Film Reviews

THE MIST

By • Nov 21st, 2007 •

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King wants to hang anyone who reveals the new ending to this terrific thriller. Like King, I understand the historical significance of human sacrifice, now called genocide.

Doing publicity for THE MIST, Stephen King said: “Frank wrote a new ending that I loved. It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.”

Well, okay, I’ll skirt around the end theme director-screenwriter Frank Darabont added to King’s novella. Too bad. I have a lot to say about it.

Movie poster artist David Drayton’s (Thomas Jane) lakeside house is severely damaged by a violent storm. A fog suddenly rolls into the idyllic Maine town in which he lives. Taking his young son Billy (Nathan Gamble) with him, he goes to pick up supplies at the village grocery store. Packed with locals, including David’s nemesis-neighbor Brent Norton (Andre Braugher), the mist starts engulfing everything. The military are suddenly highly visible indicating this is not an ordinary weather borne phenomenon.

I don’t have a clue how a large group of people actually react in these kinds of dangerous situations, but in Movieland, everyone just stands around waiting for a self-appointed few to step forward, take charge, and issue orders. David, supported by the supermarket’s manager, Ollie (INFAMOUS’ Toby Jones), leads the sheep. They have plenty of food and supplies but nobody (my logical approach) starts hoarding food or claiming territory.

When a young market clerk attempts to go outside and gets eaten by a monster, the passive shoppers decide to sit it out. Like me, Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) carries her Bible everywhere she goes. With no one having another theory about what the hell is going on, an End-Of-Times scenario looks like a pretty good guess.

As Stephen King knows, human sacrifice has never really gone away. Appeasing vengeful gods with a child sacrifice is built into mankind’s reptilian psyche. Ritual infanticide is a foundation stone of many cultures and a universal custom. There is probably a very good reason for its longevity and its usefulness.

We first encounter human sacrifice as a standard practice in The Old Testament.

“After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him,“Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said,“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”(Gen. 22:1-2)

Scholars have written that this Abraham-Isaac tale effectively put an end to the widespread practice of human sacrifice as an appeasement offering. God was perfectly without his rights in demanding Abraham’s only son. Many religious scholars think Abraham actually sacrificed Isaac because here is how the story ends:

“So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.” (Gen. 22:19)

(Did Cain murder Abel or sacrifice him? After all, God rewarded Cain with a special mark of protection and a stern warning that “if anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold” (Gen. 4:15). Being banished from Eden, “wanderer” Cain did quite well for himself. He went on to build the first city in the world, which he called Enoch after his eldest son.)

Has Stephen King read “The Highest Altar: Unveiling the Mystery of Human Sacrifice” by Patrick Tierney? In 1983, while accompanying archaeologists conducting high-altitude excavations in South America, Tierney made a startling discovery: human sacrifice is still being practiced today in remote regions of Chile and Peru. In La Paz, Boliva (one of my favorite high altitude countries), mountain gods with their leader, Tiu Supraya, have great power to bestow wealth – particularly mineral wealth – or to harm people. Human sacrifice is still required.

See what happens when Stephen King threatens a public thrashing?

Mrs. Carmody is the only person to come up with an idea on what to do about the flying monsters. After all, she is spared, so I would indeed be on her side. She might be on to something when she suggests that these creatures need a child sacrifice.

I would love to comment on the terrific, highly symbolic ending of THE MIST, but that would be a “spoiler” and King knows that is verboten to reviewers. If readers think I have given away too much of a plot, I hear from them.

But the ending does bring up another absolutely fascinating key to human nature I have been researching. When do you give up? In my reading of the Holocaust (recently, “Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps” by Yitzhak Arad) here is what comes to the fore: Never give up hope. As the victims ran naked through “The Tube” to the gas chamber-showers, they kept hoping someone would come and rescue them. Every moment of life counts.

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