Paranormal Activity 4 opened this weekend, and it topped the box office. Then, it was announced that there would be one more sequel and a spinoff. But what I want to know more about is the infinitely more interesting witch-related part of the Paranormal saga that is only barely touched on in the movies, but rounds out the creepiness ten-fold. Yes, we've been treated to several moments of suspense and scares throughout the four movies. But I feel like there is a whole other story being glossed over.
It won't be a long discussion, but for the sake not spoiling Paranormal Activity 4, I'll continue after the jump.
First, let's summarize the story, in chronological order, as we've seen it unfold on screen: Katie and Kristi are two little girls being terrorized by a demon in their home (1988). Their grandmother, Lois, is in cahoots with this demon and a member of a coven of witches that dates back to the 1930s. She needs the girls to be brainwashed, grow up, and bear a son to be sacrificed by the coven. As an adult, Katie moves into a brand new house (2006) with her boyfriend, Micah, but finds evidence that the demon has followed her when a burnt picture of herself as a child suddenly appears in her attic. During the move, she visits Kristi, who now has a son named Hunter, who happens to be the first boy born to the family in decades. The demon haunts both sisters, then possesses Katie, who kills Micah, then goes back to Kristi's house to kill her and abduct Hunter. Hunter then resurfaces five years later (2011), having been adopted by another family, and the demonic Katie reappears to take him back to the coven.
The most information we get, as an audience, about this spooky coven comes from people who don't know anything about it. For four movies now, we've seen people look this stuff up in books and on the internet, with only fleeting glimpses of the witches and their immensely creepy activities. There is an entire story here, and while I don't want to see the Paranormal Activity franchise go the way of the Blair Witch, maybe there's another way the filmmakers can throw fans a bone. A tablet app (like the one created for Full Metal Jacket's 25th anniversary), an interactive site, a book or graphic novel, or even a straight-to-video flick. Or maybe a very carefully crafted full-length feature. But I want to know about why these witches sacrifice children, what are they doing that might be even scarier, and how long they've been at this. What are their plans for sustaining their coven? How far are they willing to go? Are they even more widespread? Who are they?
It's incredibly easy to screw up, but there's such a good story to tell. The spinoff (set for spring 2013) will reportedly deal more closely with the Catholic-Latino aspect of the same demon, something that was hinted at after Paranormal Activity 4. But I love a good ancient witch story, and I'd really like to see more -- from the perspective of someone with more information about it.
Photo credit: Paranormal Activity on YouTube
When she isn't nerding out that the holidays are coming, Jamie is a reader at Monday Night Fan Fiction at Fontana's in Chinatown, NYC (next date: TBA, 7:00 PM). All work is original, written by the readers, so if you have a brilliant fanfic idea stuck in your head, send it via Twitter: @jamielikesthis