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Okay, so I've read all of your articles and watched all of your youtube videos and I'm still not seeing anything online about HEREDITARY that is even close to my theory, so I've decided to write it up.  Here's what I think was going on:

The ending tells us that Ellen, the dead grandmother, was the leader of a satanic cult and her life's work was trying to manifest this particular demon, Paimon, into human form.  We know from the book Annie finds that Paimon prefers manifesting in male bodies, but will possess whomever is the most vulnerable.  (This possession line is so important that it's even underlined in the book.)  Then we find out that the blue light we've been seeing throughout the film is actually Paimon moving from person to person, and this seemingly small reveal actually changes the entire fucking film.

Because it means that Paimon wasn't just possessing Charlie, as we were initially led to believe, HE WAS POSSESSING THE ENTIRE FAMILY.  Once you realize that he was possessing each of them at different points throughout the film, their behavior starts to make a lot more sense.  Every time Annie was angry and working on her dioramas, every time Peter was immobile with anxiety, every time Steve was withdrawn and distant - they were actually being controlled by Paimon.  He was possessing them at their weakest points and using their coping mechanisms to separate them.  While none of them seem to realize they're being possessed, we watch them get weaker and weaker from it as the film goes on.

the cult members performing a ritual under a photo of the entitre family?  They were all targets.  In the end, the family were nothing more than dolls in the diorama, being moved and manipulated by this geriatric cult and their shitty pet demon.

Let's review a few things we know.

We know the cult invoked Paimon through Charlie's birth.  This is why Ellen insisted on caring for Charlie as a baby, because Charlie was Paimon's vessel into the world.  We also know the cult has invoked Paimon at least once before, when Annie mentions her 'schizophrenic' brother who killed himself after accusing Ellen of 'trying to put people inside him'.  More likely is that the cult invoked Paimon through him and sharing his soul with a demon eventually drove him insane.  Charlie seems more than a little fucked up from the experience herself, because not only is she the creepiest kid alive, but she seems to have no real personaltiy outside of Paimon.  It's Paimon drawing the pictures in the book, it's Paimon cutting off bird heads and making figurines (for a diorama!), and it's Paimon eating the chocolate.  This is the real tragedy of Charlie, that she barely existed.  Paimon was never trapped inside of Charlie, she was just his way into the world.

Annie tells the support group that her relationship with Ellen was marked with estrangements and distance right up until her last days, which were spent with Annie and her family in their home.  It's worth noting that there's a symbol burned into the floor of Ellen's old bedroom that no one seems to notice or comment on, much like the ominous words we keeping seeing scratched into the walls at different points during the film.  Exactly how blind is this family to what is happening to and around them?  Answer: VERY.  Nothing we're seeing or being told is 100% reliable.  I can't decide if this enforced blindness is a spell from the cult, that may or may not include Ellen's headless body in the attic, or if it's just the negative effect of being possessed by a demon off and on for an extended period of time.  There are also mentions of Ellen having Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities) towards the very end of her life, but I think this was actually Paimon possessing her because she was the most vulnerable person in the house.

The signs of possession seem to be a dissociative state and indulging in a vice.  For Charlie, it's the chocolate.  For Peter, it's weed.  For Annie, it's art.  For Steve, it's sleeping pills.  Steve actually spends a significant amount of time sleeping in this film, which seems to be another marker of possession by Paimon.  We know Paimon prefers male bodies and that he has a draining effect on his vessels, and the men in this family seem to sleep A LOT.  Half of their scenes are in bed.  As the only adult male body, Paimon may have been possessing Steve so often that there isn't whole lot of Steve left.  Or else he's just served to enhance what was already Steve's coping mechanism for grief - distancing, withdrawing, going inside himself.

ALL of Annie's dioramas are created while Paimon is possessing her.  Not only because she's filled with rage the entire time she's creating them, but because all of her dioramas depict a different stage of Paimon's manifestation.  His 'life story' if you will.  We are shown the dioramas out of order to hide this, but the theme of each one is the coming of Paimon.  We even see him creating a diorama when he's inside Charlie - using the bird head figurines to depict the final ritual at the end of the film.  At first this seems like Charlie is inheriting her mother's artistic tendencies, but it's actually Paimon creating all of them.  Paimon also drew all of the pictures in Charlie's book - which is why they depicted what the subject was feeling rather than their appearance.  This demon king may be a narcissistic asshole, but he's also got a real flair for the arts.

