Thursday, February 13, 2014

101. More video lies } from the Unfinished House.

The following is an excerpt from the column Video Lies, a regular feature in the 1990s ‘zine Kraken Farmer, edited by Lucy Kurtz, available at Tower Records and Flyrabbit.

Witchboard II: The Devil’s Doorway. Dir. Kevin Tenney. Perf. Ami Dolenz, Christopher Michael Moore, Laraine Newman. Republic Pictures, 1993. Videocassette.


Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Witch who?
Why are you so interested?

Paige Benedict finds a loft in an old factory. “It’s beautiful,” she says. Jonas, the building manager leers and says, “Yes it is.” Paige asks, “Is this the only closet?” Jonas says, “I’m afraid so.” Inside the closet Susan Sidney is light as a feather, stiff as a board. “I’ll take it,” says Paige.

Paige, so blasé. She thinks, no more!, “I wanted to go to art school, and become a painter, but my father wanted me to study business. He said a career in art was too risky. So we compromised. I went to college and studied business,” no more!, “Then I met Mitch and fell into the same doormat relationship I had with my father.”

The board reads itself to Paige and she repeats what she read and thus invokes Susan’s ghost.

Meanwhile, Jonas stokes the furnace. The smell of cut lumber. Susan Sidney’s magic sets a nickel saw blade to flight—it spins through light bulbs and alights upon Jonas’ cheek. When the furnace speaks for Susan, Jonas burns.

The photographer, Russell, doesn’t “come on” to her. Though he wants her sexually, he needs Paige to initiate intercourse. She never will, but she will feed on his desire for her and on the kindness he offers as bait. He takes her picture, says, “Now be sexy.” She says, “This is as sexy as I get.” Russell doesn’t believe her. He circles her. He suggests she “lick her lips.” She does so, but grotesquely. “I said lick them, not swallow them.” She says, “I’m sorry, I just feel silly.” He releases the knot of her hair. He unbuttons the top button of her blouse. She drapes herself across the table.

Possession is the best thing for her. Alas, Paige defeats the witch Susan Sidney, sends her screaming into the city. Russell is dead. She gives up her artistic pretensions—“I’m definitely going to go to art school this time and nothing is going to stop me”—really. She returns to Mitch and finances. A garbage truck comes to clean up “yes.”

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