Speak! Speak!

Speak! Speak!
1895, Sir John Everett Millais

The meaning of this painting was felt generally to be obscure and the story as related by Millais’s son J.G. Millais, locates the scene in Ancient Rome: ‘It is that of a young Roman who has been reading through the night the letters of his lost love; and at dawn, behold, the curtains of his bed are parted, and there before him stands, in spirit or in truth, the lady herself, decked as on her bridal night, and gazing upon him with sad but loving eyes’ (Millais, II, p.304). The critic of the Art Journal described “Speak! Speak!” as ‘a powerful canvas, broadly handled and eloquently telling its tale’ (Art Journal, 1895, pp.164-6). In fact, the identity of the female figure at the foot of the bed caused some consternation, an effect which Millais had fully intended, as Millais’s biographer M.H. Spielmann recorded: ‘When I remarked that I could not tell whether the luminous apparition was a spirit or a woman he was pleased: “That’s just what I want”, he said; “I don’t know either, nor”, he added, pointing to the picture, “does he” ‘ (quoted in Flint, p.261).

Painting and background information from the Tate gallery, UK.

Horror Cinema: The Conjuring 3 — The Devil Made Me Do It

The latest installment of The Conjuring provides lots of jump scares and spooky characters, which I love about this franchise. I also like how these movies are inspired by the real life paranormal cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren without becoming docu-dramas.

The Conjuring 3 focuses on a murder case where the Warrens argued that the defendant was possessed by a demon. In the real case, the judge of the trial rejected the defense plea of not guilty by demonic possession stating that such a defense would be impossible to prove, also stating it would be “irrelative and unscientific” to allow testimony in support of the possession defense .

The jury were not legally allowed to consider the demonic possession defense and the defendant’s lawyer then instead argued self defense. The defendant was found guilty of first degree manslaughter on November 24, 1981. He was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in jail, but only served 5 due to good behavior.

The court case does not make a major appearance in the movie, which, instead, focuses on the Warrens tracking down the demon itself … among other guilty parties — I’ll leave it at that to prevent spoiling it for you.

When I embark on a sequel, I am usually nervous about what to expect. But, The Conjuring sequels have proven so far to be great!

Find more behind-the-scenes facts about The Conjuring 3 at IMDb Trivia.

Chaves, Michael. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2021.