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Category Archives: Modern Satanism
Posted: January 17, 2020 at 3:44 am
Whats the deal with documentaries made up only of found footage? Apollo 11 and Amazing Grace have been on a great many lists of the best docs this year, and while their footage holds immense value, I like a little more craftsmanship and context in my nonfiction films. (It looks like the Oscar voters do, too.) I also like a sense of humor, as you can see from the list below.
1. Hail Satan? Evangelical Christians loyalty to Donald Trump in the face of everything has made Satanism look appealing like never before. This often hilarious film by Penny Lane (and, yes, thats her real name) profiles the Satanic Temple and their masterful acts of trolling by insisting that their religion be represented when state governments put up monuments to Christianity. The Satanists demonstrate how many Christians think religious freedom is only for them. Id join the Temple, but I think Id be out of place, because the Satanists seem much nicer people than me.
2. One Child Nation. No one in Wang Nanfu and Lynn Zhangs film will say that Chinas decades-long one-child policy was anything other than a shining success for the country. They do this even while they lay out plenty of evidence that it was a disaster that resulted in broken families and parents murdering their baby girls. Stories of women being dragged kicking and screaming to abortion clinics are told by the people who did the dragging. Its all framed through Wangs stories of raising her own children in America, a country she notes is trying to outlaw abortion entirely and take control of womens bodies just like the Chinese government.
3. Honeyland. This multiple Oscar nominee was supposed to be an informational video about beekeeping put out by the government of North Macedonia. However, Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanovs project grew into something much greater, starting with Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljumas breathtaking photography of the countrys mountainous rural areas. Turkish-descended beekeeper Hatidze Muratova initially welcomes the large Turkish family who moves into the trailer next door, but then they move into the honey business, too, and their bees kill all of hers. Hatidze is a compelling and funny character in this story of nature and bad neighbors.
4. Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blach. Gotta give props to a movie that informed me so much about a subject that I am supposed to be well-informed about. Pamela B. Greens film measures the life and times of one of the very first film directors of either gender and how the mostly male community of French film critics and historians tried to erase her from the record after her death. A host of movie celebrities make the case that she deserves to be recognized alongside her colleagues Georges Melis and the Lumire Brothers in the pantheon of film pioneers. Thats mixed with Guy-Blachs colorful life. She taught Lois Weber, the first American woman director, who promptly repaid her mentor by stealing away her husband.
5. Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened. Two documentaries about the ill-fated music festival came out last January, but Chris Smiths is the only one eligible for this list and has footage from every stage of the planning, such as it was. Watching this film is like having the fiasco unfold before your eyes, as Billy McFarland and Ja Rule think that if they just will their logistically complicated rich-people party to happen, it will materialize amid a cloud of likes on Instagram. If youre big on schadenfreude like me, this is vastly entertaining.
6. American Factory. This Oscar nominee starts with a Chinese auto glass manufacturer taking over a shuttered GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, and declaring theyll rejuvenate the area. Oh, but if you know the differences between Chinese and American capitalism, you know how this will end. Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert chronicle how it all comes apart, as American managers are replaced and workers chafe against new bosses who care nothing for workers safety or time spent with families. The CEO comes away embittered, saying Americans are lazy, incompetent, and mentally slow for wanting these things. Hes wrong theyre just not used to being treated like their Chinese counterparts.
7. For Sama. Waad al-Kateab begins her documentary by filming her baby girl doing baby things, as many mothers have done. Then a tank shell hits the building that shes in, and her husband asks on his daughters behalf, Mama, why did you give birth to me? Its a fair question as al-Kateab and co-director Edward Watts document raising a child in Aleppo, Syria, while its being bombed daily by Bashar al-Assads Russian allies. This Oscar nominee tells the story of this stupidly courageous couple whose love of their hometown makes them film its destruction for baby Sama, who grows up not even reacting to the sound of explosions nearby.
8. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal. Before gymnastics takes center stage at the Summer Olympics, lets remember that while Larry Nassar molested hundreds of little girls, the sports governing body did everything to protect this monster and nothing to protect the elite athletes whom he did his best to ruin. Erin Lee Carr finds plenty of blame to spread to the U.S. Olympic Committee, law enforcement, and Michigan State University. Her interviews with the victims so many victims remind us what it took to get the truth out.
9. Cunningham. Oh, look! This movie is playing this week at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (see: Night & Day). Alla Kovgans biography of the choreographer Merce Cunningham relies heavily on extensive footage from the mans interviews about his work. What really earns this film its spot on the list is its beautifully filmed performances of Cunninghams dances, restaged in forest clearings, highway tunnels, and other unlikely locales. Try to see this in 3-D.
10. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. You can pay tribute to the late American novelist by watching Timothy Sanders-Greenfields documentary that includes extensive interviews with the personable Nobel laureate before her death. Theres plenty of stuff about how this black woman forced her way into the white male literary canon by writing African-American stories, but youll also learn about her work as a book editor at Random House, where her work (with sometimes unlikely collaborators such as Muhammad Ali) was scarcely less groundbreaking.
Honorable mention: Alex Holmes Maiden A.J. Eatons David Crosby: Remember My Name Joshua Riehls The Russian Five Ed Perkins Tell Me Who I Am Midge Costins Making Waves: The Art of Sound in Cinema John Chesters The Biggest Little Farm Viktor Kossakovskys Aquarela Martin Scorseses Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story Jill Magids The Proposal Lauren Greenfields The Kingmaker Max Lewkowicz Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles Rob Garvers What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael Matt Wolfs Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project Andrew Slaters Echo in the Canyon Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliotts Amazing Grace.
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Posted: at 3:44 am
Arguably the worlds most famous metalhead, Canadian Sam Dunn is an anthropologist, former bass player in the metal band Burn to Black, and an award winning documentary maker. A man of many talents, Dunn is most famous for his documentary films based around heavy metal music. Most fans of heavy metal music are familiar with the work of Sam Dunn.
Sam Dunn was born on March 20th, 1974 in Victoria , British Columbia, Canada. In Metal: A Headbangers Journey, Dunn described the city as the land of the newly wed and the nearly dead. He called himself a banger, rocker, punk, skid etc. He developed his love for metal music during his time as a teenager in Victoria.
Sam Dunn studied Anthropology at the University of Victoria. He also obtained a masters degree from York University where his thesis was focused on Guatemalan refugees. .
The documentary film that brought Sam Dunn in public eye was Metal: A Headbangers Journey. The documentary was loved and appreciated by heavy metal fans all across the globe. It also received widespread critical acclaim and went on to win a Gemini Award for Best Writing in a Documentary. Sam Dunn also made the Grammy-nominated Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and Super Duper Alice Cooper. The latter went on to win the award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Sam Dunn continued working in the field of heavy metal and collaborated with vh1 to bring the biggest ever TV series on the history of heavy metal, Metal Evolution. Dunn served as the co-director and host for the show. It went on to reach #1 on VH1 Classic (USA) and M3 (Canada). Sam Dunn also co-directed the famous Netflix original series Hip-Hop Evolution. The show has gone on to become a great success and has won a Peabody, an International Emmy, and a Canadian Screen Award. In 2015, Sam Dunn also released Satan Lives, discussing the impact of Satan on popular culture.
This was the first documentary film released by Sam Dunn. It was released in the year 2005. Dunn co-directed it with Jessica Wise and Scot McFadyen. The film followed Sam Dunn on a journey which documented the origins, culture and appeal of heavy metal in popular culture. The documentary explored the most prominent and notorious themes present in heavy metal music: violence, death, religion and Satanism, gender and sexuality. The documentary also delved into some key traits and idiosyncrasies of heavy metals various subgenres such as thrash metal, death metal, black metal, glam metal, progressive metal and power metal. For the purpose of this documentary film, Sam Dunn even created a family-tree style flow chart which documented all the subgenres of heavy metal and their relationship with each other.
