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‘The Conjuring’s’ Bathsheba: Underrated Movie Monster

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The Conjuring Universe has spawned many monstrous, notorious icons. The haunted doll Annabelle who first appeared in The Conjuring, has spawned three standalone films, with a fourth Annabelle movie reportedly underway.

The demon Valak, better known as The Nun, was initially featured in The Conjuring 2, as it lurked about both the Amityville House and the haunted home the Warrens would be called to investigate in Enfield, England. Not long later, the demon that takes an irreverent form received its own movie, titled The Nun, and The Nun 2 is expected to release sometime in 2023.

Other monsters spawned by the Conjuring Universe and revered by fans include

  • The Crooked Man, The Conjuring 2
  • The Ferryman, Annabelle Comes Home
  • La Llorona, The Curse of La Llorona

Amongst the infamy, one is, surprisingly, overlooked.

The formidable antagonist, with a body count that spans two centuries. A malignant force that manipulates people to commit the most heinous of acts. A triple threat, part witch, part demonic presence, part vengeful spirit… The one who started it all: Bathsheba Sherman.

Ghastly Origins of The Conjuring’s Bathsheba

It didn’t take long for paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren to determine the identity of the specter wreaking havoc at the Perron family home in The Conjuring. Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) explains that Bathsheba Sherman lived where the Perron’s house now stands in the 1800s.

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The Warrens believed her to be a descendant of Mary Eastey, who was infamously persecuted for witchcraft, along with her sister Rebecca Nurse, during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Lorraine Warren explains that Bathsheba lived with her husband, Judson Sherman. Seven days after the birth of their child, Bathsheba sacrificed the newborn in front of the fireplace, where “she proclaimed her love to Satan, cursed anyone who would try to take her land, and hung herself.”

Given her time of death being declared at 3:07 AM, she committed this most heinous of acts precisely at the time of the demonic witching hour. With so many impious acts perpetrated at once, the witch made her curse a reality as she continued to take lives long after her death.

Bathsheba’s Curse on the Land

While her continued presence went undetected for some time, Lorraine and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) began to piece together the trail of victims Bathsheba had claimed in her wake. The Warrens were able to determine that on her original plot of land, the following tragedies occurred:

  • Child, Rory Walker, missing in the woods
  • Mother, Mrs. Walker, suicide in the basement
  • Child, unknown, drowned in a pond
  • Maid, unidentified, dead by suicide in a neighboring home

As events unfolded in the film, it became painfully clear that the witch did not just kill these children. In the most horrific of nightmares, Bathsheba possessed the mothers or caregivers and had them enact every parent’s worst nightmare themselves. This perversion of maternal instinct, as she overrides a person’s claim to free will and makes them act against their nature, is just one of the facets that make Bathsheba so terrifying.

Generating Ghosts

As the movie would later indicate, through the appearance of one haunted mother exclaiming, “Look what she made me do,” these women are forced to do the witch’s bidding. More than that, they are condemned to an afterlife of heartache as they haunt future tenants and relive their torment. But it is not just the mothers that are barred from moving on to an afterlife, as evidenced by Rory, a murdered boy who continues to haunt the grounds.

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Building a Haunted House

When Bathsheba kills, she entraps her victims in one place, ensuring that the more people she can ensnare, the more haunted the house and surrounding land will become.

Because of this and Bathsheba’s contribution, the Perron family suffered from a wide range of paranormal activity within the home, including but not limited to:

  • Doors opening and closing on their own
  • Phantom clapping
  • Knocks that come in threes
  • Clocks that stop working at 3:07
  • Full-body apparitions
  • Leg pulling
  • Birds swarming and dying
  • A girl dragged by her hair
  • Possession

…and a family dog that succumbed to the evil of the property before the family’s boxes were unpacked, RIP Sadie.

Though Bathsheba may have been a witch in life and genetics, her allegiance to Satan seemingly granted her demonic powers as the Perron home’s haunted occurrences indicate a demonic infestation.

The Demon, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Warrens took great care to explain at the film’s beginning that a demon is an evil force that has never walked the Earth as a human being. However, Carolyn Perron’s experience at the hands of Bathsheba checked all three boxes that the Warrens presented for stages of demonic activity: infestation, oppression, and, ultimately, possession.

Given this, Bathsheba is unique in her evil, as she held a human form, haunts the grounds as a vengeful spirit, yet has the powers of an unearthly demon. Her humanity gives her intimate knowledge of human weaknesses, and her demonic abilities allow her to use them against her intended victims.

