop Culture Gets Right and Wrong About Witches, According to a Real Coven
Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture?Источник: https://www.vulture.com/2017/10/black-witches-why-cant-they-get-respect-in-pop-culture.html

The Skeleton Key Ending Explained

Universal Pictures

By Curtis Harding/Oct. 15, 2021 1:25 pm EST

Moody and atmospheric, 2005's "The Skeleton Key" is a low-key supernatural horror movie that masquerades as a psychological thriller for most of its runtime. Kate Hudson plays Caroline Ellis, a hospice worker who grows dissatisfied with her job and answers an ad in the paper to be a live-in caretaker for the Devereauxs — Violet (Gena Rowlands) and her husband, Ben (John Hurt). Ben had a stroke that paralyzed both sides of his body, rendering him unable to talk and leaving him at death's door. 

But the Devereauxs' lushly isolated swamp plantation is unsettling from the start, and Violet's cantankerous evasiveness arouses Caroline's immediate suspicion. Something happened to Ben that she's not been told, and Caroline is determined to find out what. It's a film with so many layers of deception and misdirection that it can be hard to separate the truth from the lies even when they're right in front of your face. The viewers only become aware of its genre-straddling elements as Caroline does, and most of that's reserved for the final act. And just when Caroline and the rest of us feel like we have it all figured out, everything is turned on its head. 

As Hurt said in a 2005 interview with Brulik Entertainment, "What I liked about it was it was such an unusual premise. And such an unusual ending, particularly for Hollywood." But while that bleak ending may feel like it comes out of nowhere, it's telegraphed from the start. 

Caroline is trapped — body and soul

Universal Pictures

While many (but certainly not all) horror movies settle on happy endings in which the villains are vanquished and the hero walks away, "The Skeleton Key" isn't one of them. Unless, of course, you were rooting for Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) and Papa Justify (Ronald McCall), who have a twisted scheme to inhabit younger bodies and bypass the aging process. In fact, when you get down to it, the ending is horrifying. Luke (Peter Sarsgaard) has long been a lost cause, as he'd been taken and shunted into Ben's body before the film ever started — Justify masquerades as him for the entire movie. 

Hoodoo only works if you believe, and over the course of the film, Caroline allows herself to be drawn in until she believes enough for Cecile to hop out of Violet's body into hers. Cecile's days of youth are over, and after the transfer is done, Caroline in Violet's body is given the same paralytic potion "Ben" had been taking the whole movie. And in Caroline's desperate attempt to escape, she broke both of Violet's legs, so she inherits a broken body. In addition, the story of Violet falling down the stairs helps make the case that both she and Ben need to be locked away in a nursing home. 

In the end, we realize that every time Caroline thought she was uncovering secrets and fighting back, she was just falling deeper down the rabbit hole. Nearly everything she'd been through was staged, planned, and executed almost without a hitch in order to make her believe in Hoodoo so her body could be taken from her.

Violet actually turns out to be pretty honest

Universal Pictures

When all is said and done, perhaps the biggest surprise is how honest Violet — or rather, Mama Cecile in Violet's body — is throughout the film. When Caroline wants to know about the room in the attic with all the Hoodoo paraphernalia, Violet tells her that it belonged to Cecile and Papa Justify — and that the house still belongs to them. And it does — their bodies are long gone, but their ghosts are still around, body-hopping, passing the house down through their victims.

Violet then tells the tale of Cecile and Justify's lynching and how they were caught in the attic with their employer's children performing a Hoodoo ritual. That definitely happened — she just leaves out the (admittedly important) detail that the ritual swapped souls. Then there's Ben. Though Violet first claims he had a stroke in the attic, Caroline pushes for the truth, and she amends her story. Actually, Violet says, he was attacked by ghosts in the attic, and they left him paralyzed. And, really, that's what happened. As we see with Caroline, everything needed to perform the Conjure of Sacrifice is in the attic. That's probably where the ghosts of Cecile and Justify in their stolen bodies first snatched Ben, and more recently, Luke.

Violet doesn't hold much back. She just acts as if she's reluctant to share, and that makes Caroline think she's digging into the truth and learning about these "superstitions" on her own. It's masterfully, horrifyingly manipulative.

The symbolism of the skeleton key

Universal Pictures

Manipulation, it turns out, is key when it comes to stealing a body. In order for the Conjure of Sacrifice to work, Caroline needs to believe in it and the Hoodoo behind it. But that's a tall order for anyone grounded in reality. People don't just believe in something because they're told to. In fact, telling people to believe is a good way to get them to dig in and push back at you. But if they think they came to the conclusion you want on their own, well, that's different. 

This isn't Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's first body snatching, and they understand that Caroline has to come to believe in Hoodoo on her own. Violet can't simply tell her magic is real, and this is where the skeleton key comes in. In particular, it gives Caroline unfettered access to the house, allowing her to explore and stumble upon her own discoveries. It's symbolic of the way she explores the world of Hoodoo, stumbling upon its secrets as she tries to find out what really happened to Ben. 

At least, that's what she thinks she's doing. In reality, Violet — and to a lesser degree, Luke — expertly nudge her down every path. They pique Caroline's curiosity with "accidental" slip-ups here and there, deny her access to both the house and knowledge when necessary, and feed her just enough truth to keep her hooked.

The importance of the locked door in the attic

Universal Pictures

One place where the symbolism of the skeleton key and its literal use collide is in the locked room in the attic. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger (who burnished his horror credentials writing "Scream 3" and "The Ring") explains in "Behind the Locked Door — Making the Skeleton Key" that human beings are immediately drawn to places they can't go. If there's a locked door, we have to know what's on the other side of it. So for Caroline, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's attic room "takes on incredible significance," says Kruger, "and becomes, effectively, the only room in the house."

It's no accident that Violet sends Caroline up into the attic to grab seeds early in the movie. Nor is it an accident that the only door in the house that won't open for Caroline is in that attic. When she finally does manage to enter, she discovers that a piece of the key had broken off in the lock, blocking her own. At the end of the movie, as Caroline goes through Luke's desk, there, nestled in the drawer, is another skeleton key, identical to her own but with the end of it broken off. 