The Metal Family Tree from Metal: A Headbangers Journey
The film also discussed the various aspects of the heavy metal culture along with people such as DePaul Universitys Professor of Sociology, Deena Weinstein. She spoke at great lengths about the relevance and symbolism of the colour black and the true meaning of the testosterone fuelled hypermasculinity of heavy metal. Sam Dunn also attended Wacken Open Air, the most well renowned heavy metal festival of the world. He also spoke to Twisted Sisters Dee Snider about the PMRCs attack on heavy metal music in the 1980s.
Sam Dunn co-produced and directed Global Metal. The documentary was released in 2008. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen embarked on a global journey to see the impact of heavy metal music all across the globe, especially outside of Europe and North America. The whirlwind journey featured Sam Dunn travelling through India, China, Japan, Indonesia, the Middle East and South America. Sam Dunn discussed some unusual metal scenes from the underbelly of heavy metal. Those scenes ranged from Indonesian death metal to Israeli Oriental metal and Chinese black metal to Iranian thrash metal, etc. The film showed a truly global community of metalheads who took the essence of heavy metal and added their own cultural twist to it. As it is in the West, heavy metal music also helps create a form of cultural expression for the people who are fed up in societies dominated by conflict, corruption and mass-consumerism.
Sam Dunn has called Iron Maiden his favourite band of all time on many occasions. This 2009 documentary, co-written and co-directed by Dunn and McFadyen chronicled Iron Maidens 2008 World Tour in which vocalist Bruce Dickinson flew a converted Boeing 757 from country to country.
This documentary on one of Canadas most famous rock bands Rush, premiered on April 29th at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. It went on to win the Audience Award at the festival.
Sam Dunn went on to produce the biggest ever series on heavy metal music for vh1 Classic. The series, called Metal Evolution premiered on November 11th, 2011. The series was created after feedback about Metal: A Headbangers Journey. Some people said they wished that film was eight hours long, Dunn said. The 11 part series featured the following episode. The 12th episode, titled Extreme Metal, was released online through crowdfunding.
This episode features Sam Dunn discussing about the ultimate progenitor of metal music: Rock n Roll. Sam Dunn also talked about early blues musicians and their impact in the development of metals style.
2. Early Metal Part 1: US Division
Metal morning in America begins with the clank of cars and guitars and the burning of draft cards, Including the likes of Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Frost, Iggy & The Stooges and the explosive MC5 and of course KISS.
3. Early Metal Part 2: UK Division
The UK wasnt about to cede rock & roll dominance to America. This episode documented how early blues-influenced British bands cranked up the amps and used distorted guitars to give the first pre-metal sounds from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and of course Black Sabbath who most consider the first ever heavy metal band and are recognized for laying the blueprints of what became an entire genre of music. These bands tended to stay away from the label of heavy metal for a major part of their career and only called heavy metal a part of what they did. It wasnt until the arrival of Judas Priest that the term heavy metal was fully embraced and given a distinct look.
4. New Wave of British Heavy Metal
The movement began to grow and was spearheaded by the likes of Motrhead, Diamond Head and gained even more momentum when Iron Maiden began packing local clubs and later went on to sell millions of albums. The media and record labels could no longer ignore these bands and this became a major force in music that had to be reckoned with and was dubbed as the new wave of British heavy metal. Other notable acts which were part of this included Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch, Raven and Praying Mantis. The NWOBHM bands started losing their popularity in the wake of the rising glam metal scene in America. The glam metal bands featured a more polished, mainstream friendly sound which the raw NWOBHM bands couldnt keep up with. However, NWOBHM did end up igniting the fire which led to the birth of the subgenre of thrash metal in America.
Sam Dunn made it abundantly clear that he loathed Glam Metal during his days as a teenager in the 80s. He even went on to compare Glam bands to boybands. In this episode, Sam Dunn met some key figures associated with the glam metal movement such as such as Mtley Cres Vince Neil, Dokkens George Lynch and Van Halens Michael Anthony. These former stars divulged their side of the story and revealed the attitudes, influences and decisions which dictated their lives and careers on L.A.s storied Sunset Strip. On the flipside, Dunn also interviewedScott Ian from Anthrax and Slash from Guns N Roses who discussed the reasons behind the vilification of glam.
This episode featured the subgenre of metal which took metal straight into its most extreme form and gave birth to some of the biggest bands in the history of metal viz. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
While grunge has widely been credited to fueling the demise of heavy metal from popular music, Sam Dunn still believes that it is associated with metal in some ways. Dunn discussed the impact of early metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin in the formative years of most grunge musicians. Also featured in the episode were the circumstances that led to the rapid decline of grunge.
8. Nu Metal
If hair metal was the antithesis of heavy metal purists in the eighties, that was delegated to nu metal in the late nineties. Likewise, if the keyboard was an instrument that such purists felt had no place in a heavy metal band, that disdain was now held by the incorporation of the turntable. Early influences came from bands such as Anthrax and their 1991 collaboration with Public Enemy, Faith No More, even thrashers whose riff-driven hooks were described as groove metal. Sepulturas Roots album was also credited as an influence on Nu Metal. This spawned the rise of a new genre of music influenced by two seemingly opposing forces: hip hop and hard rock. Nu metal broke ground and gave way to bands like Korn, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine, and Limp Bizkit. At the height of its popularity the show documents the unfortunate events that conspired in Woodstock in 1999 which included performances by Korn, Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit leading to nu metals decline soon thereafter. Yet the mantle has still been carried on by acts such as Linkin Park and Disturbed, among others.
9. Shock Rock
Unlike any other genre profiled on the show, Shock Rock is defined by its visuals and public image, not by its sound. The genres roots were traced back to Screamin Jay Hawkins and Arthur Brown. This episode focused on metals impact in pushing the envelope when it came to disturbing and horrific imagery and its place as Public Enemy #1 to conservative America. Shock Rock as we know it, started with Alice Cooper in the 1970s. It was made more (for the lack of a better word) shocking by early black metal pioneers Venom and Mercyful Fate (featuring the vocal histrionics of lead singer King Diamond) in the 1980s. The episode also discussed Marilyn Manson, who was made a scapegoat for the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Slipknot and Rammstein are also featured.
10. Power Metal
Completely alien to the genre, Sam Dunn sets off to find out what its all about, and why its so unfamiliar to him. Dunn analyzed the difference between power metal and traditional heavy metal and traced the genres roots to continental Europe. Also discussed in the episode are the ties of Power Metal to Classical Music and the way in which power metal flourishes with metal festivals such as Germanys Wacken Open Air and Slovenias Metal Camp. Power Metal figureheads such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Kai Hansen were interviewed in this episode.
11. Progressive Metal
The series finale showcased the subgenre of progressive metal. This subgenre was heavily influenced by 70s progressive rock, which used textured sounds and intricate arrangements while incorporating the rock element in its own distinctive way. Modern progressive rock most often cites the influences of the percussive guitar-playing of Steve Hackett of Genesis, and the instrumentals of Yes. Progressive Rock came to the forefront with the Canadian band Rush which is profiled in one-on-one interviews with the bands 3 members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart while on tour in Cleveland, Ohio. The nineties introduced the groundbreaking, innovative sounds of bands like Tool, Queensrche, Dream Theater, Mastodon, Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
12. Extreme Metal: The Lost Episode
Produced after the original series aired, this episode covers Florida Death Metal, Norwegian Black Metal, Grindcore, and other extreme subgenres. The episode was produced with the help of donations through IndieGoGo.
Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyens Banger Films has a Youtube channel Banger TV All Metal.
The channel features regular album reviews, subgenre discussions (Lock Horns) and contests such as Shredders of Metal. Sam Dunn and Banger Films are currently working on creating a Netflix style streaming service, which will specialize in streaming heavy metal related content.
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Fears Hampshire Horse Ripper has returned after 26 years and psycho culprit could be next Ian Brady – The Sun
Posted: January 14, 2020 at 4:58 am
A BLOODIED sheep corpse lies in a road, satanic symbols daubed on its side.