As for that pesky blue light, the first time we really notice it is when Charlie is in her room and it seems to leave her body and go out the window.  She follows it into the woods and sees a vision of her grandmother sitting in front of a wall of fire.  That's when an angry Annie grabs her and eventually forces Charlie to go with Peter to the party.  Why does Annie do this?  (This question is even put to her during the argument at the dinner table to highlight it.)  Because it wasn't Annie doing it.  It was Paimon.  The cult needs Charlie to die in order to reach the next phase of the manifestation, and to make the remaining family members more vulnerable to Paimon.  After Charlie is killed, Peter seemingly goes into shock, but I think he's actually just possessed by Paimon, who has left Charlie and entered him at the exact moment of his overwhelming grief. 

Did you think Charlie's death was an accident?  The cult's symbol was on the pole that killed her.  She was also beheaded, which seems to be an important part of the final ritual. 

On a subconscious level, I believe Annie knows what is happening to her family.  It's in the anxious energy that pours off her like she's in a constant state of PTSD even before the actual horrific stuff happens.  When she confesses that she once tried to kill her children and herself while sleepwalking, my first thought was that she was being controlled, but now I think she was actually lucid in those moments.  In fact, they may have been her ONLY truly lucid moments, when she was trying to kill the bloodline and stop Paimon from manifesting.  Some part of herself, a part the cult and Paimon were not able to manipulate, knew what was happening and tried to stop it.

Concerning the seance scene, it was not to 'bring Charlie back' - that was Joan's lie.  It was to make Annie say the words, to become a part of the ritual, and give Paimon the power to bring about the final manifestation.  When Annie burns the book, it makes Steve burst into flames because Paimon was inside him at that moment, not her.  We even see Annie's expression change as Paimon jumps from Steve into her.  If Paimon could be killed this way, he would have died with Charlie.  The manifestation is too far along for that now.

So why didn't Ellen and the cult manifest Paimon years ago?  Because the ritual requires the sacrifice of an entire bloodline, and Ellen was still enjoying the spoils of her wicked ways.  Remember the photo where she's in a wedding dress and the rest of the cult are showering her with gold coins?  Or the framed photo of her on the wall with 'Queen Leigh' written lovingly underneath it?  That bitch was living THE LIFE.  Nothing was going to happen until after she left the mortal coil.  But once she did, it was over for the rest of her family.  They'd been promised to a demon that had been waiting at least a generation to collect.  There's also an argument that as long as Paimon was invoked but not manifested, the cult could control him and use his power, but eventually they would have to fulfill their end of the bargain.

There are definitely things I didn't understand.  Why did Ellen's photo said 'Queen Leigh' under it?  What did the words scratched on the wall mean?  I also didn't get the significance of the beheadings.  There were a lot of decaps in this film, which is my least favorite method of horror movie death after axe attacks (Fuck you, ending of 'Creep'.), but I guess I'll have to save it for the rewatch.

Many thanks to Ari Aster for giving me this enjoyable little waste of time.


Let's Play A Game...

I'm going to list the hilarious titles of these 'ABC After School Specials' and you try to guess what they're about:

Please Don't Hit Me, Mom (1983)
Daddy Can't Read (1988)
Just Tipsy, Honey (1989)
My Dad Lives In A Downtown Hotel (1973)
Don't Touch (1985)
She Drinks A Little (1981)
Sometimes I Don't Love My Mother (1982)
My Dad Can't Be Crazy... Can He? (1989)

If you knew how hard Dottie and I laughed at 'Daddy Can't Read', you'd know we are truly horrible people with no chance for redemption.  But we're okay with that, because we have each other.


Crazy On You...

Kal Penn forever.

Neighborhood Stories...

One night this summer, out of sheer curiosity, I found myself on one of those sex offender database websites, where I discovered there's a rapist living on my block.  He showed up as a big yellow dot on the map, because yellow dots are for rapists, while other colors represent different crimes, and when viewed from the right distance New York City looks like a giant Twister board of deviants.  (Left foot, child molester - spin again.)  If you click on a dot, it brings up a nifty list of stats on each criminal and their crimes, complete with a profile picture, like the world's worst dating site.  I was surprised there was only one convicted pervert in my area, because there were some neighborhoods where the map looked like a fucking Jackson Pollock painting.  They were everywhere.  And rooming together like models, apparently.

Welcome to Brooklyn.

Anyway, my neighborhood rapist is a middle-aged Asian man with a lazy eye who lives in the building next door.  I don't recall ever seeing him on the street, but maybe he's shy when he's not raping people.  The sad thing is that he's nowhere near the creepiest looking person in my neighborhood.  Not by a long shot.

