The Thing I Like About …

Forrest Gump: the way Tom Hanks chose to run like the little kid.

Tom Hanks patterned his movements after the actor who played his character Forrest as a little kid. Because of this, grown-up Forrest runs a little differently than other grown-ups. Why does that matter?

Well … why do grown-ups run differently than little kids?

Little kids could run for … years. They never run out of energy. They do exactly what they want, and their little bodies just pretty much do what they tell them to do. So why, when we grow up and allegedly have so much more autonomy and freedom, do we choose to change the way we do things? We try to do it a certain “way” that someone told us was the “right” way – a way that promises we’ll be going faster, or doing it better, or getting further, or whatnot. Why do we do that, when kids go so fast, and so far, and do what they want (even when it’s a bad idea, like jumping off the garage roof to see if they can fly)? Why do we decide to throw away the very things about childhood that made us value freedom and speed and running?

When grown-up Forrest runs like little-kid Forrest, he wins awards and accolades. When grown-up Forrest runs like little-kid Forrest, he becomes famous for running. He goes everywhere he wants to go. He does everything he wants to do. He experiences things that other grown-ups don’t get to experience. He basically lives the kind of grown-up life we all dream about when we’re little kids. Maybe he’s … I don’t know … on to something?

Maybe we grow up listening to “they” and doing it “right”, and we end up turning our backs on fundamental parts of ourselves. We stop running because we like it, and we start running because we feel chased – by judgment, by time, by death, by “they”.

Maybe we grow up, and we forget the simple truth: run. Run fast. Run far. Run the way that feels natural to your body, and your body will take you anywhere … like magic.

The Third Annual Pinhead Christmas Blog*

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land
All the people were focused on supply and demand.
They filled up their stockings – and even whole rooms –
With baubles and garments and toys and perfumes.

All the grown-ups were sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of avarice danced in their heads.
And all of the children, no matter how small,
Had been told to buy/get/hoard/possess/have it all.

Then behind every wall a bright light did appear,
And the people gaped wide-eyed and trembled with fear.
A great wooden pillar sprang up in the square
And toppled the town’s Christmas tree standing there.

The pillar was covered, its surfaces crammed
With the skin of the wicked, the flesh of the damned.
The moon shining down on this horrible sight
Revealed in the shadows eight dread Cenobites.

Their leader, his face and head studded with pins,
Looked over the town and saw everyone’s sins.
He grabbed all the townsfolk with hooks and with chains,
And scoffed at their evils, and called them by name:

“Gluttony, vanity, lust and sloth!
Plenty of envy! Buckets of wrath!
But chiefly among you the worst that I see
Is the massive, insidious bulk of your greed!

“You buy and collect and obtain, yet ignore
All the loved ones you said you were doing it for!
But all that your Black Friday antics have done
Is bring the wrong Toymaker’s ‘elves’ to your town!”

“We’re sorry!” the townspeople cried. “Yes we are!
We just followed examples from near and from far!
We thought we were good! We just didn’t know!”
“You lie!” Pinhead bellowed. “You reap what you sow!

“You wanted it all, and you wanted it now.
You thought you’d avoid repercussions somehow.
But your children are learning; they see well enough
That fulfilling desires is what you call ‘love’.

“They’re drowning in presents; they’re smothered with clothes.
They think they’re in danger if nobody knows
How much money they have, how much stuff they possess,
How important they are, how much others are less.

“They’re imprisoned by things that are shiny and new,
And you’ve shown them exactly what matters to you.
Thus you’ve paid for the box, and the shipping was free;
Now I’ll know your flesh for all eternity!”

The townspeople panicked and cried out for help.
Pinhead laughed when he saw them, in spite of himself.
A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head,
Soon filled every soul with a cold, gripping dread.

But at the last minute, a child appeared,
And walked up to Pinhead without any fear.
“Thanks for responding so quickly,” she said.
“To the wish that I wished when I climbed into bed:

“That the grown-ups would stop buying love in the store
And maybe just try spending time with us more.
I think they all got it; they all saw the light.
They learned the real spirit of Christmas tonight.”

Pinhead, quite doubtful, said, “It’s up to you;
I only came here since you wanted me to.
If you think they deserve one more chance to do well,
Then I and my pillar will go back to hell.”

“I do,” the girl told him. “But thanks all the same.
It made quite a difference; I’m happy you came.”
So Pinhead retracted the chains and the hooks,
And the Cenobites all jumped back into the box.

And the townspeople, saved by one kind little girl,
Were grateful to be still alive in the world.
But they heard Pinhead warn, as he faded from view:
“Open your hearts … or I’ll do it for you!”


* A parody of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

~Previous Pinhead Christmases:

Hellraiser Inferno         Pinhead Countdown Part One         Pinhead Countdown Part Two   Pinhead Countdown Part Three        Pinhead Countdown Part Four       Pinhead Countdown Part Five      Pinhead Countdown Part Six




A Countdown for the Holidays

The Wisdom of Pinhead: Part Five
“He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!*

Last year for Christmas, I blogged about my favourite part of Hellraiser V: Inferno.  I talked about how Pinhead’s dark, scary message was really a cautionary Christmas tale – avoid superficiality and selfishness and embrace what really matters, or, you know, pay horribly forever.  I realized afterward that Pinhead has always had some very Christmas-y things to say … when seen in the right light.  So this year, I will be presenting a Pinhead-Christmas-personal empowerment-happy-joy-countdown.  At the end of it, I hope readers – Christian and non-Christian alike – are more disposed to find the love and joy the Christmas holiday represents.