The gruesome discovery is the latest in a string of animal slayings that have sent shockwaves through the towns and villages of the New Forest.
Now leading criminal profiler Mick Neville believes it could signal the return of the Hampshire Horse Ripper, who slashed, mutilated and abused more than 30 horses in a similar area in the Nineties before mysteriously disappearing.
And in a chilling warning, the retired Met detective fears it could only be a matter of time before the psychotic killer moves on to targeting people.
Mick, 52, says: Evil and violent minds are drawn to satanic rites, so the police must take these attacks seriously before the offender decides to obtain his perverted thrills by attacking people.
The ewe, found this month in Cadnam, Hants, had been stabbed eight times and was left lying alongside a pitchfork and straw cross.
In November last year another sheep was brutally stabbed in the village of Bramshaw. A pentagram a symbol popular in the occult was spray-painted on to its fleece and the devils number of 666 was plastered on to the door of a church there.
Another sheep had its entrails ripped out in nearby Boldre. The symbolism has led many to believe the killings could be the work of a satanic cult.
Mick said: There appears to be a satanic element with occult symbols sprayed on the targeted animals. Even more bizarre is that many of these attacks, in 2019 and the earlier spate in 1992, have occurred on or around a full moon.
We know a full moon can affect those with psychological issues, such as schizophrenia, and can create violent or aggressive behaviour.
Many serial killers the likes of Ted Bundy and Ian Brady began their evil careers by hurting animals before moving on to people.
During the Hampshire Horse Rippers three-year reign, attacks grew increasingly frenzied. In August 1991, Welsh cob Daphne was sliced with a Stanley knife.
In October 1992, four horses were slashed and one was fatally stabbed during a single attack. The following year a horse was burned with acid and 28 others were wounded with knives and corrosive substances.
Horses belonging to Anita Jones, 67, wife of the late Monkees singer Davy Jones, were among the victims. One of her mares was sexually assaulted with a pole and another had its shoulder slashed in July 1992.
Anita told papers at the time: It was horrific. Now if I hear the slightest noise outside I send the dogs out thinking it might be the horse lunatic. In response, Hampshire Police launched Operation Mountbatten, named after one of the horse casualties.
Ten-year-old Mountbatten was found by owner Robert Broderick, 81. Her neck, genitals and hindquarters had been slashed before she died of a heart attack.
Roberts wife Flora, 82, this week told The Sun the recent animal killings have brought back painful memories. She added: I saw news about the recent at- tacks and they just keep happening. I hate talking about it, even now.
At the time, the police said the attackers had come when it was dark a few nights before the killing and fed Mountbatten to get her used to them being there. Then on the night she was murdered they sneaked down and did horrific things to her.
Police issued a photofit of a suspect. But before they could close in, the attacks halted in 1993, as inexplicably as they had started.
Police expert Mick believes the 26-year gap in crimes may point to the ripper having spent a lengthy spell in prison or having left the area to join the Armed Forces.
He said: The attacks from the 1990s do bear similarities to the recent attacks sharp instruments used to attack horses, cows and other animals. The police need to look at why the attacks have restarted after some 25 years.
Has the offender been in prison? Did he or she serve in the Armed Forces and has now returned to where they offended as a teenager?
While attacks in the Nineties were mostly horses, this killer has moved on to different types of animals. It could be that hes targeting smaller cattle because hes now an old man, or simply because thats what he has easy access to now.
There is certainly a sexual element to the killings. The culprit is seeking a thrill. Wendy Maughan, 60, owned the latest sheep to be killed.
She said: The offenders must have a knowledge of livestock to do this and there is quite some intent and planning involved. It is sinister.
Farmer Andrew Parry-Norton, 51, who found the ewe, said: It looked as if it had been dragged into the middle of the lane. It was very creepy.
Its starting to get worrying in terms of putting animals out in the forest. A police spokesman said: We are looking into all lines of enquiry at this time and would link together similar crimes if the evidence allows us to.
Hampshire Police launched an investigation in January last year after six mutilated goat carcasses were discovered within a 20-mile radius.
One had its tongue cut out and another was found in a Tesco car park with its ear sliced off. Fears of a satanic cult tally with the New Forests historical links to the occult.
The religion of modern witchcraft, known as Wicca, was founded in the village of Highcliffe, Hants, in 1939 by eccentric archaeologist and nudist Gerald Gardner.
After the Government repealed laws making witchcraft a crime in 1951, Gardner gained fame through the panic caused by his book Witchcraft Today.
He defended himself to Richard Dimbleby on BBCs Panorama, insisting Wicca was not an excuse for sex parties, despite its naked rituals.
Hants Police have called in the Police Pagan Association (PPA) to investigate whether the latest round of animal violence could be linked to witchcraft.
The group, made up of 200 Heathen, Shaman and Druid officers within the police force, look into suspected ritual killings and animal attacks. The PPA believes the latest sheep killing is not linked to the occult, but rather to a mentally unstable individual.
Sgt Andy Pardy said: Whilst the pentacle, or pentagram, is used by Wiccan Pagans to represent the five elements, it is not unique to Paganism, being also used in satanism and occultism.
Having previously been involved in other investigations into the mutilation and harming of livestock, the suspects are usually not found to be affiliated with any religion or belief.
The actions instead are usually due to the mental health or antisocial tendencies of the offender. Animal campaigner and nature presenter Chris Packham, 58, lives in the New Forest. He has urged locals to watch out for unusual behaviour.
He added: Lets hope whoever is perpetrating these things makes a very early mistake and is apprehended really quickly.
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But one New Forest local, who did not want to be named, echoed fears the livestock slayings could lead to human deaths.
He said: People are saying that someone killing animals could be practice for murdering humans. Thats the next step.
No doubt New Foresters will be bolting their stables and their own doors until the killer is caught.
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Posted: December 6, 2019 at 2:45 am
NEW FOREST, Hampshire, England A recent spate of animal killings and vandalism have been reported this month as taking place in the New Forest in Hampshire.
The village of Bramshaw has been witness to occult markings spray-painted on the church door and a sheep was stabbed, daubed with purple and green pentagrams and left in a local field. A heifer and two calves were also stabbed and are currently in the care of local vets.
This is not the first set of attacks on animals in the New Forest this year. In October, a horse was found stabbed to death in a field in Walkford Lane, Walkford, near Christchurch.
Map of New Forest [Source: Google Maps]
Throughout the region, animals are owned by local farmers but are allowed to wander freely, particularly the New Forests famous community of ponies in addition to cattle and sheep. Thus, gaining access to animals is not difficult and much of the area consists of woodland or open scrub. Although there are villages, towns and isolated houses throughout the New Forest, much of it is still secluded and, at night, badly lit.
Because of the symbology used, the recent incidents have given rise to local concerns about a Satanic cult. The occult markings in question were the number 666 and an inverted cross.
The sheep were discovered by dog-walker Judy Rudd, who is reported as saying It was very unpleasant some people think its sinister.
Her husband says: I think its reasonable to say its not just lads messing about. Its unnerving weve lived here for 40 years and theres been nothing like this before. Its related to something other than simply a desire to injure animals its either witchcraft or whatever. Its rather worrying.
A farmer from Bramshaw, whose cow was knifed and needed veterinary treatment, added: Im very concerned for the welfare of the animals and the people out there in the forest. Its quite scary to know somebody is going around doing this. Why injure and kill animals and put symbols on them?
Tony Hockley, a resident and the chairman of the New Forest Commoners Defence Association (CDA), has expressed concerns regarding these incidents to the wider community, pointing out to The Independent that this is a relatively small rural community.
Any harm to New Forest livestock hurts everyone. We all depend upon the vocational commitment of 700 local people to turn livestock out to graze the landscape. Most have just a few animals, and there are only 200 sheep in the whole of the New Forest. It is devastating to lose one in this way, and it is the sort of thing that will make commoners give up. If the grazing goes then the accessibility, culture and biodiversity go too, Hockley said.
