Real monsters

Finally saw Let Me In, the American remake of the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, and it turns out to be a pretty decent movie in its own right. The 2008 original is better and tougher in certain ways, but this new version is an honorable job that stands on its own.

Both films are pointedly set in the Eighties, and I was struck by the difference in how each evoked its period. The American version has some shots of Reagan speaking on television, and when the vampire’s victims start turning up, the local law concludes that a Satanic cult is at work. That sure took me back, and not in a good way.

It’s amazing to remember how many otherwise intelligent people were patsies for the whole Satanic conspiracy hoax. People who would give me knowing looks whenever I scoffed, and leaned forward to say, “Well, there’s something weird going on.” Some jogger in the woods would come across a gutted deer carcass and run home convinced that the devil’s minions were out slaughtering children. The hoax became even more toxic when it tangled itself in the mass hallucination about recovered memories, which ruined a great many lives during that singularly strange decade.

Let Me In reminded me that it’s been a long time since I’ve heard any bunk about ritual murders and devilish conspiracies. The Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terror attacks seem to have blown away that nonsense by reminding the country of real monsters. Unfortunately, the Satanic hallucination was replaced with other hallucinations that led the country into the Iraq disaster and other imperial ventures.

Each decade invents its own monsters, I guess.

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