Cecile and Justify use the skeleton key, the room, and Caroline's own determination against her. Because once Caroline finds her way into that room and takes the record with the Conjure of Sacrifice, she starts tipping over from skepticism to belief. Once that happens, there's no turning back.

The film is rife with foreshadowing

Universal Pictures

Watch "The Skeleton Key" the first time, and that ending inevitably catches you by surprise. But watch it a second, and suddenly the movie is rife with hints and foreshadowing that all but reveal where it's going. For example, Jill asks Caroline early in the movie if her work is changing her, then warns her not to get sucked into her new employers' "elderly ways." By the end of the film, Caroline's been sucked in so deep that Mama Cecile has taken her body.

One of the greatest pieces of foreshadowing manages to almost perfectly encapsulate all the movie's layers. It comes when Caroline first enters the Devereauxs' house and walks past a painting of a saint holding a Bible and brandishing a torch. That's St. Martha, the patron saint of servants and housewives. At first glance, it makes sense that an Old South gal like Violet would hang it in her home. But, we learn at the end, there is no Violet — it's not her home. In reality, it's the home of the former servants, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, so St. Martha is their saint. Except she's also known as St. Martha the Dominator, as medieval legend has it that she tamed a dragon. Because of that, she's popular to call upon in Hoodoo spells in which you seek to dominate another person. For the knowledgeable, that painting alone reveals exactly what to expect.  

Who were the real Violet and Ben?

Universal Pictures

If there's one fairly consistent point of confusion, it's over who Violet and Ben are. Some viewers mistakenly believe they were the kids that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify first took over. That, though, happened 90 years ago, and Violet and Ben just aren't that old. Plus, Cecile bemoans how much harder it's gotten to get folks to believe, making it clear they've done this a couple times.

So when Violet says that she and Ben bought the house from a brother and sister back in the '60s, there's no reason to doubt her. After all, most of the rest of the history she reveals is true. Depending on how old the brother and sister were when they were taken over, they'd have been in their 50s or 60s by the time Violent and Ben came along, so their possessors were likely itching for younger bodies again.

But it was likely more complicated than what Mama Cecile reveals. Violet and Ben may have been a real couple who bought the house, but Cecile and Papa Justify selling the property and then getting them to believe enough to be taken over seems tricky. More likely, the couple was taken one at a time like Luke and Caroline, and arrangements were made to sell to one of them — much like the will was crafted to leave the house to Caroline. As to who the Deverauxs might have been before, though, that's anyone's guess.

What was with the mirrors?

Universal Pictures

One of the things that most piques Caroline's curiosity is the ban on mirrors in the house. We're never really sure why that is, though. At first, Violet shrugs it off, claiming that after a certain age, you don't really want to look at yourself anymore. It's a ridiculous explanation, but there might be a grain of truth in it since Mama Cecile and Papa Justify don't seem all that fond of inhabiting older folks' bodies.

Then, when pushed, Violet says it's because you see the ghosts of Justify and Cecile in them. Caroline thinks this is ridiculous, but when she shows Ben a mirror, he freaks out, and she assumes he believes in the ghosts. His reaction, though, might just be Luke reacting to seeing himself in Ben's body. But this explanation also seems absurd since the ghosts of Justify and Cecile aren't flitting around the house.

Except when we get to the end of the movie, the large mirror in the attic seems like an integral part of the Conjure of Sacrifice. Violet stands behind it and holds it up to Caroline, and we see it cycle through ghostly images of Violet and the young girl Mama Cecile first took over. The Conjure of Sacrifice ends when Mama Cecile's ghost appears in the mirror, and she — in Violet's body — pushes it to break over Caroline. So maybe ghosts do appear in mirrors — at least when it's time to steal a body. 

Should we sympathize with Mama Cecile and Papa Justify?

Universal Pictures

When Violet tells the story of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify's lynching, it's clear they're supposed to be sympathetic victims of heinous abuse and racism. But this is before viewers really know what's going on. Afterward, it's hard to muster the same sympathy. So are they purely irredeemable villains or avenging spirits? 

In "Behind the Locked Door — Making the Skeleton Key," screenwriter Ehren Kruger notes that, "All ghost stories really are about a crime in the past that is unavenged, deserves retribution." Yes, Cecile and Justify had already jumped bodies before a white mob lynched their bodies, but they still had to watch it happen. And when Violet tells their tale, she makes clear that the man they worked for was cruel. The lynching was just the culmination of his treatment of them. 

Violet says that in life, Cecile and Justify "healed the sick and hurt the mean," but they were abused and worked to the bone by a vicious employer. They didn't start out bad, and what they've done to stay alive by taking over the bodies of white southern folks can certainly be looked at as retribution against a racist, abusive culture — lashing out, maybe a bit too much, to hurt the mean. But that only goes so far. When Cecile is in Caroline's body, she says she's tired of being a white woman, but they can never get any Black folk to stick around long enough. So it's clearly moved beyond retribution into cruelty.

What happens next?

Universal Pictures

Many movies, horror or otherwise, try to tie things up in a neat little bow and give viewers some sense of a happy ending. "The Skeleton Key" does not do that — except for Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. But when you think about it, the future actually looks pretty bleak for everyone.

Things are only going to get tougher for Cecile and Justify as people believe in old ways like Hoodoo less. They can only take over believers, and when they're ready to trade in Caroline and Luke in another 40 years or so, who knows where the world will be? Cecile sighs at the end after the work it took to bring Caroline around, and it gets tougher every time. Indeed, it was one of the reasons she was so against taking on this Yankee girl at the beginning of the film. So how long will the couple be able to keep up this scheme? The film suggests the answer to this question is unclear.

