Thursday, September 26, 2019

In a Dark Place by Ray Garton

In a Dark Place
by Ray Garton (ghostwriting for Ed and Lorraine Warren and Carmen Snedeker)
Villard 1992

In a Dark Place is a fiction novel.  By that I don't mean the events described didn't happen (we'll get to that), that's what format the writing is.  Other than the intro and epilogue, the book is written as a full fictional narrative, with interior monologues, descriptions of facial movements, etc.  At best it's "based on a true story".

The story is based on the Snedeker family, who move into a converted former mortuary to be closer to their son's medical providers.  The son has cancer, Mom is stressed out by apartment hunting, Dad has a long commute and is drinking too much.  Son starts hanging around with bad company, starts listening to heavy metal, wearing the t-shirts, reading the magazines.

All the while mysterious goings-on go on.  Things that can't possibly be explained, like how a whole case of soda can disappear in a home full of kids.  Then things start to get real when the son molests the girls in their sleep.

Junior gets arrested, gets locked up in juvi, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and pretty much disappears from the rest of the book.  There's a hint that demons influenced the youngster, but Garton goes out of his way to drop a line about him definitely being organically disturbed.

Then came the butt raping.  Both parents were repeatedly raped by invisible ghost penises.  Eventually they got the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigated and held an exorcism on the house.  They psychically determine that the house is possessed by demons, who came into the house when the former undertaker molested the corpses.

The book serves a very specific fetish of alternating rape scenes with bible readings, until eventually they they read bible verses during the rapes.  Demons pretend to be the souls of the molested corpses and repeatedly proclaim how much they loved "all the sucking and f*cking".  The house gets exorcised, the end

Taken as fiction it's a sleazy, nasty piece of work.  More sex than horror.  As far as the "based on a true story" bit goes, I don't know what happened at the Snedeker house, but I have no reason to believe that any of this happened.  The book has been disowned by both Ray Garton and the Snedekers.  The Warrens didn't seem to have a problem with it, as the book is in their name and remained in print.

The only claims I've seen directly from the Snedekers come from this appearance on Sally Jesse Raphael on October 30th, 1992, three days after the book was published (though likely recorded earlier)  

The story is different here, with mysterious ghost hands replacing actual teenage metalhead hands doing some of the molesting, and the girls changing from family friends to nieces.  The Snedekers were here promoting the book, but later disowned it as inaccurate.  The author Ray Garton says the Snedekers couldn't keep their story straight and Earl Warren told him to make it up and make it scary, along with some other allegations.

The same story later became the basis of the inexplicably popular The Haunting in Connecticut, and the fictional Warrens became the centerpiece of the billion dollar Conjuring franchise.  The fictional Earl Warren is some kind of Christ figure, while the real life one is an obvious bullying conman.

Nobody comes away looking good.  All the parties either can't keep their story straight or don't mind promoting a book full of falsehoods.  The Snedekers come across worse if the house actually was possessed.  In the book they say they stayed in a house where everyone was ghost raped because they were sick of house hunting and maybe something about Jesus.  In the Sally version, they were afraid that if they moved the demons would follow them because weird things happened at work.  This contradicts the book, as well as not making any sense that they wouldn't even try getting the kids out of the house.

The most distasteful thing for me was how the Snedekers disclosed their son's mental health history and juvenile criminal history - they at least used a pseudonym in the book, but then revealed his name in the promotion.

Ray Garton is at least a professional fictioneer and he's expressed his distaste for the enterprise.  In this Monstertalk interview he says it was "the lowest point in my career, and I wrote the novelization for Good Burger."

Next week: The novelization for Good Burger

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Beneath Still Waters (2005)

Forty years ago a Spanish town is flooded in the creation of a reservoir in order to bury the supernatural forces awakened by an evil cult.  Now there are a series of deaths and disappearances around the reservoir, accelerating until the entire town goes mad.

Good concept, pretty original and unpredictable, unfortunately ruined by poor dubbing and overambitious CGI.

Good enough to make you imagine a better mad movie with the same material.  On the plus side, I'm looking forward to reading the book by Matthew J. Costello, which you can get on kindle from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pray For The Wildcats (1974)

Pray For The Wildcats (1974)

Image result for pray for the wildcats

Some all star casting with this one.  Andy Griffith as a psychopathic businessman, William Shatner as a suicidal adman, Robert Reed as the sellout, former child preacher Marjoe Gortner as the creative, and Angie Dickinson as the hat-wearing cheating wife.

Griffith forces the others to go on a motorbike trek across Baha, Mexico before he'll give them his advertising account.  Shatner's in the process of being fired and upped his life insurance, Gortner's girlfriend is pregnant and he needs a steady job, Angie is married to Mike Brady but sleeping with Captain Kirk.

Andy goes rapey on a hippie chick, fights her dude, and leaves them stranded in the desert.  I was expecting more of a thriller, with Andy hunting the others through the desert, but it's more moral quandary than chase scenes.

The film ends on a downer, with the men meeting their wives, their wives dropping soul destroying news, and everyone driving away in silence.

I'm getting hooked on the ABC Movies of the Week.  Mid or post-career stars chewing scenery with a $50 budget, and they're almost all on Youtube.