Horror of jinns in Long Time Dead (2000), The Lamp (1986) and Incubus (1982)

It is entirely likely that a number of the demons of the old Arab world, ended up in the body of Islamic lore as jinns, or fire demons. This derivation will have to be examined in more detail. But now and then, a djinn does come up as the evil force responsible for the killing in a movie. Long Time Dead is a 2002 movie with a very attractive cast of young Brits, living the night club life. But they are connected in a way they do not know, to an earlier crime. Back in the 70s, in Morocco, another group young Brits, hippie travelers, made use of a Ouija board to contact the dead. What they got instead was a djinn. The ouiji board is not quite that, on a nicely designed table, its planchette of old wood, in Morocco. It’s a piece of Islamic magic. And then, when contact is made, it does not simply move, it races around

dji 1

We then see images of fast camera zooming down a labyrinth of basement or brick corridors, indicating that some sort of speeding demon is being called, and racing toward them. And then we get a close up on the empty center of this particular planchette, and we are made to understand that it is through this portal that the djinn has been
called into this world,

dji 2

This strongly suggests, pending other research, that this portal may be a scaled down survivor of the false door of Egyptian practice, an entryway from one world to another, for even an evil spirit. And then once in this world the djinn kills them all.

What is interesting about any Moroccan setting, is the prevalence of such magic. Brion Gysin, in the 50s and 60s, was an artist who lived in Morocco for over 20 years, to be close to sufi masters. He cultivated the music too. But his restaurant failed, and when closing up he found an inscription on a wall in back, which suggested to him that it was cursed. He made some drawings, of an almost calligraphic, magic script quality, based on this idea, apotropaically

dji 3

The work is notable for the grid, and a kind of automatic drawing, almost a script, which has about it an apotropaic quality. He later apparently superimposed newspaper clippings on these scaffolds,

dji 4

Without going into any further, at this point, it is of interest that out of the same milieu, a similar response.

In any case, back home, in the modern day, in the movie, the kids have a séance out of boredom. They construct an interesting ouiji board, making a magic circle with letter, and using an overturned glass as a planchette

dji 5

And, then, same result, they call up a djinn. An interesting element of the instrumentation of this particular makeshift ouji board is that the djinn announces his arrival and begins to haunt a girl on the rootftop by using the paper letters to stick notes to the door and window, menacing her, and then attacking, causing her to fall down back into the dance floor of the party through the glass roof (a variant of the overturned glass; meaning that the djinn was called up, to cause her to fall down through the glass).

dji 6

However, it has to be said, the djinns method of murder is less than entirely horrid, burn marks where, supposedly, he grabbed or touched them

dji 7

But in fact very little is made of the burning, or of the fact that he is an entity made of fire, and the sum total of his manifestation is as a quick whosthere shadow zooming past the camera, at some moments, and then possession, but only manifest as the same person, but with cat’s eyes, with some fire in them, neither of which are entirely satisfying.

The movie also has a research vignette, in the lovely boathouse apt of Marsha Thomason, who is very good here, but in a life filled with curiosa involving the occult, which she appears to dabble in, she only has an encyclopedia, with a generic entry, which does not exacting capture the mood.

dji 8

There is a very comic booky illustration of the manifestation of the djinn, as a burning hand, which makes sense, but at no time in the movie do we see that manifestation, which would have been interesting

dji 9

A djinn also showed up in the 1986 movie The Lamp, and here it has a much more menacing, though some might say more comic book quality. First of all, it is not simply called, without explanation, from a ouiji board (we do not know that he comes up because one of the players is the son of a previous victim). It is in a classic Aladdin style lamp, owned by an old woman, an old arab woman in a house cluttered with valuables. When two of the crooks get bored, they go skinny dipping, and the djinn manifests as a green figural glow in the water, pulling the boy down,

dji 10

Then he’s out in the air as a figure of the air, a kind of whirlwind with hands, and in this capacity he lifts up a nude girl in the air, strangling her

dji 11

An interesting aspect of the plot is that no one knows what it was, and so the lamp goes to a local museum, and is featured,

dji 12

Then we find that it has a cognizance, as it is inside the lamp, looking out, and since there is a ruby seal on the tip, it sees red

dji 13

In the 80s, directors were forever looking for various ways to redden the vision of horror, from depicting  blood spills, and then complete allover spatters (Split Second), to showing
blood in flowing form over objects (Freddy and Jason, in media like water that
would let it spread (Piranha), there was also an older, by which I mean 70s
tradition, in which light effects were made to redden all (Eugenie de Sade),
etc., so this POV in red indicates a bloody view of the world, that blood will
be spilled, and he will make the world red with blood. And there is blood.
In  the museum, having previously lifted up a girl, to kill her, he again lifts up a security guard, the suggestion being that he is a creature of some size, to lift his victims up in the air,

dji 14

The nifty element of this murder, in terms of its instrumentation, is that the lifting up, and the djinns presence as a whirling something at altitude, is synthesized with that quality by making a ceiling fan the ultimate murder weapon, a weapon I do not think I have previously seen in the slasher genre’s search for novel implements, I don’t have a shot of it, but this multiple blade, whirring, therefore, mechanically visualizing the effect of a dervish with a sword, is not only lethal, but sprays and fans blood everywhere, deeply reddening the room in blood

dji 15

And even spattering the white lampshades with blood

dji 16

In so far as lamps signify the subjective of persons, and also visionary experience, the fact that it is made red, means, not unlike the colored lamp forms used in The Crimson Cult and Tales of Terror, that a reddened lamp is another way to cast red on the world
without. These is a rather interesting instrument. For a time, then, however,
the movie falters, settling for the djinn as a merely activating source of evil
power, an embodiment of the nervous energy of a King novel, which sometimes
errantly seeks horror simply by activating objects, in this case, a spear,
which floats through the air,