As for Caroline and Luke, the last scene of them — paralyzed, staring at each other in Violet and Ben's bodies — is haunting. They don't have much future. On the one hand, it seems risky sending them off if it took regular dosing of whatever potion Violet was whipping up to keep Ben paralyzed and unable to talk. On the other, what are they going to do? Cecile and Justify send them off as feeble, failing, and probably confused old folks. Who's going to listen to their outlandish claims that they're someone else?

Where does The Skeleton Key sit in horror history?

Universal Pictures

Though "The Skeleton Key" has its share of ardent fans, it never really made much of a splash. Some of those fans like to point to "Get Out" as essentially being the same film, as both have those surprise endings where viewers realize that they're — spoiler alert! — watching possession films. But as Jordan Peele talks about with GQ, "Get Out" owes more to the likes of "Stepford Wives" and "Rosemary's Baby" than anything else. 

At its core, as screenwriter Ehren Kruger noted that "The Skeleton Key" is a ghost story, and like all ghost stories, it deals with the past catching up with the present. Rather than haunt the house, these ghosts just inhabit bodies that aren't their own. And the fact that the movie drips with a Southern Gothic atmosphere makes it a uniquely American take on Gothic ghost tales like "Crimson Peak." Plus, its use of Hoodoo and spells also nudges it into the witchcraft genre. 

Just a year after "The Skeleton Key" came little known horror gem "The Woods." In that film, a young girl learns that her remote boarding school is run by witches who need to steal the bodies of young women. Sound familiar? Maybe, but most similarities to movies that came after boil down to universal horror tropes. Ultimately, "The Skeleton Key" stands by itself in the horror genre. Unusual ending or not, it just didn't have enough of an impact to influence many filmmakers.

Источник: https://www.looper.com/634202/the-skeleton-key-ending-explained/

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The Skeleton Key

2005 film by Iain Softley

For other uses, see Skeleton key (disambiguation).

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Iain Softley, written by Ehren Kruger, and starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, and Joy Bryant. The Southern Gothic narrative follows a New Orleanshospice nurse who begins a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants, and Hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there.

Plot[edit]

Caroline Ellis, a hospice aide, quits her position at a nursing home and is hired as the caretaker of an isolated plantation house in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The aging matron of the house, Violet Devereaux, needs help looking after her husband Benjamin, who was mostly paralyzed by an apparent stroke. At the insistence of the family's estate lawyer, Luke Marshall, Caroline accepts the position.

After Ben attempts to escape his room during a storm, Caroline investigates the house's attic, where Violet said Ben suffered his stroke; she uses a skeleton key which Violet gave her. She discovers a secret room filled with ritual paraphernalia. Caroline confronts Violet, who reveals that the room used to belong to two African American servants who were employed at the house 90 years before. The servants, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, were renowned hoodoo practitioners; they were lynched after conducting a ritual with the owners' two children, from whom Violet and Ben later bought the house. Violet tells Caroline that they keep no mirrors in the house because they see reflections of Cecile and Justify in them. Caroline borrows a phonograph record from the attic: Conjure of Sacrifice, a recording of Papa Justify reciting a hoodoo ritual.

Caroline surmises that Ben's stroke was caused by hoodoo, but believes that his paralytic state is a nocebo effect induced by his own belief, rather than something supernatural. Taking advice from her friend Jill, Caroline visits a hidden hoodoo shop in a nearby laundromat, where a hoodoo woman gives her tools and instructions to cure Ben. After she conducts the ritual, Ben regains some ability to move and speak and he begs Caroline to get him away from Violet.

Caroline tells Luke she is suspicious of Violet, but he remains skeptical. They travel to a gas station that Caroline previously noted was lined with brick dust, which she was told is a hoodoo defense; supposedly, no one who means one harm can pass a line of brick dust. She asks one of the proprietors, a blind woman, about the Conjure of Sacrifice, which she learns is a spell wherein the caster steals the remaining years of life from the victim. Increasingly convinced of hoodoo's authenticity, Caroline fears that Violet will soon cast the spell on Ben.

Caroline discovers that Violet is unable to pass a line of brick dust laid across one of the house's doorways, confirming her suspicions. She incapacitates Violet and attempts to escape the house with Ben, but the front gate is chained shut. Caroline hides Ben on the property and enters Luke's office for help. Luke, revealed to be Violet's accomplice, brings Caroline back to the house. Caroline escapes, gets into a fight with Violet, and violently pushes her down the stairs, breaking her legs in the process. With strategic use of brick dust, Caroline flees to the attic, calls 9-1-1 and Jill for help, and casts what she believes is a protective spell. Violet, having caught up with her, reveals she actually trapped herself inside a protective circle. Violet pushes a full-length mirror at Caroline, which reflects the original owner's daughter, then Violet, and lastly Mama Cecile. A recording of the Conjure of Sacrifice plays, and the two switch bodies.

Violet (revealed to be Mama Cecile, who had been occupying Violet's body through the Conjure) wakes up in Caroline's body, and force-feeds Caroline (now in Violet's body) a potion that induces a stroke-like paralytic state like Ben's. Luke (actually Papa Justify) arrives upstairs, revealing that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have been conducting the Conjure of Sacrifice on new people since their supposed deaths; they had swapped places with the two children just before the lynching. Because hoodoo is supposedly only effective on those who believe in it, Cecile and Justify had to wait for Caroline to come to believe in hoodoo through her own investigation.