Image source: The Scotsman
The vicar of St Peters, the Rev David Bacon, said that the incidents, which occurred between November 16 and 20, could be a result of witchcraft or black magic. It could just be kids but I dont think it is, given the context. Theres been witchcraft round here for hundreds of years the New Forest is well known for witchcraft and black magic and this has obviously gone up a level.
People who are not conversant with the practices of contemporary Paganism cannot necessarily be expected to draw a distinction between the way in which this spiritual path is often misrepresented in the media, and how it takes shape in real life, which is why the educational efforts of organizations such as the Pagan Federation must continue to push back against inaccurate and potentially damaging stereotypes.
The New Forest is, indeed, known for its history of witchcraft. Gerald Gardner founded modern Wicca here, claiming that he had based it on the practices of older covens, and New Forest villages such as Burleigh are now known for the number of Witchcraft shops and Witch-themed businesses. Tony Hockley of the CDA comments upon this but says, The New Forest, like many rural areas, has a historical association with Witchcraft so that draws some people and some of the local shops trade on that but its normally more about fairies.
As readers of The Wild Hunt will obviously be aware, Wicca does not undertake animal sacrifice. Moreover, Satanic groups in the UK tend to be largely urban and revolve around political activism rather than any form of religious practice. Both groups are opposed to this kind of cruelty and vandalism, and Pagans obviously do not use symbols such as inverted crosses, although they do use pentacles and pentagrams. However as is not uncommon in these cases the local Pagan community and Satanic activist groups risk being associated with this criminal activity.
New Forest, Hampshire Image credit: Robert Linsdell, St. Andrews, Canada Wikicommons
Simon Wood, from the New Forest clan Pagans of Ytene and a former member of the PPA before retiring from policing in 2016, said: There are lots of clans in the New Forest but discrimination against Pagans is still widespread.
The pagan community of the New Forest have expressed dismay and revulsion regarding the recent attacks, and have called upon the assistance of the Police Pagan Federation, part of whose remit is to work with local law forces and endeavor to provide accurate information about Pagan practices.
Comments by the general public beneath an article on the animal attacks in the Bournemouth Echo showed some awareness of the difference between Witchcraft, Wicca and Satanism, with, in addition, an emerging consensus that the animal attacks and vandalism are more likely to have been carried out by someone who has no particular spiritual affiliation and who is simply criminally minded or unwell.
The Hampshire police have asked for anyone who might have information to contact them directly.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has also requested that anyone who has information should come forward. Sergeant Andy Williams, of Hampshire Constabularys Country Watch team, says, If you have any information that could help our enquiries, then please call 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190416137.
Posted: November 11, 2019 at 3:45 am
Spinal Tap reunited this week, after a good number of years apart. Unfortunately, it was to settle a collective lawsuit against Universal Music. Apart from saying Gimme Some Money to a corporate nemesis, it looks unlikely the three principals will be sharing a stage again any time soon and so the duty of providing Tap musical-comedy to the faithful audience that would ask How could I leave this behind? has fallen to Derek Smalls, who, with handlebar mustache intact and natural hair color less so, headlined L.A.s Wiltern Wednesday night with a mix of his new solo material and a handful of classic faux-classics.
If Mssrs. Tufnel and St. Hubbins are apparently no longer interested in gummin the gash, as it were, Smalls was there to fill the population gap at the Wiltern with a multitude of guest stars, live or on video, and a lavish, beautifully arranged and conducted 48-piece orchestra, overdressed in every conceivable sense for the occasion. At the Wiltern (which Smalls described as being a fine hall despite having been named after a fictitious bird), many fine lines were traversed and obliterated not least of all the one that separates low comedy from even lower comedy but the Tap faithful could finally feel clever, not stupid, for having assembled to celebrate the John Entwistle of the band.
How low can you goapplies in all sorts of ways the bawdiness, the bass fetishism, the gruff character voice. Well, not an affectation, in Entwistles historic case, and there were probably reasons why he was never a touring monster apart from the Who, including that no one probably thought that it would be a good idea to shout out requests for him to sing Baba O Reilly as well as Boris the Spider. Harry Shearer, the Mr. Burns behind these sideburns, solved that vocal problem by not applying his guttural vocal tones to Sex Farm Woman, et al., but assigning guests to sing the numbers originally sung by Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. Billy Idol got two, Heavy Duty and Hellhole (or two and a half, as he also contributed to the climactic Big Bottom), while house band members Keith England and Judith Owen led the way the other three Tap numbers. That still left plenty for Smalls/Shearer to do, vocally, on the 11 new songs, and in lengthy monologues that offered big glimpses into a small mindset.
CREDIT: Rob Shanahan
Idol was not the only idol to take part in the proceedings. Guitarist Waddy Wachtel (well, hes a matinee idol to us) joined in on several numbers, Steve Lukather ripped the audience some new ones with his own shredding, Dweezil Zappa showed up to reprise his speed-metal solo contribution to the recent albums MRI, and Paul Shaffer put in an appearance, not as Artie Fufkin, for better or worse, but as his pianist self. Other celebrities from the 2018 album Smalls Change made taped appearances on the big video screen, billed as live via satellite, including Steve Vai, Donald Fagen (looking seriously spooky in a hoodie as he sang the erectile hook Willie dont lose that lumber), Jane Lynch (as a shrewish ex-wife or girlfriend in She Puts the Bitch in Obituary) and Rick Wakeman (live from his old castle in Newcastle). Modern click tracks are a marvelous thing, as Wakemans recorded keyboard soloing during When Men Did Rock blended seamlessly with the real-live soloing of house guitarist Marc Bonilla.
Having so many taped contributions might have been annoying in a real concert (and frequently is, given how many legit gigs actually have recorded celebrity duet parts on a big screen nowadays) but its less so at what is essentially a sketch comedy show first and musical event secondarily albeit, when youve got contributors like Lukather and a full orchestra on hand, a very close second). The use of video made for punchlines as well as piped-in Vai. For Stonehenge, a supposed satellite feed from the titular side turned out to be several minutes of dim footage of a fog bank in the middle of the night an okay gag. Better was the use of the satellite for the new song Gummin the Gash. Its become a bit of a clich now for rockers of a certain age to perform with symphony orchestras, Smalls said, so were going to turn it up one. Tonight this will be a two-orchestra synchronized performance, because up in the middle of the night in Budapest, Hungary, where I believe they do have lights on, unlike Stonehenge, please welcome the Hungarian Studio Orchestra. But Gummin is by far the crudest song on the recent Smalls album a combination of geriatric and sexual references we probably cant reasonably describe in a family publication and so the joke, a good one, was that the female members of the Budapest orchestra all get up and walk out en masse once they start hearing the lyrics of the song.
With apologies to Shearer, the best number of the night was the one he was entirely off-stage for. Since hes married to the woman who was in the spotlight for the song, he might not mind the slight so much. This particular version of Spinal Taps Sex Farm Woman was performed, in a bravura turn, by gifted mimic Judith Owen as Dame Notting Leica an unmistakable ringer for Dame Shirley Bassey at her brassiest, with the 48-piece Hollywood Chamber Orchestra playing what was unmistakably a perfectly arranged pastiche of John Barrys James Bond themes. That Sex Farm Woman is not an obvious candidate to be turned into an homage to Goldfinger or Diamonds Are Forever, but was so perfectly, made you wonder whether maybe any song could be successfully turned into a Bond theme, if the arranging is being done by CJ Vanston (Shearers music director and the nights likely MVP).
Owen also excelled earlier in the role of Arriana Uniboobulos, a hefty-chested soprano on loan from the Pasadena Opera, reviving the aria part on the latest records title track a ballad that has Smalls explaining why his bandmates abandonment left him alone in carrying their black banner.