dji 17

Snakes, which leave one girl in a rather more bloody homage to Psycho, lying nude half out of the bath, her head on the floor

dji 18

An antique helmet, turned into a press

dji 19

none of which are that compelling. But, then, at last, we do see the djinn, and it what you might expect, the classic airborne, hovering, smokeform djinn, but made physical in
the context of 80s rubberization and masking of monsters, as a big gremlin
alien type thing, and then it acts as an elemental force, pounding at metal
doors not unlike the invisible entity in Forbidden Planet

dji 20

In Long Time Dead, nothing, just shadows, presence, and then eyes. It is not menacing, and likely the reason why the movie begins to drag in the second art.

In Long Time Dead the only really bloody murder, with a spatter all over the walls, is of Lara Belmont, who may look back to this movie to live again in her prime, she gets cornered in a bathroom stall,

dji 21

Which is a classic psycho situation, and then trapped, and ripped to pieces, by the djinn

dji 22

An odd thing in the siting of this attack is that it happens in a bathroom stall. The same situation occurs in 1982s Incubus, where a demon of that form also kills by using brute toss-around whirlwind force to mayhemize murder, gets at one of his victims under the door of a bathroom stall in a movie theater, and he is shown, his arm, going in under the door, grabbing her ankle

dji 23

And he leaves the place covered in blood, including on her panties, as these were very much sexual crimes, rapes. But the fact that a djinn and an incubus have a similar modus operandi in terms of siting suggests them as embodiments of elemental body fears that girls may have in these locales, and so the djinn or incubus are conceived as more elemental. In any case.

The only interesting part, having had a less than thrilling booksearch section, is that when the kids research downstairs in Mr Becker’s apartment, they find what they naturally think is a psycho shrine, convicting him by its presence, to the murders by the djinn in Morocco all that time ago, it’s pretty much a classic late modern bulletin board, or room size mad scrapbook, all clippings and polaroids

dji 24

dji 25

And then we see a picture of the landlord, when he was younger, and one of the groups parents, involving him, so they learn the connection

dji 26

They are to be excused for thinking then that the subject of the clippings is the psycho, because that is what psychos do, they collect clippings of their evil, to validate, in a personality cult of one, the mad vision that they are making a mark on the world. The fact that in addition to the clippings it is apparent that over the years the fact that the murders were satanic means that he is satanic and this is verified by the presence of some extracurricular material, we might call it,

dji 27

Skulls and body parts, which one could be mistaken for thinking are part of ritual, or remnants of victims (and the Japanese movie Sadako would be a more straightforward version of this kind of self-shrine to one’s inverted psycho cult). The montage even has freaking satan himself, the very baphomet of Levi that became the image of the devil throughout the whole of the modern horror boom,

dji 28

But, then, in their panic, they failed to notice that every single clipping was about that one crime, and the people involved in it, there were numerous clippings about the same people, and it is in essence the coverage of a cold case. And on this the plot turns, and, one must say, in a not entirely satisfying or well worked out way. It turns out that Becker is a friend of his parents who has sworn himself to look after the son, living upstairs. This is the shrine of a guardian who had made a pledge and made use of this shrine to recommit himself to it and keep the investigation open and watch and wait against any further consequences from it, with regard to the son. And then of course the djinn peters on, though he does invade the son and kill the father, who turns out to have been alive all this time, only hiding out in prison. An evil end, but not instrumentalized effectively. In any case, a djinn is an evil demon, it attacks, protection against it is needed, but exactly what it is, how it as a variant of western demons might enhance horror by making things more malevolent and evil, is not made clear by either of these appearances in the last 25 years in horror.

In the VH mythology

My interest in the djinn derives from two sources. For some time, I have explored images in art of bloody skies or other portents of evil expressed in meteorological events. Of that later. Blood rain, blood red skies: miasma as a theory sometimes was represented in art in large weatherlike creatures stalking the air and sky, old titans of modern menace. Djinns then present themselves as another repository of these images, and if they seek by fire or blood to enflame or ensanguinate reality, then they could be a very rich vein of imagery indeed.

I also of course have seen way too much blood in the blood season or slash season of this the summer of 13, with too much talk of martyrdom and blood by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in a way which I believe set off a chain reaction of events which in turn called blood to spill. Rather than demonize the Brotherhood, I posit, using J. Bowyer Bell’s thesis, that there is a dragonworld of underground dissent leading limbically in extreme cases to terrorism in the Mideast, and this is where the discontent angry young men go. This element in my view has formed a ring of fire and blood, in essence, a kind of vanguard of a gang lifestyle around the Brotherhood, which is all the others on the other side see of the Brotherhood. It is Islam, but it has been blinded by an inversion to evil intent.

I posit then that though there is in Islam a strain of thought which calls for martyrdom by blood what drives the brotherhood gang to blood is a twisted djinn, a manifestation of dajjal, well known as the antichrist of Islam, and, for that reason, I think that this entity is the Muslim counterpart of the primary blood demon in the American mythology, Jason Vorhees, and so I had created Jason-Jinn, to explain it all, fun,

Jason Jinn

but of course no one in the West would ever concede to the point that in order to understand Islam, or rather its psycho fringe, you have to venture into the far out realms of its lore that captivate the minds of its young. In any case, for this reason, I would favor a djinn a in horror more in the manner of the one in The Lamp, or like the picture in the book in Long Time Dead.

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