Emergency services arrive the next morning and take Caroline and Luke away, trapped in the paralyzed dying bodies of Violet and Ben; when Jill arrives, "Luke" tells her that the Devereauxes left the house to Caroline, ensuring that Cecile and Justify will continue to occupy the house.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Skeleton Key was filmed at the Felicity Plantation, located on the Mississippi River in Saint James Parish, Louisiana.[2]

Release[edit]

The Skeleton Key was released in the U.S. on August 12, 2005, after having received an earlier release date of July 29, 2005 in the United Kingdom.[3] It grossed $92 million worldwide.[1] In the U.S., it took in $16.1 million in its first weekend, reaching number 2 at the box office; the total US gross was $47.9 million.[1]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 38% of 149 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.3/10. The site's consensus reads: "Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary."[4]Metacritic rated it 47/100 based on 32 reviews.[5]

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw awarded the film three out of five stars, noting: "It's a pretty thankless role for poor John Hurt, and there are some plot holes. But there's some shrewd satire of racism as the modern south's persistent, dirty little secret and screenwriter Ehren Kruger's third act conjures up a neat little shiver."[3] Carina Chocano of the Los Angeles Times praised the film, calling it "tightly plotted and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing until the satisfying, unexpected end, which is worth suspending disbelief for," adding that "Hudson holds her own among impressive company. Not that Hurt has a whole lot to do other than grab an occasional wrist and recoil at his face in the mirror, and the usually measured Sarsgaard oversells it a bit, but Rowlands takes to the part like a fly to a shucked oyster."[6]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times criticized the film for its plot, describing it as "enjoyably inane," and also noted that the film "indulges in almost every conceivable regional and [Southern Gothic] genre cliché."[7]USA Today wrote that the film "employs intriguing camera angles to heighten some of the suspense. It's too bad the movie goes over the top and falls apart in the last third."[8]Stephanie Zacharek wrote in Salon: "Softley, working from a script by Ehren Kruger, puts so much care into layering moods and textures that he doesn't always scoot the action along as briskly as he should."[9] In The Seattle Times, Moira McDonald wrote that the film is "occasionally scary but more often silly."[10] In her review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten wrote: "Director Softley again shows his gifts for creating atmospheric milieus...Yet the movie, overall, lacks tension and suspense.[11] In Film Journal International, Edward Alter wrote that, "Iain Softley (K-Pax) and cinematographer Dan Mindel make the most of the setting," but concluded that the film was, "a paint-by-numbers supernatural thriller that's more interesting for its locations than for its story."[12]

Jennie Punter in The Globe and Mail called the film, "stylishly made but disappointingly lightweight."[13] Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Jessica Reeves called the film "serviceable but ultimately disappointing".[14] In his annual film guide, Leonard Maltin rated the film mediocre, stating that it was "well-produced and occasionally suspenseful, but populated by unpleasant characters and a story that moves too slowly." In the annual DVD & Video Guide, Marsha Porter wrote, "A few good scares can't compensate for a sluggish pace, and the climactic twist comes as a surprise only because it doesn't make sense."

References[edit]

  1. ^ abcd"The Skeleton Key". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  2. ^Scott, Mike (June 8, 2016). "Where was the 'Roots' remake filmed?". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  3. ^ abBradshaw, Peter (July 28, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  4. ^"The Skeleton Key". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  5. ^"Skeleton Key, The (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  6. ^Chocano, Carina (August 12, 2005). "'Skeleton Key' is a gothic thriller with good bones". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  7. ^Dargis, Manohla (August 12, 2005). "Just in Time, a Southern Gothic Gumbo of Fluff and Horror". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  8. ^"'Skeleton Key' goes bump, then thuds". USA Today. August 11, 2005. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  9. ^Zacharek, Stephanie (August 12, 2005). ""The Skeleton Key"". Salon. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  10. ^McDonald, Moira (August 11, 2005). ""Skeleton Key": Dear Kate, we miss your sunny smile". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  11. ^Baumgarten, Marjorie (August 12, 2005). "Film Review: The Skeleton Key". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  12. ^Alter, Edward (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015.
  13. ^Punter, Jennie (August 12, 2005). "The Skeleton Key". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020.
  14. ^Reeves, Jessica (December 2, 2005). "Movie review: 'The Skeleton Key'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 2, 2005.

External links[edit]

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skeleton_Key

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92 – The Skeleton Key:

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Ah my first horror film. Well this wasn’t my first horror film – that title belongs to the remake of The Haunting – but it’s the first horror on the list. As with comedy, animation, fantasy and other genres, horror is really looked down on. John Carpenter once said that most critics seem to view horror as only a step above pornography. There is some merit to that if one checks out the endless sequels to Halloween and Friday the 13th – or more gratuitous pieces like Hostel or Cabin Fever. But a good horror film is one that can rely on creating a suitably creepy atmosphere. While horrors do get a bit more respect these days, films such as Silence of the Lambs and Black Swan seem to have to go incognito under the ‘psychological thriller’ umbrella to appease the highbrow tastes. But as I’ve loved horrors since I entered double digits, you will see plenty of them on this list. So let’s get down to scaring ourselves with The Skeleton Key.

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I’m not going to give a rundown on the history of this film or anything, but rather on that of the movie’s star. The protagonist Caroline Ellis is played by Kate Hudson. If there’s one actress who best epitomises Hollywood in the early 2000s, it’s her. After getting critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Almost Famous, Kate Hudson was suddenly everywhere. If there was a magazine of any note, she was on the cover. If there were any fashion trends, she was all over them. If there was a romantic comedy around, chances are she was the lead. Kate Hudson was one of the hardest working women in early 2000s Hollywood. Although she came from a family of movie people, she insisted on earning parts on her own merits. She sometimes strayed into more dramatic roles – Raising Helen – or else a musical or two – Nine. But she was forever known as the romantic comedy go-to girl. This is the only time she ever tried a horror film. And I absolutely love her performance in it. Kate Hudson is brilliant in this film. I’m 100% serious – and I would hold this over any of her other roles, except Almost Famous and maybe Raising Helen.