And maybe they’ll want to watch the movies too.

“It is not hands that summon us. It is desire.”

Pinhead refers to the young girl who has been asked to solve the puzzle-box by the evil Dr. Channard.  The doctor wants to know what secrets the puzzle-box holds, but he doesn’t want to pay any consequences for opening it.  He has coerced the young girl, Tiffany, to open it for him … but Pinhead knows who the true “client” is – and unfortunately for Dr. Channard, where he is.

He seeks out the doctor and leaves Tiffany alone.

The world can be quite ludicrous, in far too many ways to describe here.  But by following Pinhead’s excellent example, we can be a force of love and logic against the absurd.  His message here certainly seems clear enough:

– Children only know and only do what they have been taught.  They are inherently innocent, even when they are in the wrong, because they’re still figuring things out.  You might say, “Well, how long could it possibly take to figure things out?!”  To you, I say, “Do you have things figured out?  How old are you?”

– Grown-ups are responsible – for ourselves, for the world we’ve created, for the children we’ve created, for any messes we’ve made, for the evil we watch, for the evil we allow.  We’re responsible.  If we don’t accept that responsibility, “unpleasantness” occurs.

– Whatever higher power there may be is likely very hard to fool.  Why, for the most part, we can’t even fool one another.  Far too often, we can fool ourselves … but in the end, our guilt remains.

– Having other people do your dirty work does not make you innocent.  It makes you a coward.  And if Pinhead catches you, it makes you a coward whose skull is pierced by a giant, sucking worm that drags you around by your brain.
[This outcome was for Dr. Channard.  Other clients may experience different results.]

This holiday season, let’s try the love-and-logic strategy.  Let’s be kind to children even when they push our buttons.  Let’s acknowledge our sins and crimes, apologize for them like big girls and boys, and make amends where we can.  Let’s take responsibility for our lives.  Let’s be brave and confident.  Let’s be honest – with ourselves, with others, with our gods.

It’s not so hard once you get started.

* “Santa Claus is comin’ to town” by Coots and Gillespie


The Thing I Like About …

Mr. Frost: how it makes you think about things.

In Mr. Frost, Jeff Goldblum plays a man who claims to be Satan, and who is incarcerated in a psychiatric prison for killing a bunch of kids.  When we first meet him, before his arrest, he is personable and pleasant.  He’s funny, in fact, and we can’t help but like him.  When he admits to the killings, we aren’t put off – we’re intrigued.

When the psychiatrist (played by Kathy Baker) assigned to his case starts spending time with him, she is also intrigued.  She is flattered by his insistence on speaking only with her.  She is drawn to his sensuality, his exotically handsome appearance, his intellect, his wit.  Much like the audience, she is drawn to these qualities not only in spite of his crimes, but to some extent because of them – Mr. Frost is simply a lot more interesting than other handsome, intelligent men, because we are fascinated by his darkness.

Then she finds the tapes he made – the ones of him killing his young victims.  We don’t see them; only the psychiatrist sees them, but we hear them – the little-kid screams of fear and pain – and we react the way she does: with alarm, revulsion, and horror.  It’s heartbreaking to think of these children suffering in such a way, and, even though we don’t see the tapes, our image of Mr. Frost changes instantly, and we are sure he is in fact Satan.

But … well, then, what was so appealing in the first place?  Why were we drawn to his darkness when we knew from the beginning what kind of evil he was capable of?  Do we want to believe that our own darkness can be as appealing? – that somehow we can still be funny and personable and interesting even if we have … issues?  Or are we just so eager to justify our own darkness that we’re willing to gloss over others’ evil deeds as long as we didn’t witness them for ourselves?  Do we only do that with films? … or in real life, too, with real people who do actual harm?  And what does that mean?

See … it really makes you think about things.

The Thing I Like About …

The Possession:  the excellent parenting.

The parents are divorced, and it doesn’t seem like it was a particularly amicable break-up.  It was clearly the mother’s idea for the couple to divorce; she puts a lot of pressure on the father to feed the girls “properly”, and she’s always on the verge of irritation and impatience with him.  For his part, he’s in constant preparation for her to be irritated and impatient and bossy, and he mostly dismisses her.

But in front of the children, they are cordial and respectful.  They each expect the girls to have respect for the other parent.  They trust one another to take care of the girls, and they know the other’s focus is on what’s best for the girls.  When Mom thinks Dad has struck the younger girl (the one possessed), she turns on him without thought – because she puts the girls first.  When she learns that it was actually an evil spirit thing, she doesn’t waste time doubting her sanity, but immediately and without question begins doing a bunch of things that would yesterday have seemed bizarre – because she will do whatever she needs to do for the girls.  Dad knows that he didn’t strike his daughter – so he is justifiably frustrated – but he never blames Mom for turning on him, because he understands that she has put the girls first.  He faces things he would never have thought were real, because it’s his job as a parent.  When he and Mom need to work together for the girls, they don’t hesitate – they’re such a good parenting team that the devil doesn’t stand a chance.

If real-life parents could learn to be half that focused on what matters, it would go a long way toward exorcising some real demons from this world.