The Terror of the Beast
October 2023's 2nd Pick by Dean Patrick
“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds…” Colossians 3:9
Put off the old man. The natural man. The one with purity in animal and raw guttural instinct, when man devours everything from innocence to beauty, this is the man who will sell his mother to hell for another day of drink and drug.
Mid way through the witching season when the kings and queens of hell rule with gleeful spit and vile reproach, let’s take a look at the terror of the beast within. That which creates the greatest horror refuses to give way to even a tad of comic relief, for there is none when witches seduce and suck us down, when werewolves channel pure rage and rip to shreds the flesh with ravaging joy. This is the terror when serial killers rape before murder, when Satanists sacrifice untouched blood for their new God to force us down and root out all that’s conceived as holy.
The current release of Hotel Royal (directed by Kitty Green and starring Julia Garner) is one such modern example where the evil of man’s inner beast is unleashed on a few innocent and naive women who have done nothing other than ending up at the wrong place and time. A film of towering intensity in Australia’s Outback, we witness the harrowing persecution and abuse of these women in such a way it’s hard to keep the blood from boiling over. Unfortunately the film’s writers lost their edge at the end with a sudden cop out of “let’s burn it all down.” Too simple a remedy for man’s sickest core.
It’s best to turn toward more severity with serial killers and werewolves. Monsters who grow their rage through experience that relies just as much on blood lust as it does devious curiosity. Charles Manson and his wicked witches who butchered with such ambition they created a God Monster. Before Manson, there was Jack the Rippler (unlike Manson, was never caught) who tore to shreds his pitiful victims on the just cause of their desperate promiscuity to keep from starving. Bundy. Berkowitz. Dahmer. True monstrosity that inspired Hannibal Lector, Max Cady, Patrick Bateman, Norman Bates, Jack Torrance, and Raskolnakov.
From human monster the natural order follows the literal beast within that fiercely bursts out of the skin as the howling savages of werewolves stalk under the filtered lights of the full moon to strike their victims with overwhelming power and ferocity in cold-blooded mayhem that’s spilled on the streets in frothy gore.
Stay up late for The Shining, American Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs to wet your blood thirsty lips on the idea of losing it. Stay up later when monsters go at it without a moment’s pause for consequence: Wolf, The Howling, Trick ‘R Treat, Wer, and Howl. Maybe such imagery will push those among us to create such deeds on their own.
Finally, let’s never forget that the terror of the beast is ruled by the masters and servants of Hell itself. In the beginning it was Satan vs man and woman in Eden. We lost. But the real showdown of Good vs Evil takes place when Satan faced the Christ and offered the power of the universe. Forget for a moment the outcome and consider the face off. The pureness of exact evil vs the pureness of purity itself. A battle that set the world’s stage on fire giving man free rein to feed the barbarity of his natural instincts and desires. Where all bets were off and the winner takes all whether a shotgun to the head, a butcher knife plunged into the heart, or an engorged member forced inside a helpless womb.
Think carefully the final dreadful scene in Hereditary when Colin Stetson’s terrifying music rages in a wicked spiral of distorted humming and hissing sounds (listen to "Reborn" here) as Peter Graham (Alex Wolff) looks upon decapitated family members, witches, and the horror of naked warlocks and evil priests and priestesses cackling monstrously to hail one of the 8 Kings of Hell. Peter’s baffled purview of the carnage and ruined flesh that’s been destroyed for a coming out of pure savagery and Satanic worship. Where only madness and blind witchery become an awful reality of a new peace of darkness. Think over that final scene in The Exorcist where the rebukes in Christ’s name end up with the Devil murdering the priest with that unforgettable mock giggle.
The terror of the beast where evil lives as endlessly and timelessly as the Alpha and Omega of God can only be faced head on. It cannot and will not ever end as it is the polar opposite of good works and wholesome choices. All evil that roams and rapes the earth can only be managed through our courage to call it out and dilute its power. It is now unleashed as All Hallow’s Eve begins to bleed from every pore. All we can do is slow the hemorrhaging and pray The Gods can sort it out.
Until then and while the war of our souls rages on, look to the greatest horror as guides through the bloody fields and broken temples while keeping our life in tact.
Enjoy my fine readers.