There's a little triangle of benches at the top of my block, situated around a thatch of uncut grass and a tree, and during the summer you can always find a group of men sitting there at night, drinking beer and talking.  I've nicknamed it 'Murder Park' because every guy on those benches looks like a serial killer.  An established serial killer, I mean.  There's the Richard Ramirez guy, with his heavy metal t-shirts and crazy eyes, a Henry Lee Lucas lookalike with wild, uncombed hair, and the obligatory Jeffrey Dahmer clone in his wire-rimmed murder glasses.  They are rounded out by a heavyset guy with long white hair and a full beard who looks like a deranged Santa Claus, ready to climb down your chimney and disembowel you for the holidays.  I imagine they've bonded over their mutual creepiness and sit around all night discussing the best way to prepare human flesh burgers for the end of summer block party.

There's also a woman on my street that I'm pretty sure is a Terminator, but that's neither here nor there.

These are my neighbors.  I have many locks.

Movies I've Seen...

TWILIGHT: BREAKING DAWN, PART 1 - Mix recreational drug use, boredom, and the fact that I'll pretty much watch any piece of crap if it's on cable, and what you'll end up with is this review.  So I apologize in advance and you're welcome, because this movie is as batshit crazy as I am.

For those not in the 'Twilight' know, the story centers around a teenage girl named Bella who meets and falls in love with a vampire named Edward.  This might be exciting if either character were even slightly interesting or there was a drop of sexual chemistry between them, but it's like watching paint dry for five movies.  They mostly just cuddle and talk about how in love they are in that annoying teen way (2-getha! 4-eva!) - and that's when I get bored and try to picture Edward looking his real age, which is like a hundred, just to amuse myself.  That rotting corpse is dreamy!  I love his milky eyes! This isn't weirdly pedo at all!

The only drawback to their insipid teen/corpse love is that other vampires keep trying to kill Bella because she's human and they're not down with 'Monster Fever' - or whatever they call it when vampires hook up with regular folk and break those crazy racial barriers.  Turns out... vampires?  Not that tolerant.  Bella's always missing important school functions and lying to her parents because she's running or fearing for her life.  Gee, wish I had a vampire boyfriend.  Tweens are idiots.

Not to mention, Bella and Edward can't have sex.  And the reason why is my favorite thing ever.

See, they get married in this one, so it's expected that they're finally going to the do the dirty interspecies deed, and everyone is really worried about it because Edward is vampire strong and it might be too much for poor human Bella.  That's right, a major plot point of this film is that Edward might lose control and KILL HER WITH HIS VAMPIRE PENIS.  It's discussed.  At length.  By multiple characters.  And it's hilarious every time.  Whenever poor Bella tries for a little premarital nookie, Edward just sighs and says, "You know we can't.  I don't want to hurt you."  And cue me laughing for five minutes because that's every guy's dream line.

This is the crap my niece was reading when she was eleven?  Because that could be really confusing for a young girl.  Basically, "A boy can kill you with his penis.  It can happen.  Sweet dreams now.  Stay a virgin forever."  Ugh.  As if young girls aren't already scared of sex and imagining their first times as a mixture of agonizing pain and more blood than Carrie at the prom, so let's go ahead and add lethal genitalia to the mix.  I mean, I read Flowers In The Attic when I was eleven, so I knew more about sibling incest than I ever needed to in this lifetime, but at least there were no homicidal penises involved.  Times have changed.

Anyway, Bella and Edward get married and the vampire sex doesn't kill her, but she does get vampire pregnant.  This is where I called bullshit on Stephenie Meyer and her whole fang-less vampire world.  Anne Rice is rolling over in her coffin right now.  (Not that she's dead, I'm just pretty sure Anne Rice sleeps in a coffin.)  Meyer's vampires can live in daylight, just not direct sun because they're house plants or something, and they sparkle like disco balls.  They attend high school (?) or have day jobs (vampire doctor!), refuse to drink human blood, and except for being really pale and climbing the fuck out of a tree, they're basically human.  And incredibly dull for supernatural beings.  Still, whatever.  I'll buy it.  But vampire procreation?  Come on.  No wonder tweens love this stuff, Stephenie Meyer is obviously twelve years old.  I fully expected Bella to give birth to a vampire unicorn.

Turns out the vampire baby is slowly killing Bella and when she goes into labor, Edward rips the baby out of her stomach with his teeth.  I'm not kidding.  It's shot in this weird, light flickering way where's she's screaming and he's at an all-you-can-eat placenta fest and you're just like, "What the HELL am I watching?"  Then you remember.  And you're ashamed.