Kate-Hudson2

The film opens with a very beautiful and yet sombre sequence. Caroline is a hospice worker and she’s reading to a man on his deathbed. When she notices he’s gone, the staff rather coldly go about disposing of the body. After being informed that the man’s family want nothing to do with him, Caroline is told to throw a box of his personal belongings in the dumpster. Then we get a very harrowing shot of Caroline looking in the dumpster, at all the boxes of other people’s personal effects.

effects

This entire opening sequence is a fantastic example of telling us everything we need to know about our protagonist with minimal dialogue. We already know that Caroline is a very caring individual. Even though she’s in the business of caring for people, it’s clear that she feels something for every person she looks after. And it’s clear that she’s affected by the death of this man the audience never knew. Later in the club with her friend Jill, Caroline says she’s quit her job and applied for another position to care for somebody in their home. And then we get a few shots of them dancing, because it would be a crime to set a movie in Louisiana and not make the most of a good jazz soundtrack. The next day as Caroline drives to the interview, we see she’s kept one of the dead man’s belongings – which is a very tender tribute to him.

keepsake

Caroline moves out of the bustling city and further into the wilderness of the swamps. The house is one that undoubtedly was once a grand plantation home. But nowadays it’s a little overgrown and rundown. Caroline meets Luke Marshall (Peter Sarsgaard), the family’s attorney. He introduces her to the couple: Violet (Gena Rowlands) and Ben (John Hurt). A month ago Ben had a stroke in the attic and doctors have ruled that he doesn’t have long to live. Violet seems a bit against the idea of having someone living with them. Caroline overhears Violet complaining about her not being from New Orleans and that she won’t understand the house. According to Luke, the last girl quit and Violet has turned down five other applicants. Nonetheless Caroline is hired. But just to establish that she’s not in The Big Easy any more, we get a scene where she’s thoroughly creeped out by an odd family living in the back of a gas station.

old woman

Caroline moves into the house and gets unpacked, but she notices that there are no mirrors hanging anywhere. And when she attends to Ben, despite him being an invalid, he’s able to grab her hand. He simmers down when Violet gives him his remedies. They start their conversation about Caroline’s appearance, where Violet worries she’s covered with tattoos and piercings. She also remarks “you’re skinnier than I would have hoped. Prettier though”, which I assume means she wants her husband to have some decent eye candy for his final days. Talk turns to how long they’ve lived in the house – since the 1960s after they bought it from a brother and sister. Violet still keeps their picture on the mantle as a tribute. Caroline also finds another picture of the children with two black servants – labelled ‘Mama Cecile & Papa Justify’. Violet presents Caroline with the titular skeleton key – to open every door in the house. She also asks about Caroline’s parents; the mother left years ago and the father has recently died. And Caroline didn’t get to care for him.

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Violet sombrely says “you think too much about the time you’ve got left. You don’t spend it living” and then goes off. The next day Caroline and Violet are in the garden. After a brief talk about religion, Violet sends her up into the attic to get some seeds. Following the rule about attics in old houses, this one is suitably creepy. It’s also got a door that rattles, but the skeleton key doesn’t open it. When Caroline questions Violet, the old woman claims they’ve never been able to open the door. Caroline also remembers that Ben was found in the attic when he had his stroke.

That night there’s a bit of rain, and a rather gratuitous scene of Caroline taking a shower. By God they paid for Kate Hudson’s figure and they’re going to show some of it off. This is interrupted by a banging sound from upstairs – and Ben has somehow gotten onto the roof! Caroline likewise finds a smashed plant pot and a message written on the bed sheet.

help

The next morning, Caroline is still trying to figure out why Ben would want to try and get out. Luke Marshall stops by but when Caroline tries to show him the bed sheet, the message is gone. We do however find out a little more about Caroline’s father issues; she dropped out of college, he took issue with it and they never spoke again. He was gone before she knew he was ill. But she amusingly says the reason she dropped out of college was to help with some friend’s bands…

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She tells Luke that she feels as if Ben may be asking her for help, but they can’t talk much more about it as Violet comes in. Luke still gives Caroline his card however. The next day, when Violet is working in the garden, Caroline sneaks into the attic. Using a hairpin to pick the locked door, she discovers that something has been put in the lock to prevent the skeleton key from opening it. She now opens the door and comes across the usual creepy attic riff-raff. She also finds some more photos from the house’s plantation days, as well as an old wedding ring. But more importantly, an old book and a vinyl record labelled ‘The Conjure of Sacrifice’. But then she hears Violet coming up the stairs.

After Violet leaves the attic, Caroline finds the various mirrors she put away. She goes into New Orleans to play the record in Jill’s apartment. Rather than any kind of music, it sounds more like some sort of prayer. Luckily Jill knows what the room is about. It’s Hoodoo – a special kind of religion brought to America from Haiti. But the difference is that Hoodoo is more like American folk magic. The key thing is that it can’t hurt you if you don’t believe.

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Jill herself doesn’t believe but her aunt does – and shops at a local place. Remember that. Next morning, Violet gets a fright when she sees that Caroline has hung all the mirrors back up again. Caroline tells Violet she’s seen the room and demands to know the truth. Violet’s story takes them back to the days of the Old South – when the house was owned by a crooked banker called Thorpe. He had two notable servants – Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. They were also Hoodoo practitioners, who healed the sick and punished the greedy.

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Thorpe never knew about the servants’ extracurricular activities and just worked them to the bone. But one night there was a lavish party in the house, and the children went missing. They were found up in the attic with the servants – trying to learn Hoodoo. The guests flew into a blind rage and lynched Cecile and Justify while the children watched. Thorpe got away with the murder but the bank went under, he shot his wife and then killed himself. Rumours said it was Justify and Cecile’s revenge.

Violet says that the children never told them why the room was locked, or why the mirrors were hidden away. But according to some books she read, it’s said the ghosts can be seen in the mirrors. She vows that whatever they may have done to Ben, she won’t let them do it to her. Caroline decides to go into the Hoodoo shop in New Orleans and get some tips. Jill understandably is alarmed by this, and reminds Caroline that she’s a hospice worker – not a member of the Scooby Gang. She also insinuates that Ben isn’t Caroline’s dad and that it’s dangerous to get too attached to a patient. Although Caroline insists that she’s only playing on Ben’s belief, well, she’s starting to sound as if she might believe.