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When it comes to opponents, she is, without a doubt, a formidable one.

From her harrowing backstory, sinful acts, and lasting, haunting impacts, the demonic witch’s ghost is a malevolent force to be reckoned with and should be recognized.

Team “Bathsheba should get her own movie next.”  #BathshebaOriginMovie

A writer by both passion and profession: Tiffany Taylor is a mother of three with a lifelong interest in all things strange or mysterious. Her love for the written word blossomed from her love of horror at a young age because scary stories played an integral role in her childhood. Today, when she isn’t reading, writing, or watching scary movies, Tiffany enjoys cooking, stargazing, and listening to music.

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Editorials

Black Witches Exist.

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If you ask any Black woman horror fan who their favorite Black witch is, I’d bet all the money I don’t have, that most—if not all—of them would say Rachel True’s Rochelle in The Craft. And what’s not to love about Rochelle? She’s delightfully weird, supportive of her friends, and perseveres in the face of racism much like we do in similar predominately white spaces.

But The Craft is 26 years old. Even though we were blessed with a reboot in 2020, I expected the beloved cult classic to produce more Black Witches to bring into our Coven of Black Girl Magic.

Hell, I don’t even think the two Black actresses that portrayed Angelina Johnson in the Harry Potter movie franchise ever had any lines. And while the Broadway production of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child made history by casting Black actresses to play Hermione, I do take issue with a beloved (and Black-coded) character being depicted as a cruel time-warp-multiverse version. (I’m sorry, but I came here to fight and tell you there is NO universe in which the only character committed to emancipating the magical slaves/house elves would ever turn out to be a cruel professor in her worst subject!)

Even most of the magical Black characters I’ve tried to include in this piece actually practiced Hoodoo or Voodoo.  There’s been a dearth of Black witches on the silver screen and in the horror genre, and it leaves me wanting more. White witches have depth and complexity to them. They can be good or evil, sensual and alluring, motherly, or even cycle through all of the above. Black witches are either nonexistent, relegated to a mammy role to aid a white protagonist, or their witchcraft is conflated with Hoodoo or Voodoo.

Voodoo is actually an organized religion with deep ties to African culture and American slave practices. Hoodoo is considered to be a folk magic that is also connected to the African Diaspora. Hoodoo is more similar to how witchcraft is depicted and is known for spells connected to practical needs, like love and money. Both Hoodoo and Voodoo are incredibly nuanced and highly regarded practices in Black culture, but in less diverse production spaces, depictions of Hoodoo and Voodoo from a colonizer’s gaze can be, well, racist and reductive.

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One could argue that Black witches have representation through depictions of Hoodoo and Voodoo on the silver screen, my favorite being the beautiful southern gothic film Eve’s Bayou. But overall, we deserve to see more expansive and nuanced Black Girl Magic on screen.

So here I am wondering, where are all the Black witches?

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Editorials

WELCOME TO THE CHURCH OF CHUCKY: Chucky Season 2 Full Trailer Breakdown, Theories & Predictions

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Forget the Season of the Witch. It’s the Season of the Dolls again.

I mean it might as well be, September is the new October, which means Halloween is basically tomorrow. And with the arrival of the spooky season comes the second season of SYFY’s instant hit and continuation of the Child’s Play series, Chucky. Since it’s returning on October 5th, this is pretty much all I’m going to be talking about for a few months, so why don’t we speculate on the incoming eight episodes of bombshells Don Mancini will be hitting us with soon?

BLOODY REUNIONS

The teaser trailer that premiered at San Diego Comic Con and the full trailer above that just recently dropped all but confirms this leaked list of episode titles that has been floating around, given they’re laden with religious references we’ll cover soon. The titles give a rough idea of what might happen with the Chucky and Tiffany dolls back on the saddle.

While the episode “Doll on Doll” could be about the myriad of Chucky dolls running around, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an episode focused on Doll Tiffany going up against Chucky. Since the schism between Team Ray and Team Valentine from season 1’s gnarly decapitation, Tiffany’s plastic iteration would probably find herself in conflict with her old lover after kidnapping Nica and cutting herself out of their deranged master plan to attack all of America.

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Temporarily, at least. Given their torrid romantic history and Tiffany’s obsession with starting and preserving a family, it’d be on brand that the episode “Goin’ To The Chapel” may just involve them renewing their vows, with the Bride and groom reuniting to cause terror once more.

