Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

“The film the Vatican doesn’t want you to see.”

In the unlikely event that it cares, the Vatican will be happy to hear that I have not yet seen the film that it doesn’t want me to see. I have, however, seen the poster. The Devil Inside is a …

Mon, Mar 5, 2012, 22:50

   

In the unlikely event that it cares, the Vatican will be happy to hear that I have not yet seen the film that it doesn’t want me to see. I have, however, seen the poster. The Devil Inside is a mid-budget exorcism horror that, to almost everybody’s surprise, became something of a smash in the US at the start of the year. Actually, this is not the first time that an unprepossessing shocker has stormed the US box office in the post-Yuletide period. If you want to make some money with your cheap programmer then sling it out when every other studio is still sleeping off the mince pies.

Anyway, that poster. This strange artifact carries an extraordinary quote above the title. Attributed to the delightfully named Naibe Reynoso (surely an anagram) from some Mexican-American radio station, the line reads: “The film the Vatican doesn’t want you to see.” Now, I have done some very rigorous research — none of which involved me sitting on my arse while accessing Google — and I have failed to find evidence of the Vatican trying to stop me (or, indeed, anyone else) from seeing this promising entertainment. It’s almost as if they don’t give a toss.

That’s not the point. What’s interesting about this business is the way distributors now regard (made-up) outrage from the Vatican as a genuine selling point. I suppose it was ever thus. When Father Dougal and Father Ted stood outside the Craggy Island cinema clutching signs reading “Down with this sort of thing!” they only served to generate interest in The Passion of Saint Tibulus. The BBC has created more than a few superstars by banning supposedly lubricious records.

It remains, however, bizarre that, in a nominally Catholic country, film distributors choose to plaster the walls with posters telling us that the hierarchy forbids attendance at the advertised event. This could spread throughout the publicity industry.

Nivea, the face cream the Pope tried to ban.

Over 80 percent of archbishops named Cilit Bang as the degreaser most likely to encourage satanism.

Cadbury’s Caramel, certified sinfully delicious by the conclave of cardinals.

And so on. Don’t laugh. It could happen.

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