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That night she prepares a spell that is supposed to act as a cure. She theorises that if Ben believes in a cure, it will work. And what do you know, Ben is able to move his arms and try and articulate a sentence. He asks Caroline to help him and get him out of the house. Violet is now aware that something is going on, and Ben signals that it’s her he’s afraid of. As Caroline leaves the room, she can hear Violet locking the door. Later that night, Caroline has a creepy nightmare that ends with her looking like this.

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She checks the reflection in the handheld mirror and she thinks she sees someone leaving the room. The next morning she starts packing her stuff, ready to leave. But she catches sight of Ben, and looks at the picture of her father. This convinces her to stay. She then goes to Luke Marshall to show him pictures of the Hoodoo stuff she found in the attic. She also insists he take her to see the girl that quit. The girl – Hailey – gives Caroline some more information about the house. The brother and sister who sold it to Violet and Ben – Martin and Grace Thorpe – died of strokes almost immediately after the sale. Hailey believes that it wasn’t ghosts that pull a spell on Ben – but Violet herself. And despite Caroline insisting she doesn’t believe, Hailey suggests she leave as quickly as possible. On the way home, Caroline spots the creepy gas station from earlier.

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The blind old woman is inside, and she reacts when Caroline mentions the name Justify. Likewise, when she speaks about the Conjure of Sacrifice, the woman gets a little scared. According to her, the Conjure of Sacrifice keeps the caster from dying. The process usually involves taking the years from someone else. Caroline then tells Luke she will get proof that Violet is out to hurt Ben. But when she gets back to the house, she discovers that the Conjure of Sacrifice is missing from her suitcase. Caroline decides to put some Hoodoo to the test. Following the woman in the shop’s instructions, Caroline puts a trail of brick dust over the threshold of her bedroom. If Violet means her harm, she won’t be able to enter the room. Sure enough when she asks Violet to come into the room, the old woman is reluctant to. But she asks Caroline to join her for supper later. Caroline agrees but tells Ben they’re leaving tonight. She also spends some time injecting Violet’s sugar cubes with sedatives.

It’s too bad that the dinner table scene doesn’t go on longer, because the performances from Hudson and Rowlands are quite intense. But the power goes out and Violet leaves to get candles, Caroline pouring the rest of the sedative into her iced tea. Caroline now demands to know what Violet has done to her husband, but the sedative kicks in before we can get that information. Caroline steals the page in her hand – for a protection spell – and quickly runs upstairs. She finds the record and the bed sheet with ‘Help Me’ written on it in Violet’s room. She also finds a lock of her own hair, indicating that Violet has been casting spells against her. She tries to get Ben to safety but the house gates are somehow chained shut. I guess there was something to Violet chanting “keep him in this house” over and over. Ramming the gates doesn’t work, and Caroline loses control of her car. Violet’s spell must be preventing them from leaving.

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Caroline hides Ben in the shed but now has to deal with Violet coming after her with a shotgun. And you have no idea how Gena Rowlands with a shotgun is both ridiculously awesome and quite terrifying. Caroline thinks on her feet and escapes in a boat through the swamp. It’s implied that she hitchhikes to Luke’s house, where she tells him about Violet trying to kill her. Violet calls him in record time and he pretends that Caroline isn’t there. As he leaves the room, he puts on a record that’s curiously out of character for such a young guy. This persuades Caroline to start looking through his things…

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As if needing Law For Dummies wasn’t enough to implicate Luke, Caroline finds photographs of herself. She also finds the same ring that was in the attic, as well as a skeleton key identical to hers. Then Luke comes into the room and chokes her out. Caroline wakes up bound and gagged in the car on the way to Violet’s house. Caroline then realises it’s not Ben they want to sacrifice; it’s her. But Violet still demands to know where Ben is, and Caroline grudgingly tells her he’s in the shed. Once Violet is gone, Caroline says she wants her father’s picture with her when it happens. But this is all just a play; Caroline gets into her room and, thanks to the brick dust she laid earlier, Luke can’t enter. Violet meanwhile incapacitates Ben in the shed, just as Caroline makes a break for it outside. She cuts her bonds and grabs the brick dust as she runs back inside, blocking all the doors. But Violet gets to the last entrance before Caroline can fix it. So Caroline has a different solution: throw her down the stairs.

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It’s important to note that Caroline looks horrified at what she has just done, even if the old woman was trying to kill her. A nice little touch, preserving her character there. She grabs the phone and takes it into the attic with her. First she calls 911 and then Jill. But Violet has crawled up the stairs and cut the phone cord. Caroline runs into the attic, which has now been set up just for her.

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Caroline remembers the spell for protection in her pocket. She creates a circle with chalk, sulfur, blood and hair. As she’s finished preparing it, Violet bursts in and declares.

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I saw this movie when I was fourteen and that line kept me giggling all the next morning. My brother didn’t know what it was all about and he was cracking up too. Violet is cracking up as well – because she’s just suckered Caroline into a trap. They’ve been waiting for her to believe – and her trying to protect herself with a Hoodoo spell is the final confirmation that she does. Luke now plays the Conjure of Sacrifice and begins the spell. Caroline screams that she doesn’t believe. The mirror in front of her flashes images of Grace Thorpe, a younger Violet and finally Mama Cecile. The mirror flies towards her and smashes into her.

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But hours later, Caroline regains consciousness. Luke walks into the room and says one word.

“Cecile?”

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There’s our big twist. ‘Violet’ was never really Violet Deveraux. The night the two black servants were lynched, Papa Justify and Mama Cecile had really used Hoodoo to trade bodies with the young Martin and Grace. So it was the two children who were lynched. Likewise, they took the bodies of Ben and Violet when the latter two bought the house. And ‘Ben’ is actually the real Luke. Cecile and Justify have been stealing bodies throughout the years. Cecile is annoyed that they couldn’t have got a black girl for her – since the times have changed and there’s no need for them to inhabit white bodies. But Luke – or should I say Justify now – sighs that the black ones always leave. And now if you watch the movie back, you’ll pick up on the following hints:

  • Violet complaining about Caroline not being from New Orleans, and her talk about tattoos – she’s being picky about the merchandise.
  • Violet wondering about Caroline’s religious beliefs – working out how hard it’ll be to make her believe.
  • Violet asking about Caroline’s parents – seeing if there’s any family members she’ll need to fool.
  • Violet’s detailed knowledge about Papa Justify and the night the servants were lynched – she’s telling her own life story.
  • Violet’s annoyance at finding Luke in Caroline’s room – she’s pissed that her husband might be hitting on another woman.