Speaking of opera, surtitles were projected onto the overhead screen along with visuals for a majority of the numbers, lest audience members unfamiliar with the Smalls Change albums lyrics strain too much to translate Smalls more guttural singing into English. That was a relief, for catching all the gags in a night where theres one laden literally into every couplet, even if it did sometimes have the effect of letting your eye catch the rhyming punchline a moment before the ear did. If your suspicion is that the Spinal Tap aesthetic is a one-joke one that mustve worn out its welcome by now, Shearer established that there may be an unlimited number of comedic subgenres that can still be squeezed out of the main vain/clueless/deteriorating rocker one. Probably not a lot of mock-rock songs to date have combined the themes of boomer vanity and Satanism as adeptly as Shearer does in Hell Toupee probably the recent records line-for-line funniest song, augmented in concert by a constant display of graphic images of the devil in moptops and rugs.
On a purely musical level, Hell Toupee is not much to speak of; its a song where Shearer may have been so proud of his couplets, he sacrificed the tune for them in the process. But with that said, there were plenty of other moments that did carry a significant charge just as rockers, like the contradictorily head-banging MRI, or the prog-gier When Men Did Rock. These songs provide a good excuse for those of us who have a secret, ancient love for hard rock shredding but wouldnt normally go near it with a 10-foot pole in 2019 to re-engage, with meta levels of irony or lack of irony were probably better off not worrying about as Shearer lets Vai, Lukather, Wachtel and Bonilla do their thing. And then there was the honest majesty of the orchestra, truly a case of throwing pearls before swine.
Or maybe pearls before inflated phalluses is more like it, as the set-closing Big Bottom had a large-scale version of that songs flesh torpedo drifting down from the balcony to the stage for the finale, a la Roger Waters pig on the wing. At this point, the show truly bottomed out in every way, and here, theres really no possible way to position that as an insult.
When Spinal Tap first parodied this stuff in the early 80s, they were satirizing what nearly counted as a dominant strain of the punk-avoidant rock n roll culture; now that brand of rock is remembered more via the spoof, probably, than the original thing. But with even more rarefied forms of rock on the wane in the 2010s, we may someday be at the point where future generations approach This is Spinal Tap not so much as satire as a complete science-fiction. At the Wiltern, anyway, with Shearer offering what seemed suspiciously like an affectionate farewell to the entire genre in When Men Did Rock, the audience could laugh at and embrace its waning power before the whole charade comes to be viewed by bewildered post-millennials as 11: A Space Odyssey.
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Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:16 pm
The KwaZulu-Natal Grantleigh Curro pupil who produced the artwork that a pastor considered to be "demonic" has explained that his pieces are "the furthest thing from so-called satanism".
In a statement, the young artist, who has not been named, disagreed with the way Pastor Andrew Anderson depicted the work in a choked-up recording in which he feels that "Jesus is being crucified again".
"It has come to my attention that a non-consensual recording of my matric art exhibition has been leaked and gone viral on social media," the pupil said.
"It is because of the magnitude of the resultant controversy that I, the artist, am releasing this statement.
"The artworks in this exhibition explore the commercialisation of contemporary organised religion as well as the monetary exploitation of the faithful by greedy individuals who hide behind the disguise of a church or similar pious institution.
"They discuss [through the appropriation of religious imagery] how contemporary religion has become superficial.
"Instead of connecting with one's faith on a deep, seemingly meaningful level and actually having the guts to ask metaphysical questions, many simply consume their religion in the same fashion as they would any other product [hence the use of Ronald McDonald as a symbol for the infection of faith with consumer culture], and it is because of this that they become vulnerable to manipulation at the hands of those who use their office as a religious leader to further their own lives instead of bringing about positive change in the world."
Symbol of abuse and misuse
The appearance of Ronald McDonald, the McDonald's clown, does not act as a "defamation of anyone's personal messiah", but as a symbol of the abuse and misuse.
"I do not care what people believe, I simply want to highlight potential risks in how they believe it. For in a society dominated by an idea-driven culture, the contents of your mind are perhaps the most important and exploitable."
The artist asked whether, in a country stricken with poverty and glaring inequalities "who can take those religious leaders who rake in millions of rand of income on a regular basis seriously?"
The statement continues: "Who can honestly say that it is right for certain religious leaders to have gotten away with robbing those who trust them most and not repaying society? Televangelism, church-sponsored merchandise and even charging a fee for attendance are all minor examples of the ways in which one contributes to the modern day business of religion."
The drawings take the compositions of classical, religious paintings and insert symbols of capitalism in them to communicate this sentiment.
The Creation of Adam, Alba Madonna, The Last Supper, The Dead Christ Mourned (The Three Maries) and The Last Judgement were cited as compositions appropriated.
Designed to provoke thought
"However unsettling the imagery may seem, it is designed to provoke thought - to make the viewer question whether they are subject to merciless exploitation or are truly cognisant of what and how they believe.
" Questions of rationality and irrationality, good and evil as well as an introspective reflection on my own metaphysical beliefs are all discussions pursued in my art and are sadly things forgotten and ignored by those too scared by the honesty and power of artistic expression to see my work for what it is - a dissection of contemporary faith."
The artist said that his art was a far cry from the "satanic panic" as some people claimed it to be.
"It does not come from a place of malice nor does it necessarily reflect the views of my school.
"Christianity, Scientology, Islam or any one of the multiple thousands of other religions that exist - I really could not care what any one person believes [nor should anyone] but what I do care about is fairness and the sanctity of the human mind.
"Therefore, it is for that reason that I denounce the completely unfounded claims made against my art on social media and advise that before anyone speaks, that they perhaps think.
"I cannot damage that which has already been shattered."
On Tuesday, Anderson called for a protest at the school over the work and said he could feel a demonic presence around the exhibition.
'My God is no clown'
"My God is no clown," said an upset Anderson in a video that was circulated widely.
He was particularly upset by the pupils' interpretation of the religious paintings and art, such as Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, in which Jesus was portrayed as a clown and dollar signs were on a lintel behind him, and strips of the Bible's book of Chronicles worked on to a sculpture.
On Wednesday, the Ballito Apostolic Faith Mission pastor said the exhibition had been taken down, following a meeting with the school, which pleased him. The school would not confirm or deny this.
Anderson said there were two things he was aiming for: That the school admitted it pushed the boundary and crossed its ethos of "to God be the Glory"; and that it made a statement that this would never happen again.
In a statement on Wednesday, the school apologised for offending anybody.
"Curro extends an unreserved apology to all those community members who have been affected and offended by the artwork in question.
"It said that following an internal investigation, Curro determined that the duty of care and guidance offered to the learner did not always adequately address the underlying issues and potential implications of producing a visual art piece, the content of which was controversial and likely to stir emotive responses.
"It is also important that art is subjective and open to interpretation; art encourages people to voice an opinion, either for or against the work in question," it stated.
The school "reaffirmed" its commitment to the constitutional right of every individual with respect to their religious belief, race or ethnicity, gender orientation.
It would actively include this as part of their ongoing good practice as an institution of learning and to rigorously avoid any action that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
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Posted: at 3:16 pm
Horror movies have changed dramatically over the decades to keep up with ever-evolving audiences. Some of the old classics, while still artful and entertaining, no longer have the power to shock. Others, however, have stood the test of time.
What makes a movie scary? Some would say its the jump-scare the boo! moment that jolts you out of your seat. Others might point to a particularly ghastly monster or a preponderance of gore. And whos to say whats more terrifying a ghost, a creature or a plain old murderer? Much of what jangles your nerves depends on the fears you bring into the theater.
The best horror movies find a sweet spot: A primal, universal terror made vivid by skillful filmmaking. That formula will surely never age. Here, just in time for Halloween, are 20 of the scariest movies of all time:
20. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2009)
This no-budget indie about a possessed McMansion helped kick off the current horror craze. Slamming doors and flickering lights and not much else make this a yelp-out-loud treat.
19. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
The movie that gave us the blade-fingered Freddy Krueger (and the film debut of Johnny Depp) looks a little dated now, but director Wes Cravens blend of dreams and reality still has the power to unsettle.
18. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)
The zombie genre starts with George Romeros ghoulish, gory classic. AMCs The Walking Dead may have more splatter, but this one really stares into the existential abyss.
17. ROSEMARYS BABY (1968)
Roman Polanskis film about a pregnant woman (Mia Farrow) who gets snookered into Satanism is a slow-building chiller, but the climactic payoff is one of the best youll ever see.
Jordan Peeles story of a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his white girlfriends parents is essentially a race-based version of The Stepford Wives. It works best as satirical commentary but has enough wig-out moments to earn a place on this list.
Five college kids find an audiotape that releases demons in this sophomore feature from Sam Raimi. Its freaky great fun thanks to clever camerawork, a sly sense of humor and a star turn from Bruce Campbell.
This knockoff of The Exorcist met with mixed reviews but is now considered an iconic horror film in its own right. Harvey Stevens is unforgettable as Damien, a literal demon child, while several top-shelf actors (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick) play the unfortunate adults around him.
13. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
Three filmmakers enter a Maryland forest to investigate a local myth. Assembled from their found footage, The Blair Witch Project uses virtually nothing but weird noises and shaky camerawork by the actors themselves to create an atmosphere of deep-reaching terror.
12. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)
Hoopers low-budget shocker about cannibals preying on hippies was the perfect mid-70s horror film, a grisly stew of Manson mythology and redneckphobia. Not for the faint of heart.
One of two Tobe Hooper films on this list, Poltergeist has been almost as widely imitated as Psycho or Halloween. (Theres some controversy about whether producer Steven Spielberg really directed it.) This is the movie that made an entire generation afraid to watch television.
Steven Spielbergs masterpiece about an outsize shark may not pack the scares-per-minute of other films on this list. Its part horror movie, part adventure epic. But for white-knuckle suspense plus several nasty surprises Jaws is tough to beat.
John Carpenters remake of the 1951 classic about a creature discovered in Antarctica is a screamingly great horror flick, full of gore, goo and flamethrowers. The ace cast includes Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley and Keith David.
This sneak attack of a movie begins straightforwardly enough with a Japanese widower looking for a younger lover. The harrowing second half no spoilers must be seen to believed. Directed by Takashi Miike.
Ari Asters story of an artist (Toni Collette) ensnared by a cult may be too intense for some. Critics raved, but freaked-out audiences gave it a rare D+ CinemaScore. Youve been warned.
6. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
Jonathan Demmes modern classic is still the only horror film to win the Oscar for best picture. Anthony Hopkins sinister and highly quotable Hannibal Lecter is the cinematic serial killer by which all others are now judged.
Alfred Hitchcocks most famous film may not jolt audiences the way it once did. But its still a terrific shocker, from Anthony Perkins unnerving performance as the ultimate mamas boy to the lightbulb-swinging climax.
John Carpenter terrorized middle America with this simple but effective tale about a serial killer stalking suburban teenagers. Even today, Halloween feels like your worst nightmare: a home invasion perpetrated by a semi-supernatural being. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her big-screen debut as terrorized babysitter Laurie Strode.
Director Ridley Scott admitted that Alien was basically Jaws in space. Nevertheless, thanks to a groundbreakingly hideous space creature (designed by illustrator H.R. Geiger) and a tough-as-nails Sigourney Weaver as the last survivor on a doomed craft, Scotts movie remains the first word in modern sci-fi horror.
Audiences reportedly fainted and vomited during screenings of William Friedkins film about a little girl possessed by a demon (Linda Blair, in a head-spinning, Oscar-nominated turn). Hype aside, this is still an absolute hair-raiser, especially the later editions that restored the eye-popping spider-walk scene.
When it comes to imitators, Stanley Kubricks The Shining, based on Stephen Kings 1977 novel, stands alone. Nobody has ever re-created a hotel quite like the Overlook, nor has anyone equaled Jack Nicholsons unhinged performance as a father gone mad. Its a monolith of terror, undiminished even after nearly 40 years.
Posted: October 23, 2019 at 9:43 am
Navigating pop culture with a pointed hat and a sharp cackle, the witch is an elusive figure of power and mystery. Portrayed as notorious child haters (see Roald Dahls The Witches) and for their love of evil (look no further than the Wayward Sisters in Shakespeares Macbeth), as much as for their knowledge and ability to create and heal (cue Harry Potter), witches have always reflected the zeitgeist. Whether that be societys feelings towards womenoften ill feeling, especially towards those with poweror the collectives relationship to ritual and magick. The modern witch, however, has emboldened herself with a fierce feminism that defies definition; she does not exist in the black or white spaces, but in the grey. Todays witch isnt good or bad, she just is.
Witchcraft exists in the liminal. Like the archetype of the witch, it is always shapeshifting, neither here nor there, never quite fitting in a box. Its best defined as an age-old spiritual path rooted in the cycles of the earth and the seasons, in the cycles of the cosmos and in the cycles of the self. Its entrenched in personal empowerment and impacted by the culture that each witch is surrounded by. The beauty of magick is that its most effective and potent when its deeply personal.
My journey with the craft indirectly began with my parents. My father, a reform rabbi, and my mother, from the Jewish community in Mexico City, both encouraged my obsession with the spiritual from a young age. My father has always fostered my curiosity of the unknown and religion, while my mother shared practices like yoga, crystal healing, mindfulness and meditation with me since I was a toddler. But, when I discovered witchcraft at the age of 11, they thought it was a phase; the stigma around what witchcraft meant was still heavy, many considered it evil, especially in the Bible Belt where I grew up. Thirteen years later and a lot has changed. Witchcraft and magick have once again entered the zeitgeist, with more and more people discovering the positives of the practice, based around ideas of connection, communion with nature and love.
My personal practice means being devoted to the Divine Feminine; working with sex magick by using orgasms to raise energy for a desired intention; working with the cycles of the moon and seasons; and using a daily meditation practice alongside tarot, breath-work, therapy, energy healing and ritual to find empowerment in the everyday. It also means seeing myselfand my power to healas part of the collective consciousness.
The nuances of witchcraft are different for every witch. So, for an insight into the craft the world over, three women from Mexico, Japan and Arizona share why its one of the most inclusive practices of our times.
Bere Parra is a freelance communication consultant helping clients with copywriting, social media and community management. Parras magick contains multitudes: her witchcraft is rooted in devotion to the self, in Satanism and in honouring the divine rebel. My personal brand of magick and witchcraft incorporates principles from LaVeyan Satanism, Luciferianism and some Wiccan traditions. I also often work with the powers of the moon and with the aid of [goddess] Lilith, depending on the matter at hand, explains Parra.
Parras magick stems from a matriarchal lineage of healers. Her great grandmother was a witch, a curandera (a traditional folk healer) from Oaxaca in southern Mexico, who people in the community would turn to when they needed healing in matters of the body and spirit. This passed down to Parra and her mother, who incorporate their own magical rituals and practices into their day-to-day lives. And while Mexico is steeped in Catholicism, magick is often a heavy part of the culture as well. Mexicans are open, unique and contradictory, Parra adds. We dont like to follow the rules too closely. Even if theyre Catholic, many follow astrology, or consult the tarot, or visit brujas [those who specialise in witchcraft] for limpias [cleansings].
Being a Satanist in Mexico, however, is still taboo, since many people around the world have misconceptions about what the practice entails. Satanism is about individuality, at its very core. Its about subversion and rebellion, about being bold and daring enough to be original and to walk to the beat of your own drum. We do not worship the devilits a lot more rich and complex than that, Parra explains. LaVeyan Satanists dont worship any deity, as they are atheists. Theistic Satanists, like myself, will engage in different rituals or practices that do involve worshipping, but not all of us adhere to a specific canon.