SAINTS, SINNERS, AND SILICON

So, what about location then? Well, with all we’ve seen of Jake, Devon, & Lexy’s matching school uniforms, the episode titles, and all the religious décor/symbology all over the place, it’s safe to say the series is finally taking the leap and sending Chucky into outer space.

…Jokes people. I’ll be here all week.

The latest trailer tells us the school is called Incarnate Lord (Academy?) and seems to be a Catholic boarding school for reforming disturbed youth. This is likely an homage to Childs Play 3 but riffing on the humor of private schools rather than military academies. Mancini may have been inspired to use this location because he also went to a Christian prep school when he was younger, a lesser-known detail mentioned in an interview with Dread Central.

With legal custody of Jake & Devon up in the air following their respective parents perishing, and their dubious involvement in dozens of people dying a year prior, it looks like the trio is being sent to an institution by the state– possibly at the behest of Mayor Cross, Lexi’s mother, instead of seeing the kids jailed. Given the chaos caused by Chucky in the season finale, it’s fair that she’d send the boys and her distraught daughter to a boarding school for their protection, hoping to distance them from the massacre. On the topic of troubled daughters…

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PUTTING LEXY THROUGH THE RINGER

Maybe stating the obvious here, but Lexy is going through it this season, even more so than last. One of the shots in the teaser trailer heavily implies she’s doing drugs to cope with the stress and trauma of Chucky’s massacre. But I think there might be even more reason she’s down and out.

We saw younger sister Caroline opening the door for Chucky in the teaser, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Chucky’s first act of retribution against the Hackensack gang would be taking her out, or at least attempting to. It would also make sense to get them out of town as an inciting incident if the one-year time skip they mention means something has to break the relative peace in Hackensack.

For anybody skeptical about this, given it’s a very dark train of thought, remember that one of the series protagonists, Nica Pierce, had all her limbs cut off in the Season 1 finale and is currently being wheeled around by Tiffany. A tonal shift seems like just the thing Mancini might have hinted at with Nica’s cruel entrapment.

…Bummer. How about a joke to lighten the mood?

HOW DO NONBINARY SLASHERS OFF SOMEONE?

They/Them! And the they & them slashing in question would be the doll in two persons, Glen & Glenda, who is back after a long absence in the series (and seems delighted at the updates in their mother’s love-life/murder sprees). Hopefully, I will finally get a serious answer to my question of whether G&G have an explosives dealer! It seems doubly likely now that we see Chucky using a (stolen?) chemical explosive in the final shots of the full trailer…

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Portrayed in a double role by Lachlan Watson, former Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star, these two are more likely than not going to be blending into the school as delinquents and aiding one or more of the Chucky dolls in their rampage. But I think that one of the two could also be a new protagonist in the making.

Though the plot point fell by the wayside for doll martial arts in Seed of Chucky, it was clear that a part of Glen/da has a distaste for killing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two halves of Glen/da ended up feuding and making enemies out of each other. One of the big themes of Chucky as a rare coming-of-age horror is that you’ve sometimes got to reject the roles placed onto you by your parents, so it’d track if Tiffany’s twin terrors end up against themselves.

Suppose one half doesn’t become wholly good, however. In that case, there’s the distinct possibility they might end up taking sides with their respective favored parents and getting dragged into a messy “divorce” and the couple’s endless doll wars. Speaking of people who got dragged into that war,

REST IN PEACE, KYLE…

But not really. At least, I don’t think so. Even though Andy screams “This is for Kyle!” while presumably facing off with an unseen Tiffany or Chucky in the trailer, she seemingly survived the bomb blast from “An Affair to Dismember” and was hinted to be watching over the kids, the final shot of the first season being her hand gripping a tree with the black leather gloves gifted to her by Andy at the gas station.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. With Christine Elise confirmed to be back for an unspecified number of episodes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle is another dormant victim of possession like Nica, and that Tiffany may have done another soul split bamboozle. Not only would it give Tiffany a leg up against Andy & Chucky, but it would also mean that the kids would have to deal with their former protector turning heel.

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Regardless of how many of these darts land on the bullseye, I’m unflinchingly hyped for Season 2 of Chucky. Until then, I ask the question: do you have any pet theories you’ve been sitting on? Tell us on Twitter & comment down below, and as always, stay tuned for more horrifying content from Horror Press.

Chucky season 2 will premiere on USA and Syfy on October 5th.

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