Unlike a lot of films that throw a big twist into the fray, this one is expertly crafted. The whole movie immediately makes much more sense once the twist is revealed. There’s not one point where you have to question why a character was acting a certain way or doing what they were doing. This is likewise conveyed in subtle performances from Gena Rowlands and Peter Sarsgaard – with things you pick up on the second watch. Cecile-as-Caroline now has a potion ready for Caroline-in-Violet’s body, which conveniently passes for a stroke when the paramedics arrive. Jill comes to the house too, and it’s entirely up to you to decide if she could possibly be alerted by her best friend talking like an old lady. It’s also up to interpretation if they ask Jill to go with the couple in the ambulance just to get rid of her – or if it’s part of a plan to get her to believe, so that Cecile can have a black girl. Before she goes, Justify-as-Luke tells her that the old couple left ‘Caroline’ the house. The movie ends with Cecile-as-Caroline putting on her old wedding ring, clearly ready to enjoy the new body.

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This movie was a significant hit at the time, making back its budget domestically and grossing $91 million worldwide. As far as critical opinion goes, response seemed so-so. With these kinds of movies, it’s difficult to separate the genuine opinions from the genre-biased ones. Personally, this movie does very little wrong. It approaches its subject matter in a manner that doesn’t make it feel cheesy or ridiculous, and overall creates a brilliant atmosphere. The Southern Gothic setting lends itself to some great sets and scenes, with a nice story to compliment it. The performances from the cast are the cherry on the top. Despite really showing off her talents in a different way, Kate Hudson returned to romantic comedies almost immediately. She has remained exclusively in that genre – the exceptions being The Killer Inside Me and Nine. With a string of romantic comedies under her belt, Hollywood was really trying to make her a star. Her career sort of went the same way Matthew McConaughey’s did – which is almost appropriate given she starred alongside him in How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. But this film is an indicator that she does have that charisma. Likewise, if you watch her in Nine, you’ll see that she’s a hell of a dancer. So I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Kate Hudson get a career resurrection just like McConaughey. All she needs is the right script. This film proves she’s got it in her.

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It is time, lord. Time for the grades.

*Story? A nice thriller with plenty of good twists and turns, and a mystery that doesn’t fall apart once the twist is revealed. Making this a female-centred story that isn’t a slasher movie helped it a lot too. B+

*Characters? Caroline is a pretty good lead. Far from being a typical dim-witted horror female, she’s a smart and resourceful woman who can be quite the badass if she has to. As far as villains go, Cecile and Justify aren’t in the film a lot but they are no less effective. A

*Performances? Need I sing the praises of Kate Hudson anymore? But she’s equalled by Gena Rowlands playing a very sinister character. Peter Sarsgaard is somewhere in the middle – absolutely fine in some places and a little off in others. I enjoyed Joy Bryant’s smaller role as Jill. A+

*Visuals? The Southern Gothic theme was used to great effect here. A very creepy atmosphere is created, utilising the Devereaux house excellently. There are also some nicely framed and lit shots of the swamp and bayou. A+

*Special Effects? Not too many effects, but the nightmare sequences and images of the sacrifice victims on the mirror stick out. The ending shot of the house was also helped with CGI too. B-

*Anything Else? A really great jazz soundtrack helps set the scene. A

Now to move to the far east with Hayao Miyazaki’s classic Spirited Away.

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Источник: https://betterwithbob.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/my-100-favourite-films-in-review-number-92-the-skeleton-key/

PLOT:

Caroline Ellis (played by Kate Hudson) is a New Orleans hospital aide from Hoboken, New Jersey, who quits her unsatisfying nursing job in the city to take a position as a private hospice caregiver at an isolated plantation house deep in the bayous of southern Louisiana’s eerie, enchanting Terrebonne Parish. The lady of the house, Violet Deveraux (played by Gena Rowlands) is a diffident, old-fashioned Southern matron in need of help for her husband Ben (played by John Hurt), a severely disabled stroke victim who is expected to die soon.

Violet gives Caroline a skeleton key to open every room in the house, and Caroline soon finds the mansion has a dark past. Finding her way into a secret room in the attic, Caroline discovers hoodoo dolls, a book of spells, potion jars, and other macabre instruments of black magic. Violet tells Caroline that the room belonged to two black servants who had worked at the house in the 1920s. Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott) and her husband, Papa Justify (Ron McCall) were, in their day, renowned practitioners of hoodoo, a form of Afro-Caribbean folk magic. But to their white employers, they were nothing more than servants, and Justify and Cecile were lynched when it was discovered that they were performing spells with the children of the house owners. Caroline dismisses Violet’s fear of Justify and Cecile’s ghosts dwelling in the house as superstition, but more strange events occur, piquing her curiosity about the obscure (to her) swamp religions and their relationship to the physical condition of Ben, whom she has become determined to save and restore to health.

Caroline, after realizing that Violet is working harmful spells on Ben, seeks the help of the young lawyer Luke Marshall (played by Peter Sarsgaard) hired to rewrite Violet and Ben’s wills. While in Luke’s house, Caroline discovers clues leading to the revelation that Luke is in fact assisting Violet. Just as Caroline is about to act, Luke captures her, ties her up and gags her and takes her back to the manor.

Caroline is held captive, but manages to get free and “rig” (roughly, enchant) the house with brick dust, which is said to keep away those who mean one harm. After breaking Violet’s legs by pushing her down the stairs Caroline, following the piece of paper she snatched from Violet earlier (after initially drugging her tea), forms a protective circle around herself. Violet comes into the ritual room, and explains that “they” have been waiting for her to believe. Caroline tries to deny the fact that she now believes in hoodoo, but cannot convince herself.

