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When Religion Goes Bad: ‘The Wicker Man’ and More

When Religion Goes Bad: ‘The Wicker Man’ and More (photo)

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We’re showing the deliciously creepy 1974 film The Wicker Man tonight as part of Indie Screams. Not to give too much away about the film, but a very pious police officer is summoned to a distant Scottish isle to find a missing girl, but when he arrives on the island everyone claims the girl never existed. When the police officer realizes that the island is ruled by a libertarian society organized around pagan rituals, things go from bad to worse.

Thinking about paganism got us thinking, what other movies show religion gone wrong? Obviously The Exorcist is a frightening depiction of christian beliefs, but the priests in that film helped, like, a lot. So what movies show religion in a less positive light? Clearly any movie where you are unknowingly inseminated with the devil’s seed counts. But we talked about Rosemary’s Baby, yesterday in our list of the Top Ten Scariest Movies Ever and Blessed when we listed Heather Graham’s Five Worst Films. We put on our thinking hats and here is the list we came up with:

While not exactly a great film, The Serpent and The Rainbow does give an interesting look into the Voodoo religion. Interestingly, the book it was based on was actually a Harvard ethnobotanist’s account of his research into Haitian culture and indigineous use of plants, which seems an unlikely place for horror master Wes Craven source material.

They’re heeeeeerrrrrreeee. Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist explores a world beyond where the lucky folks who follow their shepherd to their deaths get to haunt a little girl’s television set:

Stephen King’s Children of the Corn will make you think twice about buying your produce on the farm:

The restless spirits of demonic nuns come back to possess a batch of college students unlucky enough to trespass and party on the grounds of their abandoned convent in
The Convent. Pro Tip: Demonic nuns are not to be trifled with.

In The Prophecy, as in awesome television show Supernatural, it turns out that angels are kind of jerks and mere mortals get stuck in the middle of epic battles.

Similarly in Legion the end of the world comes with a side of hash browns and toast:

Clearly this list is not comprehensive. Head to the comments to add your own.

The Wicker Man airs on IFC at midnight eastern tonight.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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