There's also a bunch of stuff having to do with Jacob, Bella's werewolf ex-boyfriend (because she's only a gillman, mummy, and Frankenstein away from having dated the entire Monster Squad), but since the werewolves are ridiculous CGI cartoons that talk to each other in human voices, it's probably best not to mention them at all.  Except for this weird scene where Jacob 'imprints' on the baby, meaning he knows in some psychic way that she's his future wife, which was very 'Japanese Geisha movie' and creepy.  You made out with her mother, dude.  Not cool.

It mercifully ends with Bella dead and being made vampire - which involves Edward injecting a tube of milky liquid he calls 'his venom' into her chest.  Because guys are always trying to put their venom on women's chests.  It's a thing.  I had no idea it made you a vampire.  Maybe Stephenie Meyer has a sense of humor after all.

Thanks to it's utter insanity, I didn't totally hate this movie.  But I am a little worried about my niece.

Phone Snippets...

ME:  Going for drinks with the ex tonight.

MY SISTER:  Thought he was history.

ME:  We're friends.

MY SISTER:  Your exes always come back around.  Do you have magic in your vagina?

ME:  No, just a bunch of scarves knotted together.


Currently Reading...

I read this book in one sitting.  Couldn't put it down.  Loved it.


Oh, come on, Jezebel .  This is just funny.


Mecca And Stuff...

A few years ago I worked on 19th Street, which involved taking the 7 train to Times Square, going up that crazy steep escalator to the 1/9 train, and then taking that down to 14th Street.  This was an extremely boring commute, so I would always find little ways to spice it up.  One involved a girl I saw most mornings on the 7 train.  She was this stylish black chick about my age, but since everyone wears their New York Bitchface on the subway, it wasn't like we ever talked to each other.  She also took the train to Times Square, and like me, was always right at the door when we pulled into the station, ready to dash up that crazy steep escalator.  Anyway, I started racing her.  Like some urban Olympic event happening only in my head, I'd match her step for step and then try to beat her to the top of the escalator.  And she was a formidable opponent, because I only won half the time.  This went on for a couple of months, then one morning as we stood at the train doors, I said, "You know, I race you every day.  You're good."  She looked at me and burst out laughing, "I race you too!  You're fast!"

And that's how I met my friend Mecca.

I got a Christmas tree, which I named Roscoe, at the Home Depot near my house.  I know it's not as romantic as getting it from a lot, but last year I got a lot tree and paid $60 for the ambiance and left with a huge six foot tree that I had to drag back to my apartment and it was a fucking nightmare.  Meanwhile, Home Depot had an amazing five foot tree and I spent $25.  I still had to drag it home, however, because there are ZERO cabs outside of Home Depot, just a bunch of creepy guys offering to drive you home for $5 in their tinted-window vans.  One guy approached me as I waited in line, asking if I needed a cab.

"Are you a cab, or just some guy with a van?" I asked.
"Oh, just some guy with a van."
"Thanks, but I'd prefer not to be murdered tonight."

Then he, joking I hope, said, "Nah, I probably wouldn't murder you."

Anyway, I got Roscoe home in one piece, but I haven't decorated him because I don't have a tree topper.  That's not true.  I do have a tree topper, but it's ridiculous.  See, when I bought it last year, it was somehow face down in the box, and I thought it was just a white star that lit up.  Classy, simple, perfect.  Once I tore into the box, however, I found that my classy star was actually a hideous monstrosity of multi-colored-lights and wilted tinsel that blinked schizophrenically and made my tree look like a roadside taco stand.  Of course I loved it immediately, and ran straight to the worst quality dollar store I could find to buy a basket full of cheesy Christmas balls and metallic beads, determined to have the white trashiest tree ever known to man.  I believe I succeeded.  But this year, I wanted to go in a different direction, so I need a new topper.  I've been to three stores already, and all they have are angels.  I've got nothing against angels, but they're these overblown painted dolls with red robes and gold everywhere and honestly, it's a little too 'Game Of Thrones' for me.  I can't have a funky art-deco tree with some medieval-looking angel sitting on top of it.  I'm just going make a damn star out of cardboard and tin foil, and you know what?  It will probably rock.

*Holy crap the spelling errors in this post!!  But it was 2am, so shoot me.

Always A Zombie, Never A Zombie Bride...

Black Vera Wang Wedding Dresses

The center one.  Definitely the center one.