Violet pushes a mirror at Caroline, which contains the image, initially of the little girl, then of the Violet and ultimately of Mama Cecile. The mirror smashes into Caroline, knocking her unconscious. Caroline then wakes up and walks over to Violet, who is barely awake. She takes Violet’s cigarettes, and begins to smoke, while she utters the words “Thank you, child,” revealing to the audience that the soul of Mama Cecile is now inside Caroline’s body. The mirror acted as a portal, and transferred Mama Cecile’s soul into Caroline’s body, while placing Caroline’s soul in Violet’s body. Luke walks in, and it is revealed that he too is not who he claims to be. His body is possessed by the soul of Papa Justify. Ben, who was previously the host to Papa Justify’s soul, is revealed to be the real Luke.

Mama Cecile (in Caroline’s body) gives Caroline (in Violet’s body) a liquid which causes a pseudo stroke. This prevents her from talking, so that she can’t reveal the presences of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify. The film ends with “stroke” victims Violet and Ben in an ambulance looking at each other and Caroline realizing she and Luke are trapped in Violet’s and Ben’s bodies. The final chapter is that “Ben” and “Violet” left the house to “Caroline”, thus leaving Mama Cecile and Papa Justify to continue occupying the house.

It can be inferred that in the 1920s, the pair used hoodoo to transfer their souls to Martin and Grace, the children of the home’s owner, leaving the real children to die in the lynched bodies of Justify and Cecile. In 1962, the pair once again transfer their souls from the aging bodies of the children to Ben and Violet, a couple looking to buy the home. Once Ben and Violet’s bodies too became old, they performed their ritual once more on Luke and Caroline. Thus, Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have occupied the house in various forms since the 1920s.

REVIEW:

Living in Louisiana, one gets to know about all kinds of interesting stories of religion, ghosts, and various other tales. When I first saw this film, I expected it to take those stories and exaggerate them, but in fact it made me a believer for a little while.

Kate Hudson is one of those actresses that hasn’t exactly found her niche genre yet. Watching her in this film, though, I have to suggest she occasionally take a break from romantic comedies and do some thrillers. I was impressed with her role as Caroline and really felt for her in the end as she was transferred into the body of Violet and given that “liquid stroke” stuff.

The rest of the cast is pretty solid, but it is quite obvious that the majority of the film’s budget went to Kate, as there is no one else who is really a household name.

The story of Papa Justify and Mama Cecile is downright creepy, as is the record they played. It literally gave me chills the first time I heard it, and that is something not easy to do.

Before this film, I had never heard of hoodoo, but afterwards I looked it up and learned some things about it. I even stopped by a couple of shops in New Orleans. Of course, they looked at me funny, kinda similar to the looks Caroline got in the film, which goes to show you how accurate they were with their research.

I love that they actually chose to comedown to Louisiana, rather than attempt to make Toronto or some sound stage appear to be La. It just added to the mystiuqe of the film.

As far as horror movies go, this really doesn’t deliver, but if you put it in the thriller category, it’s more than capable of holding it’s own. The acting is pretty good and believable, the setting fits perfectly and may even make it spookier, and the music is just downright creepy. If you’re into thrillers, then check this one out. You won’t look at mirrors the same way again, especially if you live in an older house or have an attic.

4 out of 5 stars

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Источник: https://thankyounetflix.wordpress.com/tag/conjure-of-sacrifice/

Skeleton Key (film)

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 horror film that takes place in the Louisiana bayou.

10 out of 10 stars for a truly terrifying film.

Caroline Ellis is a nurse’s aid who works with dying elderly people who are neglected by their families.  After her most recent patient dies and his family says they want nothing to do with his things, she takes a job caring for the elderly husband of Violet Devereaux.  Ben apparently suffered a stroke and cannot speak or care for himself.

Over the course of a few weeks, Caroline is given specific instructions that make her curious about the background of the house and of the Deverauxs.  First, Violet tells her never to go into the attic.  Then she gives her a skeleton key which opens every door except the attic.  Then Caroline discovers there are no mirrors in the house and when she puts up a mirror, Violet immediately removes it and yells at her.  Until finally Violet tells her the history of the house.  A rich man named Thorpe owned the house and he and his wife had two children.  When he discovered that two of his slaves, Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, were teaching his children hoodoo he had them hung and burned while his dinner guests watched and clapped.  And apparently both Violet and Ben can see them in the mirrors in the house which is why there are no mirrors.

So eventually curiosity overcomes Caroline and she breaks into the attic.  She finds a book with a spell of protection and a record with a conjure of sacrifice.  Later, Violet tells her that brick dust is the only way to keep those who wish you harm from entering your room, so Caroline pours brick dust over the threshold of her room and Caroline cannot cross it.

Ben attempts to escape by climbing out onto the roof so she becomes convinced that if she performs some hoodoo ritual he will speak again since he seems to believe he is under some kind of hex.  When she does this, Violet interrupts and Caroline is almost fired.  Violet and Ben’s attorney, Luke Marshall, convinces Violet to keep Caroline on.

Then one night Caroline attempts to take Ben away from the house.  She is caught and runs to her room where she draws a circle of protection on the floor around her.  That’s when she discovers she was tricked.  It isn’t a circle of protection but a circle of sacrifice.  Violet puts on the record of Conjure of Sacrifice and when it finishes Caroline is transported into Violet’s body while Violet who is actually Mama Cecile is transferred into Caroline’s body.  As an ambulance takes away Caroline and Ben, we see Papa Justify in Luke’s body and Mama Cecile in Caroline’s body talking about how it’s getting harder and harder to get new bodies because the young ones just don’t believe.

10 out of 10 stars.  Terrifying and unique.

 

 

Источник: http://bookaddicts.org/reviews/skeleton-key-film/

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