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FATHER PAUL’S TRAVELING SALVATION SHOW

Written by on October 7, 2021

Story by Chuck Tackett

FATHER PAUL’S TRAVELING SALVATION SHOW

“Could you help an old altar boy?”

The Exorcist (1973)

  Those of you who know me, are cognizant of the fact that I am a huge enthusiast of disaster and horror movies, especially the ones made between the 1930s to the 1950s.

I was raised as a Catholic. As a child, the only Midnight Mass I remember was during the Christmas holidays. My birthday is Christmas Eve. I was always so excited to stay up late and go with my family to Midnight Mass. Midnight Mass was magical for me. The interior of our parish glowed because the only light there was, was from the numerous candles lit inside, the smell of incense, and the service being in High Mass, where the priest and congregation sang responses that usually were spoken in other days.

When I became a young adolescent, that is when my endearment of old classic horror movies would spill into my everyday life. The Midnight Mass changed from being mystical for me as a young boy to a vehicle I could use to entertain myself when I got bored. The candle-lit interior reminded me of being in Bela Lugosi’s Dracula castle. The heavy smoke from the incense reminded me of the atmospheric fog. I imagined Lon Chaney Jr’s Wolfman jumping out for the attack. Clearly, I wasn’t a well kid. (laughing) After seeing the poster of a small parish, and the description of it being supernatural and horror, I immediately broke my little idiosyncrasy of watching one program at a time until I was finished. Curiosity got the best of this cat.

At the time I am writing this article, “Midnight Mass” has jumped to #2 of Netflix’s top ten. It only took me two days to watch the entire season of 7 episodes that were an hour long each. I was far from being disenchanted. Some people would find the first two episodes a little slow, but I have the firm belief you have to draw people in like plenty of those old classic horror flicks did.

For those unfamiliar with this miniseries, it is described “as the arrival of a charismatic priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries, and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe.” What added the horror to me is the town is isolated on an American island 30 miles from the state of New York. One has to take a ferry to arrive there.

What drew me to “Midnight Mass” besides my adolescent horror fantasies, was the fact that when horror and religion mix, usually paganism is the culprit. There seems to be a Christian supremacy and the belief other religions are inferior. There is only one movie that I can personally recall where the religion was Catholicism. Of course, it was not seen as a culprit, but as being superior. That would be “The Exorcist” that came out in 1973. In this miniseries, Catholicism was seen as a culprit.

In my opinion, the breakout performance had to be from Hamish Linklater who plays Father Paul, the young priest who arrives in the town. If he looks familiar, he is best known as Matthew Kimble in the comedic TV series, “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”

So far, there are no plans to have a 2nd season, but for me, the season ended with open questions. Usually, if something becomes really popular, there will be more seasons. See it for yourselves and then decide whether you think I am right or wrong on my assessment.

Chuck’s Chat operates under an open authority. Opinions and comments are always welcome. Send them to soultraindancing@yahoo.com

 


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