Just in time for the strangest Halloween in memory, we’re back to talk about three underrated horror movies we seem to revisit every year around this time: Wes Craven’s Haiti-set The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), the ’80s pastiche The House of the Devil (2009), and the Nicolas Cage mystery Pay the Ghost (2015). Along the way, we reminisce about Burger King’s Universal horror action figures from our childhood, 10th grade speeches, and our vastly different experiences watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time. Chris is in his element discussing voodoo and Samhain, and Steve enjoys telling Chris off for not knowing directors by name. Lastly, we list our top moments in scary movies! Give us a listen. (We know you all have nothing better to do.)
Ruminations is finally back and, boy, did we miss a lot over the last 6 months! We start off Episode X with a discussion of our experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown and what we’ve been watching to pass the time as society crumbles around us, but the main event is much more fun. In a companion piece to our first-ever episode, we rank the best and worst of Pixar Animation Studios, once the baby of Apple’s Steve Jobs and now an integral part of Disney’s galactic empire. In a departure from our first episode, however, we stick to our own rankings, which means there are some fireworks!
It’s that time of year again. Except for the first time in at least a decade, I have no issues with any of the major nominations. (Hence, there’s no podcast of us venting like last year.) It’s basically a miracle. What once seemed like a wide-open race has more or less solidified into a night built around the question, “Will 1917 win that award?” Unfortunately, this means my personal favorite of the movies–well, apart from The Lighthouse, solely nominated for Best Cinematography–and the one most-deserving of awards, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, might end the night without a single Oscar. Here’s to hoping for a few pleasant surprises!
Below are my predictions for the 2020 Academy Awards: Continue reading
Happy New Year from Ruminations! To celebrate the start of 2020 and the end of the 2010s, we talk* about 10 of our favorite movies from a decade that wasn’t all that great when it came to cinema. (At least in our opinions, but our opinions are Correct.) Stick around for some honorable mentions!
- Since posting our episode on Halloween, I have finished The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking for an accessible and informative overview of angels, demons, demonic infestation/oppression/possession, and the various ways in which exorcists go about exorcising demons in the 21st century. More on book’s main focus, Fr. Gary Thomas, below in our section on the movie version of The Rite.
- Here is an abbreviated form of the Rite of Exorcism from the Roman Ritual. It was admittedly harder to find online than one might think, but Chris found it. If you would like to purchase the full ritual, you can buy it here with the full Latin and English texts, side by side.
- Here is Fr. Vincent Lampert, Exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, being interviewed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo. As mentioned in the episode, Chris saw Fr. Lampert speak at Montclair State University twice (in 2010 as a student and then with me in 2016, post-college); here is video of his lecture at Seton Hall University in 2017. Lastly, Fr. Lampert also appeared in The Making of a Modern Exorcist as an exorcist-in-training with Fr. Thomas.
- The career of Rome’s foremost exorcist, the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, is discussed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo and The Exorcist director William Friedkin. Fr. Amorth was the author of numerous books on exorcisms–his most famous book available in English is An Exorcist Tells His Story–and was the subject of Friedkin’s 2017 documentary, The Devil and Fr. Amorth.
- Chris also mentioned the book Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance, which is exactly what it sounds like. This exorcist is Fr. José Antonio Fortea of Spain.
- Christ mentioned how priests partake in a “black fast” before beginning the exorcist ritual. We couldn’t find an exact source for this but Matt Baglio did make a point about fasting beforehand in The Making of a Modern Exorcist.
- Chris and I talked about this video from VICE where a reporter attended a voodoo ceremony in a basement in a Haitian neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is freaky and bizarre and also completely fascinating.
For our Halloween-themed episode, the Ruminations team talks about the Catholic Rite of Exorcism and the movies that have made it famous. Learn the differences between demonic infestation, oppression, and possession, what it’s like to talk to a 90-year-old exorcist IRL, and why even modern Hollywood can sometimes treat Catholicism respectfully!
(In order to get Episode VIII out in time for, you know, Halloween, our show notes will be posted at a later date. Stay tuned!)
The Curse of the Black Pearl
- This video explains some of the behind the scenes history of the making of The Curse of the Black Pearl, especially the comical short sightedness of Disney’s former CEO, Michael Eisner.
- Johnny Depp received an Oscar nomination for his role of Jack Sparrow, ultimately losing to Sean Penn for Mystic River. In 2018, Depp received the exact opposite honor when he was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for his (final?) performance of Jack in Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Wikipedia has a good breakdown of how Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt split the work for the score of the first Pirates film. Long story short: Zimmer couldn’t focus on the score because he was busy composing for The Last Samurai, so he passed the work onto Badelt. However, he still managed to compose most of the main cues with Badelt. Because the schedule was so rushed, seven other composers had to contribute orchestrations and cues, including Game of Thrones’ Ramin Djawadi and Arrow/The Flash‘s Blake Neely. The most famous track, “He’s a Pirate,” sounds like it was lifted verbatim from Zimmer’s Gladiator track, “The Battle.”
After what seems like an eternity, Rum-inations is back with our seventh episode! As promised at the end of Episode VI, this one is all about pirates and rum. To prepare for such an undertaking…we bought a whole bunch of rum and rewatched all 5 Pirates of the Caribbean movies with our friend Ruben, who now joins us as our first guest!
In addition to our episode, check out our show notes full of movie and musical clips, historical tidbits, and mucho rum recommendations!
- The exclusive Scavi tour must be booked months in advance because it fills up very quickly–only 250 people go through the necropolis under St. Peter’s each day. Some additional tips on how to snare tickets can be found here.
- The Fisherman’s Tomb: The True Story of the Vatican’s Secret Search (2018) by John O’Neill is a breezy read on the secret excavations that occurred under the Vatican in the 1940s, a project that was entirely financed by a Texas oil baron!
- A brief overview of the Scavi was featured as the June 2019 cover story of the Knights of Columbus’ Columbia magazine.
- It appears chief archaeologist (and identifier of Peter’s bones) Margherita Guarducci’s entire 1960 book The Tomb of St. Peter can be found online.
- St. Peter’s remains were first displayed publicly by Pope Francis in November of 2013.
- Check out Illume for more information about the tomb and necropolis. These diagrams are helpful in picturing the layout of the necropolis and the placement of Peter’s grave.
- Jesus without a beard? Here is Christ as Sol Invictus from Mausoleum M, also known as the Tomb of the Julii.
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel
Ruminations is back with its most historical episode yet! In Episode VI, Chris and Steve recount their April trip to Rome, the Eternal City, highlighting the history and splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, the glory witnessing the Capitoline Wolf and Augustus of Prima Porta statues in person, an unexpected visit to an actual medieval castle, and more. This episode is a bit on the long side, folks–if you make it through the first 45 minutes, you’ll at least be rewarded by two superb anecdotes that practically had the hosts in tears!
Stick around until the end and check out our show notes full of historical tidbits, book recommendations, and lots of pictures!