Madoka is a virtual and augmented-reality researcher, whose spiritual and personal artistic practice combine as she explores witchcraft, divination and shamanism. Based between Tokyo and Los Angeles, her work dissects the differences between the two cultures and the fusion of feminism and witchcraft in the US. Madokas experience with witchcraft began after a friend showed her Aleister Crowleys Thoth tarot cards. As an animator and artist, she became instantly hooked by the hallucinatory beauty and archetypes of the cards; a year later and she wears the title of witch with pride. Im very interested in the culture of the US west coast, and studied witchcraft with [California-based] feminist activist Starhawk in San Francisco in 2018, says Madoka. I practice a lot of ritual and spells, vision quests, invocations and I meditate every day. She also works with many kinds of eastern and western divination, including the I Ching (ancient Chinese text), tarot, feng shui and Four Pillars of Destiny (Chinese fortune telling).
While witchcraft is a predominant part of the culture of the US, and steeped into the energy of Mexico, it takes on a different tone in Japan where the majority of the population is polytheist. Witch culture in LA is very big compared to Japan, but the biggest difference is that witches are not counter-culture in Japan, since Christianity is not the majority [there]. Paganism and Buddhists are the majority, which is probably why its hard to find those who identify as a witch, Madoka explains. Japanese people believe that there are eight million deities in the world. Stone, wood, soil, seas, rivers everything is a deity. Its normal thinking for us.
Taylor Cordova spends her days immersed in magick. The artist and art historian moonlights as an art teacher for an elementary school, and runs an online shop called The Flowerchild Bruja. This is where she sells crystals and handmade herbal smoke sticks made with sacred plants such as rose, lavender and mugwort, used to energetically cleanse a space. My personal practice involves a lot of communion with the spirit of Gaia [the Mother Earth goddess]. Altar work and cultivation of sacred space is one way I love to connect with spirit and practice my devotion, Cordova explains. She also engages in other rituals rooted in the mysticism of the divine feminine. Sex magick and working with my menstrual blood are some of the more taboo practices I engage in, but honestly it all depends on what feels right at the time. Spirit communicates what kind of work is most beneficial in that moment, she adds.
Growing up in the desert has been an integral part of Cordovas journey with her craft. The mountains, specifically the South Mountain Park and Preserve, have initiated her deeper into this ancient wisdom. As an Afro-Latina witch, Cordovas culture intermingles with the wisdom of the desert in myriad ways. My culture dictates every step I take. Its in the way I use my hands, its in the way I cast spells with my hips, its in my voice and in the way I pray. Each of my cultures are present in the way I offer my devotion. The Sonoran Desert, the south Phoenix community I was born and raised in, and my African ancestry are super-relevant factors in my practice, but they happen to be very nuanced and so beautifully blended together, that its hard to dictate all the ways in which my practice is shaped by my culture.
Halloweenor Samhain for those who observe the Pagan Wheel of the Yearis the New Year for witches, and the perfect time to start exploring magick. However, one can walk this path whenever they feel ready, no matter where they are. Its always the season of the witch, and everyone is welcome.
Gabriela Herstik is a Los Angeles-based writer, witch and author of two books Craft: How to be a Modern Witch (2018) and the forthcoming Bewitching the Elements: Finding Empowerment through Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit (2020)
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Judas Priests Rob Halford: The metal community has always been inclusive, yet weve been kicked around like a football over the years – NME.com
Posted: at 9:43 am
Rob Halford loves Christmas almost as much as he loves metal. To mark the release of his second festive solo collection, 'Celestial', he talks to James McMahon about home improvements, National Coming Out Day and why he "fucking loves" Christmas trees
Its 2pm in Phoenix, Arizona, when we call Rob Halford, longterm singer of heavy metal greats Judas Priest.
Halford joined the West Bromwich band in 1973, fronted the group as they tore through an unparalleled run of classic albums throughout the 80s (the best known of which, sixth record, British Steel, turns 40 next year), before leaving the group in 1992 and reinventing himself as an industrial metal solo artist. He reunited with Priest 11 years later, and has remained there ever since. Rob Halford is a man his fans call The Metal God with no irony whatsoever its a justified moniker.
Ive got to head down to London this Christmas, says the 68-year-old, when we inform him where NME is calling from. Ive got to go to the American Embassy to renew my visa. He laughs. I hate getting my visa renewed. Last time I was at the Embassy I was waiting for three hours. Everyone came and went until I was the only person left in the room. Im sat there for ages holding my ticket like Im in bloody Argos or something, and then I realise that nobody else is there. This woman comes over and says, What are you doing here? Were closed now. Theyd totally forgotten I was there. It got sorted out, but what a carry on
Was there not a part of you that thought, This is no way to treat The Metal God? we ask. He laughs again.
I didnt feel much like The Metal God waiting in that room
Earlier this month, Halford released an album called Celestial, his second Christmas-themed record (the first being 2009s Winter Songs), which features heavy metal arrangements of the likes of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Deck The Halls, as well as four new original songs (of which the song Donner And Blitzen is an absolute jam). Its a true family affair. Halfords brother Nigel plays drums, nephew Alex (son of Judas Priests Ian Hill) the bass, while his sister Sue plays the sleigh bells. Guitars come courtesy of Robert Jones and Jon Blakely. And why? Because Rob Halford is The Metal God, thats why. But also because as well learn the iconic singer thinks Christmas in the modern age can teach the world a host of valuable lessons.
But first, some heavy metal home improvement
Hello Rob. What are you up to today?
Im at the house in Phoenix. Im trying to get some work done on the house, but Ive just learned about the existence of the hillside committee. I dont know who these people are, but there I was working, and some people came round and said, You need to stop. I asked why, and they said, what youre doing hasnt been approved by the hillside committee. I mean, who the fucking hell are the hillside committee?
They sound like some kind of residents collective?
I think so. I live in an area of Phoenix called Paradise Valley and theyre a bit funny around here. Its certainly not the kind of place where youll pop around to your neighbours to borrow a cup of sugar. Im drowning in bureaucracy! I own the house. I own the land. And still I cant do what I want to do. Ive lived here since 1984. Its not like Im trying to build a great big fucking pink palace. Im just trying to plan for floods because we get these great big monsoons. Im not sure Im The Metal God would wash around here. Everyone here is a bit, dont you know who I am? What can I say? Im from the Midlands. We dont think like that and we certainly dont say it.
I hope you resolve your differences with the hillside committee. Right, lets talk about Christmas
Oh, I love Christmas. I look forward to that time of year all year. The older I get, the more it means to me. I think theres probably a bit of mortality creeping in there, but I just think its a fantastic time to reflect about what really matters to you. I love Christmas trees. I fucking love them! Ive got far too many. I just like dressing them up and theres a great heavy metal soundtrack to do it to. Theres my friend Ronnie [James Dio and his 2008 cover of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen], Lemmy [and his cover of Chuck Berrys Run Run Rudolph] This Christmas Ill be spoiling my grandniece to death. Shes only one, but Ill be getting her a bazillion Christmas gifts.
Have you started on your Christmas shopping yet?
Im a procrastinator. I always leave these things until the last minute. Basically, although I gave up drinking and drugs a long time ago now, Im always on the hunt for new addictions. Mine is currently Amazon Prime. Ill be on my phone at two in the morning when I cant sleep just buying shit I dont need. Ill be like, Oooh, I need a new pair of scissors! Stuff turns up a few days later and Ive always forgotten what Ive bought. Im always confused about why there are so many boxes
I read about how religion became a part of your life after you got clean and sober in 1986. How important is the religious aspect of Christmas to you?
Im just into the basics really. Try to be a good person, treat others as youd like to be treated that stuff was instilled in me as a kid. Im not much for labels, but I think theres a big difference between religion and spirituality. I think this time of year is especially important because of whats happening in the world right now. I think music, more than anything really, is a respite its one of the reasons why I got my friends and family together to make Celestial. The shit thats going down in America right now is ridiculous, not that its much better at home with Brexit. The world is so complicated right now.
