So I mustered up the energy to go to the movies after work any to see “An American Haunting” after a 2nd wind. This week I was actually able to get to the show on time (I did miss the previews), get my snack & get a good seat.
The movie started off fairly slow in present day & then through the reading of an old letter found in the attic, the movie quickly changed setting to 1819 Tennessee (during slavery might I add). From the point of 1819 the movie transitioned into the character & relationship build phase & was pretty calm until “the court date” with a witch.
During a church based court date John Bell (Donald Sutherland) was found guilty of ripping off a neighbor Kate Batts by charging her 20% interest on a , which was more that what the church demanded of it’s congregant. After Bell was ruled against & shamed Kate Batts “the witch” seemingly cursed him & his daughter Betsy & this is the point shit started to jump off. From here the movie took on a Little House on the Prairie vs The Exorcism vs The Poltergeist; no joke.
Out nowhere Betsy was being tormented by this spirit that had her going through major changes, levitating, rape, mind games etc. Then “the presence” started to attack John fucking with his mind, seeing & hearing things etc. After trying to deal with the presence with the Bible & losing, John sought the assistance of Betsy’s love interest & teacher to make since of the haunting.
The teacher refused to believe that they were being haunted & even suggested that it was the witches slaves that were exacting revenge (I found that notion to be interesting). The teacher then volunteered to stay the night to prove there was no ghost & soon found out that his theories were quite wrong. At this point in the movie, I cannot recall how many times I held my breath because I was totally engrossed & waiting for what was next & yes I did scream a few times (just a little), I was however not alone in this.
The presence only really affected Betsy & John totally but it did fuck with everybody else in the house from knocking them across the room, starting blazed ripping bibles to shreds etc. I think the plot worked really well, because trying to figure out who/what the ghost was did not prove to be easy & I just gave up trying to solve it in my head. Then just when I gave up, the truth was reveled & it was very unexpected & shocking as the secret was revealed to Lucy Bell (Sissy Spacek), Betsy’s mother, who took action & did what was necessary no matter the cost to save her family from the presence haunting them.
After Lucy did her thing, the movie spontaneously reverted back to present day where another secret was cleverly revealed.| roll credits. Once the movie went off, I felt a since of satisfaction, because the movie had all of the right elements for a suspense thriller & the acting & characters were all well developed. American Haunting was mos def worth my 5.75 & 8 for snacks.
Right before the credits, information was scrolled across the screen noting that the movie is based on a real story called the “Bell Witch Curse” that has been controversially debated over since it occurred way back when.
What I did like:
- The steeple chase scene & crazy wolf
- Lucy Bell’s final action
- Seeing the ghost fuck with the family
- The way the story kept me engaged by keeping the story in a steady pace
- The cave scene
- Blood soaked sheets & panties set ablaze
What I did not like:
- How the ghost came to be (pretty fucked up)
- The hideous Kate Batts’ face
- Blaming the haunting on Slaves
- Blood soaked sheets & panties
History of the Bell Witch Curse:
The Bell Witch is believed by some to be the spirit of Kate Batts, an old neighbor of John Bell who was involved with him in a dispute of the sale of a slave or piece of land (story variations tend to differ slightly). She swore on her deathbed to get even and after she died, the haunting began. Modern researchers have found, however, that Mrs. Batts actually outlived Mr. Bell. It was true, however, that the spirit once referred to itself as “Kate Batts’ witch.”
The “witch” reportedly manifested herself as an invisible presence at first, gnawing on the bedposts, scratching at the walls, and jerking the blankets off of sleeping family members and guests. Two of those guests were one of John Bell’s closest friends and his wife, who spent the night after John Bell disclosed the witch’s haunting. Later, those in the house heard horrid noises, like that of someone strangling or choking, lips smacking, and loud gulping. Eventually the spirit began trying to speak, first whispering faintly, then later gaining power, enabling this entity to speak directly to anyone in the room. Often she would converse, sing, shriek, curse, and physically interact with the Bell family and other witnesses – most times with a high degree of physical violence. ‘Kate’, as everyone eventually called her, did not hesitate to slap, pinch, or claw those whom she considered deserving of her wrath.
Once, during the haunting, an entire ‘family’ of spirits, who called themselves a ‘witch family’, appeared to arrive and began speaking with those in the house. These spirits called themselves ‘Black Dog, Jerusalem, Mathmatics, and Cypocraphy.’ Later, these spirits left, and only Kate remained to torment those in the house. It is notable to see that in our recorded history, this is one of few poltergeist cases where the entity could actually speak. The spirit also seemed to have a divine knowledge of things, such as being able to quote any scripture in the Bible flawlessly, predict the future, sing any hymn or song requested of it, or see events unfolding great distances away, accurately reporting the events later. Guests at the Bell farm were often horrified when the spirit would attack them verbally and divulge the most secret events of their lives to onlookers. Read the rest
Other POV on the Bell Witch Curse
Advertised Movie Synopsis:
Something terrifying happened to the Bell family of Red River, Tennessee, nearly 200 years ago, causing the death of one of its members, the only validated case in U.S. history where a spirit or entity caused the death of a human being. Bell family patriarch John (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Lucy (Sissy Spacek) are pillars of their community but when a land deal goes sour with one of their neighbors, the woman — generally considered to be a witch — curses the family and in particular their beautiful daughter, Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood). Soon after, a series of increasingly terrifying episodes are visited upon Betsy and John by a malicious unseen entity. A friend, Richard (James D’Arcy), the local school teacher, tries to help but nothing can stay the demonic onslaught … finally resulting in death for one of the family. It becomes clear that the Bells and their descendants will never really be totally free from the evil that haunts them — an entity which they themselves may have helped to create.