Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Michelle Remembers, Chapter 18

A few chapters earlier, I jokingly posited that the members of the devil-worshiping cult in the worst book of the 1980's behave so erratically because their method of making blood offerings infects them with toxoplasmosis and possibly also rabies.

You know what? I'm gonna stick with that theory. Because really, there's no way anyone who was in even a tenuously rational state of mind would think it was a good idea to do the crap that happens in this chapter.

So after disrupting yet another ritual, Michelle has been put in solitary confinement again--this time inside the hollow idol of Satan itself. (Um...Michelle? That statue is made of papier mache. Just thrash around in there until it falls over and splits open.) She's been tied to the stool she's sitting on, (Not a problem. You should still be able to make the statue fall over if you rock back and forth violently enough.) there are "little red spiders" all over her, (Seriously, just knock the statue over.), and she can't shut out the voices of the incessantly chanting cultists. (YOU. STATUE. KNOCK DOWN. This is not hard.)

Fortunately for Michelle, she is soon allowed out of the effigy. Unfortunately for her, however, she is only allowed out for a brief visit to a person known as the doctor.

Nope, nope, nope, not that doctor. Don't worry, this book has no intention whatsoever of getting all good and shit on us.

No, this "doctor" is a member of the cult. He's also ugly:

He had terrible skin, all pitted, and the sharpest nose Michelle had ever seen. She thought that if he ever fell over, his nose would stick right into the ground.

Got it. The doctor is actually a less hirsute version of Ice King from Adventure Time:

I don't quite know what to think about the sharp nose observation, by the way. I could praise it for being something a child would actually notice and think. On the other hand, it is a super-cartoonish and silly image that seems really, really out of place in a book that's mostly an endless barrage of noxious, heinous child abuse, so I'm not inclined to be charitable.

Anyway, the doctor performs some sort of operation on Michelle (without anesthetic, naturally), cutting into her forehead and the base of her spine. Then the cultists bundle her, bleeding and half-conscious, back into the effigy and leave her there, unattended, for days.

Then, after a long, lovingly detailed scene of fetal mutilation that I won't describe because who wants to read about that shit, Michelle is finally unbound and taken out of the idol, into the light where she can see what the doctor did to her:

At first she was puzzled. There were little knobs sewn to her head, and a long tail coming out of her spine.

The doctor gave her horns and a tail.


I don't even.

They gave her freaking transplant surgery--an extremely dangerous medical procedure that carries several severe and horrifying risks even when the transplanted tissue is the patient's own--and kept her cooped up in a filthy, spider-infested little cell for an unspecified number of days afterward. No antibiotics after the surgery, no anti-rejection drugs (which may not even have been available back then, considering the first human kidney transplant was only performed in 1954) no nothing. Now if Michelle having horns and a tail were somehow so important to the ritual that the surgery was worth the risk, fine, but she rips both horns and tail off her body in a fit of panic just two sentences later (Really. This is a thing that happens in this book.) and the adults don't react. At all.

See what I mean? These are not the actions of people in full possession of their higher reasoning powers. Even though the Satanists have amply demonstrated that they don't care about hurting Michelle--in fact, that they want to hurt Michelle as much as possible--they should really have a lot more control than this. They should be able to weigh rewards (amount of pain and fear inflicted on Michelle) against risks (accidentally killing Michelle before she's done serving her purpose). Considering the amount of work they put into breaking Michelle, it makes me wonder why they were willing to chance losing their "investment" to complications from a back alley surgical procedure that was apparently neither medically nor religiously necessary.

This is not the sophisticated battery of subtle psychological brainwashing techniques Dr. Pazder wants us to think it is. It's too nonsensical even to be properly scary. This is Dadaist child abuse.

There is simply no way these people's brains are not ravaged by parasites.     

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