There’s nothing worse than finding a cool book or scroll or other form of communique containing a bunch of mysterious incantations. It’s always a kick in the ass when you unsuspectingly read one of them aloud, and next thing you know… bad things start happening. Bad things, man.
Such is the case for our heroes in the upcoming film Knights of Badassdom. One little thing goes wrong, and the next thing you know our crew (played by Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn and Ryan Kwanten) are fighting for their lives against the forces of evil.
This got us thinking back to some other unfortunate souls who did the same thing and found themselves with their asses in a sling when accidentally bringing something to our world from another realm. I can’t even get the cable guy to come out to make a service call when I need him, and these guys are conjuring demons from beyond? Figures.
Probably the most famous occurrence of something like that is from The Evil Dead. Five virile young folks out in a cabin stumble across a book that looks like it’s bound in human flesh (well, surprise, surprise…that’s because it is!) and decide to go poking around in it. When will our movie friends learn that poking around is always a bad thing? No one in a horror movie has ever poked around and found anything positive. No one has ever said, “Let’s go down into this dark and dreary basement…Hey look! A big bag of money!” That’s never gonna happen. Only bad things happen in dark and dreary basements. And those bad things may include, but are not limited to, the release of an evil spirit that ends up haunting the woods and creating a rape tree that will ravage one of your group. This is the definition of a bad day. No one has ever been raped by a pine tree and had anything but negative things to say about the experience. It’s something to avoid if at all possible.
So if you find yourself in a horror movie and some of the more adventurous members of your group want to go poking around in a basement that looks like it hasn’t seen the light of day since the Carter administration, be the level-headed one of the gang and do everything you can to avoid this. Suggest you all play a game of Jenga, offer some hot stock tips, hell, pay ’em if you have to, but as Ash and his unwitting group of friends quickly found out, accidentally conjuring up some nasty entities can be much easier than you would expect. And once they’re out, they’re really hard to put back in the box.
Along much the same lines as The Evil Dead, the enormously popular The Cabin in the Woods reiterated just how dastardly those shuttered basements could be. And, in an homage to all the unwary woodland travelers who graced horror movies in the past, The Cabin in the Woods leads another gaggle of teens into a basement. This particular cellar is filled with all sorts of interesting trinkets to grab their attention in hopes of being the one artifact to be chosen and played with, releasing another monster from beyond. Of course in The Cabin in the Woods, there was big business and planning that went into the conjurings. In fact, according to this story’s version of reality, nations depended on the fact that teenagers can, and would, snoop around where they don’t belong and touch things that look intriguing. If Ash and company thought they had it bad with the raping tree, they may have considered themselves lucky if they saw the Buckner Family, or as we viewers more commonly know them, the zombie redneck torture family from The Cabin in the Woods. In addition to that ornery clan, The Facility had an entire storehouse of others that could have been conjured, depending on what trinket was selected. So once again, and we can’t stress enough, keep your hands off shit that doesn’t belong to you, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar and spooky environment.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that all evil spirits are summoned via some ancient tome. You would be sadly mistaken there. Oftentimes it’s a peculiar object that titillates the fancy of someone enough to get them to pick it up and play with it. Which brings us back to our previous bit of advice: hands to yourself. Geretta Geretta learned this the hard way in her breakout role as Rosemary in the Lamberto Bava film Demons (Demoni). After placing an eerie looking demon mask over her face and cutting her cheek (I can hear her mother now…“Do you know how many people probably had that damn thing on their face already today. Put that down!”), she herself became one of the more memorable demons in horror. Whoops!
And there are so many other things that can cause these problems. Of course the demon mask, but how about the Lament Configuration? That is, of course, the version of Lemarchand’s box that summons Pinhead and the Cenobites in the Hellraiser films. You didn’t think those guys just showed up on their own, did you? You’ve got to call for them. And if you think a Rubik’s Cube is tough, this thing looked like a real bastard to solve. But in the right hands, it seemed to be a breeze.
Sometimes you have the best intentions in mind when you call up a malevolent force. Sometimes you’re just doing a little research. But it’s never a good idea to mess with ancient artifacts. More often than not, you’re going to find some kind of hex or curse attached to them. In Wishmaster something as seemingly beautiful and harmless as a fire opal (okay, maybe it doesn’t sound that harmless) actually held the evil Djinn. A little poke here, a little prod here, and next thing you know, he’s out and collecting wishes. “Make your wiiiish.” You don’t need that trouble.
Sometimes we purposely conjure spirits without knowing what a pain in the ass they’re going to be. Pumpkinhead was like that. All Lance Henriksen wanted was a little revenge for the death of his son. That’s all. Easy peasy. Three sequels later the bodies were still piling up. And in Sleepy Hollow plenty of backroom dealings were going on while the Headless Horseman was under control. But once the skull that held him in check was no longer a factor, that Hessian became a real sonofabitch.
And finally, there is no easier way to conjure something you do not want hanging around than to use the ol’ Ouija board. This is always a bad idea. Always. Let me say that one more time for clarity. The Ouija board is always a bad idea. You’re not going to get tomorrow’s lottery numbers or talk to your dead grandma. You are going to have an evil spirit crammed up your butt six ways from Sunday, and it’s not going to be fun. The Exorcist, Witchboard and Paranormal Activity come to mind immediately, but there are plenty of others. If you own one, throw it away. If you’re thinking of buying one, bonk yourself on the head with your laptop until you forget the thought. It’s a bad, bad idea.
So as our heroes from Knights of Badassdom do battle with a raving beasty they accidentally set loose on the world, remember this walk down memory lane and try to avoid having the same issues in your own life. Be well, Dreadies… and keep your hands to yourself.
Knights of Badassdom arrives on DVD and Blu-ray TOMORROW, April 1st.
Knights of Badassdom follows three best friends (Peter Dinklage, Steve Zahn and Ryan Kwanten) and dedicated LARPers (Live Action Role Players) as they take to the woods to reenact a dungeons and dragons-like scenario fresh out of the mythical Middle Ages. Trouble arises after they unwittingly conjure up some serious evil in the form of a blood-lusting succubus, from the pits of hell.
Fantasy and reality collide on the Fields of Evermore in an all-out epic battle of make-believe wizards, demons and assorted mythical creatures. Their courage and friendship is put to the test as they attempt to vanquish the evil they have summoned. Will the group prove to simply be foam sword-wielding LARPers, or true “Knights of Badassdom?”
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