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“The Conjuring”: Right-wing, woman-hating and really scary

“The Conjuring” is an old-fashioned horror movie, almost old-fashioned to the point of meta-ness. I don’t just mean the 1970s setting, the haunted house in New England, the family under siege, the demonic possession, the pair of celebrity ghost-hunters and the Roman Catholic exorcism. I also mean the film’s deeply reactionary cultural politics, and the profound misogyny that lurks just beneath its surface. I don’t know how intentional this was on the part of the filmmakers – possibly not much – but “The Conjuring” is one of the cleverest and most effective right-wing Christian films of recent years. It’s a movie about America’s obsession with evil, and how easily that gets pointed in the wrong directions. It’s a movie based on the reassuring premise that when something is wrong in your family, your community or your country, you don’t have to worry about the priests, the cops, the dads or the other male authority figures. They’re the good guys. Blame the women.

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