If you dont mind me asking, whats it like being a famous gay man living in America as the country seemingly lunges further and further towards the conservative right?
Im so pleased youve asked me that question, because today [October 11th] is National Coming Out Day here in the States. I mean, I didnt know that until I logged into my Instagram this morning and everyone was telling me that. There was a thing on my Instagram feed from the MTV Studios in 1998 where I said for the first time that I was a gay guy. Obviously I nicked it and re-edited it a bit and put it on my own feed It was wonderful watching the comments coming in. Anyone with social media has to be prepared for negative comments, but some of the stuff people were saying was so beautiful. There was real love and understanding there
But dont get me started on the Christian right pushing the LGBTQ community under the bus. Theyre passing laws here where if youre gay you can lose your job, based on whether the people who run a company follow a religion that doesnt accept people like us. Its horrible. America is supposed to be the worlds leading superpower and some of this stuff is medieval. Its not a country where you feel especially safe, and I do think I feel less safe now. You are aware that by walking down the supermarket you might get shot. But I try not to let that stuff intrude on my life. The politicians, the media, they want you to be scared and I refuse to be.
Isnt it ironic that for all the shit heavy metal has got over the years accusations of Satanism and the corruption of youth and so on that heres one of the most famous names in heavy metal talking about peace and love while the world burns all around him?
Oh, totally! The metal community has always been inclusive and yet weve been kicked around like a football over the years. It just makes us stronger though. I genuinely believe that metal is the strongest component of rock n roll. Its still growing only today I was listening to a new band I really like from my old stomping ground in the Midlands; theyre called Wolf Jaw and theyre great. Metal will always be there. Well always be loud! Well always be proud!
You announced last year that youre writing an autobiography. How is that coming on?
Its going great. Im having a good time with it and Im working with some good people who are helping draw the stories out of me. Thats the thing with being clean and sober and being open about your sexuality. Its all laid out. Theres nothing to be afraid of
Damn straight. To wrap things up, how is your old mate Ozzy doing? He hasnt been well and the tour that Judas Priest are doing with him keeps getting put back
I only know what the world knows. Sharon [Osbourne] rang our office recently and told us how hard everyone was working to support him and help him get better. But were totally committed to doing these shows when he is. I think that tour is going to be really important when it happens. Ozzy is a UK national treasure and between the two of us we were at the beginning of this thing we love called heavy metal. He just needs to get well. Can you tell everyone reading this piece that they need to send Ozzy their love?
Celestial by Rob Halford With Family & Friends is out now
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Posted: October 20, 2019 at 9:53 pm
Horror movies have changed dramatically over the decades to keep up with ever-evolving audiences. Some of the old classics, while still artful and entertaining, no longer have the power to shock. Others, however, have stood the test of time.
What makes a movie scary? Some would say its the jump-scare the boo! moment that jolts you out of your seat. Others might point to a particularly ghastly monster or a preponderance of gore.
The best horror movies find a sweet spot: A primal, universal terror made vivid by skillful filmmaking. That formula will surely never age. Here, just in time for Halloween, are 20 of the scariest movies of all time:
20. Paranormal Activity (2009): This no-budget indie about a possessed McMansion helped kick off the current horror craze. Slamming doors and flickering lights and not much else make this a yelp-out-loud treat.
19. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): The movie that gave us the blade-fingered Freddy Krueger (and the film debut of Johnny Depp) looks a little dated now, but director Wes Cravens blend of dreams and reality still has the power to unsettle.
18. Night of the Living Dead (1968): The zombie genre starts with George Romeros ghoulish, gory classic. AMCs The Walking Dead may have more splatter, but this one really stares into the existential abyss.
17. Rosemarys Baby (1968): Roman Polanskis film about a pregnant woman (Mia Farrow) who gets snookered into Satanism is a slow-building chiller, but the climactic payoff is one of the best you will ever see.
16. Get Out (2017): Jordan Peeles story of a young black man (Daniel Kaluuya) meeting his white girlfriends parents is essentially a race-based version of The Stepford Wives. It works best as satirical commentary, but it has enough wig-out moments to earn a place on this list.
15. The Evil Dead (1981): Five college kids find an audiotape that releases demons in this sophomore feature from Sam Raimi. Its freaky great fun thanks to clever camerawork, a sly sense of humor and a star turn from Bruce Campbell.
14. The Omen (1976): This knockoff of The Exorcist met with mixed reviews but is now considered an iconic horror film in its own right. Harvey Stevens is unforgettable as Damien, a literal demon child, while several top-shelf actors (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick) play the unfortunate adults around him.
13. The Blair Witch Project (1999): Three filmmakers enter a Maryland forest to investigate a local myth. Assembled from their found footage, The Blair Witch Project uses virtually nothing but weird noises and shaky camerawork by the actors themselves to create an atmosphere of deep-reaching terror.
12. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): Tobe Hoopers low-budget shocker about cannibals preying on hippies was the perfect mid-70s horror film, a grisly stew of Manson mythology and redneckphobia. Not for the faint of heart.
11. Poltergeist (1982): One of the two Hooper films on this list, Poltergeist has been almost as widely imitated as Psycho or Halloween. This is the movie that made an entire generation afraid to watch television.
10. Jaws (1975): Steven Spielbergs masterpiece about an outsize shark may not pack the scares-per-minute of other films on this list. Its part horror movie, part adventure epic. But for white-knuckle suspense plus several nasty surprises Jaws is tough to beat.
9. The Thing (1982): John Carpenters remake of the 1951 classic about a creature discovered in Antarctica is a screamingly great horror flick, full of gore, goo and flamethrowers. The ace cast includes Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley and Keith David.
8. Audition (1999): This sneak attack of a movie begins straightforwardly enough with a Japanese widower looking for a younger lover. The harrowing second half no spoilers must be seen to be believed. Directed by Takashi Miike.
7. Hereditary (2018): Ari Asters story of an artist (Toni Collette) ensnared by a cult may be too intense for some. Critics raved, but freaked-out audiences gave it a rare D+ CinemaScore. Youve been warned.
6. The Silence of the Lambs (1991): Jonathan Demmes modern classic is still the only horror film to win the Oscar for best picture. Anthony Hopkins sinister and highly quotable Hannibal Lecter is the cinematic serial killer by which all others are now judged.
5. Psycho (1960): Alfred Hitchcocks most famous film may not jolt audiences the way it once did. But its still a terrific shocker, from Anthony Perkins unnerving performance as the ultimate mamas boy to the lightbulb-swinging climax.
4. Halloween (1978): John Carpenter terrorized middle America with this simple but effective tale about a serial killer stalking suburban teenagers. Even today, Halloween feels like your worst nightmare: a home invasion perpetrated by a semi-supernatural being. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her big-screen debut as terrorized babysitter Laurie Strode.
3. Alien (1979): Director Ridley Scott admitted that Alien was basically Jaws in space. Nevertheless, thanks to a groundbreakingly hideous space creature and a tough-as-nails Sigourney Weaver as the last survivor on a doomed craft, Scotts movie remains the first word in modern sci-fi horror.
2. The Exorcist (1973): Audiences reportedly fainted and vomited during screenings of William Friedkins film about a little girl possessed by a demon (Linda Blair, in a head-spinning, Oscar-nominated turn). This is still an absolute hair-raiser, especially the later editions that restored the eye-popping spider-walk scene.
1. The Shining (1980): Stanley Kubricks The Shining, based on Stephen Kings 1977 novel, stands alone. Nobody has ever re-created a hotel quite like the Overlook, nor has anyone equaled Jack Nicholsons unhinged performance as a father gone mad. Its a monolith of terror, undiminished even after nearly 40 years. Tune in at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on AMC to relive the horror.
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