A Head Full Of Ghosts

A Head Full Of Ghostshead ghosts

Paul Tremblay

The Possession. A TV show in America showing the lives of the Barratt family whose eldest daughter, Marjorie, appears to be under the influence of a demonic possession. At first her parents think that she is suffering from Schizophrenia and take her to counselling, give her medication, they try everything they could to help her and then her father finds faith and begins to believe that a demon has control of his daughter and only a priest of the Catholic faith can help his daughter and save her soul.

The Last Final Girl, written by a woman called Karen Brissette, is a blog on all things gory and horror. Throughout the book blog posts from The Last Final Girl are featured talking about The Possession. She talks in length about the show and how it was received by the public, about the family members (John and Sarah, the parents and Marjorie and Meredith, the children) and their roles within the show. Karen seems to know what she’s talking about and understands the how than more (as if she experienced it first-hand some would think). It’s interesting to see the strange happenings from a different perspective to those who were there such as the family members, crew and priests.

(Let’s continue with the possessed one). Marjorie, only 14 years of age and already possessed by a demon (why do demons always favour the young you ask? Simple answer, they’re pure and innocent and you don’t expect it, only nowadays you do thanks to all the exorcism films out there. I’m looking at you Regan). Originally, Marjorie is thought to have Schizophrenia which would explain the “ghosts” in her head or voices. Marjorie tells her little sister, Meredith that she is faking being possessed to help the family who are quickly running out of money after their father is made redundant. It works (but don’t try it at home kids, we can’t guarantee that pretending to be possessed will mean a TV contract for everyone) and everyone thinks that young Marjorie is possessed, even their skeptic mother seems to start believing it eventually.

Meredith (who prefers to be referred to as Merry) is essentially the victim in this story. If her sister is in fat possessed then the demon is more pronounced when near Merry, but if Marjorie is faking it for the cameras then she seems to be going on an all-out terror attack towards her younger sister to make the possession believable. Merry herself is a precocious and stubborn little madam, just as most young children are. She makes friends with one of the crew members who gives her a camera to record things on and some of it is used in the actual programme even though see is not allowed to watch it due to her age. Merry never seems to know what to believe about her sister, whether she is simply ill, possessed by some unknown demon (which Marjorie says to be one of Lovecraft’s lesser demons) or if she is faking everything. She’s just a confused child who distracts herself with stories and football (or soccer but we all know football is the correct term) because all she wants is her sister to be well and normal and able to tell her fun and exciting stories like she used to.

Their parents, John and Sarah, are somewhat stereotypical. John protects his family as well as he can even if it’s not necessarily in the right way. Sarah cries and worries and is generally hysterical (because all women are of course). But they do love their daughters which is the main thing right? The crew from the show and the two Catholic priests try to make it seem like they are there to help the Barratt family by doing the show and the exorcism. Really they just seem out of their depth. None of them know how to handle the situation properly and have got themselves in too deep (Sum 41 plays in the background). Maybe it’s time for them to quit before it all goes tits up? (Don’t be daft, that wouldn’t make good TV).

This book is a very interesting read. Personally I didn’t find it scary (even King’s little review won’t make me think this is scary, sorry Tremblay) but I still loved it. You tell that Tremblay has done his research into or has good knowledge of exorcisms and films about them, some bits are even similar to real cases such as The Enfield Case in Britain (okay that was apparently a poltergeist but we can’t be pedantic) and
some of the exorcism seems to be very similar to that of the exorcism scenes in The Exorcist. Tremblay even has references to The Exorcist, in which poor Regan is possessed and made to say some rather crude things (she needs to wash her mouth out with soap and water obviously) and mentions Lovecraft a fair amount. These references give the book that extra quality. Even though I didn’t find it scary it is still funny, sad, gory at times and tragic so you never really feel like you’re missing out on anything.

A possibly possessed teenage girl, a family slowly falling apart and a TV show documenting it all. What could possibly go wrong?

Awarded: 4 out of 5 Stars

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